First end grain cutting board

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Forum topic by mwcMike posted 02-17-2016 09:21 PM 450 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2221 days

02-17-2016 09:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

How small a gap is safe? Is filling them the way to go? Should I just get better at these joints?

I’m wanting to build an end grain cutting board. Before I use 8/4 lumber, I thought I’d try my weak skills on some 3/4” maple (stiles) I had as scrap. I’ve seen a lot of discussion concerning gaps and bacteria. My joints have several gaps. I believe them to be < 1/32”. I’ve included a couple pictures where I’m trying to fill with Titebond II.

I still need to trim the edges of the board, finish it, it looks pretty rough, but my question is about the joint’s gaps.


-- mwcMike

7 replies so far

View Kazooman's profile


616 posts in 1376 days

#1 posted 02-17-2016 10:14 PM

Did you true up the surface of the pieces in any way? From the pictures it looks like some of the boards were cupped and not flat, leading to the gaps. The gaps are in the expected places for cupped boards. you need to get one face of the board flat with a jointer or hand planes and then use a planer to make the opposite face parallel.

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RS Woodworks

533 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 02-17-2016 10:53 PM

Yes, make sure the faces of your boards are nice and flat. And also make sure to use cauls when clamping your glue up, clamps alone will not distribute the pressure evenly. You can also alternate the grain direction in every other section to help eliminate any cupping remaining.
If that was my board I would cut it apart or toss it in the burn barrel. Don’t try to fill those gaps.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View mwcMike's profile


15 posts in 2221 days

#3 posted 02-17-2016 11:08 PM

I’ll work on the flatness. I had run the separate boards through a planer before edge gluing them together, but maybe I developed the cup look by sanding the glue away (palm sander).

-- mwcMike

View nerdbot's profile


97 posts in 785 days

#4 posted 02-17-2016 11:48 PM

Looks very similar to how my first cutting boards turned out. I filled a few of the bigger gaps with epoxy and left the smaller ones. A couple months of use later and those smaller ones opened up more. I did a much more thorough job of filling the gaps (basically anything that looked like it might be gap I hit with epoxy), and the board has been fine ever since. However, I got better at making them so I use my newer boards a lot more often, so that may add to the board’s longevity.

If you don’t want to scrap the board and start over, it’s much better to be thorough now than trying to fill the new gaps after the board has been used. I had to let the board dry for a couple months and sand off a lot of wood to attempt to get to “bare wood” before I filled the 2nd round of gaps.

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1775 days

#5 posted 02-18-2016 01:33 AM

Titebond II is not a gap filling glue. Use epoxy and you will get much better results.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View mwcMike's profile


15 posts in 2221 days

#6 posted 02-18-2016 01:59 AM

thanks for the encouraging words, it’s good to know someone else had trouble on their first boards.
Good advise from all, I’ll be making more and will improve I think.

-- mwcMike

View DirtyMike's profile


386 posts in 326 days

#7 posted 02-18-2016 04:39 AM

i made my first cutting board for a Christmas present, that is the day i learned that titebond 3 can dry a dark brown. it really made the maple and cherry pop. Not having a jointer, i squared all of my pieces on the table saw. It worked really well, but a jointer would have been nice. i would heat up that titebond 2 and clamp the snot out of it with cauls before you wrote it off. nice design bty.

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