Is this normal for bamboo cutting boards?

I purchased a few inexpensive bamboo cutting boards from TJX and this is happening. I understand how how they are made, so do I just need to etch deeper to get it all the same color or should I only score on this type of board?
My speed was 1000 and Precision 88.

Totally normal.

Laminated/composite Bamboo is one of the worst when it comes to “uniformity”. Solid area engraving like that will always be problematic.

Even single-piece hardwood will show differences in density (and engraving results), but when you’re dealing with multiple pieces of material glued together, you never know what the result will be.


Thank you; I was worried for a minute. I think scoring will probably work best for this design.

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All that being said, this is one of the worst examples of variability in a bamboo cutting board that I’ve seen. You may have just picked the wrong board and been unlucky. You can definitely expect some variation but this is an extreme case

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As others have said, normal.

The challenge is try to line up the design such that you leverage the potential variance across the engrave. I’m not sure what you might do here, though.

Or, alternatively, engrave deeper and then fill with epoxy and sand.


Oh wow, that’s waaaaay above my skill level! Now, I need to add epoxy and sand to my “need to know more” list. Thank you!


Story of my life! :laughing:

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Of course putting epoxy and sand in a cutting board will destroy it as a cutting board… Sand is terrible for your knives. But as a decorative piece, that is amazing.


Engraved boards are pretty horrible as cutting boards anyway. Impossible to keep clean the engraving gets damaged quite rapidly.

Once a cutting board goes through the GF, it is pretty much a bit of art.


Or another alternative is to mask it before engraving and then using a Minwax Polyshade Mission Oak spray coating or two before pulling the masking. It will create an even color stain that gets rid of the variability. Their Honey color is also nice (darker) but not as dark as the Espresso.

They’re food safe too although most folks will use the other side for cutting if they use it as a cutting board.


I always tell my clients that the engraves side is for show/presentation and the other side is for cutting. They are always curious.

@kris_813 I agree with the comments regarding the arbitrary nature of bamboo. I find that going deeper can help but what seems to be helpful for me is the number of passes. Not sure why this would be, but I usually do 2 passes on bamboo. And I simply embrace the variation. Sometimes you can look at the board and get an idea of what might happen. Try and find evenly colored boards. Not perfect, but could help.

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It’s part of the charm of natural materials. Rock it like a boss.
Not every object has to be precisely manicured and curated to be enjoyed.


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