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End Grain in a Planer - Anyone Have Tips?

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Forum topic by Trucker posted 07-02-2015 03:09 PM 1316 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Trucker

19 posts in 549 days


07-02-2015 03:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planer

Hi everyone,
I have heard/read many differing opinions from woodworkers on running end grain cutting boards through a planer. I would really like to do this for a project that I am working on to get a nice, consistent plane on the work piece. Has anyone done this with success and have some tips/tricks to share? If it matters, I would be doing this with a DeWalt 12” lunchbox planer.

Thanks!


18 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6576 posts in 1617 days


#1 posted 07-02-2015 03:11 PM

The tip is: Don’t. Find someone with a thickness sander that you can pay to do it for you. Or use a router sled.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

907 posts in 1503 days


#2 posted 07-02-2015 03:16 PM

My first choice would be to use a thickness sander too.

If you must absolutely do it with a planer, then you will probably only get good results from a planer with a helical head. After paying for that, paying for someone to sand it down with a thickness sander will sound cheap.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1512 days


#3 posted 07-02-2015 03:23 PM

I’ve tried a variety of techniques in making end-grain cutting board. Here’s my order of preferences:
  1. A drum sander is by fastest, easiest, and most consistent answer.
  2. Build a router planing sled and setup a few rails. I ripped 4 few pieces of plywood, cut a groove down one, and had my setup. Make sure you have a good quality router bit if you use this approach
  3. Good ole hand planes and lots of sweat equity
  4. Enter a zen-like state to accept the risk of using a belt sander by hand with a very light touch

Nowhere on the list is running a board through a power thickness planer. While you may be able to escape damage and destruction for some passes, the physics of planing wood oriented vertically is very much stacked against you. The only time I would personally allow wood to have some vertical orientation through a power thickness planer is if it’s a live knot in a board that is being fed in the proper way. Even then, I’ve had a few boards shatter in spectacular ways because of a live knot.

-- paxorion

View poroskywood's profile

poroskywood

618 posts in 2831 days


#4 posted 07-02-2015 03:25 PM

Spiral head at the least for no problems.. round over the edges with a 3/8” router bit to avoid tear out / blow out on the ends.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 643 days


#5 posted 07-02-2015 04:39 PM

Like the others I have never had good luck with a planer. I switched to using a drum sander. When I get my helical head stationary planer I may give it a try.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2157 days


#6 posted 07-03-2015 12:14 AM



Hi everyone,
I have heard/read many differing opinions from woodworkers on running end grain cutting boards through a planer. I would really like to do this for a project that I am working on to get a nice, consistent plane on the work piece. Has anyone done this with success and have some tips/tricks to share? If it matters, I would be doing this with a DeWalt 12” lunchbox planer.

Thanks!

- Trucker

Tip: DON”T !

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3025 posts in 1265 days


#7 posted 07-03-2015 12:43 AM

End Grain Through Planer?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1188 days


#8 posted 07-03-2015 12:47 AM

Tip: Video it and post the results here.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1818 days


#9 posted 07-03-2015 12:51 AM

If you don’t mind risking both the cutting board and the planer. It is a risky proposition, I don’t run my end grain boards through a planer.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Trucker's profile

Trucker

19 posts in 549 days


#10 posted 07-03-2015 01:13 AM

It sounds like a resounding vote against. What’s the best way to ensure a nice flat and even end grain board in the absence of a drum sander? Just a lot of sanding with a ROS?

View Dabcan's profile

Dabcan

252 posts in 2138 days


#11 posted 07-03-2015 02:16 AM

I’ve done it lots, my advice is make sure you chamfer the back edge to prevent blowout, take very light passes.

It is much easier on a larger floor model planer as the lunch box planers are not really heavy duty enough and you risk damaging the thin blades or possibly your cutter head. Biggest bit of advice is don’t stand in front while feeding cause if something goes wrong you’re in the line of fire.

-- @craftcollectif , http://www.craftcollective.ca, https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftcollective?

View endgrainy's profile

endgrainy

240 posts in 1355 days


#12 posted 07-03-2015 02:21 AM

I’ve seen some people attach sacrificial rails to the front and back of the board, then send it through the planer, but I’m not how sure successful this is. Caution advised.

I make a few end grain cutting boards a year, and just suck it up with extra time on the ROS. I put headphones on under my ear protection and use it as time to catch up on podcasts. If I made more than few boards per year I’d strongly consider a drum sander.

Sanding …. Is …. Boring.

-- Follow me on Instagram @endgrainy

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6576 posts in 1617 days


#13 posted 07-03-2015 02:38 AM


It sounds like a resounding vote against. What s the best way to ensure a nice flat and even end grain board in the absence of a drum sander? Just a lot of sanding with a ROS?

- Trucker

See my earlier reply. Router flattening sled.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1818 days


#14 posted 07-03-2015 03:07 AM

It sounds like a resounding vote against. What’s the best way to ensure a nice flat and even end grain board in the absence of a drum sander? Just a lot of sanding with a ROS?

The key is making accurate cuts and then keeping everything aligned during glue up so that the sanding is minimal.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View nerdbot's profile

nerdbot

97 posts in 828 days


#15 posted 07-03-2015 06:53 AM

I’ve done it lots as well on my cutting boards, and I just have the standard DW735 planer (without the helical head upgrade). However, I have the wixey digital depth gauge installed, and I take the lightest pass possible each time (.005 inches, I think). I think it is pretty hard on the knives though as I developed knicks on the blades pretty quickly. I step aside quickly after pushing the board through for a small measure of safety, and I’m always a bit nervous every time I do it. When I eventually get a drum sander, I’ll stop using the power planing method.

+1 to dabcan, I find I have to do a pretty heavy chamfer on the back to prevent chipout.

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