Walnut and Cherry End Grain Cutting Board - Finished with food safe mineral oil and beeswax


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Established Member
22 Mar 2019
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Stoke on Trent
Posted a quick thread in the 'post your last thing made' and had questions about certain things, so thought I'd post all my pics as im a bit over the top taking pictures :)

Lumber cut to rough size


First 'blank' ready to glue up - this is for the centre section of the board - I'll make further 'blanks' in a different design to form borders around this


First Glue up - (need some better clamps)


I made 3 other blanks in the same way


I dont have a planer or anything, so I made a sled for the router and bought a surfacing bit to use, its brilliant, if not a bit messy - I put some rubber strip cut into strips to try and contain the dust a bit which worked to a fashion - I have the vaccum hooked upto the router too


This is the 'gantry' of the sled, where the router sits


And this is the sled ready to go - excuse the screws bodged in holding the wood in place, I keep experimenting with ways to hold it - they were low enough not to foul the router bit!


Once all the pieces are planed/surfaced on both sides, I end up with these:



I then crosscut these blanks all at 45mm to expose the end grain


Then assemble the first 'section' which is the large walnut and cherry squares, and the first part of the cherry and small walnut border (top and bottom) and glue up

After glue up for a few hours, I cut off the ends of the border pieces, and attach the left and right borders


I keep following this process, this time with a thicker border


When all the borders are done, I then add some pine to the edges to help reduce any chipout on the edges when surfacing again with the router in the jig/sled I made


Once planed on both sides, I end up with this


I then chop the pine off, and setup the router for the handles - I use the router table, and some stops at either end of the fence, and a piece of wood to stop the board moving forward and ruining the cut


Close up of the bit, its a 19mm core box cutting bit - I simply place the cutting board upto the right side stop, lower the board onto the cutter, and move it across to the other stop, then lift it up - I do this a few times at different heights - in this example, I also felt brave, and spun the board around to centre the handle exactly - not necessary but I gave it a try


And then with the handles cut, I rounded over the corner with a 3/8 router bit to form the radius on the 4 corners (board on its ends) - used a 1/8 router bit to soften the edges, and then I started the thankless task of sanding - 80 grit, 120, then 240 -


Some mineral oil - I found it best to flood the surface, and leave it - as you start to see dry places, add a bit more in that spot - if you do one side, and keep doing this, you will see it eventually come through the other side, so you know you have good saturation. Then you can turn it over, and do it again!


And finished board with a final coat of homemade beeswax and mineral oil (1:4 ratio)



The secret to getting the board flat is the router sled and then lots of sanding - I have seen people pass end grain via a thicknesser and have good results, but heard its not safe - the router method, although a bit dusty - works brilliantly, and with final sanding - I get it dead flat - im going to revisit the sled and make some small adjustments/improvements over the winter, so will post a project thread on that
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Thanks very much indeed Rortan, how on earth you managed to do that without a planer I can’t imagine. Necessity really is the mother of invention. When I compare it to how I did mine, it was a doddle, the strips were glued together and then put across the planer, then through the thicknesser, cut to length (the same thickness as the finished board) glued back up – this was just a simple beech board without any decorative features. Then on a very fine cut it was passed across the planer both sides very slowly, I wasn’t about to risk it through the thicknesser but it probably would’ve been ok. I then went over the board on both sides with a very fine hand plane to give it that gleaming polished surface, I don’t care what anybody says the finish is far superior to sanding. Well done. Ian
Most welcome Ian - Thanks for the kind comments - im new to all this, so makes it all worth while :)

I think if I hadn't have been so adventurous with the design, it would have been a bit more straight forward, I can get everything glue ready on the table saw for the strips with a decent blade and a bit of patience - then use the jig instead of a planer to flatten the strips once glued - then crosscut to thickness, then expose end grain, then flip every other strip to create the staggered pattern, glue together and then surface again with the jig

I see on u tube that some people have a drum sander to pass boards through, but they still end up hitting them with a random orbit after - that looks like a nice luxury! - I hadn't thought about a hand plane on the end grain, I assumed that planing end grain was a no no - plus I dont have one, so id probably royally screw that stage up!

You have a wide planer then if you could pass the glued up strips across it?

I did a few others prior to this which were learning curves, I didn't get anywhere near the finish on those I got on this

Most recent before this one - close to 'perfect' but some very slight gaps in places - I think because I didn't use timber to distribute the clamping pressure, fillable with dust and glue so perfectly usable


This was sized to fit over the top of the sink hence the handles on the other ends and with some rebated cut in the bottom to lock it in place - bought some spalted beech but it was soft, so that messed up the finish on top - can't use it for food, but ok to stick stuff on.. this was the first attempt - too adventurous, or got carried away with the pattern - ah well, all a learning curve!


Used some mahogany in this one, and the pores are quite open - I think I could revisit this one, and get it a bit better/flat/smooth and use it for food - at the moment, its a tea/sugar stand when making a brew

Small 'serving board' made from offcuts of other attempts!

Hi Rorton,

Lovely piece! I haven’t come across a bees wax : mineral oil finish before (which isn’t surprising as there is a lot I haven’t come across!). I see how it’s good for chopping boards as it’s food safe but could you use it for other items (table, chairs) as a general finish? How does it compare to other oil finishes ie Tung or linseed? Think I’m probably going to buy some mineral oil now and have a play.....

Thanks John.

first time I’ve used a food safe finish, I usually use osmo polyx on everything I make. Read about this online and about it being food safe etc. I did try it on a scrap of walnut and it came up a treat, but I’m not sure how durable it would be on its own on a table, I spoke to mum in law and she mentioned her husband used to put shellac in it too to allow it to harden a bit, I’ve read people putting other oils in too. If you get some and you have some tung, add a bit of that and report back.

I seem to be able to get 5l of pure mineral oil from Amazon for £22 and I found a website called livemoor where I bought 500g of pure natural beeswax in pellet form (much easier to measure and melt) for £10.50. I used 400g in weight of oil, and 100g of beeswax and that gave me just over 500ml of solution
Thank you for posting this WIP, the boards look excellent and will no doubt be a constant source of people asking can you just do one for me when you get the chance :)

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