Cutting Board WAD!

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Project by robscastle posted 12-22-2012 11:47 PM 2124 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After seeing all the nice cutting boards displayed on LJs I thought I had better get to do some work and make one myself.

Bad move, What a distaster WAD!

Its so hot in Brisabane at the moment I have been tidying up and doing maintenance, and I guess you can only polish and preserve cast Iron surfaces so many times.

Anyway back to the project, if you could call it that, well I found some short pieces of Camphor Laurel I had “saved for something”.
So I decided to cut them up to make a cutting board.

I cut the timber into many blocks at 30 deg and 28mm x 28mm.
Sanded off all the rough edges and layed them out in a pattern (of sorts)
I them glued them together with a brush and Titebond III

Mistake No 1
I got glue everywhere and on everything
Question 1. How do you apply the glue without the mess?

Mistake No 2
Once I had them all glued together I didnt know how to clamp them up
Being odd shapes the more pressure I applied the more they moved off position. So I just left them to dry.
Question 2. What type of clamps are used, and how do you clamp up a project such as this?

Once the glue was set I surfaced both sides and had a good look at the layout

Mistake No 3
I see some of the pieces have been inserted with the grain alignment mismatched
Question No 3 When conducting dry alignments is there any convention to matching the blocks? end grain to end grain or edge grain to end grain?

I think this error was introduced as a result of me inverting the blocks to remove defects to the rear surface and not realising the added errorthat I had introduced

Overall the project didnt look too bad for a first attempt but was not what I could class as saleable.

Mistake No 4
I decided to coat the top surface with West System epoxy 105 and 205.
All went well until I noticed air bubbles everywhere!
WAD! I thought, and whipped out the trusty hot air gun and managed to pop them.
All looked good so I left the project to set overnight, 5 to 6 hours set time.

Next morning I awoke and raced downstairs to check my work to my horror I saw that I now had small bubbles set in the epoxy everywhere!
Question No 4 How do you effectively remove the air bubbles and prevent them re occuring?

I am going to sand it off in a few days and then recoat it to attempt to produce a good surface finish, if only for the experience, then who knows what, may be a border to finish it off. Then keep it as an example of :- “How not to do it”.

Opps just realised its not finished so may get deleted!!

-- Regards Rob

12 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#1 posted 12-23-2012 12:22 AM

Looks good from here I’m sure you will get the bubble thing worked out . I think when using a west epoxy system it’s best to do in two coats ,the first coat is thinned down 50% let dry sanded and then full strength for the second coat

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DavidIN's profile


81 posts in 2185 days

#2 posted 12-23-2012 12:48 AM

The pattern itself doesn’t look bad at all, i agree with a1Jim. I wouldn’t try to overthink “patterns” in something like that, the randomness of it gives it character. As far as how to keep the glue neat … you don’t LOL. I quit trying to try to get just the perfect amount and just make sure there is plenty. I let it set for 60-90 minutes (titebond3) and then use a scraper to knock off the bigger pieces. Drum sander then is perfect for that. If you don’t have one, i don’t, your lumber yard can run it through for a couple of bucks.

Never made one of those but my first inclination would be to do it in smaller sections at a time. Maybe tape the bottom of a row and stack another on top and glue??? Maybe make a stop for each end? Hope someone chimes in that has made one.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3131 days

#3 posted 12-23-2012 06:37 AM

Look great. most of the “mistakes” list are almost unvoidale for this kind of project unless you have done of the same.

It is not an easy glue up.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View robscastle's profile


5435 posts in 2401 days

#4 posted 12-23-2012 07:06 AM

Yo Ianwater

Thanks for the comment, it lead me to check out your work, and to the completed degoose post which had a reference to Larrys 101 board lessons, so I have been reading up.

I should have thought of asking Larry before setting to work, Oh well he will be miffed with me when he sees my WAD effort no doubt!

Especially as I watched his weave board glue up before I started, he made it look like an easy 8 min job!! but at that stage I didn’t realise he had produced and posted some LJs instructional work as a request from Miss Debbie.

-- Regards Rob

View robscastle's profile


5435 posts in 2401 days

#5 posted 12-23-2012 07:11 AM

Yo DavidIN

Your comment “do it in smaller sections at a time.” has merit.

I was so disapointed with myself I made another one using a recycled pallet as an experiment, its “work in progress as we speak, (as its in sections) so if its successful I will pass it by degoose first up for a sanity check before posting.

-- Regards Rob

View daverose's profile


40 posts in 2548 days

#6 posted 12-23-2012 01:13 PM

Here are some good instructions and plans on how to do a similar but larger version of yours. Too hard for me… Too little room for mistakes but might help.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30049 posts in 2535 days

#7 posted 12-23-2012 01:51 PM

Sounds like the learning process was worth the heartache of the project. Doesn’t look bad, but man what a beauty the next one will be!

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View robscastle's profile


5435 posts in 2401 days

#8 posted 12-24-2012 10:41 AM

Hello daverose
Dave, I have just finished reading the canadianhomeworkshop link…. wow it was a big take on by me for a first up board.
I am surprised that I was able to produce the results that I did, just goes to show that beginers luck had a lot to do with it.
Armed with the information contained in the article (which incidently answered just about all my questions, and that with all the combined other LJ’s confirmation comments have encouraged me to persue this type of project.

Previously I had no interest whatsoever in making anything like them and after having personally seeing many of degoose’s work at LLWW in the 3D form always imagined that they were well beyond my capabilities.

I am still amazed that the first result I obtained were as good as it was and didnt end up in the bin first up, especially after post reading up on “How to do it” articles.

Current progress:
The original WAD board has been sanded back to remove the bubbles and a second West Systems epoxy coat added.

My second attempt using bigger rhombus parts is progressing well and I have taken many progress photos to compose a LJ’s Blog in consutation with degoose, mainly because he has many blogs on boards and may already done one or another LJ for that matter but I have not yet found them.

In closing “mistake 3” I have found the answer!
There is no hard and fast rule relating to how to glue up the sections, end grain to edge grain etc it depends on the effect you are wanting to achieve.

-- Regards Rob

View Doe's profile


1418 posts in 3027 days

#9 posted 12-24-2012 11:32 AM

Way to go! I really admire your persistence! Thanks for your progess update and I’m looking forward to seeing your blog. Reading about problems and how they are handled teaches me more than seeing a hundred perfectly executed projects.

By the way, I prefer the way you used the camphor laurel to make the blocks, rather than three different woods. Given a choice, I’d prefer to have yours—even with the mismatched blocks—than a three wood one. It’s subtle and the balance of the striations are very pleasing to the eye.

Best regards and happy holidays!

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2410 days

#10 posted 12-26-2012 08:03 PM

That cutting board does not look too bad.

For some instructions on making an endgrain cutting board go to Larry's 15 Part instruction blog Also take a look at his How to make a endgrain tumbling block butcher block board!

I hope this helps.

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View robscastle's profile


5435 posts in 2401 days

#11 posted 12-26-2012 11:22 PM

Hello George _SA

Thanks for the links, I spent almost all day yesterday (it was raining all day) trolling through the LJ Site.
I am impressed with the amount of work LJs have put into their contributions, makes one wonder when they have enough time for the physical wood work as well.

I think some recognition is in order for all their impressive work so here is a list of some I visited and learned from;-
Wood mosaics, MarkJ, Degoose, spalm, philzoel, sinister,and patron, thanks and well done guys.

-- Regards Rob

View Bud_3's profile


869 posts in 1421 days

#12 posted 07-23-2015 10:13 PM

It has potential despite the mistakes.

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,must polish it to shine...

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