Jim Stoppleworth

End grain cutting board problem.

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I’m making the end grain cutting board from season one. (I’m a woodturner who is trying to learn flat stock woodworking). I ended up with the hard maple edge board being slightly smaller and has small gaps. I did not use 8/4 maple. I used reclaimed hard maple from approaches in a bowling center I used to own so the maple was the first glue up and then cut into the various widths needed. What is the best way to get that board to have parallel sides? I dry clamped the cutting board and could not get rid of the gaps.

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To clarify, you are at the stage of laminating strips on edge, prior to cross cutting and rotating to the end grain orientation, correct?

If so, you really need to joint and thickness the strips to be flat and with parallel faces. Any gaps will weaken the assembly and mar the appearance of the end product. If you have already taken these steps and still have gaps, perhaps your machines need a tune-up?

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No, I’ve cross cut into strips and would normally be ready for the final assembly glue up. My argument with myself was the issue you raised did I use the planer or the jointer. I found a video comparing them and since I have one flat side and a right angle I need to use the planer to get the two sides parallel, right?

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Maybe I'm misreading this. But running an end grain cutting board through a planer is really not the most advisable thing to do. Board explosions have been known to occur.  A drum sander would be the best way to achieve flatness on end grain boards.

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Yes, the planer / thicknesser cuts from opposite the flat bed to create a face parallel to the face against the bed. The jointer cuts from the same side as its bed, with the infeed side adjustable in a plane parallel to the outfeed. This allows the head to cut away 'high spots' from the face or edge referenced against the bed.

The typical sequence is jointer first, creating a flat face and flat edge perpendicular to that face. Planer second, to flatten the opposite face paralled to the first face, then rip saw the edge opposite the jointed edge to make the two edges parallel to each other.

Many use a bandsaw, or tablesaw with a ripping sled, to make an initial (rough) straight edge before going to the jointer.

[edit]

Just saw @RichardA reply as I was typing, and he is correct. If you have already glued up the pieces so that the end grain is showing on the large faces, putting it through a thickness planer is very risky. Use a drum sander as he suggested, or search Youtube for examples of flattening with a router sled.

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The final glue up HAS NOT happened yet. The 1"1/4 inch strips have been cut in preparation for that final glue up. This problem is on the long grain edge of the pieces not the end grain edge. So I can still use the planer, right?

Edited by Jim Stoppleworth
To add more info

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Yes, the planer is safe on the edge grain. Depending on the planer you have, length of the pieces might be a problem. My DW735 creates a pretty significant 'snipe' on pieces less than 14" or so long. That's because I can't lift up one the end of the board to counter the force applied by the end as it passes under a single feed roller.

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Welcome! I like your idea Jim. It sounds like you got good advice, make sure to share a picture when you are done. There are a lot of smart folks here that taught me a lot about the craft.

 

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