Cutting board cracking

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Forum topic by Eddie posted 09-10-2014 12:27 PM 1126 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 775 days

09-10-2014 12:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi everyone, just joined and love the site. Thank you all for sharing your creativity and knowledge. I have getting into the cutting board craze lately and really having fun. I’ll add some pics soon. Some of my boards have been cracking along glue lines and I’m not sure why.

I’m pretty sure I’m using enough glue and Most boards have had ample time to set and hand around garage before being sealed and sent away to their new homes. My best guess is change in humidity. Whether or not I am right, what fixes are out there for cracking? Thank you. I love this site.

16 replies so far

View Blackbear's profile


137 posts in 1640 days

#1 posted 09-10-2014 12:56 PM

A few quick thoughts, and please don’t be insulted as these are basic things to start with and your description was a bit high level:
-How dry is the wood you are using?
-How old is your glue? Yellow glues have shelf lives.
-Are you using a waterproof or water resistant glue like Tightbond III?
-Are your joining edges square and smooth (did you run them over a jointer) or are you trying to glue boards together right off the table saw?
-Are your joining edges straight? If they have a bow you will create stress along the glue line no matter how hard you clamp them and how much glue you use. This doesn’t mean automatic joint failure but it certainly does not help.
-How are you clamping the boards together? Multiple clamps all along the joint or one clamp at each end?

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137 posts in 1640 days

#2 posted 09-10-2014 01:49 PM

Forgot to answer your question on “what fixes are their for cracking” as my last post was mostly preventative. If you have a cracked joint you may be able to rip the board apart along that joint on the table saw, then joint the edges and re-glue them.

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1772 days

#3 posted 09-10-2014 02:57 PM

Some pictures would help. Are they cracking after use or before?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Yonak's profile


979 posts in 942 days

#4 posted 09-10-2014 02:57 PM

I have two cutting boards I made 20 years ago. One has never split and is still in good shape. The other split within the first few months. Both were made the same way using the same glue.

I suspect it had to do with latent tension in the wood. The best way to make sure the wood is relaxed is to, first and foremost, as Blackbear said, make sure your wood is dry.

Before you start a project, acclimate the wood by putting it in an environment similar to where it will be used, such as bringing it into your shop, garage, attic, spare bedroom, etc, etc. – wherever best simulates your kitchen environment. Most woodworkers bring it into their shop which, for most, is perfectly good, unless your shop is especially humid or intemperate.

After cutting the pieces, it’s good practice to, once again, let them set, at least overnight, if not longer, to make sure there is no additional movement, before gluing up. If any pieces bend or twist significantly, I would discard those pieces and replace them with more stable pieces.

View Eddie 's profile


5 posts in 775 days

#5 posted 09-10-2014 08:26 PM

Thank you Blackbear. I am using tight bond III, and I’m pretty sure the wood is dry and even sat glued for about a month without splitting. I sent to to my sister in San Diego (somewhat moister), and then it split. Which is where my brain starts turning. I would like to think I can make a project here and give it to someone in another climate, but am not sure what precautions are necessary.

It sat like this for a while for over a month

Here are a couple pictures my sister sent me. After only a couple weeks out there.

View Eddie 's profile


5 posts in 775 days

#6 posted 09-10-2014 08:27 PM

I should add that it is finished with mineral oil and a mineral out beezwax blend.

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1772 days

#7 posted 09-10-2014 09:01 PM

The problem lies w/ the border. Those long grain border strips are not allowing for movement. Eliminate those or make them end grain and your problem will be solved. A cutting board is going to be subject to wetting and drying no matter what the climate because they will be getting washed and wiped repeatedly. You can’t confine them w/ a border like that. It is a well know phenomena, known as the “panel of doom”, we see it here all of the time, most of us have done it and learned the hard way. Really nice board by the way.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View CharlesA's profile


2973 posts in 1218 days

#8 posted 09-10-2014 09:04 PM

+1 on Bondo’s answer. I have a nightstand I made several years ago—I expect the top to split any day.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View waho6o9's profile


7119 posts in 1997 days

#9 posted 09-10-2014 09:06 PM

I wonder if she cleaned one side and left it wet

or maybe put it in the dishwasher?

One split along the joinery line and the other where the branch grew,
that’s odd.

Panel of doom, amazingly I missed that.

View firefighterontheside's profile


13074 posts in 1277 days

#10 posted 09-10-2014 09:14 PM

I built a panel of doom kitchen table that when a joint failed along one of the planks, the table jumped in the air and knocked everything over. I was standing a few feet away when it happened. Since then I learned how to do bread board ends.

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

View Eddie 's profile


5 posts in 775 days

#11 posted 09-10-2014 09:42 PM

Thank you. Keep grain consistent. Noted. Not sure what she did, but she is not the most aware in that department. Will long grain inlays have the same problem?

View JoeinGa's profile


7370 posts in 1428 days

#12 posted 09-10-2014 10:00 PM

I’m betting she washed and dried it, then laid it flat on her countertop… and there was a bit of wet spot under where she laid it. then BOOM … splitsville!

It doesn’t take very much moisture at all to get into one of these.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Blackbear's profile


137 posts in 1640 days

#13 posted 09-11-2014 01:30 PM

I wonder if you could rip the edge bands off and try clamping the board back together with some CA glue?

Time will tell on the inlays. I think they are too thin to crack the end grain board, but the inlay itself could possibly crack, or it could be fine.

View Eddie 's profile


5 posts in 775 days

#14 posted 09-12-2014 04:47 AM

Not a bad idea. Thanks Blackbear.

View palaswood's profile


936 posts in 1172 days

#15 posted 09-12-2014 05:30 AM

im no expert but as soon as i saw that border …

Its a shame too, cause that is one sweet board!

my suggestion is if you go with the border, yeah use end grain for that
too. also ive found that applying boatloads of mineral oil, let it seep in and reapply several times greatly limits how much moisture the board can even absorb

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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