Designing an End Grain Cutting Board


The first step is to decide what you would generally like your cutting board to look like. There are a multitude of designs out there (Pintrest board link) and an unlimited number of possibilities. If this is your first cutting board I would recommend starting with something simple such as one of the designs that are available in my store (pssst… if you subscribe to my blog you will get a promo code for a free download).

Design Considerations:

Size– the size of your cutting board is completely up to your preference. The basic considerations  for size include where it will be stored and what you will be cutting on it. For cheese boards, I typically make them around 5” x 7” and about ½” thick. For larger cutting boards, I typically make them 9”-12” wide, 10”-15” long, and between 1”-1.5” thick. Note, for easy of washing you should consider the size of your sink when deciding on the width of the board.


Handles–  End grain cutting boards can be quite heavy and handles make it easier to “handle” them. Handles aren’t required, but if you’re making a large board I recommend including them in your design. There are a number of attractive ways to integrate handles into your design, some easier to make then others. Three common methods are shown in the image below: 1- use hardware, 2- cut a channel into the center of the board along two or more edges, or 3- cut a recess on the bottom edge of two or more sides (one sided boards only).

Feet– If your cutting board is going to be one sided you may want to include feet. Some typical feet materials include wood or rubber. Wood offers a nice aesthetic and can be seamlessly integrated into your design. Rubber offers slip resistance and is easy to incorporate after the board is built.

Liquid Channel– if you’re going to be cutting things that contain a lot of liquid you may want to include a channel around the perimeter of the board to prevent spill over. If you only include a channel on one side of the board you will have more versatility because you can flip the board over and have a side without a channel.

Wood Type– to ensure that your cutting board is durable and safe, make sure you use hard, closed-grain woods. Woods with high hardness are more durable and will stand up to repeated attacks from your kitchen utensils without significant ware. That’s important because harmful bacterial can colonize in deep groves that are left in soft woods (or plastics for that matter). It is important to use closed-grain wood types because the pores size is significantly smaller than open-grain types. Large pores can also serve as collection point for water and harmful bacteria and should be avoided. Typical wood species used for end grain cutting boards include: walnut, hard maple, birch, and cherry. Red oak is an example of a wood type that is very hard but has large pores and should generally be avoided. If you only plan to cut produce, cheese, or pre-cooked food then this is not as important.

Grain Patterns– the specific boards you select can have a significant impact on the appearance of your finished product. If you want a uniform color make sure you select your boards accordingly. If you use boards with a combination of heartwood and sapwood there will be a color gradient in the end grain of the board (like you can see in the pieces of walnut in the image to the image to the left). You can use the grain of the wood to create interesting effects.  You can also mix multiple wood species to create interesting effects or more complicated patterns.

Once your design is ready for realization its time to Make an End Grain Cutting Board.

Please share your project photos on our Facebook Cutting Board Album and let me know if you have any comments or questions in the Comments.