Flattening Cutting Boards

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I have been working on a bunch of Marc's end grain cutting boards as Christmas gifts, and during the finish sanding noticed that a few of them don't sit flat on a countertop. I sanded them with a random orbit sander so they are completely smooth, but apparently the corners are not co-planer. Any tips on how to get them completely flat? I have been sanding the two corners that don't rock, and have had a little success, but the process seems to involve a lot of guess work. Just wondering if there is an easier way to determine where I need to remove material to make them flat. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Or, assuming that you don't have a drum sander and don't want to start using hand planes, a very simple "fix" to this problem would be to add small feet to the boards. This will solve your problem of having the boards not sit flat, and will add the further benefit of helping to prevent the boards from warping in the future. Many people have problems with these cutting boards when they don't properly dry them and leave them flat on a surface... this eventually causes the board to crack. The feet will prevent this problem too. You could make them out of wood, or even a clear plastic pad that they sell in big box stores for cabinet doors, etc.

Just a thought.



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Get out some winding sticks and sharpen up your best low angle plane...if you have one. Flatten one side then send it through the drum sander...if you have one. Don't even think about sending it through a planer.

Oh man, I can just imagine an end grain cutting board going through the planer. Stand back and wait for the show.
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No worries yo. End grain cutting boards move all over the place all the time. Even thickness is what matters.

If a board lays flat over night, you can come in the shop an it will be cupped up. Flip it over and let lay overnight it will cup the other way. Lean it agains a wall so air can get to all sides and usually goes flat.

End grain is where moisture moves in and out the easiest.

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I know what everyone says about running end grain boards through a planer, but I had good success doing so with very sharp blades and some caution. I also attached side runners which made the overall length about 20 inches (safer than running shorter boards through) These runners also helped create a base "flat" on both sides so that the board could be run through smoothly. I attached the runners with glue when I assembled the board and cut the runners off at my table saw after flattening the pieces.

Your mileage may vary and I encourage you all to always work within what you consider to be your own safety boundaries.


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As lawrence, I have had great sucess using my planer. After doing a lot of research there are many that do this with cutting boards. I will hand sand a bit to get any glue off then send through the planer very cautiously, removing 1/64 to 1/32 or less, flipping the board over and running one more time before making any adjustments. I do this on the finish setting of a Delta planer and they come out needing very little sanding. I would much rather do it with a drum sander, but dont have one yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe a simpler solution would be to get a really flat surface, like your table saw, and some adhesive sandpaper. Put the sandpaper on the flat surface, lay the not quite flat side of the cutting board on the sandpaper and move it back and forth. Use a heavy grain paper and it should go pretty quickly. Works for sharpening chisels and plane blades (see the "scary sharp" method), it should certainly be an easy enough and inexpensive substitute for a drum sander.

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