End Grain cutting board lines

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Forum topic by willhime posted 09-06-2016 06:57 AM 329 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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81 posts in 957 days

09-06-2016 06:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource jig tip question trick walnut router sander finishing sanding

I’ve read and tried various methods on removing lines from my end grain cutting board surfaces after router-planing them but nothing seems to work. Not having a drum sander, after the glue up I router-plane both surfaces dead flat and smooth, but there’s always lines that I can see, but are completely intangible. I’ve tried another jock’s advice on spritzing with water, letting it soak in to soften the grain then going at it and that doesn’t help either. Is there something I’m missing here, or is this just par for the course? After a couple hours of ROS sanding, I can get most of them out but then there’s small undulations in the surface. I’m using a 2” Infinity bottom surfacing bit.

-- Burn your fire for no witness

7 replies so far

View Arcola60's profile


92 posts in 1802 days

#1 posted 09-06-2016 07:44 AM

End grain will tear out. I have tried different bits, changed speeds and feed rates. It will happen. I could not get away from it. I finally built a V-Drum sander. That has changed my sanding time drastically. It took about 3 hours off of the sanding time, for me. I found that the Klingspor hook and loop paper holds up the best. I will not run End grain in a planer. I now some woodworkers do. That is a personal decision that we all have to make.

Ellery Becnel

View jmartel's profile


6464 posts in 1568 days

#2 posted 09-06-2016 01:49 PM

What grit are you sanding with? Start with no higher than 80 grit and you should get those lines out with a bit of sanding. Go slowly over the entire board rather than focusing on the lines or else you will get the divots you are experiencing.

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

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5101 posts in 2613 days

#3 posted 09-06-2016 03:12 PM

I’ve never used a router-plane so I don’t know anything about those. I have made a few boards, but mostly long grain. I’ve made about 3 end-grain boards, and have run them through the planer…One board flew apart, but I didn’t use enough glue (I think) on some of the glue-ups, and “starved” the wood (that was my fault). But the other ones come out nice and smooth, so I finished them with 220-320 paper, then used a finish sander with 600-800 grit for the final sanding….One thing’s for sure….long grain is much easier than end grain to work….If you have one, try using a finishing sander with a higher grit, and see what that does for you….

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

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846 posts in 2484 days

#4 posted 09-06-2016 03:45 PM

If you are sanding for 2 hours and still seeing marks, I’d suggest skipping the router and just start with a hand held belt sander. If you do a good job on your final glue-up (and that is the key more than anything else), you should be able to sand your way to a finish-ready surface using a hand-held belt sander with 60 grit, working your way up through a random orbital sander with 180 grit, in about a total of 20 – 40 minutes on an 16” square end grain cutting board, depending on species and the power of your sanding equipment. As you mention, softening the end grain with water also helps to speed this up.

-- PaulMayer,

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81 posts in 957 days

#5 posted 09-06-2016 07:44 PM

Running through a planer isn’t an option since the general size I make is at least 16”-18” wide, but I probably wouldn’t anyways since I imagine the blades wouldn’t last past 2 boards even with sacrificial pieces glued around the edges. I could stand to get better at glue ups, but I’m pretty satisfied with them thus far. I always start with 60 grit, then 120, then 220. On this board I got frustrated and went down to a 40 grit to help along the lines faster.
I’m considering building a drum sander now, given that I actually muster enough confidence to see it through. Other than that I’m kind of at a loss of how to approach the problem. I have a 1/2” whiteside bowl bit, but the contact surface from that bit if I want to take just a 1/32 or 1/64” off is about 1/4” at most.

-- Burn your fire for no witness

View JKN's profile


7 posts in 115 days

#6 posted 09-06-2016 09:11 PM

I start with 80 Grit on my belt sander then 100, 120, 150 on random orbit sander then hand sand 150 and 220 then butcher block finish


View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

317 posts in 2501 days

#7 posted 09-06-2016 10:18 PM

I like Paul’s suggestion about using a handheld belt sander. It will be doing almost the same thing that a drum sander can do, except you are controlling how flat it ends up. You might want to add a perimeter of cheap sacrificial material to keep from rounding off the corners. Switch to a ROS at around 120 grit after it is flat.

-- Steve

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