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post #1 of 285 Old 08-07-2011, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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How to make end grain cutting boards

I know that there are quite a few of you on this forum that already know how to make an end grain cutting board. For those of you who don't, I thought that I would put together a little tutorial. I hope you like it.

I started off with 2 boards, both 8/4 rough sawn, measuring 7" wide, by 15 1/2" long. For this project, I am using maple, and walnut.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9064.jpg



I then checked my jointer table and fence to ensure that they were 90 degrees to each other. I keep my tools well calibrated, but even still, a quick check is all it takes to avoid frustration, and a ruined project.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9065.jpg
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9066.jpg


I jointed one face of each piece and then jointed an adjacent edge to give me a true edge to work from.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9067.jpg



After both pieces were jointed, I decided that I would resaw the pieces to avoid wasting stock and prematurely dulling my planer blades. The final thickness that I want is 1 5/8" thick, so I resaw, leaving between 1/16" and 1/8" extra for surface planing.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9068.jpg

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post #2 of 285 Old 08-07-2011, 06:35 PM
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Thanks Kenbo. I'm launching into one of these myself before long and this will be a great mental tune up!
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post #3 of 285 Old 08-07-2011, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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I think I need to empty my seperator.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9070.jpg



Once my seperator was emptied, I set up my surface planer and planed down the blanks.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9071.jpg



You can see here that the final thickness is 1 5/8" thick.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9073.jpg




After installing my ripping blade in the table saw, a quick check is done to ensure that the blade is set at 90 degrees to the table.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9074.jpg


Each species of stock is then ripped into widths of (from left to right) 2 1/4", 1 3/4", 1 1/4" and 3/4".
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9075.jpg

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post #4 of 285 Old 08-07-2011, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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The pieces are then laid out as follows................(from left to right)


2 1/4" walnut
3/4" maple
1 3/4" walnut
1 1/4" maple
1 1/4" walnut
1 3/4" maple
3/4" walnut
2 1/4" maple
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9076.jpg


I then laid out all of the pieces, in the above order on my bar clamps. The thin pieces of stock that you see on the left and the right are the off cuts from ripping the stock widths. I place them at the ends to prevent the bar clamps from damaging my boards.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9077.jpg




I then rotate all of the pieces 90 degrees, except for the far left piece.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9078.jpg




Starting at the far left rotated piece, I apply a generous amount of titebond III to the top surface and rotate the piece 90 degrees to the left to make contact with the first unrotated piece (2 1/4" maple)
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9079.jpg



From there, I continue the process. Applying generous amounts of glue and rotating the pieces to make contact. Once all of the pieces have been glued and put in place, I apply pressure with the clamps to hold it all together. I cover my clamp bars with clear packing tape to prevent the glue from sticking to them and I cover all cauls and the top piece of clamping MDF with waxed paper for the same reason.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9080.jpg



That's as far as I got today guys. Tomorrow, after work, I'll unclamp this and continue the tutorial. This one is for a Christmas gift so I have plenty of time to make it but you guys know what I'm like and I can't wait that long.





to be continued.....................................

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post #5 of 285 Old 08-07-2011, 08:20 PM
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how come you backed up the end grain but not the sides? i would be worried about the thin edges curing a bit wavy. backing helps even out the force of the clamps. when i don't use backers, i tend to use more clamps

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post #6 of 285 Old 08-07-2011, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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The boards and 2 clamps on the end grain are only there to keep the boards from sliding around and curing crooked. The thinner strips on the left and right of the photo are there to keep the metal clamps from marring the cutting board's surface, and the MDF on the top is clamped down to prevent the board from bowing will clamped. I will be using the larger cauls that are currently on the end grain on the top of the cutting board in the next glue up.

