Checkerboard End Grain Cutting Board #2: Putting it together

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 06-12-2009 05:26 AM 6698 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Skecthup Model....ya, you heard me right...of a cutting board Part 2 of Checkerboard End Grain Cutting Board series no next part

Ok, when I last left you this cutting board was just a Sketchup design. After a trip to the hard wood dealer and some basic milling I arrived at this very hefty glue up. I tried to do the ripping on my BOSCH, but even with a thin kerf blade it was a little too much for that saw, so I took over my buddies cabinet shop! Here are some shots of the first glue up..

Here is the blank, out of the clamps and sanded to 1 1/2” thick..

Ok, now the fun part..After squaring one end up on the radial arm, I cut 1 5/8” strips out of the glue up and flip every other one. Then another glue up..Here is where things started to get a little dicey. It never occurred to me that these were laminated pieces not solid wood and I might consider gluing it up in sections to keep it straight…or using some solid wood cauls on the ends to squeeze the pieces together. You can see the top left of the board curving in from the clamps.

definitely a slight alignment problem..everything was getting skewed slightly by the clamping pressure..

Here is the board out of the clamps and sanded with a dual drum sander to 1 1/2”. You can clearly see the left side bending in..

Well it is what it is, so I just made the best of it. I carefully cut the sides down trying to strike a balance between keeping things square and perpendicular and making the boarder look even. Here is the board after I cut the border, and polish sanded it from 80 to 180 with a pneumatic orbital palm sander..

Not too looks ok. After this I took it home a routed a 1/8” radius on all the edges and sanded it to 250. Then multiple coats of mineral oil. I have a light and heavy viscosity mineral oils and I use the heavy one for end grain slows the absorption down a little. The end grain really soaks up the oil!

Check out my project posting for the finished pictures!


5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5036 days

#1 posted 06-12-2009 05:32 AM

Hey David
Cool board,well done


View Maynard's profile


38 posts in 4763 days

#2 posted 06-12-2009 06:00 AM

Would it be advisable to use a wash coat of glue and water before you start to finish so as to slow down the absorption of the mineral oil?

View Peik Löf's profile

Peik Löf

115 posts in 4831 days

#3 posted 06-12-2009 07:57 AM

Very nice

A easy fix for that alignment problem would be some scraps to the length of the board or something and some clamps to keep all the pieces…. aligned :D

-- My signature is awesome.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5416 days

#4 posted 06-18-2009 10:58 PM

Thanks for the comments. Maynard, I guess that would work but even though the glue is food safe I wouldn’t cover the food contact area with it. I am a strict believer in only mineral oil and bees wax for cutting board finishes…unless its decorative then I use a salad bowl finish. I have two different viscosity’s of mineral oil. I use the lighter one for face and side grain boards so it penetrates the tight grain faster. I use a heavier viscosity on the end grain boards …it slows the absorption down alot, and I don’t let the end grain boards sit as long as the others…a couple coats and thats it. The end grain will keep drinking up that oil forever, and then it will bleed back out of the board..forever!


View akaCAM's profile


10 posts in 4598 days

#5 posted 12-04-2009 08:36 PM

Thanks for the wonderful photos!

As an aside, “The Woodwhisperer” did a video (YouTube) on building this same butcher block. He made a point of telling the viewer not to clamp the board too tightly. Perhaps overclamping is what attributed to your alignment problem? Like Peik suggested, “The Wood Whisperer” does use additional boards to help the alignment problem, as well. He also heavily addresses the finishing process. It was pretty interesting; if you haven’t see it, you might want to take a look.

I will say you have one up on “The Wood Whisperer” for how you’ve presented this project with such great photos. I made notes from his video, because I need to build a large butcher block from maple and walnut (like yours). Having your notes and photos will really help me, when I start mine. Between the two of you, I can’t miss with all the info I’ve gathered! Thanks for going to all the trouble to document your process.

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