|Project by DocT||posted 09-27-2009 06:52 PM||16342 views||48 times favorited||15 comments|
Here is my attempt at the end-grain “tumbling block” cutting board, made popular here on LJs by degoose. I have made several end-grain cutting boards in the past, but I have to say that this was the most challenging (on several levels). Degoose’s blog gave good pointers, and I recommend reading it if you attempt to make your own.
I made mine from Hard Maple, White Oak and Black Walnut. I started by milling my 60-degree diamond strips and assembling them into three-piece hexagonal “sausages.” This was my first taste of the clamping issues I would face throughout this project. Any discrepancy in clamping pressure would cause the pieces to slip slightly out of alignment. I resorted to clamping the three-piece glue-up with clear packing tape. It worked well, but if I did it again, I would consider wrapping it with surgical tubing instead. There was mention made in the blog of ensuring that the growth rings of the pieces are assembled perpendicular to each other…I missed that pointer. Once the sausage lengths are cut, discrepancies in growth ring orientation are very noticeable. Oh well…I drove on. (You can see the effect of this oversight around the outside of the board where the optical illusion is diminished!) Truing up the sausages with my planer and dial calipers was dicey. Making sure that the sides are all perfectly sized and even is crucial and a bit confusing. Any variance becomes additive as the hexagons are assembled.
My first attempt at glue-up and clamping was a nightmare. Too much clamping pressure in any direction causes the pieces to either slip or wedge the other pieces apart. Luckily, I made many more sausages than necessary. On my second attempt, I turned to slow set epoxy to reduce my stress and increase my open time, and settled on the strategy of clamping with a single caul along each side of the square. Even with this, there were still a few small gaps that I was forced to fill with epoxy.
The board is roughly 13” square and approximately 1 ½” thick. I finished it with mineral oil and paraffin. The final two pictures are of my salvaged first attempt as a 14” round ¾” thick and a small trivet made with left over “scraps”.
What did I learn from this?
1. Any discrepancy in the sausage is additive at assembly.
2. Pay attention to growth ring orientation for best effect.
3. Dry run your clamping strategy and use a glue with plenty of open time.
4. Don’t EVER try this again!
Many thanks to Degoose for the inspiration and blog. Proof positive of one of the benefits of LJ membership.