Joining (2) Butcher Blocks - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-16-2015, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Joining (2) Butcher Blocks

Hello all,

Let me first say I am a complete beginner in wood working (As you will easily tell from the photos). I am self internet taught and try my best to research and watch videos. Most of the time too much as to which I second guess myself. This was my first attempt at an end grain butcher block.

Anyways, I have a couple questions. I am looking for advice in joining (2) end grain butcher blocks that I had to make each 12 inches wide to fit through my cheapo planer. I have mostly beginner tools.

- Should I just square up one final cut on the table saw and glue them together? I was afraid of the clamping and the pressure going the opposite way (I was going to use straight wood on the ends to distribute the pressure).

- Should I square all edges on the table saw? I built a cross cut sled and rip jig today. Although the rip jig was about three days too late. I wish I would have had a perfect rip on the first cut.

I learned some valuable lessons along the way. I hope to only get better as the time goes on. Any maybe even find a couple classes to take. Thanks for you help!!

* The end grains are facing up if you can't see in the photos
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-16-2015, 09:55 PM
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Some say it can be done, but do not run those through the planer.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-17-2015, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks hwebb99. I wasn't going to even attempt running through the planer.

I may try the Freud Glue line rip and then just glue with minimal pressure. Then cross my fingers and hope for the best.

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post #4 of 6 Old 11-17-2015, 11:48 AM
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You have glued all the little parts, the two big parts should be no different as long as the edges are straight and a good fit.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #5 of 6 Old 11-17-2015, 02:07 PM
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Here is something that may help you given your inexperience building end grain cutting board. Pay particular attention to the statements about grain orientation. If you don't get that right, you can expect long-term problems with your board.

There is a little engineering that needs to be considered when building an end grain butcher block or cutting board. First, choose wood where the growth rings (viewed from the end) run as close to 90 degrees or parallel to one edge. Remember, the expansion/contraction is about double along the annular rings verses perpendicular to the rings. You've got to keep the grain running in the same direction as you glue up your strips. In other words, don't glue a flatsawn edge to a quartersawn edge.

Next, the way butcher blocks are made is to glue up strips of wood like you were making a laminated type cutting board. These laminated panels are then run through a planer to flatten them and bring them to equal thickness. Then the panel is crosscut into strips of blocks equal to the thickness that you want the butcher block to be. These block strips are then glued together again keeping the grain running in the same directions.

Not paying attention to the grain orientation will lead to the block cracking and/or joints being pulled apart.

A ANSI type II or ANSI Type I (Titebond III) adhesive will work just fine however, you need to be sure you do everything right to get good adhesion. Wood glues are non-toxic when cured. Your glue faces should be flat and freshly cut. It they were cut more than a few days earlier, freshen them up with about three swipes with 320 sandpaper and block to keep the faces flat.

Generally, threaded rod is not used as maple has quite a bit of movement when it's moisture content changes. Threaded rod would restrict this movement and either deform the block or pull the nut/washers into the wood when it expanded leaving the rod performing no function when the wood later shrinks. Proper gluing will keep the block together.

Finally, it always much cheaper, and a lot less aggravating to purchase a butcher block than to make one. The firms that specialize in end grain butcher blocks have specialized equipment to apply the necessary clamping force, plane the initial boards exactly correctly, plane the first glue up and then clamps to make the final block.

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post #6 of 6 Old 11-17-2015, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses. I am in complete agreement that it is easier to purchase one. This was a task that I got in my mind, and wanted to do it myself. And since I've started, want to do another with small things I have learned. Haha.

Having small do-it-yourself tools really restricts me on the size that I can achieve. I think my biggest fault was attempting to use a Sears 4.5 jointer. I think I would have been better ripping straight cuts with the sled I built. But again, this is something I may try on my next one.

And just to follow up with some of the questions, I believe I tried to be as conscious as possible with the grain orientation. And I am only using Titebond III as I seen what others have had success with.

I am going to try and square up the board as much as possible (Glue-Line rip) and then give her a good gluing, routing, sanding, oiling. We shall see....


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