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End Grain Cutting Board flattening

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Forum topic by AandCstyle posted 07-19-2012 11:35 PM 6444 views 2 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AandCstyle

2566 posts in 1717 days


07-19-2012 11:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: milling sanding

I know that one or two people on this forum have made end grain cutting boards. :D I have started making them recently and, in spite of my best efforts, I always end up with strips at slightly differing heights. I have flattened the two faces with my thickness planer, but that causes too much chip out. I have also sanded with a drum sander which works great, but it is slow and uses abrasive faster than I like.

Therefore, my question is what do all the seasoned pros here use to get their boards flat?
TIA

-- Art


26 replies so far

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2298 posts in 1945 days


#1 posted 07-19-2012 11:56 PM

Make yourself a router sled. It’s the best way to go for cutting boards, especially if you have to flatten end grain.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

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BTimmons

2298 posts in 1945 days


#2 posted 07-19-2012 11:59 PM

Oh yeah, hit the edges with a chamfer or radius bit first, or you might have some tear out along the edges.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

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Bobmedic

312 posts in 2262 days


#3 posted 07-20-2012 01:01 AM

Handheld belt sander

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

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AandCstyle

2566 posts in 1717 days


#4 posted 07-20-2012 01:54 AM

Brian, I think this solution will work for me; I already have most of the materials on hand. I will make one tomorrow to use on my next board. Thanks!

Bob, I know that the belt sander would do the job if I felt that I could control the uniformity of the thickness. My experience with a belt sander isn’t that great, but thanks for the suggestion.

-- Art

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3109 days


#5 posted 07-20-2012 01:58 AM

router sled…
for for safety sake – please try to refrain from sending end grain through a planer… do some searches online for wha this might result at… not pretty

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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AandCstyle

2566 posts in 1717 days


#6 posted 07-20-2012 05:38 PM

PurpLev, thank you. I know that now, but didn’t. Once was enough to make a believer out of me that that is DEFINITELY not a good idea.

-- Art

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BTimmons

2298 posts in 1945 days


#7 posted 07-20-2012 07:04 PM

Yes, sending end grain through a planer is an extremely bad idea.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

695 posts in 3552 days


#8 posted 07-20-2012 07:21 PM

The router sled is a good idea, but you will still need to do some sanding.

I made a bunch last xmas. Did a little experimenting and found the router sled to be the most effective. I then used my home made drum sander with 100grit paper to start the sanding (and cleanup the router marks with 1 light pass), followed with a ROS 120, 150 and final at 220. Using the drum sander to thickness sand did chew up paper, and I found myself feeding the boards in 5+ times/board to get them flat. End grain is tough stuff.

I bought a 1 1/4 mortising bit (I think it’s an Amana bit) that makes quick work using the router sled.

I’ll be doing more boards this year for xmas. These are additive to build, and seem to be a “right of passage” on this site. Some really beautiful boards here.

-- Nicky

View Dchip's profile

Dchip

270 posts in 2713 days


#9 posted 07-20-2012 07:22 PM

A well-waxed, sharp, low-angle jack plane can make pretty quick work of an end-grain board. I just did a batch of three this way. It’s a bit of a workout, but some frequent honing of the blade can really help. I like that there are zero material costs with this method (once you get over the $200 hump for the plane).

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC, http://www.9x7woodworks.com

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AandCstyle

2566 posts in 1717 days


#10 posted 07-20-2012 11:22 PM

Nicky, thank you for the great info. I will try your sanding schedule on my next board.

Dan, I could definitely use the workout. LOL However, I am not sure if I will live long enough to master sharpening. :)

-- Art

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prickett_smiles

1 post in 468 days


#11 posted 10-15-2016 10:01 AM

I send a board through the planer…...a 13×24 1.5 thick maple end grain….and it shot across the room and into the wall and shattered. Luckily I wasn’t standing in front of the planer like I usual do or I would of taken the impact to the family jewels. :)

lesson learned I will be making a router sled my self. :)

cheers

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8239 posts in 2889 days


#12 posted 10-15-2016 01:22 PM

A bowl bit in the router seems to leave a surface requiring less sanding. In my experience at least.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

826 posts in 683 days


#13 posted 10-15-2016 02:44 PM

Wow, echo from the past!
Still working on that board Art 8^)

Anyhoo, my $0.02. I remove the squeeze out with a belt sander then on through the DS with a 36 grit belt. Proceed as usual, very light cuts (usually 10+ with each grit step). Let the board cool if it starts to feel warm, end grain will easily warp when hot.

How are those shutters coming?

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AandCstyle

2566 posts in 1717 days


#14 posted 10-15-2016 10:05 PM

Talk about a blast from the past… ha

Splint, yes that board is history. Thanks for asking about the shutters. Today I finished 12 shutters that will cover 3 windows. I will hang them tomorrow. Once they are done, I will have 5 windows completed and 7 to go. Unfortunately, 5 of the remaining will each require 8 shutters each. Ugh!

-- Art

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3356 days


#15 posted 10-16-2016 03:27 AM

Art – I’m curious as to the differing heights. Are you meaning that the slices are of different heights as you cut them on the table saw – or is it that your final glue up allowed one or two slices to slide above the others?

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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