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3D End Grain Cutting Board

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Project by TexasToddT posted 09-21-2018 04:59 AM 1013 views 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
3D End Grain Cutting Board
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3D End grain cutting board for garlic and onions, sized about 13” by 7.5” by 1 1/2 thick made from walnut, maple and cherry with an end grain walnut border sanded to 220 on the cutting surfaces, 120 on the sides and end, finger groove on ends, finished with Watco Butcher Block several coats.

Tina, my wife, asked for a small board for garlic and onions because of the pungent smell of those items.

This was my first 3D board and the challenge was deciding how to do my glue up. I first cut “sticks” of each species using my digital angle finder to ensure the blade was at 60. Next, used blue painter’s tape to tape together 3 sticks (the sticks were not glued at this point). I had searched YouTube for videos of others making the same type board and what I discovered was that there was risk in gluing up the sticks because if just one stick slipped, it would ruin any chance of a good outcome. The sticks had to be perfect and for my first attempt, I did not trust myself to try it. Once the sticks were taped (Tina helped me by wrapping the tape as I held the sticks tightly), I first tried to cut them using my small-ish band saw because the kerf is thinner than my chop saw (Metabo sliding compound miter saw). After 2 cuts it was apparent that the cuts were not very smooth nor straight so I abandoned that idea and headed over to my chop saw.

At the chop saw, I raised the right hand side metallic stop, placed my hexagonal stick on the saw about where I wanted to cut it, measured the distance from the stick’s end to the stop, and then removed the stick, grabbed a piece of scrap, marked the measurement on it and cut it. This would enable me to cut a consistent and fairly accurate piece of stick each time. CAUTION: if you use a stop to make repeated cuts, you MUST do it in this fashion: raise stop, place spacer piece on saw butted up against the stop, place work piece on saw up against the other end of the spacer, hold work piece in place with left hand and then REMOVE the spacer, then make cut. If you do not remove the spacer, then you have one hand holding the work piece, but nothing holding the work piece on the other side of the cut. Once the blade cuts the last of the work piece, the cut piece tries to move with the blade and can become a projectile or it can bind the blade—either of those scenarios means the piece will have sustained enough damage to make it unusable.

After cutting several sticks, I had enough hexagons to make the small board. Next was a hard part, but not the hardest, which was to come later. I had to glue up each hexagon. The difficulty is in the fact that you cannot use a clamp, because there are 3 pieces. One video I watched, the gentleman used thick rubber bands, so that’s what I did. I doubled 2 rubber bands around the hexagon and had to inspect each one to ensure the edges were flush. I also tried to make sure the grain direction was 90 at the seem (per someone else’s video recommendation) which worked most of the time. I glued about 8 at a time. The next day I glued another 8 and then turned my attention to the blocks that had just been glued to tidy up the edges of any squeeze out. Tidy, smooth edges are important for when you glue up the pieces into the board. As I glued up the hexagons, I had to remember to check the pattern to make sure it was the correct pattern (clockwise, maple then walnut then cherry) or the final pattern would not work.

The next step was crazy hard, I had to start to glue the hexagons together. This was hard for 2 reasons, 1 – I had to watch the seems to make sure the joint was as tight as possible and 2 because I had to make sure the alignment was right—any error would carry forward and multiply. I had to use lots of clamps in a directions. Yes, there were gaps! Dang nab it! ...but there weren’t many – it just seemed that way.

My next step was rough sanding followed my more refined sanding starting at 60 grit working up to 220 grit. As I sanded, I collected the fine dust and put in a container to use later. It was lighter than walnut, closer to the color of cherry. Additionally, I have a few small plastic containers I put pure maple, cherry, and walnut into.

About this time, I asked Tina how she liked her board, she loved it, but would like it better if there was a walnut border around it. Out loud: “Ok, honey, that’s no problem.” In my head: “Man, I was so close to being ready to move on to the next step. Tell her a border would not be good and move on even though you know in your heart, she’s right.” So, I found enough walnut scrap (well, not scrap, but in my to-be-used-later bin) to make a nice border – careful to remind myself not to mix grain orientation so I had to make sure the border was end grain as well. Ok, border glued on (well, one edge at a time over several days).

