|Project by Holzarbeiterin||posted 11-26-2014 08:52 AM||17930 views||88 times favorited||20 comments|
Making a cutting board is a fairly straight forward project. The only part that can provide some tense moments and possible frustration is during the glue-up phase when the narrow wood strips develop a mind of their own and refuse to cooperate during the clamping process. After making a couple cutting boards I wanted to find a way to do the final glue-up in one step and ensure the process is efficient and stress-free. After a bit of thinking I came up with the idea replacing the clamps with wedges placed in a sturdy frame to provide the clamping force. On the first jig I built a several years ago I used a plywood base with a Formica laminate top to keep glue and the cutting board from sticking to the jig. The laminate worked pretty well at first but I began to have trouble with the cutting boards sticking to the base. It only took a slight whack or two with a hammer to loosen things which isn’t a big deal but I still had to remove the dried glue on the jig afterward. I noticed that after I had scraped the dried glue off the Formica a couple of times that I ended up removing some of the slick surface. This lead to more sticking and more scraping. It was a vicious circle. A liberal coating of paste wax on the jig solved the problem (as long as I remembered to apply it) but I still thought there had to be a better way…
This is what I came up with. I hope you like it.Overview and Features
- Overall size: 18” x 24” x 3” excluding the height of knobs and bolts.
- Capacity: Fully adjustable and capable of making cutting boards up to about 16” x 16” x 1-3/4” but can be built to other sizes to meet personal requirements.
- Adjustability: Multiple holes in side rail for adjusting the t-track bolts to accommodate varying sizes of cutting boards
- Consistency: The jig ensures all wood strips remain flat and square during the glue-up.
- Ease of use: No need for lots of clamps in various sizes to get the job done. Two wedges and (optional) spacers make it easily adjustable and a snap to apply the right amount of clamping pressure.
A closer look at the design
- ¾” Plywood base for strength (I like to use Baltic Birch)
- 5/16” bolts to handle the clamping pressures that will stress the jig
- ½” Cutting board material on the base and “Slick Strip” on side rail for years of non-stick gluing. The cutting board material also helps ensure the side rail is square to the lower rail so cutting boards are square.
- T-track recessed into the base for adjusting the position of the side rail
- Side rail has multiple holes for positioning the t-bolts as needed for unlimited size adjustability
- Beefy wedges (and optional spacers) to provide excellent clamping pressure evenly across the entire width and thickness of the cutting board. The length of the wedges allow them to be stored “inside” the jig when the jig is not in use.
Details that help ensure the glue-up is square and flat
- Chamfered top edge on the cutting board material ensures the wood strips seat nicely against the side rail. The side rail also rides along the edge to keep the cutting board square.
- The gap between the bottom rail and the side rail ensures the first strip is properly seated into the corner to help keep everything square. There is a “slick strip” on the side rail to prevent glue squeeze out from sticking.
How to use the jig – I know you probably don’t need this explanation but if I am anything, it’s thorough! :)
After the final cutting board strip is in the jig, adjust the side rail so it barely catches on the wood strip. When positioning the wedges in jig, the wedge that will be against the cutting board strip should have the narrow end of the wedge on the left (side rail side). When this wedge is tapped to compress the wood strips it will force the strip into the side rail so nothing slips out of place and everything stays square. I used 5/8” strips in the jig for the photos if your strip are thinner you might have to adjust the side rail as you tap the wedges in tight.
Material List – Wood and sheet goods
Jig Base – 1 each – 18” x 24” x ¾” Plywood – I like to use Baltic birch plywood but you could use regular plywood to save money for the awesome wood you will use to make a cutting board!
Bottom Rail – 1 each – 15¾” x 2” x 2¼” Hardwood (1)
Top Rail – 1 each – 18” x 2” x 2¼” Hardwood (1)
Side Rail – 1 each – 22” x 2” x 2¼” Hardwood (1)
Clamping Wedges – 1 each – 19⅞” x 4⅛ x 1½” Hardwood (makes 2 wedges)
Clamping Spacers – 2 each – 19⅞” x 3×1½” Hardwood (your needs might be different. Adjust as needed)
Glue-up Base – 1 each – 19⅞” x 16 x ½” Cutting board material (Woodcraft SKU 153019)
- I glued up layers of ¾” Baltic birch plywood for the rails because I had small pieces left over from a previous project and they work great
Materials List – Hardware
Kreg Mini-Track – 24” – 1 Each – I prefer the Kreg track for this project because it’s only ⅜” high. That leaves enough material after cutting the dado to properly screw it into the base. (Woodcraft SKU 149081)
Woodpeckers Plastic Knob Kit – 1 Pkg – Buying the kit was cheaper than buying the parts separately and I even had some left over for another project. (Woodcraft SKU 147918)
#6 x ½” square drive, flat head wood screws – 6 Each – The square drive screws drive better than Phillips head especially when you try to start them inside the T-track. You’re also less likely to strip it out. (Woodcraft SKU 612100)
#8×1” Drawer front screws – 20 Each – You could use separate screws and washers but I had some left over from a previous furniture project. (Woodcraft SKU 617101)
“Slick Strip” Tape 22” x 2¼ – 1 Each – Comes on a 3” wide roll. Woodcraft SKU 16L65)
5/16” x 18 TPI x 3” Hex bolts – 9 Each
5/16” Nuts – 9 – Each
⅜” ID Flat Washers – 18 Each
-- Linda - It's only a mistake if you do it twice!