How do I flatten my cutting board?

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Forum topic by Cole Tallerman posted 06-13-2012 01:54 PM 1386 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2150 days

06-13-2012 01:54 PM

So I just completed the glue-up of my first end-grain cutting board and I was just about to put it through the planer when I saw a thread saying that someone did it and it was a disaster. He didn’t explain why or if it was something he did wrong. The bottom of my cutting board is perfectly flat but there is about a 1/64” difference in the top. Is it a mistake to put it through the planer? If so, what tool should I use? The board is made of walnut, cherry and maple.

Any input helps. Thanks!

8 replies so far

View AJLastra's profile


87 posts in 2193 days

#1 posted 06-13-2012 01:58 PM

Cole, dont know why there would be a problem running it through a surface planer but if you are worried about that, use a belt sander if you have one. I routinely use a 3×18 or 3×24 sander to flatten panels. you’re going to be sanding any way to get it ready for finish so running a belt overit at about 100 grit isnt going to hurt. Just remember to keep the sander moving. Dont let it stop too long in any one spot. Start by sanding diagonally across the surface one way then diagonally the other direction, then straight down grain. It wont take long to flatten the piece.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4183 days

#2 posted 06-13-2012 02:02 PM

I use a belt sander. Like AJ said, just keep it moving.

A planer will tend to grab end grain and shoot chunks of your cutting board through the outfeed side. I’ve never done it, but I’ve read several accounts of people who have tried.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2334 days

#3 posted 06-13-2012 02:07 PM

Hand plane, drum sander, belt sander, router sled…

Given the varied experiences of people posted on this site and others, I’d vote against it. It’s one of those things that could work out fine, or could go very badly. Doesn’t take much time to do it the other, safer ways. Someone posted a setup on here that had two small bench-top tables, both level with a sander between, and a stop block on one end to keep the board from taking off.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Joekwon80's profile


87 posts in 2227 days

#4 posted 06-13-2012 02:08 PM

Wide belt sander is the way to go if you have access to one. I’ve made a couple end grain cutting surfaces this year and I don’t know how I would have done it without my local shop’s help. They charged me a dollar a minute and it took all of 3 minutes through the wide belt sander.

-- Joe Kwon

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2150 days

#5 posted 06-13-2012 02:09 PM

Ok thanks! Ive never really considered sanding to be a method of flattening or removal but it does make a lot of sense. I will try that as soon as i get into my shop later.

View AJLastra's profile


87 posts in 2193 days

#6 posted 06-13-2012 02:15 PM

I was going to mention wide belt sander too as Joe did. I have the Delta model and use it for larger pieces. But not everyone has one or has access to one. I also agree that if you have access to a local shop, the cost is minimal. Thats what I do for resawing pieces that are taller than 10” or so. And my local lumber supplier charges next to nothing to cut stuff for me. If you dont have a belt sander, well now, this project may well be the excuse you genuinely need to just go out and buy yourself a new toy. After all, you can justify the expense to the powers that be at home, if you have to justify it at all. I’m just sayin.

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

376 posts in 3988 days

#7 posted 06-13-2012 02:25 PM

If your bottom is flat then I agree with Joekwan and AJLastra,, but as AJL says lots of people don’t have one or access to one. I do and it’s perfect for something like that. I’ll go with the consensus of a constant moving belt sander, did that way before I had my Delta X5.. I would definitely stay away from the planer with end grain.

-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4682 posts in 2316 days

#8 posted 06-13-2012 04:41 PM

Here is link to show you what can happen. I wouldn’t do it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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