planing end grain cutting boards

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Forum topic by Tom Stover posted 12-12-2010 10:06 PM 7800 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tom Stover

25 posts in 2541 days

12-12-2010 10:06 PM

How many of you run your end grain cutting boards through your planer? I do all the time and never had a problem, except for a little tear out on some of the ends. I always take very light cuts and make sure it’s about 15” long, my planer calls for nothing shorter than 14” for safety reasons. I just thought I would see if other members do this also.

-- Tom Stover

21 replies so far

View PeteMoss's profile


207 posts in 2891 days

#1 posted 12-13-2010 12:27 AM

I have done it, both successfully and catastrophically. I am actually on my second planer due to doing this. I had a piece (strip) of the cutting board break off at the trailing edge glue line and get sucked up by the cutter head wedging it between the head and the cast aluminum housing. It cracked the housing. On to the next.

It can work, but I just choose no longer to plane end grain.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1511 posts in 2986 days

#2 posted 12-13-2010 12:38 AM

I always round over the trailing edge prior to planing and the tear out is no more… oh yeah, very light cuts.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 2601 days

#3 posted 12-13-2010 12:51 AM

I’ve been too afraid to do this…I’d like to see some more people who have done this successfully with no catastrophic failures. I can’t afford that…oh yeah, with a lunch box style planer too…not some 15” + behemoth. Maybe I’m too wishful!

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Chriskmb5150's profile


253 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 12-13-2010 01:18 AM

I’ll second what timbo said. i keep my cuts limited to 1/32 on each pass.

-- Woodworkers theory of relativity - the quality of your scrap is relative to your skill level

View Tom Stover's profile

Tom Stover

25 posts in 2541 days

#5 posted 12-13-2010 02:09 AM

Timbo, rounding over the ends seems logical to me, now that you mentioned it :-). I had a piece come of once ,but I didn’t wait for the glue to set up, that was my fault.

-- Tom Stover

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 2819 days

#6 posted 12-13-2010 10:07 AM

I have planed several end grain cutting boards on my Powermatic 15HH (Byrd head) and always get very nice results. As the others have mentioned, light cuts is crucial. I do the planing before trimming the cutting board to final size so what tear out I get on the last edge through gets cut away anyway so that is a non-issue in my experience.

-- Tom Hintz,

View Ben Martin's profile

Ben Martin

34 posts in 2630 days

#7 posted 12-15-2010 08:39 PM

I’ve taken some fairly large cuts on the planer when finishing of an end grain board. My approach is to gluesome chunks onto the tailing edge, so the paner will finish the cut in it’s intended manner, to prevent any chipouts. I actually was taking about 1/16 at a time on one board. (still wonder why I didn’t split it on the bandsaw, and make 2 boards instead…) After that, a quick pass on the panel sander, and on to the finish.

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2198 days

#8 posted 12-15-2010 08:49 PM

Did it with the planer, not so happy, bought time on a drum sander, excellent results, used a low angle block plane, again excellent but hard on the hands and watch the edges. Getting a low angle jointing plane for Christmas (Lee Valley) with optional blades and fence – we’ll see. Took a good look at the plane to make sure all was good before my wife took it away, this looks to be a very nice tool with enough weight to hold up. With A2 blades they should stay shard for a little while.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 2472 days

#9 posted 12-15-2010 09:51 PM

I don’t yet have a planer, but do have a drum sander and it works beautifully, without any real chance of catastrophic failure, or shooting projectiles around the shop.

I certainly can see that rounding over the edges before planing would seem to make sense on helping avoid issues.

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

View chuck24's profile


48 posts in 2696 days

#10 posted 12-16-2010 12:09 AM

I used this method once last christmas….. on my Dewalt 735. I double sided taped two runners to the sides of the cutting board the went 6” past the ends of the cutting board. I never did more than 1/16 maybe even closer to 1/32 on each pass. I came out extremely smooth. Every light in the house started flickering when it got to the point of cutting.

Now with that said this year I made 5 as christmas presents to the family and after hearring the horror storries I decided to use a a thickness sander. I have a huge shop at work so I used theirs. I got “ok” results which required alot of work and needless to say wish I would have used the planner…. but with safety and my wallet in mind…. I wouldnt use the planner, just meant a little more work on the end tail end.

View gord09's profile


2 posts in 3067 days

#11 posted 12-16-2010 12:54 AM

I’ve had good results planing the end-grain. Before I plane, I glue a 1x strip on all 4 sides. The long sides are about 8” longer than the cutting board. This eliminates the snipe. My planer is a Delta 12” and my cuts are light at 1/3 or 1/4 turn each.

View sdm's profile


5 posts in 1438 days

#12 posted 08-19-2013 03:34 PM

I also round over the edges with a sander prior to going to the planer. I have tried to sand and check with a straight edge to get a “flat” bottom before planing. Still seem to get a wobble when I lay it on the workbench. I have adjusted my planer knives, not positive, they seem the same.

Any suggestions what I am doing wrong?

View grizzlymunchin's profile


47 posts in 1165 days

#13 posted 08-19-2013 05:20 PM

I use a router with a 2 inch bottom cleaning bit works great

-- woodshop by the cornfeild

View grizzlymunchin's profile


47 posts in 1165 days

#14 posted 08-19-2013 05:22 PM

build a jig for the router and your off and runnin

-- woodshop by the cornfeild

View grizzlymunchin's profile


47 posts in 1165 days

#15 posted 08-19-2013 05:25 PM

with the router jig all you have to do is put your board in turn on the router and your done no snipe no gouges no chip out just smooth cutting

-- woodshop by the cornfeild

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

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