End grain cutting board cracks in walnut - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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End grain cutting board cracks in walnut

I’m making my first end grain cutting board as a present for my parents for Xmas. It’s made from maple and walnut that I picked up at a local hardwood supplier.

Everything was going great until I cut the end grain pieces and found some weird cracks in the walnut. The maple looks perfect, but about half the walnut pieces have these cracks and weird gaps in them.

Is this how walnut looks? Is this supposed to be this way? Did I get a bum/rotted board and just didn’t notice? Should I grab a refund on the walnut and build a 2nd board or can I just fill these gaps with sawdust/glue and not worry about it?

Thanks for any feedback!

Here are the pics:

http://imgur.com/kF1YEzI
http://imgur.com/eke7BBv
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 11:22 AM
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one, maybe two, small cracks I would unhappy fill with epoxy and let go.


half the walnut? no - way too much work involved to wind up with a mucky board.
but that's just me.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 01:23 PM
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You will find splits like that in all wood. If this was 4S4 it is probably to late to take it back for a refund but I'd certainly say something and be more careful picking lumber the next time.

Id fill it with epoxy and try another board. Maybe it's just be the picture but your glue joints look they will finish up a little loose. If you run your finger nail on a joint and it catches after you flattened it is not a good joint for a cutting board.

I like cherry for end grain boards and for what ever reason I miss a split here and there. Mine are cut mostly from rough sawn at about $2 BF for cherry and soft maple, $4 BF for hard maple and $6-7 for walnut so I expect some waste.

Last edited by regesullivan; 12-03-2018 at 01:26 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 01:29 PM
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you have experienced end checking, perpendicular to the grain/growth rings. sometimes it can be seen on the faces, not always. it can happen in other species. sux.


has mostly to do with how the log was processed in to dried boards.


I make it a habit to not fill on the cutting surface of a cutting board. to each his own...

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post #5 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Learning material for me. I cut the maple first and it looked SO GOOD. I should have checked the walnut a little more I guess and if I saw anything skipped the glue up.

There was a touch on the face and I was thinking it wouldn't appear on the end grain, but I didn't realize it was all the way through.

Sounds like the hardwood dealer is going to hook me up with a new walnut piece! So I'll buy a touch more maple, use half of the pieces that look good here and have 2 cutting boards.

I think I got the joints pretty dang straight, these boards were just loosely laying on my workbench. I did notice that I cut into the walnut at an inperfection as well, so it looks choppy there :( The walnut is super duper smooth

Last edited by Tom Hoppe; 12-03-2018 at 02:43 PM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 03:46 PM
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Worth mentioning that open-grain woods like walnut aren't the best choice for cutting boards, since food bits and crap can get stuck down in the open spaces of the grain. Best to stick to the closed-grain woods like maple, unless its a decorative piece. At least 5 different people are going to chime in calling me an idiot because their solid walnut board has never made anybody sick, to which I respond that sampling bias is a thing and that you can play chicken with your own health, don't tell other people to do it though. Nobody wants their last meal to be a salad because they died of e.coli because the salad was prepared on a board previously used for chicken

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post #7 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Voids are on both sides :( Basically, the middle of the board was bad. Those pieces were super brittle too.

The hardwood place agreed that wasnít right. They gave me a free slightly longer/wider piece of walnut to make sure I got a good section. I bought a 2nd big piece of maple for $30, and now I have enough to make a 2nd board. I think Iíll actually go edge grain on this one, as itíll be slightly easier to make and I learned that itíll be used less for cutting and more for like putting bread on and serving and other things. Also, I read that edge will be less prone to warping even though itís not as good for self healing/knife care.

As a bonus, this was a big board (18◊24) and half the pieces had these defects, so I still managed an 18◊13 end grain board out of this, so now I have two :)

As far as the walnut and open-grain, I did notice that as well. I have seen a few designs where it was all maple and the walnut was decorative on the outside. Maybe that's why?
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 07:44 PM
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....even though itís not as good for self healing/knife care.

lemme say this about that . . . I have about a dozen Wuesthof from 10" to paring size.
for the first forty years I use an edge grain, no name maple cutting board.
hard to believe, I know, but the knives, the board and I all survived.
I cut it up and gave it to a guy for pen blanks. old stable wood is an asset for his stuff.

I got a new end grain board from BoardSmith. it annoyingly "catches" the knife edges more.

to be frank, I'm inclined to prefer an edge grain.
End grain cutting board cracks in walnut-dsc_4652s.jpg
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-03-2018, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hoppe View Post
As far as the walnut and open-grain, I did notice that as well. I have seen a few designs where it was all maple and the walnut was decorative on the outside. Maybe that's why?
Exactly why. Good for accent pieces, maybe, but not for where the main use area will be

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post #10 of 12 Old 12-04-2018, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Worth mentioning that open-grain woods like walnut aren't the best choice for cutting boards, since food bits and crap can get stuck down in the open spaces of the grain. Best to stick to the closed-grain woods like maple, unless its a decorative piece. At least 5 different people are going to chime in calling me an idiot because their solid walnut board has never made anybody sick, to which I respond that sampling bias is a thing and that you can play chicken with your own health, don't tell other people to do it though. Nobody wants their last meal to be a salad because they died of e.coli because the salad was prepared on a board previously used for chicken
I doubt anyone will call you an idiot. Overly cautious maybe.

I made one out of Maple and Walnut and have to admit, I may more attention to cleaning than I do any of my other boards.
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-04-2018, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Just another follow up.

I did use half of the pieces that did not have these failures to make an 18◊13 board. It seemed the failures were exactly in the middle. So the end cuts came out right, and about 6-8Ē of the original board in the middle had these defects.

I also made a 2nd board, or at least the cuts for it, still gluing up on pieces as I have to do 1/2 at a time to fit through my planer, and I double/triple checked everything, and did a test through cut, and the new walnut looks perfect. No defects!

Thanks for all the lessons!
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-04-2018, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Worth mentioning that open-grain woods like walnut aren't the best choice for cutting boards, since food bits and crap can get stuck down in the open spaces of the grain. Best to stick to the closed-grain woods like maple, unless its a decorative piece. At least 5 different people are going to chime in calling me an idiot because their solid walnut board has never made anybody sick, to which I respond that sampling bias is a thing and that you can play chicken with your own health, don't tell other people to do it though. Nobody wants their last meal to be a salad because they died of e.coli because the salad was prepared on a board previously used for chicken
Certainly something consider but no wood is really "closed-grain" all wood is "open-grained" to varying degrees. UC Davis https://news.ncsu.edu/2014/09/cuttin...s-food-safety/ and many other studies mention soft woods are less desirable because it allows the wood to split apart more easily forming groves where bacteria thrives. I have made many end grain boards that include walnut and one that is entirely walnut. There is no noticeable grooving or slicing into the walnut. The other thing I would point out is all of the studies believe they are more sanitary because they draw bacteria into the wood where they die off. This will sound stupid to some but I can't help but wonder if that is true, would it not make sense an more open grain would work better/faster?

When you think of all the things your food comes into contact before you eat it your hardwood end grain cutting board kept reasonably clean dry condition in your home is probably on the lower end of the risk scale.
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