Any tricks for glue-ups with many small pieces? Cutting boards.

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Forum topic by toddbeaulieu posted 03-27-2017 01:52 PM 498 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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815 posts in 3151 days

03-27-2017 01:52 PM

So I’m finally getting around to making some cutting boards. I find it time consuming and tedius to deal with all the squeeze out around components (say a row) before continuing on to glue them into the bigger picture. I used a fixed belt sander with reasonable success but I have my eye on a design that uses many smaller pieces (end grain) and I’m wondering what techniques there are dealing with so many small parts while ensuring they ultimately line up.

Take this, for instance.

I could glue up each “row”, I suppose and then cut them down to the thickness of the board. For instance, the walnut pieces would be 13 long square stock glued together. The maple would be just 2. It might be challenging to handle a long glue up like that, but it would ensure that all the squares lined up when assembled.

It also seems to me that some components should be milled a bit over sized to allow for final trimming. In this example, because the walnut would need to be planed I might want to make them taller than wide. The width would be final, but more stock above and below would allow for planing it down to flatten it.

Thank you.

1 reply so far

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1366 posts in 1067 days

#1 posted 03-27-2017 02:45 PM


An Ask This Old House segment showed the building of an end grain cutting board, step by step. This is probably the method I would use.

Yes, I think making the parts in each step a little oversized would allow for stock removal to get to the final dimensions. If the waterproof/water resistant glue is allowed to rest (a minute or two after application) before the workpieces are placed in the clamps, the parts should slip and slide less and thus make it a bit easier to keep the glue-ups relatively flush. Using some flattening cauls, to which a finish and/or wax is applied would make releasing the cauls from the workpiece surfaces easier and help keep the surfaces flush.

In the Ask This Old House segment, the end grain glue-up is run through the surface planning. I am not sure about this method for final flattening. A wide belt or drum sander would be better in my opinion. Careful use of the handheld belt sander could also be used to flatten the final glue-up. But if you elect to use the surface planer, extremely light passing with sacrificial stripes glued to both ends would probably be the best approach.

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