Fixing a 38 year old student cutting board

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Blog entry by Don Butler posted 03-15-2010 05:28 PM 1243 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our son, now in his fifties, built a free form cutting board for a student project while in high school. We sat down and calculated its age to be 38 years. My wife cherishes it, not so much because of its masterful workmanship, but because he’s her firstborn.

After all that time, two of the glue lines are opening up a bit. Marge pointed it out to me, making sure I understood that she didn’t want this treasured keepsake (which she has used in the kitchen all this time) to fall apart.

Obvious to me, the board had to be ripped through the glue lines and re glued.
But how to rip this free form board with no straight edges?

Here’s a closeup of the board showing the defects.

I knew, of course, that the rip fence would be useless.

Placing it on my cross cutting sled I lined up the first de-lamination with the edge of the sled and tried to visualize how to secure the board on it.

So the idea formed that I could utilize a couple of my small hold down clamps. I just needed some screws and a couple of small blocks.

Placing the board carefully on the sled in the desired position for the first cut, I traced around the edge of the board where I wanted to clamp it. When the clamps were installed I fitted the board to the sled and scrutinized the alignment from the bottom. The line of the cut is the edge of the sled, so the desired line of cut on the board can be seen from that viewpoint.

Here’s the board clamped down for the first cut.

The board was cut and reglued. After the glue cured sufficiently to remove the clamps, I removed the holddowns from the cross cut sled and repeated the process for the second cut.

It just occured to me. I may be violating some universal law of woodworking by using a crosscut sled to make rip cuts!

The pear shaped board has been nicely repaired. Some of the knife cuts were sanded out and the board was re-oiled.

Mama’s happy.
That makes Papa happy!


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

10 comments so far

View Swede's profile


191 posts in 4073 days

#1 posted 03-15-2010 06:29 PM

Some things just can’t be replaced good job.

-- Swede -- time to make some sawdust

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

732 posts in 4673 days

#2 posted 03-15-2010 06:32 PM

Hi Don,
I also recently repaired a delaminating cutting board. I chose to seperate it using the bandsaw because the kerf was less than the table saw. After a light pass on the jointer I reglued with Titebond 3 and sanded. Momma does appreciate having something as simple as a well used cutting board refurbished.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View poopiekat's profile


4918 posts in 4789 days

#3 posted 03-15-2010 06:58 PM

The best thing about woodworking is when your projects call on your intuition to solve those unique problems.
Nice save, Don!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4936 days

#4 posted 03-15-2010 08:02 PM

Nice save.
You did not violate any rule in my book.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 4623 days

#5 posted 03-15-2010 09:02 PM

We all know the rule… If momma ain’t happy – nobody is happy.

Nice save Don.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4163 days

#6 posted 03-15-2010 10:26 PM

Nice save Don. One of the fringe benefits of building things is having an idea on how to fix them as well. I have seen some jig plans for cutting irregular shape objects and your solution followed the same principle, hold downs on a carry board. Here’s to another 38 years of kitchen servitude :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4170 days

#7 posted 03-16-2010 12:53 AM

great saved Don


View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4286 days

#8 posted 03-16-2010 04:45 AM

As long as it’s not a safety rule, no biggie.

I had a few pieces that I wish had stayed in the family long enough for me to get to this point. I KNOW how to fix them now…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 4450 days

#9 posted 03-16-2010 01:56 PM

I’m only trying to be funny saying it might be against the rules to use a crosscut sled to do a rip cut.

The whole idea was to do a very safe, controlled operation. You might say I re-purposed the sled for a new operation.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4219 days

#10 posted 04-13-2010 02:31 AM

Satisfying, and you probably got some lifetime points for doing that.
I built my sled with the idea of doing some short rips on it, since it has about 25 inches of capacity. And I have already used it for rips, and it is not even done yet, meaning the miter arms and the stop blocks. I have T- track in the sled for the miter boards, so it is easy to use hold downs for things.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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