Bringing cutting boards to their final thickness

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Forum topic by Cole Tallerman posted 01-01-2013 06:36 AM 1472 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2382 days

01-01-2013 06:36 AM

So I have really been enjoying making cutting boards, and only after my first 5 (made simultaneously) I started seeing the nicks in my planer blades. I’m really torn because I love making them. What do you do to flatten yours? I have been thinking about building a drum sander but any suggestions for the time being? I’m surre there are LJ’s out there who make cutting boards without drum sanders.

Thanks in advance and happy new year!

9 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2728 days

#1 posted 01-01-2013 07:11 AM

Are your cutting boards long grain or end grain?

If long grain, planer (nicks and all) followed by sanding by hand or with a power hand sander (RO or sheet) should work fine.

If end grain, machine planing not recommended. Drum or wide belt sanding – using light passes – is the best way.

If you are comfortable with hand planes, they could be used in both cases in lieu of machine work. Lower angle (about 37 degrees) for end grain.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View prattman's profile


445 posts in 2315 days

#2 posted 01-01-2013 09:46 AM

Iguana is right , long grain is ok in the planer but end grain through a planer is very dangerous not only could the board explode and break your planer but you could be injured as well. Most people on this site build a router sled to flatten end grain boards.

-- Everyone calls me Ed or Eddie , mom still calls me Edward if she is mad at me.

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2217 days

#3 posted 01-01-2013 11:27 AM

I just had an end grain board crack in the planer, but luckily it did not “explode” like it has for some people. I drew up plans for a router sled shortly after and am going that route. I can’t justify the cost to build or buy a drum sander and using my belt sander sounded like a long and dusty process.

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2382 days

#4 posted 01-01-2013 02:32 PM

But then if I want to use my planer for preparing stock, I get lines down my entire Board! does a drum sander take alot longer to remove material? are there any downsides to building/using a drum sander?

View Scott's profile


121 posts in 2421 days

#5 posted 01-01-2013 03:24 PM

Cole, how much do you end up removing from the boards thickness?

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2308 days

#6 posted 01-01-2013 04:36 PM

Scott, there are two types of drum sander: above (aka Performax, Jet) or under the table (aka V-drum). I own both.

On the Performax I usually take about a 64th (approx. 15 thousands). The wood is trapped between the conveyer belt and the sanding drum. This can lead to dust being pushed into the pores of the wood, burning and loading of the sandpaper. Of the two it is the fastest at removing material. I usually think of this as the thicknessing sander.

The V-drum it will only take about 2 or 3 thousands in a pass. The wood is not trapped and does not seem to either fill the pores or load the sandpaper. The down side is that you don’t take much off with each pass. I think of this as a finish sander.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2217 days

#7 posted 01-01-2013 06:29 PM

If you have lines after running through the planer, check to make sure your rollers are clean. If they are, you probably have a couple nicks on the blades. On your final pass through the planer, just run it through twice at the same height and change the angle you’re feeding the board in at. It should remove the lines for you.

Once again, I wouldn’t do is for end grain. I learned my lesson and got lucky there was no damage to me or the planer. I was only taking 1/64 with each pass.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3885 days

#8 posted 01-01-2013 06:55 PM

Are you saying that you don’t sand your boards before applying finish to them ?
A hand held cabinet scraper / card scraper should get rid of any planer lines very quickly.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2684 days

#9 posted 01-01-2013 07:11 PM

If I use a card scraper on the board I don’t use sand paper. The card scraper gives a much finer finish than sand paper does.

I also don’t want too fine a wood surface on the board, the slicker the wood the harder it is to get the oil to penetrate.

I have a bunch of homemade scrapers that go from really rough to so fine that you can shine a laser pointer and have the kitties chase the reflection.
It’s a lot easier for me to use scrapers than it is sand paper.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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