The "almost" level end grain butchers block

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Aaron posted 09-18-2013 01:22 AM 1511 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Aaron's profile


15 posts in 1898 days

09-18-2013 01:22 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut maple sanding question sander

Hello all LJ’s who have spent hours sanding and sanding, and sanding and sanding,

I have nearly completed the first wave of sanding on my almost completed walnut/maple end grain butchers block. The bottom side seems to be terribly bowed (due to a poor glue up job using even poorer clamps).

After much toiling with an orbital sandpaper and lots of 60 grit, I seem to be almost there. However then I notice a giant gap under one corner, which leads me to believe that I will have to offset that gap by sanding elsewhere.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.

Note that I have been using a straight edge on the top, looking for the gaps and marking the “flat” sections to sand down. I feel that if I continue this way that I will end up with a .25” thick board sooner than later.



13 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


8196 posts in 2325 days

#1 posted 09-18-2013 01:24 AM

Have a belt sander? That’s what I use.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2250 days

#2 posted 09-18-2013 01:32 AM

How about feet?

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View firefighterontheside's profile


19248 posts in 2031 days

#3 posted 09-18-2013 02:23 AM

+1 for Sandra. Does it need to be flat. You could add some feet and size them so that it sits flat. The other thing that I have read about, but not done is create a router sled that you can use to flatten something. You’ll have to look up how to build that.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Aaron's profile


15 posts in 1898 days

#4 posted 09-18-2013 01:38 PM

Belt sander I don’t have, and would likely ruin the project with (given my experience with them). Feet I do not think would serve me too well, as the heft of the board would still be likely to rock off the feet when pushing down hard on it with a knife etc.

I had considered drilling some shallow wide holes on the bottom of each corner to use a dowel (to act as a foot) but am not sure about this route.


View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3144 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 01:52 PM

Block plane?

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2662 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 02:10 PM

Don’t worry about it.
The first time someone uses it and then washes it, it will warp in another direction.
It’s wood, it ain’t steel, it was alive, it shrinks, warps, swells and bows at it’s own whim and pleasure.
The more you sand the worse it will get.

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

View Ottacat's profile


494 posts in 2026 days

#7 posted 09-18-2013 03:10 PM

Glue on some rubber feet and then sand them until its level. They do move a bit as they adjust to the humidity level of your house so don’t do it right away.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2461 days

#8 posted 09-18-2013 03:26 PM

#1 With all of your attempts to flatten the board, is EITHER side flat? If yes, declare the flat side the “bottom” and be done with it.

I use boards a LOT. Whenever I use one I put a doubled paper towel that’s been very slightly dampened, under the board. Or I use a cloth that I’ve dried my hands on several times while cooking/prepping. This keeps the board from scooting around when using it far better than any feet I’ve ever seen. Also means I can flip the board to a clean side and keep going.

Paper towel…. when I say slightly dampened, I mean very slightly. All it takes is to turn the faucet on at barely a trickle and quickly swipe the paper towel under it from right to left (or left to right… doesn’t matter… just fast). A paper towel you’ve dried your hands on once works. A CLOTH towel is better if you’ve dried your hands a few times on it.

Barely, barely damp.
No more sliding around.
2-sided board.
win, win, win

View Aaron's profile


15 posts in 1898 days

#9 posted 09-18-2013 03:37 PM

Dallas, wise words and I think I will have to agree. Charlie thanks for the tips, I think I am going to leave it as it is.

As an update, I took the board to the lumberyard where I get my stock and “borrowed” their wide belt sander to really knock down the high edges, jmartel you called it!

It is flat enough where I can live with it now, and will post the completed project once I am done. thanks for all the tips guys!

View Aaron's profile


15 posts in 1898 days

#10 posted 09-18-2013 03:43 PM

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to remove excess glue during the clamping process? IE I do not want to wait and fix all the drips afterwards.

The scenario is that I am edge glueing 10+ 1.5” strips of walnut together (all at once or section by section). I will use parallel clamps and probably 1 or 2 sets of cauls.

My fear is that once I get everything straight, flush, and clamped, that there will be too much “stuff” going on in the way for me to get in there with a sponge or rag etc. For this case I do not think the old wait till the glue dries a bit then scrap it off routine will work for me since there are so many joints.

thanks for listening!


View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2662 days

#11 posted 09-18-2013 03:54 PM

I clamp for an hour or two, remove the clamps and clean up drips with an old cheap chisel or block plane I have sharpened.

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

View Aaron's profile


15 posts in 1898 days

#12 posted 09-30-2013 12:47 AM

As an update I “think” that I have devised a clever way to handle the drip problem. For starters, I have been using some homemade wood cauls to help flatten everything out before I put the main clamps on.

To handle the drips I first dry clamped and put painters tape on, then sliced each seam using a very sharp knife. After separating and inspecting, I cleaned up the edges a bit with the knife for the few places where the cut strayed minutely from the seam.

After using the cauls, clamping then removing the cauls, I removed the tape from the open face of the laminate. To remove the tape from the back (with the clamp bars impeding easy removal) I was able to peal back then stick together the individual pieces then sneak them underneath the bars.

This took a bit of extra prep, but worked so damn well that I think that it will be my go to method for drip cleanup for really delicate projects.

Hope this learning experience of mine can help inspire or relieve some pain for a fellow gluer.

Thanks for reading,


View Jokker78's profile


136 posts in 1872 days

#13 posted 10-08-2013 08:07 AM

When glueing up after i clamped the boards i whipe all the extra glue off with a damp rag. It works for me. all that tape looks like alot of extra work. If you wet a dried board it swells and bends. i dont think you can keep it flat forever

-- Measure once, cut , measure again, cut and damn its still to short

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics