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Keep the split maple in the cutting board, fill it, or cut it off?

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Forum topic by Jonathan posted 1534 days ago 4173 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1647 days


1534 days ago

I just finished the final glue-up on my first end grain cutting board this morning from walnut and hard maple. The problem is, a small section of the hard maple has a split/crack in it that I didn’t discover until after the initial glue-up. The split is not all that large, around 3/4-inch in length. It goes entirely through one piece of the maple from front to back, then into the adjoining section part way.

I figured I could turn that one over and keep that split on the bottom. However, I’m not sure about the split that goes all the way through? I intentionally glued this piece on the end in case it would be better to cut it off. I like the dimensions of the current board though, and if I take an inch of one side, I need to take an inch off the other side to even it out.

Should I not worry about it, or use something to fill it, or cut it off? What would be the best thing to fill it with? I suppose I could wetsand some Danish Oil in, although that’s not how I wanted to finish the board. I was going to use either mineral oil and wax, or maybe Salad Bowl finish.

Thanks for your input on this.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."


38 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3647 posts in 2260 days


#1 posted 1534 days ago

I would fill it with epoxy, sand and then do whatever finish you had intended to use.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View poroskywood's profile

poroskywood

614 posts in 1961 days


#2 posted 1534 days ago

Fill with Maple Framo-wood

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

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2603 posts in 1647 days


#3 posted 1534 days ago

poroskywood, I’m assuming you meant Famowood Wood Filler? I was on the Rockler site looking at that and Wunderfil.

TheDane, Hadn’t thought of using epoxy. I know it’s a fine split, so I’m not sure it would matter if there was a little part that the finish didn’t take to, such as would happen if I went the epoxy route.

Since the split is close to the edge of the board, rather than in the center, it should rather, if ever, encounter a knife blade.

Thanks for the feedback. Anyone else second one of the above choices, or maybe suggest an alternative?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View poroskywood's profile

poroskywood

614 posts in 1961 days


#4 posted 1534 days ago

sorry end of day. Yes Famowood hands down.

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

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1583 days


#5 posted 1534 days ago

I just used Famowood wood filler! it’s awesome. also my suggestion.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View poroskywood's profile

poroskywood

614 posts in 1961 days


#6 posted 1534 days ago

I really don’t think a little famowood on the edge of a cutting board is going to kill or poison anyone. David is correct in saying that the split could open up more. I’d take the chance especially is the board is for you. Is it a large noticeable split, you could have some fun and inlay a butterfly joint to hold it together

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2174 days


#7 posted 1534 days ago

I prefer to replace it. if not the best repair for wood is wood. The best fillers (other than bondo) will not hold up to repeated water contact. If you choose not to replace it I would cut a a small wedge and put some waterproof glue like Titebond III put a little on the bottom of the wedge and pound it in enough to make good contact let it dry and cut the top off and sand smooth. If done right it will be almost invisible.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2603 posts in 1647 days


#8 posted 1534 days ago

OK, finally got a moment to take a couple of pictures of the problem areas.

this is a cutting board for our house, so if it does, over time have issues, I could fix it then, or just trim it down into a smaller board and then build a new one.

This is my first cutting board anyway and I’m not sure I got enough squeeze-out with the Titebond III? I got some, but certainly not at every joint. And it took me a long time to eventually get all the clamps in place after using the cauls.

Here are links to the pics.:
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac173/jjgelaude/End%20Grain%20Cutting%20Board/FirstEndGrainCuttingBoard013.jpg
http://i897.photobucket.com/albums/ac173/jjgelaude/End%20Grain%20Cutting%20Board/FirstEndGrainCuttingBoard010.jpg

The crack around .6-.8-inches from the edge of the board. I’d rather not cut it if I can avoid it. I realize there are no guarantees at fixing it.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2174 days


#9 posted 1534 days ago

Another alternative is to cut a inlay pattern over it an repeat the pattern as if you meant to have the patterm in it in the first place

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View poroskywood's profile

poroskywood

614 posts in 1961 days


#10 posted 1534 days ago

After seeing the pics still going with the Famowood suggestion. Or cut each edge off. Good Luck. I await your finished project post.

