End Grain woes

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 10-18-2011 05:34 AM 1718 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working on a few cutting boards for christmas presents. Doing 3 at one time seems to make things go a little faster. I pulled my first final one from the clamps today and of course it’s not flat. I did some work with the belt sander but that didn’t do any better. I know better than to chuck this thing through my planer (fortunatly it’s too wide for my planer so I’m not overly tempted).

The belt sander didn’t work so well, so I tried some 60 grid self adhesive backed sand paper. I filled a sheet of MDF (wider than my cutting board) with the paper and clamped it down on my table saw (flattest surface in my shop). I was able to get 1 side “flatter” but not flat and the other side still wobbles. I think I’d spend several days and maybe a full roll of sandpaper before I got this thing totally flat.

This got me searching for some ideas.

The first and formost idea is a drumsander, (oh how I want one!), the other was a v-groove sander. Buildiing a drum sander is certianly on my todo list, but it’s not something I’m sure I’ll get done by christmas especially since I got news that I could be getting the sawstop saw I wanted as soon as next week. I will want to spend a lot of time building a saw station like

I was hoping to get the cutting boards done and out of the way so I’m not rushing last minute to get them completed. I googled a little bit and found a few solutions like a low angle hand plane that is very sharp, or a butcher block plane that is very sharp. I only have a single hand plane, and I like it for the things it’s good at (#3 smoothing plane) but not so much on the end grain cutting board.

Then I saw a link to a router thickness planer. I have a router, and I’m pretty good with it. I think this would work out great I just need to do some more research to figure out what bit to use, and some good plans or pictures of different router thicknessers.

At least now I have a plan of attack, router planer or router thicknesser whatever it’s called, I will make you .. and you will make my cutting boards flat!

If you’ve made a router thicknesser please let me know, post your project and suggestions I’d love to hear them.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

8 comments so far

View Gary's profile


9414 posts in 4065 days

#1 posted 10-18-2011 05:41 AM

The router works well. Do a search, you can find it on this site

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Moron's profile


5047 posts in 4526 days

#2 posted 10-18-2011 06:39 AM

It’s simple.

Make a temporary face plate for your router out of rigid plywood (particle board/mdf) thats more then twice as wide and long as the butcher block. Build a frame around the BB that is the same height or slightly higher. Secure frame to something flat……………and route till flat

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3635 days

#3 posted 10-18-2011 08:03 AM

Try a bowl making bit or just a bottom cutter. bottom bit bowl bit

I like Gary Fixler’s method

Hope this helps.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View cathyb's profile


839 posts in 3876 days

#4 posted 10-18-2011 09:36 AM

Jeremy this is my suggestion. I’ve had plenty of projects that didn’t work out the way I thought that they would and spent so many hours trying to get things right. You need to get some more wood (not from the same source) and start three more cutting boards. Put the others aside for future gifts. Once you give yourself the permission to move on without completely abandoning the first project, you will learn more from the repeat than you ever could have from a book, DVD or a class. What you should ask yourself during the next set of cutting boards is what happened with the first group and you can’t let that happen again. Good luck….

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 4436 days

#5 posted 10-18-2011 11:31 AM


the original Stanley design was meant for exactly that application.

View Broglea's profile


687 posts in 3723 days

#6 posted 10-18-2011 06:24 PM

I’ve used the router method on every cutting board I’ve made. Works like a charm.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3404 days

#7 posted 10-18-2011 07:00 PM

Ya I’m not so inclined to spend $200 on a hand plane for this I like my handplane well enough, but I haven’t fallen in love with it. I like it for jobs that are faster using the hand plane than pulling out the equivilant machine.

I’m going to try and make the router sled tonight, should be pretty easy. I think I’m going to use my normal base instead of the plung base. My normal base has an adjustment nob that would make adjusting the depth in tiny increments super easy.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 4436 days

#8 posted 10-19-2011 04:08 AM

My point was that flattening a cutting board is a fairly trivial process with the right plane – mainly size and sharpness, though the angle of that Veritas one is ideal. Probably faster than the router method, certainly faster than building the jig.

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