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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there, everybody.
I run a plaque shop and we specialize in red oak and black Walnut.
I started making cutting boards as gifts for folks, but ran in to an issue. (I've since started pretty much just doing endgrain boards, though)
When I use surface grain for a particular shape on the CNC i,I notice that when the board is cut a certain way with a knife, little splinters come off of it. Especially withthe oak.
I've since replaced the two boards I gifted with a nice end grain board, but I would like to know what woods would be best for using the surface grain?
I have access to tons of Walnut and Oak. (and some alder), and I buy Cherry and maple.

I only ask because some people request shaped boards, and it's easiest to use the surface grain for those, but I don't want to make any more that will splinter and possibly harm.
Thanks in advance

Edit.. I meant to say, splinters off knife cuts after production, not machining problems.
 

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Were you getting the splinters from the oak?

Walnut is a good choice and is widely used in cutting boards.

Oak on the other hand is not. The grain is too open. It's hard enough but the structure of the wood and grain patterns make it a bad choice.

If you went with maybe ash you should get a similar look.

You should post a few pictures of your work! It's always nice to see
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Were you getting the splinters from the oak?

Walnut is a good choice and is widely used in cutting boards.

Oak on the other hand is not. The grain is too open. It's hard enough but the structure of the wood and grain patterns make it a bad choice.

If you went with maybe ash you should get a similar look.

You should post a few pictures of your work! It's always nice to see
Yeah, it's mostly the oak that did this.
In your opinion is oak Ok to use for endgrain boards still, though?
I'll post some pics a little later on.. :) Thanks
 

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Walnut and oak have open grain, cherry and maple have closed grain. Oak has the most tendency to "splinter" but all wood does when you cut against the grain. When cutting shapes, you cut against the grain half the time unless you can change the direction of the cut. That is often called climb cutting since you cut with the rotation of a router bit rather than against the rotation. Climb cutting entails other issues but it can be the only way to get clean cuts on one half of arched shapes. Maple is the least splintery of the species you mentioned but northern maple is hard and burns easily if cutters aren't sharp and you go too slow. There are also soft maples, often figured and a little easier on cutters but the figure has wild, changing grain that can be difficult to mill without tear out on the surfaces. Maple has been a traditional cutting board wood because it stands up to knives and doesn't have open pores.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Walnut and oak have open grain, cherry and maple have closed grain. Oak has the most tendency to "splinter" but all wood does when you cut against the grain. When cutting shapes, you cut against the grain half the time unless you can change the direction of the cut. That is often called climb cutting since you cut with the rotation of a router bit rather than against the rotation. Climb cutting entails other issues but it can be the only way to get clean cuts on one half of arched shapes. Maple is the least splintery of the species you mentioned but northern maple is hard and burns easily if cutters aren't sharp and you go too slow. There are also soft maples, often figured and a little easier on cutters but the figure has wild, changing grain that can be difficult to mill without tear out on the surfaces. Maple has been a traditional cutting board wood because it stands up to knives and doesn't have open pores.
Thanks.. My main concern was people using their board and their knife cutting up splinters off the surface in to their food.. Not necessarily the production aspects of the wood.
Which is why I am going with endgrain, but for the shaped boards, like the owl and mushroom inmy link, it's easiest to use surface grain
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Hard maple is a great option for cutting boards, red oak on the other hand is not.
 

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Under light household use, splintering from knives shouldn't be a problem but oak grain can separate lifting leaves of the grain. You can see a lot of antique chopping blocks that are seriously hollowed from long term use but mostly done by cleavers and knives in a commercial environment and rather wet conditions. Here is an example with some interesting story lines.
http://www.nerdylorrin.net/jerry/r+j/MyButcherBlk/ButcherBlk.html
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, for the surface grain ones, I'll stop using oak.
I'll use maple, Walnut, and Cherry.

Still unsure if this is all an issue with the end grain of the oak, however.. I'dlike to keep using the oak for end grain bboards if possible as iI have a lot of it to use
 

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Even for endgrain?
Yes, even for end grain. Search red oak and white oak. There is an abundance of good information about open and closed cells. But be aware, as noted, even some white oak has some open end grain cells. Example: chestnut oak.

I would prefer surface cutting on red oak, using the interior tree surface if plain sawed, as opposed to porous end grain.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, even for end grain. Search red oak and white oak. There is an abundance of good information about open and closed cells. But be aware, as noted, even some white oak has some open end grain cells. Example: chestnut oak.

I would prefer surface cutting on red oak, using the interior tree surface if plain sawed, as opposed to porous end grain.
Ok, thanks a lot for that info.
I ask all this because the oak is so plentiful and easy to work with.
Now, I have noticed the pores and such in the red oak. I use the oak along with the other woods to add another shade of color in the boards when needed when I am making end grain cutting boards.

Where exactly is the oak fault lieing? The fact that it'll suck up water more? If so, won't the mineral oil fight that off? Too hard on knives?
What will happen to the existing boards I've made with end grain oak in them?

Thanks a lot, everybody, for taking your time to help me.
 

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Cedar Box Maker
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This is what I got from your link;
"This content is currently unavailable"
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is what I got from your link;
"This content is currently unavailable"
Thank you for the reply..
It seems I can only upload one image at a time in my gallery, so I'llupdate when iI get a few more in there.
Only have one currently.
 
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