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Posted on Gaps in the final glue up for endgrain cutting boards

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gscott40

5 posts in 2488 days


#1 posted 08-19-2012 12:55 AM

Well Art I see Joe had some problems. I have had no problems running my end grain boards thru my surface planer….now with that said not everyone has a large planer. Mine is a Powermatic 15”, 3 HP model. Not hugh but it handles the end grain fine. I am not sure what one of the 12” bench top type would do.. It is true that it is not recommended to run end grain through a planer but that’s because it’s going to probably tear up both the leading edge and trailing edge. That’s why during the final glue up of a board I glue a scrap piece of 3/4 inch wood on each end.
I also try to sneak up on it….I scape the board with a paint scraper to get is as smooth as possible (do that while the glue is a bit green) and take light cuts. I have had no problems.
I sometimes make 10 or 12 in a batch and in the past I have run my boards through my sander…a small 1632 Powermatic ( a 5hp small wide belt, not a drum sander)...and it takes forever doing that. I can only imagine what a drum sander would be like. I was tired to spending time standing there feeding board after board and one day tried the planer and it worked. I now only have to make a pass or two through the sander to flatten it out. Less sanding marks too.

Now as for the cracks in gluing the strips. I used to glue up 11” X 36” boards consisting of various width boards to get the pattern I was after. Once glued I would run them through my planer to get them somewhat flat and then take them to my sander and sand them. After that cut them into strips about 1 1/4” wide and the glue them up. Always had problems with cracks. Not every board but enough to make it very frustrating. I got the thinking why not joint each strip? I tried it and it worked fine….no tear out. Just take a very thin cut..1/16” or less. This, plus gluing up half of the board at a time seemed to help tremendously. Distributing equal pressure over the whole board is tough…especially out to the center. I used three clamps on the bottom and two on top but those strips are far from ridged and don’t transmit the pressure well. They tend to flex. So I had some 2” wide channel I had bought for other purposes. I cut two in half (they were 36” long) and put a piece of 3/4” white oak between them. They then sandwich the strips I am gluing and now I only need three clamps and have little problem with gaps. When the two halves are glued I joint the ends and glue them together for the final board plus scrap on each end for the surface planer.

This season (I sell boards at our local farmers market) I decided to make larger boards 12”X18” and started by gluing up 48” master boards. I run the that 12” wide 48” long master board through the planer and then cut it into strips. I, of course get more strips than I need. I use the extra strips to replace bad ones and often have enough to glue up what I call mini-boards or half-boards. They are popular as they are small and easy to carry around the kitchen. My wife loves hers.

Understand please that I am producing 10+ of these boards a week plus other “stuff” and don’t have time to use a router sled or a drum sander so I look for things that are expedient and work for me. Gluing takes forever and I sometimes have four boards (8 halves) in the clamps at a time. I suggest for those of you who feel this is dangerous….Don’t Do It. I am just sharing some thing I found that function for me

A long post and probably has typos, misspellings and other errors. Forgive me it is 7:45 PM and I have to be up at 4 AM to meet my partner at the market to set up. It opens a 6:30. Just spent 9 hours making turn tables, pizza peels, chess boards (oops game boards), and some side grain cutting boards And why do I do this? Certainly not making any money. Have a good week end everyone

-- George, Minnesota, gscott40@comcast.net


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