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post #7 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 10:29 AM
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This is great so far kenbo- I made a couple strip cutting boards that came out nice and decided to try an end grain a couple weeks ago. I didn't think it through and ended up wasting some nice stock and not trying again. This already looks like a much better way to do it. Looking forward to the rest.
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post #8 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 03:51 PM
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Just goes to show what I know. I saw the two boards and first thought, "this does not look very interesting". Then I saw you cut them up, looking very nice.
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post #9 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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I'm back again today guys with the second part of the tutorial. I hope you enjoyed the first stage and will continue on with me through the second stage.

Once you unclamp your board, you will find that quite a bit of glue has seaped out onto your stock. This could have been minimized by scraping the majority of the glue off of the glue up about 1/2 hour after clamping. Either way, this glue may be ugly now, but it's not a disaster.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9094.jpg




I then took a sharp, 3/4" chisel and removed the majority of the glue from the surface of the wood. You don't have to get it all at this point but you want to make sure that any large beads or ridges of glue are gone. We are going to be running this baby through the surface planer and the last thing we need is a large hardened chunk of glue damaging our planer blades.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9095.jpg




From there, I ran the whole board through the surface planer, being sure to take very light passes until all the glue was gone and the board was smooth with no ridges from the glue up.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9096.jpg




I then installed my fine cross cut blade into the table saw. I checked the blade for squareness to the table. I can't stress enough, the importance of making sure that your blade is square. A less than 90 degree cut at this point could spell disaster for this project.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9097.jpg


At this point, I am ready to square the one end of the cutting board to give me a true 90 degree edge to base all of my cross cutting from.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9098.jpg

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post #10 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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After squaring the one edge of the cutting board, do not take it for granted that it is square. A lot of things can happen while cutting that can make the board off square. Check it with a trusted square edge to ensure that it is 90 degrees.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9099.jpg




If you are content that you have a square edge, set your fence at 1 3/8" and cross cut the entire board into strips. The measurement of 1 3/8" will become the thickness of your cutting board. If you wish it to be thicker, then cut your board into wider strips.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9100.jpg



From this point, you want to rotate all pieces 90 degrees to expose the end grain. See what's happening here?
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9101.jpg




Now comes the part where our pattern shows up. Flip, every second board end over end making sure that your end grain is still exposed. You should have something that looks like this.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9102.jpg




At this point, we need to prepare for another glue up. Place all of your pieces on your clamps and, leaving the far left strip untouched, rotate all other pieces 90 degrees to the right. We are doing this to make it easier to apply the glue at this point.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9103.jpg

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post #11 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Now comes the time to apply the glue. Apply a generous coating of glue to your rotated pieces. I used Titebond III again for this as it is a waterproof glue that will be less likely to come apart later.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9104.jpg


Flip the pieces one by one, 90 degrees to the left to allow the glued up surfaces to meet with the unglued edge of the next piece and line up your pattern. Using cauls and clamps, apply equal pressure to ensure a good glue up. Again, you can see here that I have waxed paper attached to my cauls to prevent glue sticking to them. I've used cauls on the top to assist in preventing verticle movement of the strips and I've got smaller cauls on the edges to help prevent horizontal movement of the strips. You can do this by yourself, but if you are able to get someone to help you, a second set of hands comes in handy. Mrs Kenbo usually comes out to the shop to help out for the glue ups. Just saves some frustration.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9106.jpg
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9107.jpg





After 30 minutes of being clamped, I ran a 1" scraper over the glue joints to remove the majority of the squeeze out. This will help a lot tomorrow, when we umclamp and sand the surface of the cutting board. End grain maple is hard enough to sand without having to deal with sanding the wood glue as well.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9108.jpg




Hopefully, this one will be finished after a little work tomorrow. Thanks for looking in guys, if all goes well, we will be looking at a completed end grain cutting board tomorrow.

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post #12 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 09:37 PM
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Looks great so far Kenbo, nice tutorial!

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post #13 of 285 Old 08-08-2011, 11:56 PM
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lol, sorry ken, your scrap wood looks as good as your actual work. my scraps look like, well, scrap.

