Cutting Board Advice

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Forum topic by Palladin1982 posted 01-19-2021 02:10 PM 311 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Palladin1982's profile


2 posts in 44 days

01-19-2021 02:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: ash joining question cutting board gluing

Hello fellow woodworkers!

I am in need of help regarding cutting boards. When covid19 began last year, I started making cutting boards, so far made approximately 150-200, therefore I am not really complete novice, but still have to learn a lot.

There’s this problem with specific type of board I sometimes do. I start with one type of wood, usually ash and crosscut it to stripes about 30-35 mm thick. I turn it 90° and glue it together basically doing end-grain board.

In next step, either for decorative reasons (it makes nice contrast) or because of the dimensions don’t look good (too long) I add and glue two stripes of different wood to the long edges.

Now the problem comes – it doesn’t happen always, but I would say very often, that the glued joints between middle part and decorative edges break. Sometimes very quickly.

Here’s board I finished just yesterday. Middle section is ash, always two pieces turned 180° so it makes the interesting “ripple” pattern, adges are from Dark Red Meran. Because Dark Red Meran is exotic wood, I used PU glue, not disperse. I applied two layers of tung oil after sanding and just over night the joints are already breaking as you can see in the second picture. Both woods are dry, were in the same room for last 3 months.

Can anybody help here? What did I do wrong?

1) Is it generally bad idea to glue different directions of wood? I know that end grain to edge graing is bad idea, but in this case it’s edge grain to edge grain, just they are 90° to each other
2) Or is it doable but requires some special additional technique?

Thanks for all tips.

-- "No failures, no progress."

5 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5950 posts in 3361 days

#1 posted 01-19-2021 02:41 PM

What you have is cross grain construction. I think that is not great for a cutting board especially because it will be subject to repeated washing and drying, with every use. I would stay with either long grain or end grain construction and not try to combine the two in a single board.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View PBWilson1970's profile


185 posts in 403 days

#2 posted 01-19-2021 02:53 PM

Cross-grain glue-ups don’t often last because the movement in the pieces move against each other.

To solve it you could glue the meran on the left and right instead of top and bottom (going from the layout on your picture) so the grain is all moving in the same direction.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2654 posts in 557 days

#3 posted 01-19-2021 03:06 PM

Tongue and groove might help, dunno, just a hypothesis, like flooring.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View HokieKen's profile


16670 posts in 2148 days

#4 posted 01-19-2021 03:26 PM

What they said^. The Ash will expand left-right (as oriented in your picture) but the Meran will expand top-bottom. So, the glue joint is put into sheer leading to failure.

You could try doing it like a breadboard end on a table and either pinning it or just glue the center portion leaving the ends free to expand and contract. An open joint probably isn’t ideal for a cutting board though.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Palladin1982's profile


2 posts in 44 days

#5 posted 01-19-2021 09:19 PM

Thank you for all tips and advices. I have cut the stripes off, will use them on another edge grain board and the long ash section will become board for cutting sausages ;-)

-- "No failures, no progress."

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