What size squares for end grain cutting board

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Forum topic by MartyZ posted 08-08-2020 05:24 PM 563 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 362 days

08-08-2020 05:24 PM

I’m about to make my first end grain cutting board and have what I hope is a simple question. I got my hands on a nice 12/4 piece of ambrose maple. However, all cutting boards I have seen have either 1.5 or 2 inch squares. I have not been able to find anyone using 3 inch squares. I really don’t want to plane an inch off it and I don’t know if my 14 inch bandsaw can handle resawing it. Any suggestions? Would 3 inch squares work? I plan on making it 12×18x2.

11 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5838 posts in 3199 days

#1 posted 08-08-2020 06:50 PM

Sure it will work. How it looks depends on the size of the cutting board and whether 3” squares are proportional to the overall size.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Kazooman's profile


1535 posts in 2800 days

#2 posted 08-08-2020 09:10 PM

If you are worried about it, simply use rectangles rather than squares. There are many different patterns for cutting boards. Goggle a bit for some ideas.

Note added: I would have a careful look at that piece of wood to decide how best to use the unique features of ambrosia maple. Some of the character will show up in the end grain, but the ambrosia patterns on the face will largely be lost.

View therealSteveN's profile


6241 posts in 1422 days

#3 posted 08-09-2020 06:40 AM

This is the link to MTMWood on You Tube.

He builds a LOT of cutting boards and frequently shares some pretty slick patterns, plus at the beginning of most of his videos he shows in mm the sizes he is using, and he frequently does bevel cuts to make triangle shapes. He could give you the confidence to spend some $$$ on great woods, and make a pretty slick board.

My suggestion is watch a few of the videos of patterns you like, and see how he makes them. Then for your first attempt just make a board with less expensive, simple wood, even just one species. The cutting and glue up are just involved enough it’s best to have it under your belt, before putting the good wood out there. Especially if you do a lot of beveled cuts for angles. Once you feel confident move into better woods.

A neighbor made 4 boards out of plain old 2×4 material before he moved along, but he makes some slick boards now. It’s the learning curve stuff that down the road makes you a better woodworker.

-- Think safe, be safe

View LesB's profile


2598 posts in 4291 days

#4 posted 08-09-2020 07:08 PM

As Bondo indicated the size mainly affects the design.
However I have found that the larger the pieces the more chance there is for wood movement that will cause cracks in the individual pieces and splitting along glue joints. Be sure to alternate end grain patterns to help counter act this and make sure the wood is acclimatized for the ambient conditions or environment it will be used in.

-- Les B, Oregon

View northwoodsman's profile (online now)


326 posts in 4594 days

#5 posted 08-10-2020 01:20 AM

You do know not to run the end-grain cutting board through your planer, correct?

-- NorthWoodsMan

View GopherWoodShop's profile


5 posts in 462 days

#6 posted 08-10-2020 01:36 AM

Hey Marty Z,

For what its worth when I build end grain I like to go on the thicker side so the board does not bow or twist, as end grain will suck in the moisture more, I’d use Titebond 3, food safe slow to tac and water proof/ food safe.
As far as actually cutting on end grain boards, its nice to have a thick one to add to the mass factor, kinda like a heavy work bench, 3” is fat, especially as its most likely sitting on a 34-36 in work top so that might make it a little high, I’d go with a rough 2 1/4 and plane down to 2 in.

Good luck and post pictures

Gopher WoodShop

-- Gopher WoodShop “Where wood goes to meet its maker”

View MartyZ's profile


39 posts in 362 days

#7 posted 08-10-2020 01:57 AM

I was refering to 3 inch squares, not 3 inch thick, the board will be 2 inches thick. Anyway, I came out with a design that I hope will work. The board will be 12×18 so I cut the pieces 2×3. I hope it will look good since each square will have the same aspect ratio as the entire board

View MartyZ's profile


39 posts in 362 days

#8 posted 08-18-2020 03:33 PM

Well, here it is, my very first cutting board

View splintergroup's profile


3978 posts in 2070 days

#9 posted 08-18-2020 03:47 PM

You’ve got a good eye for arranging the chunks, great optics!

View MartyZ's profile


39 posts in 362 days

#10 posted 08-18-2020 05:53 PM

So how much would a cutting board like this sell for? The final dimensions are 11 3/4×16 3/8×1 3/4.

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


3586 posts in 2342 days

#11 posted 08-18-2020 06:41 PM

So how much would a cutting board like this sell for? The final dimensions are 11 3/4×16 3/8×1 3/4.
- MartyZ

No one really knows how much some one will pay until you sell it?

According to Walmart and Amazon a cutting board that size can cost as little as $12-13. Fancy high end laser engraved versions fetch ~$30, and retail for $50 at overpriced cookware stores. My local restaurant supply sells similar table service sized laminated maple cutting boards for $11, and less than $10 in case quantities.

There is an entire section called Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking that might help?

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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