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post #14 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 02:07 PM
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Question Planing after glue-up

Ken,
When planing after the first glue-up is there any concern about small amounts of remaining glue on the "bottom" side that would throw off the thickness? Is the chisel clean-up getting enough or all protruding glue on both sides? I almost expected a makeshift sled of hardboard then a towel, thin foam or something below the workpiece to negate any remaining glue. Do you plane a little on one side then flip and plane some on the other, working to what you finally want?

Also, it would be fantastic if you or another experienced member did a tutorial on glue-ups - positioning clamps, sequencing, applying pressure, things to avoid etc. I know many of us new guys have thought "why all the clamps?" but then find, as I did recently on a project, that it's easy to get dissapointing results if all things aren't taken into account. This is clearly an area where experience matters and some advice would be much appreciated!
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post #15 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 05:23 PM
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Thanks for the write-up Ken, this is cool!
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post #16 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 06:19 PM
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Cool beans, Kenbo

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post #17 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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As far as cleaning up the glue on the first planing, I use a chisel to clean up the glue on both the front and the back of the board. There is very little variation from the surface of the board and the glue so it shouldn't make a difference when planing. You are not taking off very much material. Extremely light passes are made and if you took care to have a clean glue up, you might be removing about 1/64" of material from each side. Once you get one side planed, you can plane the other and it will make the second side parallel to the first. As far as a glue up tutorial, I'll see what I can do for ya.



Day 3 of the cutting board started off with unclamping what I did yesterday. I used a chisel to remove the remaining sections of glue and clean up the squeeze out a little. I then set up my belt sander as you can see in the next photo. I positioned a 16" dust hood directly behind the board and sanding with a 100 grit belt, I removed the remainder of the glue and levelled out any imperfections in the board. Safety glasses, a quality dust mask, dust collection with a 4" intake and an airborne dust collector were all part of this process. Don't screw around with this stuff guys. Don't be a tough guy, protect your lungs.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9110.jpg



Here, you can see that all of the glue residue has been removed and the board has been levelled out. Now we can flip the board over and repeat the process to the other side. Don't think that you can just run this one through the surface planer, the blades will most likely tear up the end grain and destroy your board.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9111.jpg



At this point, I put my ripping blade back in the table saw and, you guessed it, checked it for squareness to the table. I then cleaned up any imperfections from the glue up.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9112.jpg




Once the board is cleaned up and fully sanded, I branded the back of the piece with my "hand crafted by..." brand (not shown) and used a 1/4" roundover bit to profile the top and the bottom of the board. Carefully run your router clockwise around the board to minimize tearout.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9113.jpg



Once your board is routed, soften the corners with some hand sanding to finish the board off.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9114.jpg

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post #18 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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The final step is to seal the board. A lot of people use store bought salad bowl conditioners etc. Not me. I use a recipe as follows.....
1 cup of mineral oil
2 tablespoons of parrafin wax
Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir in the wax. Continue to heat over medium heat until the wax is completely melted.
You can apply this mixture hot or cold, it's your choice.
Here we can see the completed cutting board with it's first coat of oil/parrafin.
How to make end grain cutting boards-img_9115.jpg


I don't rout handles into my boards because I screw large, non slip feet onto my boards. This is it for the tutorial, I hope you liked it and that you try one yourself.
The measurements for ripping the strips are measurements that I found on line and I like the layout that they created. Feel free to experiment with different measurements and layouts to created your own board.
As far as coating these boards, I use a concept of..............
Coat the board once a day for a week,
once a week for a month,
and once a month for life.
If, at any point in time, the board looks like it it drying out, feel free to coat it again. You wont hurt it by over coating it.

Thanks for looking
Ken

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Last edited by Kenbo; 08-09-2011 at 07:48 PM.
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post #19 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 07:46 PM
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Thanks Kenbo, I always appreciate a good tutorial.
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post #20 of 285 Old 08-09-2011, 08:43 PM
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Stuff like this is so helpful, there should be a thread just for tutorials.
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