Endgrain Plywood Cutting Board


Introduction: Endgrain Plywood Cutting Board

About: Just a small town boy, living in a lonely world. Follower and disciple of God. I build and invent things from knives to pocket notebooks and everything in between.

The wonders of plywood seem ultimately limited in the stance of food related products and modern aesthetics. A sheet of plywood cut to size and oiled seems to easy and ugly for a cutting board. But, using the end grain as the cutting surface seems like a crazy idea. So that is what I set out to do. There is another instructable using this same basic idea with a vine rack, but this is a bit different than that.

Step 1: Choosing Plywood

Choosing your plywood will determine the end product look. This is 3/4" thick, 4 ply. That mean that it has 4 sheets of wood veneer glued together to make it 3/4" thick. Furniture or Marine grade plywood would be a better choice, but this was just an experiment.

Step 2: Cut Out Strips

For ripping the strips, you can use a bandsaw or a tablesaw. For your bandsaw, set the fench to about 7/8" from the blade. For the table saw, set the fence the same distance, 7/8", and the blade height at about 1". Rip about 15-20 strips, and make them as consistent as possible. You can do this by cutting swiftly and not stopping mid cut. I am also using a scrap piece of wood to help push them all the way out of the blade rotation so it doesn't shoot back and hit you.

Step 3: Glue Strips

First, lay out the strips and arrange them so the height of the gaps are as little as possible. This will make planing easier in the future. Next, gather up your clamps. Close them to a point where they will be able to clamp on your wood quickly but not with a hassle. It is also a good idea to do this all on a piece of wax paper. Now, lay the strips on there side, and apply glue. It is a good idea to put them all next to each other and apply to all at once. Be sure to leave one without glue, as this will be an end piece. Then, stack Them back the way you had them originally and clamp it loosely. Lay it on the wax paper and tap it with a mallet to flatten the strips, and tighten the clamps. Set it in the sun to dry.

Step 4: Plane and Trim

Using a block plane, shave until even on both sides about 1/16" each. This will add up to 1/8" in total to make the board 3/4" thick. Be sure to plane in the way of the majority of the grain, or in the words of the movie Surfs Up, "With the grain, bro, with the grain." Next, saw off the ends to have flat sides. I used an old saw from my grandfather. Then, sand the board at 100 grit to 220.

Step 5: Oil

Using walnut, linseed, or mineral oil, lather your board using your fingers, a sponge, or a rag. This should take about 15 minutes. Wipe off the excess, and let dry. After a couple of days, re-apply in the same way. You may want to do this about once every month or two. And that's it. Your done. Pretty easy, huh? If you liked this, or have any questions or critiques, comment and I will be sure to get back to you.



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    I really hope people read the comments and realize that most plywood is toxic and does not qualify as food safe. There are brands that do (purebond - I think homedepot carries it). Oil will not remove toxins. Period. Any sealer or the like will eventually get penetrated and leech toxins into your food. Kyle, I like the idea, but, (short of using plywood specifically made to be food safe) this is just not safe and you should consider taking it down.

    you might not want to use this cutting board for food, plywood contains formaldehyde in the adhesive used for bonding.

    7 replies

    The oil will separate any toxins in the wood from the surface.

    As much as I like the look of the piece, the boscop.. is correct. The volatile components present in the plywood adhesives are soluble in oil-based finishes - so this is not a barrier to contamination. There are food-safe coatings available however, so all is not lost.

    Is there a way to make plywood safe? Ie by painting or encapsulating in something? Also, how do you identify food-safe plywood?

    And the amount of toxins that can get on the food, and transfer to your mouth and actually go onto your system is next to nothing.

    did you know you can fertilize your lawn with used motor oil?

    seriously, kyle, this is not food safe. stop claiming it is.

    the oil used in this is the same used in cooking!!! Not motor oil. If you do research on plywood you can find that they are actually made with non soluable glue now and this specific piece is actually made for food grade work. So go back to making soap dispensers and don't keep telling me I'm incorrect.

    look here, first line was a joke. making an obviously bogus claim, spoofing your own. i apologize.

    but first, those toxins are organic in nature and thus would migrate right through any oil finish you apply. second, i am open to admitting i could be wrong. it's a core principle. you should be the same. when writing a description of a process for others to potentially follow, it is your responsibility to disclaim any hidden dangers, such as 'plywood may contain toxic chemicals, so not all may be suitable for food contact. here's a list of materials that are safe for food contact. here's how to tell the difference.' but since you'd rather take some kinda cheap shot... knock yourself out, tiger. fingers crossed for anyone trying this themselves.

    i don't know of, but would love to be shown an engineered wood product suitable (read: safe, non-toxic) for cutting boards. show me, please. you might notice, i am not the only one suggesting your product is not food safe.


    i don't think it is food safe