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

View Broglea's profile

Broglea

665 posts in 1688 days


#11 posted 1534 days ago

I’m with Jim on this one. You should be able to cut it out and replace the piece with a new one. Or just live with it as is and when it become too much of a problem attempt to repair it then. Good luck.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

188 posts in 1541 days


#12 posted 1534 days ago

You are fortunate. Most my mistakes have to be burned. Often, this is not my idea, it’s at the request of family members and others. This is actually a simple solution, after all, it is a maple butcher block. Go out to your shed, get your ax and go at it. Give it that “it’s been in a butcher’s meat market for years look.” I’m pretty sure they charge extra for that.

If that isn’t a viable solution and cutting the offending piece out doesn’t work, try applying mineral oil, as originally planned. Focus on that area. I’ve had old butcher blocks that had cracked and separated from neglect. I flooded the surface with mineral oil and walked away. When I cam back, it has soaked in, so I added more. I continued to do that until I was bored with the process and the oil had ceased to soak in in a reasonable amount of time. Two weeks later, I noted the oil had swelled the wood cells and every crack had swollen shut. Maybe, just maybe, you could be so lucky too.

View Eagle1's profile

Eagle1

2064 posts in 1662 days


#13 posted 1534 days ago

If you are giving it away, I would cut it down. If you are keeping it,and are worried about bacteria getting it. The woodwhisper has a podcast about he seals a endgrain cutting board that seals all the way through the board.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View stefang's profile

stefang

12560 posts in 1931 days


#14 posted 1533 days ago

I go with Jim’s solution. A wedge of the same wood type and a waterproof glue. I hate putty type fillers, they look bad and will likely not work over time. No offense to the others.. It’s just my personal opinion.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2603 posts in 1647 days


#15 posted 1532 days ago

Just when I thought I had decided what to do with this board, the checking becomes more apparent. I was going to cut the board down by about 1.5-inches total (width-wise), then cut out the partial split and wedge and glue in a new piece of maple. That was when I thought there were the 2-problem areas.

That’s what I had planned on doing.

Then a few minutes ago, I got out the ROS and went at the board for about 45-minutes with 60-grit paper. I had to get out a few burn marks (what an amateur I am!,) as well as level everything out. Next time I will be more prepared when I go to do the final glue up with cauls all set, etc.! I also want to get a belt sander now as that will make it much faster during this step next time. Now I know why people use drum sanders for boards, or glue on a sacrificial strip at each end and then runner it through a planer. The end grain definitely does not like being sanded.

At any rate, after sanding, I discovered that there are multiple pieces that have the split in them (probably a wind check, as David suggested to me). Unfortunately I think it pretty much ran through most of the board, so there are 5-wind checks that I can now easily see. I’m wondering if there are others that are fine enough right now that I’m not seeing?

I definitely don’t want to count this board as a loss and would much rather use it as an experiment of sorts. If you look at the one side of the board, you can see that the check is the worst at the outer edge, and seems to become less and less of an issue as you go towards the center of the board. This makes sense because of the way the maple was laid out and flipped consecutively. At least the worst of it is at the edge.

Now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just use all of the techniques suggested above? I might still cut it down to size, removing the one check at the edge that pretty much goes from top to bottom. But the other 4 areas I’m thinking of doing epoxy on one, a glued-in wedge on another, and various fillers on the others.

If I do it this way, it will be a good way to do sort of a longer-term experiment where I report back after time to let people know how the board is holding-up.

OK, I just reread what I just typed. That seems like a lot trouble, especially since I don’t have any of the filler or epoxy products on-hand.

It was suggested that the fillers won’t last and may look bad. Hmm. Guess I’d like to see the products on actual wood samples. Does anyone have a picture of the couple of wood fillers listed above on maple?

I should probably just trim the board down to size and then fill in the other checks. Or I suppose I could just live with the board until it gives up the ghost.

Since all of the checks but one are in the middle of the board and securely locked-in place, I’m wondering if I stop agonizing over this, cut the outer one off, and live with the other four? After all, I do have other projects to worry about right now, namely the bookcases and mantel.

I do have a set of 4-chisels, but believe me, they’re more “industrial” in nature than meant for fine woodworking, so I’m not sure they’re cut-out for this exacting of a task.

OK, now I’m just typing in circles. I’m going to step away from this project for now and go work on the bookcases some more before heading in to work today.

I’m glad this board is living at my house. I would never give or sell a board like this! I’m sort of curious though, from an educational standpoint to see what happens with this board.

New thoughts, reiterations of past suggestions, etc.?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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