Warped Cutting Board

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Forum topic by superbee posted 01-19-2015 03:48 PM 1411 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1247 days

01-19-2015 03:48 PM

Hey Guys,
I am a novice woodworker. For a first project I built an end grain cutting board per the Wood Whisperer’s plan. I used Walnut and hard Maple lumber purchased from a local sawmill. I completed my beautiful board over a couple of days in my unheated garage/workshop and brought it into the house that evening where it is warmer to finish it with the salad bowl finish. The next morning before I put the first coat of finish on it, I noticed my board had warped. The only thing I can think of is the heat/moisture difference between my garage and house made the board warp. In trying to straighten this board, I broke it at one of the glue joints and now will probably make two smaller boards out of this one. I want to build another one but don’t want to make the same mistake. Can anybody give me some ideas as to what I might have done wrong? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

9 replies so far

View lew's profile


12099 posts in 3777 days

#1 posted 01-19-2015 05:44 PM

I had this design bow during sanding with a belt sander. Left it set for a day and it flattened itself out. Mimi also left one set in a puddle of water overnight. In the morning, I had an end grain bowl. Put it in the oven, on the lowest setting, for several hours. It flattened out. Now I put rubber feet on the boards.

I think your board may have just been acclimating to the new environment and may have come back to flat in time.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View DT2's profile


11 posts in 1246 days

#2 posted 01-19-2015 06:00 PM

Next time try to let your boards sit in the shop for a few weeks (if possible) before milling, and mill them over the course of 2 days, that way if they warp a little the first day, you can get everything milled properly the 2nd time. At the end of the day a little bit of warping in a cutting board can be solved with rubber feet.

View superbee's profile


2 posts in 1247 days

#3 posted 01-19-2015 11:14 PM

Thanks for the tips. Actually, while trying to straighten the board, I broke it at a glue joint. I made two smaller boards out of this one but will take these recommendations into account on my next board which I will start on this coming weekend.

View TheGreatJon's profile


339 posts in 1255 days

#4 posted 01-19-2015 11:35 PM

I just made my first project too. It was an end grain board with walnut, maple, and cherry. When we flew out to UT for Christmas, I ended up giving it to my sister as a saucer. But then when we soaked it with the finish and put it in the oven to get it to soak in, the board flattened right out. My sister tells me that it is still flat.

I’m still not sure if it was the difference in humidity or temperature. Lew’s comment makes it sound like it was probably humidity.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

View Rob's profile


316 posts in 3008 days

#5 posted 01-19-2015 11:43 PM

The failed glue joint may be a result of letting the glue set up in the unheated garage/workshop. I have had a couple of failures over the years because the temperature got too cold. Now, during the winter months, after gluing a project up, I bring it into the house to set up and dry. Look on your glue bottle. It should say a minimum temperature for good working conditions of the glue. The chalk temperature for Titebond products for instance is as follows: Titebond 50 deg. Titebond II 55 deg. Titebond III 47 deg.

View John Lindquist's profile

John Lindquist

8 posts in 1981 days

#6 posted 01-20-2015 12:30 AM

I have made 75 to 100 in the past 5 or 6 months and none have warped on me yet. I am using maple that I picked up out of a closed cabinet shop. The walnut and cherry is stuff I picked up on CL. It is old air dried wood that has been siting around for years. I have glued them in my garage and now in my basement since it is too cold for garage work. Could your wood be a little green? I don’t seem to be having moisture problems. I do start oiling them with plain old mineral oil as soon as I get them ready.

-- John, Kansas

View bondogaposis's profile


4754 posts in 2373 days

#7 posted 01-20-2015 12:56 AM

I like to add feet to my end grain boards to allow even circulation on both sides and to prevent trapped water on counter tops from causing problems.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2536 days

#8 posted 01-20-2015 01:04 AM

It may come back flat, and it may not. What you are fighting is moisture in the wood. When you built this in your colder shop, it is possible that the humidity was much higher, allowing the wood moisture to stay where it was. For sake of conversation, let’s say 11% moisture content in the wood. When finished, you took it into your house, and the moisture of the wood lowered to maybe 7%. The removal of moisture from the cells of the wood caused things to contract. Hence the bend.

I would think that you might be able to straighten it out by putting a weight on it in your house. Maybe a few books while it is sitting on a straight surface. If it straightens out with the weight, it has accepted the new humidity levels and the new moisture level in the wood. If not, well, you have a warped board.

This is why I keep two moisture meters in my shop. One, a HF unit that is OK, but just for gross measurements. I also have a Ryobi that is a surface measurement device, that penetrates to about 1/2” for a better reading. I am often surprised at the moisture content of my wood, how high it is. If I run across something that is above 8-9%, I don’t work it.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View sras's profile


4805 posts in 3151 days

#9 posted 01-20-2015 01:51 AM

I just finished build a few end grain boards. I learned a couple things:

1. Leaving a board overnight laying flat will cause the board to cup a bit. It would barely rock, but would spin freely on the tiles on the counter. Flipping it over flattened it out after about 5 hours.

2. Really flat surfaces will highlight the slightest bit of cupping. If a piece of paper can slide under a corner, the board will spin like a top.

Rubber feet let the board cup a little without issue. They also keep the board off a flat surface and let some air on both sides.

My next boards will have feet.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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