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Forum topic by jasoncarpentry posted 03-04-2011 09:26 PM 2042 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jasoncarpentry

119 posts in 1405 days


03-04-2011 09:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting boards end-grain maple sanding problems

Hello! I’m new to Lumberjocks, and this is my first post.

I’ve been making cutting boards for some time now, and I just started making them out of end grain. My first board is mostly maple, with some walnut around the perimeter. Sanding is turning out to be a nightmare! I’ve got a standard, 1/3-sheet electric sander, and I’ve already gone through several sheets of 40-grit, with minimal results.

I finally gave up and took the board to my local commercial cabinetmaker, who has a wide thickness sander. He’s helped me before with edge-grain cutting boards and chessboards, and I’m hopeful that he can take care of this one as well. It’ll probably set me back $10-$20, but it’ll be worth it.

Is anybody making end-grain boards? If so, how do you flatten them out and remove the burn marks? I’ve got a DW735 planer, but this piece is a little larger than 13” x 13”.

BTW, I was very active on theoak.com from 1997-2002. Are there any former “Oakers” out there?

-- Jim in Tennessee


13 replies so far

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chrisstef

11472 posts in 1757 days


#1 posted 03-04-2011 11:14 PM

I havent done any end grain cutting boards before but from what i have read around here most guys either use a belt sander, drum sander, or hand planes to flatten them out.

Welcome to the gang!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Eagle1

2066 posts in 1815 days


#2 posted 03-05-2011 05:28 PM

Mine are only big enough to put through my planer. Ohterwise I would use a plane to work it down aways. Then I would use a handsander.

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

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Brandon

4145 posts in 1702 days


#3 posted 03-05-2011 06:09 PM

Putting an end-grain cutting board through a thickness planer will end up with mixed results. I haven’t tried it myself, but some have reported success with little tear-out while others have said the cutting board “exploded” in the planer. I’d advise against it. I personally used a jig with my router to get the board even. I based it off the design Gary Fixler used here.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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jasoncarpentry

119 posts in 1405 days


#4 posted 03-06-2011 03:12 PM

Thanks for the replies so far. Thanks especially to BrandonW, and the link to Gary Fixler’s site. I had seen his router jig before, but it didn’t occurred to me to use it for my board.

-- Jim in Tennessee

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chrisstef

11472 posts in 1757 days


#5 posted 03-08-2011 01:34 AM

ahh slick idea with the router … my mind never seems to go in that direction.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Jonathan

2605 posts in 1801 days


#6 posted 03-08-2011 04:31 AM

The router route is a good way to go if you’re not looking to acquire any more tools.

When I made my first end grain board, I spent forever on it with a ROS. I finally went out and bought a small handheld belt sander and that worked quite well.

I’ve never put one through a planer, but I’m not sure I’d really want to. I think I’d go with the router sled first.

I now use a drum sander, which is what I’m assuming your cabinetmaker friend also uses. I wouldn’t part ways with my drum sander, and may eventually get a larger one someday. Right now, I’ve got a Peformax 16-32Plus that I picked up very inexpensively at an estate sale.

If you are planning on making a lot of these going forward, I would highly recommend a drum sander. I don’t just use it on end grain projects either. Most projects, or pieces of projects end up going through it at some point in time.

-- 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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jasoncarpentry

119 posts in 1405 days


#7 posted 03-08-2011 06:19 PM

That’s good advice, Jonathan! I don’t have the Performax, but several years ago I was inspired by the Performax design to make my own drum-sander attachment for my RAS. It’s time-consuming to set up, but I’ve always been pleased w/ the results. My long-term plans include adding a low-profile feed table (like the Performax) and a dust-collection system.

If & when I have several end-grain boards (or chess boards, which are too big to go through my planer), I’ll resurrect my drum sander, add new abrasive, and go that route.

-- Jim in Tennessee

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ScottN

261 posts in 1430 days


#8 posted 03-09-2011 02:57 AM

My mom asked me to make her a cutting board for a Christmas gathering one winter. I looked online to get some ideas and went with an end grain with bread board ends. It turned out awesome and my mom loved it. It was a couple of weeks later she called me and said the bread board has warped. I put a container and a half of mineral spirits on it and it soaked it up like a sponge. Not sure what would have caused this,maybe it was that they stored it right next to the oven and had severely dried it out. Not sure…oh well I guess not everything you build will work.

-- New Auburn,WI

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jeepturner

928 posts in 1543 days


#9 posted 03-09-2011 03:06 AM

I second the thought to never put an end grain board through your planer, it may cost you more than the cost of the board.
If you go the router method, I would like to point out that you may want to purchase a bit that is made for end milling. I tried to use a bit that was made for cutting rabbits, and ended up with a ton of tear out. It got rid of the saw marks great, but then I had to sand down to get rid of the little pits of tear out.

-- Mel,

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ScottN

261 posts in 1430 days


#10 posted 03-09-2011 03:13 AM

I forgot to mention when I built the cutting board I used a belt sander. Started with coarse and worked my way up.

-- New Auburn,WI

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JasonWagner

523 posts in 1931 days


#11 posted 03-09-2011 03:26 AM

If you have a RAS why don’t you use that instead of making a router sled? I haven’t done any “router” work with my old RAS, but I know they were designed with that option in mind.

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

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jasoncarpentry

119 posts in 1405 days


#12 posted 03-09-2011 09:03 PM

Hey JasonWagner-

What kind of RAS attachment do you have in mind? I’ve got a Craftsman planer attachment, which is about 3” in diameter and has three blades around the perimeter. I tried this on my end-grain board, and it was a disaster! Lots of gouging. Maybe the blades need sharpening.

I guess I could put a wide dado set on the RAS and make multiple, light passes. But please clarify your suggestion as to the type of attachment you would use.

-- Jim in Tennessee

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jeepturner

928 posts in 1543 days


#13 posted 03-11-2011 05:37 AM

Jasoncar, I can’t speak for Jasonwag, but before I gave away my RAS a Ryobi, I toyed with the idea of using the threaded axle end to attach a router collet holder. The manual said that it was possible. Of course it also said that ripping was possible with the saw, and cross cutting. There may be good RAS out there and for what they do they do well, but routing doesn’t seem to be one of the things people try to do with them.

On a side note, my ex RAS was way underpowered, I had to have a new blade and slow speed just to cut a two x twelve.

-- Mel,

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