Juice Grooves are a PITA!!!!

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Forum topic by KevinVan posted 12-17-2009 04:33 AM 3038 views 2 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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91 posts in 3353 days

12-17-2009 04:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting board router groove

Someone please enlighten me on milling juice grooves and finger grooves in cutting boards.

I tried it on a nice thick cherry board tonight and struggled all the way. After I puffed the 1st passed I had to make it ¼ thinner. I finally got the grooves in but the router left some stubborn burns that I still can’t get out! I don’t think I’ll be doing grooves in the future simply because they take too much effort.

Is there an easy way?

-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

17 replies so far

View Llarian's profile


128 posts in 3809 days

#1 posted 12-17-2009 04:49 AM

I use a core box bit and stop blocks. Never had too much of an issue. Just don’t linger on the corners too long.

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4094 days

#2 posted 12-17-2009 05:04 AM

Burns can be caused by a dull bit, low quality bit, taking too big a bite per pass, or moving too slow. You can’t stop, especially on the turns, or you will always get burning. You are right that burns are about impossible to sand out of grooves. I wouldn’t say that there is an easy way, but the more you do, the easier it becomes. This is because after screwing up a few, you figure out what you did wrong and adjust your process. Been there, and done that a few times. One thing I learned a while back is if you buy the highest quality bits, and you eliminate 50% of your problems up front.

All it takes is making a template the size of the inside of the grove, double side tape it to the board and (carefully) follow the outside using a template insert. Finger groves are the easiest. I use a MDF template and a straight bit (Onsrude is the best), when making finger holds like the Wood Whisperer style. If I am cutting horizontal finger groves in the center of the edge, I use a tall fence on my router table and set a left and right stop. I slowly lower the board down on the straight bit and move side to side until I hit the stops.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View sras's profile


4943 posts in 3331 days

#3 posted 12-17-2009 05:22 AM

I just tried juice grooves on my first boards. I ended up making the groove wider rather than the board thinner. Really light passes is one thing I can offer as a suggestion. I had a sharp carbide bit and still had to sand out some light burns.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3436 days

#4 posted 12-17-2009 08:17 AM

Tried my first grooves and also got some burning, I think my bit is dull and I did slow down in the corners trying to be careful not to overshot the other groove in the corner. On the finger slots I used a rabbiting bit on the router table set at the middle of the thickness of the board and used the fence to only allow a 3/8 in deep cut on each end, that way I can use the board on both sides, one with a juice canal and the other without and still be able to pick it up. Sanded the heck out of the corners but still have burn marks. Live and learn, practice.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

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8547 posts in 3850 days

#5 posted 12-17-2009 08:25 AM


-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View LesB's profile


1865 posts in 3645 days

#6 posted 12-17-2009 08:48 AM

Don’t try to complete the groove in one pass and allow for a final clean up pass to remove most of the burn. Use sharp bits and keep the router moving at an even pace, try not to stall or slow down in the corners (round or square). Cross grain burns the worst and Cherry burns very easily.

-- Les B, Oregon

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573 posts in 3620 days

#7 posted 12-17-2009 02:27 PM

Isn’t pita a round flat bread from the middle east?

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

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10874 posts in 3760 days

#8 posted 12-17-2009 02:33 PM

Ok. Everyone gave you some good hints on the bits. If you do get burn marks, I found a way to get them out with a little effort. Take some Naptha and put a few drops on the burn mark and let it soak in. Then when you sand it, it loosens the burn up and sands right out. Depending on how burned it is you will have to experiment with how much Naptha to use. Hope this helps when you do get the burn marks.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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1325 posts in 4526 days

#9 posted 12-17-2009 02:58 PM

It’s not too hard to fashion a scraper to remove the burn marks.

-- Gary, Florida

View KevinVan's profile


91 posts in 3353 days

#10 posted 12-17-2009 03:04 PM

Wow!! Thanks for all the responses guys!!!

I think my bit is probably substandard. It came in one of those sets from Costco.

I did use a template but screwed up on the direction right off the start and it wandered off the line.

I took small bites of about 1/8 so the reason it burned is probably the bit.

I think on getting a new one and going a hair deeper to cut the burn out.

I will try to find some Naphtha too. The thing that ticked me off was this was the premo board of the bunch. I’m making 13 of them to give as gifts and a few of them are to go to my brother’s furniture store to see if they sell.

This on was to go to the store!

-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4094 days

#11 posted 12-18-2009 03:34 AM

You will be amazed at what a difference a good Freud or Whiteside bit will make. This is one of those “one shot” processes that you have to be completely focused when undertaking. It will get easier once you do a few of them.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3915 days

#12 posted 12-18-2009 04:39 AM

less depth ,higher speed.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

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291 posts in 3242 days

#13 posted 04-29-2010 05:03 PM

Did you sell any at your brothers store?


View KevinVan's profile


91 posts in 3353 days

#14 posted 04-29-2010 06:30 PM

So far I’ve sold 4 boards and several jars of beeswax finish.

-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

View bobkberg's profile


439 posts in 3275 days

#15 posted 04-29-2010 09:07 PM

One other key thing is to keep the router bits clean. I’m a big fan of Citrus-Solv (spelling uncertain) which I use to get rid of pitch build-up on bits and blades in general.

Just keep the stuff out of any bearings. It’s a water-cleanup.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

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