|Project by Jonathan||posted 06-03-2010 05:31 PM||2456 views||5 times favorited||21 comments|
Wow, my first end grain cutting board (and first cutting board overall,) was much more of an endeavor than I thought it was going to be!
I knew there were going to be several glue-ups, but there were several more than that, as I had to remove wind checks from the maple, and also rebalance the size of the columns after cutting things down.
Tons of sanding too, as the board bowed a bit, so I tried to correct it. Tons translated to maybe 4-5-hours (or maybe more?) of sanding with a belt sander and ROS, plus the usual handsanding afterwards.
I won’t go into much details on some of the issues I faced with my first end grain cutting board, but if you want to read about the issues, you can check that out here: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/17126#reply-180018
Thank you to those of you that helped me out and offered advice along the way!
This project was frustrating at times, but has not detered me from wanting to make more of these. I certainly learned several things along the way, so hopefully the future boards will go together more quickly and without issue. I already have a request for one as a Christmas present this year, and she didn’t even see the finished board before asking for one of her own.
I had intended on making this board a touch larger than it is, but after having to cut it down several different times, I lost about 1.5-inches from the length of it. I didn’t have to make all of the cuts I did to remove problem areas, but then the board would’ve been unbalanced.
The details and dimensions are:
Wood Species: 4/4 Walnut and 5/4 Hard Maple
Constructions Methods/Techniques: Boards crosscut and ripped on tablesaw, followed by lots of glueing, clamping, swearing… cutting, glueing, clamping, swearing… repeat.
Thickness: 1-1/2” (varies slightly on different areas of the board by less than 1/16”)
Glue used: Titebond III, spread with a brayer (aka- ink roller), which I highly recommend using!
Rubber Feet: from Rockler @ $3.39 http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=653&filter=rubber%20feet
pre-drilled holes to 5/8” deep on drill press with 1/8” bit, holes drilled 1-1/8” in from sides. I did have to use a couple of washers to level the board out on one corner, as it rocked slightly from the bowing issue, but is now shimmed up perfectly and doesn’t move at all. I added these feet so the board wouldn’t slide around on the counter, plus it allows for air circulation without having to stand the board on end once it is washed. The feet also allow your hands to slip underneath the board to pick it up or move it, without the need for handles.
Finish/Finish Techniques Used: General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish, thinned 50-60% with mineral spirits, 3-4 coats, with a 400-grit sanding before the final coat. I did not allow the finish to sit on the top of the board for more than maybe 30-seconds as I didn’t want to build a film. Once I had a nice layer on there, I let it sit for a few seconds, then wiped it off with a clean paper towel. I also freehanded the top with a 1/4” roundover bit, then hand sanded all other edges just to soften them.
Pictures: The first and last pictures show the two knives that will primarily be used on this board, both pictures using the flash. The second pictures shows the grain of the wood a bit, plus the roundover on the top. The third picture shows the washers I had to use in order to shim the board at one corner (the upper right corner). The fourth picture shows the underside of the board with the rubber feet. The fifth picture shows the overall board design without the flash turned on.
Things I learned during this project: Make sure to use more glue than you think you’ll need… squeeze-out is a good thing! Really check your stock over before glue-up. Look for wind checks, or stress cracks in the wood and any other imperfections! If you find any, start over or select different stock… or be hard-headed like me and plow through it anyway, even though it will take two or three times as long! Get everything as level and even as you can on every glue-up as end-grain is a (insert expletive) to sand! A belt sander is the minimum you’ll need to get the job done, although I’d imagine a drum sander would be the best tool for the job by far. You could also use a planer or thickness planer, but should probably glue a sacrificial piece on the end, or roundover that edge slightly before feeding it through the planer. I’ve heard scrapers are great for end grain boards as well, although I’ve never used a scraper and do not yet have one. A drum sander is a bit higher on my tool list than it used to be, I can tell you that much! Before this project I hadn’t used salad bowl finish before. We’ll see how this goes, as this board is staying at our house. In the future, I am also planning on finishing boards with mineral oil and beeswax, but I wanted to at least give the salad bowl finish a shot. Just don’t let it pool on the surface because you don’t want to build a film. And make sure to thin the salad bowl finish with plenty of mineral spirits. I think the next time I use the salad bowl finish, I will thin the first coat to closer to 70% for deeper penetration, as I never did get it to go all the way through the board, so I flipped it over the next day and soaked the bottom in the same fashion.
(Edit): I also forgot to mention that the pattern here ended up being a result of having to recut and reglue the boards. I played around with it a bit and decided this was much more interesting than the original design, so that was one good thing that came out of this, as well as the other “learning experiences”.
-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."