Next came time to fill those pesky gaps. I used either pure maple, cherry, or walnut dust mixed in with my Titebond III (I put a little glue on my finger then dabbed my finger into the small container with whichever dust I though was best for the gap. I could only fill one side at a time and then I had to wait 24 hours for the glue to dry thoroughly. Then I had to sand. If you’ve ever applied Watco Butcher Block to a piece, residual glue “washes” out the color of the wood beneath and makes it look like a smear of some sort. So I had to make sure I sanded well enough to remove the dried glue from the surface. Some of the gaps were very, very small. Suffice to say that I went through the gluing of gaps, sanding cycle too many times to count. What was occurring is the gap was so small, only a small portion got down into the hole and then when I sanded, I sanded that portion away revealing the gap again. It was infuriating. Finally, I used an old ice pick in my tool rack to make the gap bigger (so that I could pack in the glue/dust combo deep enough so it didn’t get sanded off).

Finally, a “clean” top free from noticeable gaps. I applied finish, lightly sanded between coats—then I found that lightly scuffing the finish between coats left ‘scratch” marks on the surface that the next coat “preserved” and made into a permanent feature! Arrrrrrrggggghghghgh! Ok, 80 grit to remove finish from top and bottome, then resand down to 220, fill any new gaps, refinish, and finally, finally, done.

I may do another 3D design like this, but I have to wait long enough so I forget what a PITA it was compared to my usual pattern.

Thanks for looking and/or reading the back story.

-- TT





8 comments so far

View rmccully's profile

rmccully

2 posts in 86 days


#1 posted 09-21-2018 04:35 PM

Beautiful board TT. I’m about to make my first end grain boards for Christmas gifts and toyed with the idea of a 3D pattern, but quickly abandoned it after seeing how much time and effort it would take to make. This is by far one of the best I’ve seen but sounds like you had to work pretty hard for it. Will have to think about something like this in the future.

View michaelinthebasement's profile

michaelinthebasement

28 posts in 1332 days


#2 posted 09-21-2018 04:47 PM

Wow. Now that Iv’e checked out your project, it’s time to get my eyes checked. It looks great and the border really makes the pattern pop out even more than other boards on here, like a hi-def TV. Thanks for a great description of the procedure, too. I felt as though I were in the shop with you experiencing your successes and frustrations. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to head down to the work shop and see if I can find a few contrasting woods for my next project.

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

2515 posts in 1826 days


#3 posted 09-21-2018 06:06 PM

I’m sorry, I couldn’t read the whole story, my eye were not able to focus, not sure why lol

Oh – beautiful board

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1721 posts in 778 days


#4 posted 09-21-2018 07:39 PM

Thank you dear Sir’s

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1721 posts in 778 days


#5 posted 09-21-2018 07:43 PM

Awesome board, great description, winner winner, throws this into favorites.

Thanks for posting,

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1721 posts in 778 days


#6 posted 09-22-2018 03:07 AM

Add Congrats on your 3.

-- Think safe, be safe

View TexasToddT's profile

TexasToddT

54 posts in 1125 days


#7 posted 09-24-2018 06:30 AM

Wow! Thanks for the kind words and compliments—I really do appreciate them! ...and especially thanks for picking this as a Daily Top 3! I’m honored and humbled to be in the company of some really fine woodworking craftsmen and craftswomen!

-- TT

View TexasToddT's profile

TexasToddT

54 posts in 1125 days


#8 posted 09-24-2018 08:51 AM

@rmccully: Yes, a 3D board is more difficult than a regular end grain board, but it is so different, so eye catching that the end really does justify how hard it was. For me, I break my boards down by process. I enjoy each step of the process (for this board I had to repeat a few of the steps more so than I explained above). Once you’ve done one, though, you know what you’re in for and you kind of know the hurdles involved so knowledge is power. The look of this board came out so great that I will likely do another one, possibly larger in the future. In hindsight I enjoyed more parts of making it than not. I look forward to seeing your first 3D board. Just dive into it. Good luck!

TT


Beautiful board TT. I m about to make my first end grain boards for Christmas gifts and toyed with the idea of a 3D pattern, but quickly abandoned it after seeing how much time and effort it would take to make. This is by far one of the best I ve seen but sounds like you had to work pretty hard for it. Will have to think about something like this in the future.

- rmccully


-- TT

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