Choosing lumber size for end grain cutting board

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Forum topic by IdeasYouSpark posted 04-12-2020 10:28 PM 356 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 90 days

04-12-2020 10:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut cherry maple purpleheart mahogany zebrawood milling traditional arts and crafts rustic

I am currently in the process of choosing hardwood for my first end grain cutting board with the finished dimensions of 12×18 and 1 3/4” thick. I’ve watched many videos on the topic including The Wood Whisper who recommends 8/4 lumber, but I’ve also seen countless woodworkers use scrap materials of all dimensions. So when ordering, should I choose 8/4, 6/4 or even as low as 4/4? I would greatly appreciate any comments and critique folks are willing to give.

-- IdeasYouSpark

7 replies so far

View Zort's profile


33 posts in 543 days

#1 posted 04-12-2020 11:45 PM

I used 6/4 that I milled to 1.25.

I only wanted my board 1.25 thick and I wanted “checker board cubes” made of maple and cherry

View Aj2's profile (online now)


3088 posts in 2574 days

#2 posted 04-12-2020 11:46 PM

I make cutting boards out of scraps. But I can mill my pieces to fit if you cannot joint,plane,rip then buy what makes sense to you.
I think a end grain board of that size should finish out at least 2 inches thick.
To help with warping
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Walker's profile


385 posts in 1248 days

#3 posted 04-12-2020 11:55 PM

If you are using the end grain, then the thickness of the board is going to end up being the width of the strips you see on the top of you cutting board. It’s completely up to your opinion of what looks good. I’ve used as narrow as 5/8” (after planing). Most of the time I like 1” thick. For me, that means buying 5/4 rough and planing to size.

Aj2 makes a point, we don’t know what tools you have. If you need to buy already dimensioned wood, keep in mind that 6/4 nominal is likely to be 1 1/8” thick once worked.

-- ~Walker

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16 posts in 90 days

#4 posted 04-13-2020 12:45 AM

Hi guys! Thank you for your input. As for tools at my disposal… if you ask my other half, I have every saw known to man. But seriously; I have a Rigid jobsite table saw, miter saw, two orbital sanders, belt sander, Makita trim router, six clamps (working on getting more) and much more. Unfortunately my shop has not reached a milling stage tool-wise yet. Hoping to get a hold of a planer in the near future. I’ve been working with wood and DIY home improvement projects for several years now. But this will only be my second time working with hardwoods. My first was just recently and my own design which was a case for my sister’s stained glass panel to be displayed and lighted.

-- IdeasYouSpark

View BurlyBob's profile


7620 posts in 3042 days

#5 posted 04-13-2020 01:05 AM

I’ve got a friend with a cabinet shop. He gives as much of his cut offs as I can handle. It’s all 4/4 stock. I’ve made over 3 dozen end grain cutting board and they all turned out amazing. Your only limited by your imagination.

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16 posts in 90 days

#6 posted 04-13-2020 01:38 AM

Good to know BurlyBob! I have a hardwood lumber company down the road a bit from me. I’ve heard tell that lumber companies can sometimes offer shorts. But haven’t gotten around to stopping in yet.

-- IdeasYouSpark

View splintergroup's profile


3798 posts in 1999 days

#7 posted 04-13-2020 03:06 PM

As for stock dimensions, really anything will work. The issue is that with thinner stock there is much more gluing involved. These boards are a great way to use up scraps to get a “random” board pattern, but if you want a more regular pattern you will need to have all your stock the same dimensions. With the larger stock, paying attention to grain direction is always a good idea. Try to keep all the grain going in the same direction on the final product, far lower internal expansion stresses (cracking) to deal with.

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