Planing a cutting board

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Blog entry by bluchz posted 12-24-2009 12:03 AM 2177 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK everybody get a good laugh out of the way right here at the start. I decided to make my first cutting board this holiday season, we had too much time off work. I started with some nice white oak that i have lying around. planed it and cut it into 1-1/2” slices, glued it together, and (ok here is the silly part) sent it thru the planer. Anyone who has tried to do this is now laughing and saying i remember trying this, everyone else is laughing at my stupidity! Talk about chatter, and this is the first time i have experienced kickback in the planer( glad i was standing to the side!) it broke the glue joint and sent a piece flying across the room! So i tried a few more times thinking i had something wrong with the planer, i’m a slow learner. So i thought i would throw this out there in case my conclusion is wrong, Never plane end grain! or i still have it wrong and am too slow to figure it out. Hopefully i have blogged my own stupidity before someone else does!

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

13 comments so far

View Herbiej's profile


66 posts in 2769 days

#1 posted 12-24-2009 01:48 AM

Hey, everybody has to try this at least once. I have several short cutting boards. I have found that a hand power plane works fairly well if the board is real uneven. After the power plane, I finish it off with 36 grit then 100 grit in my belt sander. finally, 120 and 220 in my ROS.

-- Acts: 2:38

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 2742 days

#2 posted 12-24-2009 01:53 AM

Actually, it worked once for me but only because the board was not totally end grain. Some say you can “kiss” the board with the planer but I had the same thing happen two weeks ago. And I proceeded exactly like you said. I tried again. Doh! I learned my lesson. I haven’t posted the board yet but let’s say it started out to be a nice long end grain board for bread… now I would say it’s perfect for cutting garlic.

View papadan's profile


1165 posts in 2785 days

#3 posted 12-24-2009 01:54 AM

So many great cutting boards are being built this tim of year. Oh, and by the way Bluchz, DON’T DO THAT! LOL

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View Rustic's profile


3220 posts in 3013 days

#4 posted 12-24-2009 02:19 AM

Any tips on how to avoid that?

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View noimagination's profile


6 posts in 2492 days

#5 posted 12-24-2009 02:28 AM

I’m fairly new to this so I’m just wondering why this is not supposed to work.
I have built two different end grain cutting boards and sent them both through the planer (Not having a clue that it wasn’t supposed to work). Other than minimal tear out at the ends, which I expected and cleaned up easily with the table saw, there was no issue.
I was using my dad’s Dewalt bench planer and both boards were totally end grain, made of maple, about 13 inches wide (maximum for the planer) and about 1 inch or a little more thick.
Anyway, this is the first I’ve heard about this not working, guess I just got lucky? Anyone have any ideas?

-- Mike

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


396 posts in 3044 days

#6 posted 12-24-2009 04:21 AM

Drum Sander!!!!

-- Makin' Sawdust!!!

View sras's profile


4362 posts in 2545 days

#7 posted 12-24-2009 05:03 AM

I followed what dewoodworker posted in his blog. I think what really helps is rounding over the edges before running through the planer. I also take VERY light passes – about 0.008” (1/128) per pass. On top of that, I start with the blades making no contact, just enough to move the board.
On the other hand – if you have a drum sander, I don’t know why you would use a planer.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View TurnTurnTurn's profile


604 posts in 2526 days

#8 posted 12-24-2009 05:27 AM

I was about to make a cutting board, thanks for the advice. Better to learn from the mistakes of others, glad you were not injured!!!

-- TurnTurnTurn

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 2742 days

#9 posted 12-24-2009 08:44 PM

If you don’t have a drum sander, use the belt sander. Mike, you were lucky. Even with very light passes, there is always a chance of explosion (as I found out the hard way!). At least when I was doing it, I was conscious that I was possibly doing something silly and stood far enough away – had a canvas apron (extra protection) – and kept my hand close to the off switch…

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 2790 days

#10 posted 12-28-2009 01:01 AM

Ok here is the end result of my labors. it’s smaller than i had planned, but it looks nice

Dogfish cutting board

It’s White oak end grain and the fish is purpleheart.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 2742 days

#11 posted 12-30-2009 01:13 AM

That’s beautiful! Can’t tell the difference.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17569 posts in 3092 days

#12 posted 12-30-2009 01:25 AM

Well, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve never done that:-) Read this before I got a planer!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View PaulfromVictor's profile


224 posts in 2762 days

#13 posted 01-07-2010 09:46 PM

Noimagination – end grain is tough. If you are lucky enough to get an endgrain cutting board through your planer congrats. It will dull your blades much faster than face grain because the blades have to chop through the fibers rather than shear them from the face. To see how tough end grain is, in your spare time try a cube in a cube project (as in mine and many other’s gallery). A large forstner bit will cut the required hole in the face grain in a matter of seconds. Drilling into the endgrain is an absolute bear ! It takes minutes, not seconds.

Another good example of cutting across end grain would be cutting logs. You can drive a splitting wedge into the end of a log and split it instantly between the grains. Chopping the log in half is a different scenario. This is also why you see crosscutting saw blades have more teeth and shallower gullets. The work for the saw is to sever the fibers, as opposed to a rip blade that has deeper gullets to remove the saw dust better from an “easier” cut.

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