Whole hog cutting board


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Cutting board for whole hog

A customer contacted me and wanted a 4.5 foot x 2 foot whole hog cutting board that was 2 inches thick with the main body being mostly made up of solid pieces. When I asked she said he does competition cookouts and they usually try to average between 60 and 70 pound hog. I was able to get a 2 inch slab of Sapello that I can cut in half to get the length and will be using hickory and walnut as a middle stripe that she asked for. With a cutting board of this size I worry about glue being enough. Since I don’t have Access to a domino tool I am torn between using large dowel rods in the center or finding someway to put a piece of stainless steel all thread in several places and using plugs to cover the ends. I do have a biscuit joiner but I don’t know if this would really add any strength in the way I’m looking for it would be great for lining up the boards but I’m not sure it will add that much strength to keep the boards together. Has anyone ever done this type of board or do you have any recommendations.
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No joinery is going to improve upon a well jointed long grain joint. An edge joint like that with modern wood glue will be stronger than the wood surrounding it.

With that application I'd make sure to use an exterior glue.

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Why not use a spline joint?  In the edges, use a router or a dado blade (or a tongue and groove plane) to cut a rabbet, then match the rabbet width with something you have more faith in.  You can use wood, or I've even heard of masts reinforces with carbon fiber rods.  Then use epoxy to glue it together.  Honestly, the epoxy would hold without the spline, but if you really want belt and braces...

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What will this huge cutting board be on top of? Are you building a base for it? I would be more focused on what will support the board. 
As chestnut said, a good glue joint will be plenty. A dining table is thinner stock and longer/wider and would not blink an eye at 70lb in the center. 

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Lay flat on what? The ground? A table or counter? In those cases the board will be fully supported so if the base is sturdy it could be a 300lb hog and it wouldn’t matter how the cutting board is held together. 

I guess I’m having difficulty understanding why you are wanting to make it more complicated.

Sagulator shows this being 0.01” total sag if supported at either end (not fastened) with 75lb center load.

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Table. The thing is they have to place hog then carry it to judging area. The carry will be two guys so the weight of the board plus hog being carried worried me. The board will be a slab of sapella 10 wide and 4.5 long then a 5/4 by 2” strip of hickory then a 5/4 by 2” strip walnut another hickory then the other 2” by 10” by 4.5 foot sapella In my mind I have this picture of the board folding in half and pig hitting ground. My initial thought was that just glue would be fine but guess I was looking for a way to ensure my worst fear never happened.

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Gary, I agree with the others, the long grain glue joints will be plenty stong. If you really want something across the joints for extra support, perhaps try this.

Route a dovetailed dado across the board in two or more locations, and glue in a mating dovetailed strip that is a bit taller than the dado is deep. Glue the strips in place and trim / shape the ends flush or undercut. The strips act as battens to help the board remain flat, add strength across the joint, and raise the board off the supporting surface, so it is easy to grip and lift. I have done this on platters (smaller, of course), it works great.

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I like my cutting boards to be made from closed grain wood. Sapale is open grain. It seems more sanitary with closed grain. Like Maple or cherry. 

If you have a router get a slot cutter bit to cut a groove for a spline. You want the grain on the spline to run the short direction. Much stronger. And titebond III

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I agree with coop and curlyoak.  If you are worried about the board folding longitudinally a spline with grain running parallel to the board will be marginally weaker than an un-splined joint.  If the spline grain runs perpendicular that joint will be stronger.  

With 3 strips in the middle you'd have 4 joints to spline.  How would the board look if you put the strips on the periphery?

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I've made over 85 cutting boards, mostly end grain, and have never used a spline or dowel.  Titebond III is FDA approved and is waterproof and that's what was used for all of our cutting boards.  The last large cutting board I made was Hard Rock Maple about 20" wide and 32" long, 2 1/2" thick and is used regularly by a gentleman who dresses deer and hogs.

The glue joint by itself is plenty strong and doesn't need any help.  And I agree with what has been said, Sapele isn't the best choice for a cutting board.

David

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