|Forum topic by Jasoninsacramento||posted 08-11-2014 11:12 PM||1376 views||0 times favorited||5 replies|
08-11-2014 11:12 PM
Hi everyone! I’m an amateur and I’ve been creating beautiful cutting boards for a few years, selling some to friends here and there, and I’ve built quite a nice little shop in the basement of my Sacramento, CA home.
I’ve been commissioned to build the top for a kitchen island prep table for friends who have just bought some farmland and are building a house. They’d like a walnut, end grain counter-top that they can use as a prep table with the dimensions of 30” X 42” X 4” thick. I plan on using 8/4 walnut…and maybe a little 8/4 maple as a highlight. While I’ve got lots of experience with cutting boards, I’m a bit worried about something this size. I’ve done lots of research thus far, but I’d love to get your feedback!
I plan on making the table much in the same way I make smaller cutting boards. However, because of its length and width, and the size limitations of my tools, I’ll be making it in several sections and gluing them together. imagine making several cutting boards and gluing them together.
The first step will be edge-gluing two separate panels together to a 30” width. I’ll be making two difference patterned panels so that I can vary the glue lines every other strip once they’re cut. I’m thinking about adding a splash of Maple in the second panel to break up the maple a little bit and add some visual appeal.
After the panels are glued and planed, I’ll cross-cut them to the thickness of the final block (4” thick strips in this case – but I may do 4.25 to allow for some sanding room). My plan is to turn them on their end as you’d do with a typical end grain cutting board, but instead of gluing all of them up at once, I want to use my router table and a slot cutting bit to cut a slot for biscuits. The sole purpose of which is to keep each strip aligned during glue-up. My hope is that it keeps the block from shifting around as I tighten the clamps so as to keep the top as flat as possible. I plan to glue them up in stages – gluing strips together in 10” widths (remember, it’s going to be a 30” X 42” table – so I’ll need to add a strip or two on to the end during the final glue up). I’m using 10” widths because they’re manageable and will still fit through my planer if need be. That will mean 4 sections of 10” X 30” X 4.25” plus another strip or two. The biscuit-method might keep me from needing to use the planer. I SOOOOO don’t want to have to rent time on a wide belt sander.
SIDE NOTE: I am well aware of the danger of sending end grain through a planer. I have been doing this for a while, taking VERY VERY shallow cuts (1/128” at a time or less) with brand new planer blades.
THEN, I’ll use the same process to glue up the 10 X 30” blocks to create the final table size.
I look forward to any recommendations! And here are some questions that I have if anyone has the time:
I’ve seen lots of larger butcher block tables (including Boos butcher blocks) that have what look like countersunk plugs on the long side of the table. I’m assuming that they are for tension rods that run perpendicular to the length of the table to keep it together. I was NOT planning to do that in this case – I’ve seen varying opinions that range from “let the wood move naturally” to “the tightened rod will crack the wood as it moves.” Any opinions?
Also, I’ve done some more research on wood movement, and figure that as long as I keep the end grain relatively in the same direction, there shouldn’t be a problem. More thoughts would be great.
Does anyone have any additional recommendation or thoughts? Any advice on what I should look for when I head to my local hardwood dealer (aside from clear, knot-free lumber)? I promise to post pictures!