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I am in the process of creating an end grain cutting board which is made up of Maple only, but would like to decorate it by inlaying other types of wood into it (Walnut for example). The cutting board size is 18" by 12" and 1.2" thick, and the inlay will be near the a corner of the board with a size of 5" by 5" and .35" deep. Would having this inlay affect the structural integrity of the board?

I am doing the inlay by using the v-inlay method as described in the image below at and angle of 45 degrees which most probably means that the flat base of the inlay wont be touching the board, just the edges:

inlay

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Would having this inlay affect the structural integrity of the board?

I wouldn't have thought so judging from the size you indicate. It will locally affect the strength, but not enough to be a major factor I would have thought (in light of the following).

which most probably means that the flat base of the inlay wont be touching the board, just the edges:

This is a problem I think. The edges of both the inlay and the rebate are end grain, and joints of end grain to end grain are the weakest glue joint. I would highly recommend laying a bed of epoxy underneath the inlay, so that it basically fills the void underneath. Not only will this hugely improve the bond to the inlay it will add strength to that part of the board as well so you get a two-for-one benefit.

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  • +1 to the epoxy. If it was me, I'd run ridges of it perpendicular to the grain of your inlay wood in an effort to keep the inlay wood together. The biggest problem I see with the whole plan is that you've got differential expansion/contraction between end grain and face grain. But you'll only really know if it works by trying, I think. – Aloysius Defenestrate Sep 3 '15 at 13:56
  • I like the epoxy idea – OKAN Sep 6 '15 at 20:24
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I wouldn't think the strength at all. What will happen is the inlay will pop out. Problem is its a cutting board and you have to worry about food contaminated from it. Epoxy is a +1 from me.

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