Legless Vegetable Death Tables

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Project by McLeanVA posted 12-15-2009 08:45 PM 4237 views 23 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Note: These are not cutting boards! Don’t be confused. They are legless vegetable death tables. OK, fine they’re cutting boards. Total right of passage on LJ’s though.

Like many others, I tried my hand at making some Christmas gifts for the family. Learned a lot along the way and convinced my wife that I needed a Dewalt planer to make them. They are not without their flaws, but I think they sure will make my family members happy. Now that I have finished my first batch, I’m looking forward to experimenting with some new patterns.

The above photos were taken before applying finish. I tried the 50% Salad Bowl Finish – 50% Mineral Spirits (x4 coats). I was really pleased with how well they finished.

Photos 2 and 3 are the result of an end-grain pattern idea I dreamed up at work one day. Had never seen it before, but I am sure it’s a common design.

Photo 4 shows some of the ultra-popular walnut, cherry, maple end-grain patterns.

Photo 5 shows my favorite maple end-grain boards. I dig simplicity.

Photo 6 shows your typical breadboard made out of pieces from the scrap bin. Curly walnut, curly maple, cherry and mahogany. All from left-over projects.

I am sure you’re all sick of cutting boards, but as a right of passage to LJ’s I had to post my initial attempts.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

25 comments so far

View mnorusis's profile


153 posts in 3677 days

#1 posted 12-15-2009 08:52 PM

Nice boards, I bet they look awesome with the finish on.

Nice to see another NoVA woodworker around here.

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

267 posts in 3888 days

#2 posted 12-15-2009 08:53 PM

Nice work. :-) I have yet to attempt an end grain cutting board. I’m curious how you glue those up.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 4014 days

#3 posted 12-15-2009 08:58 PM

Very nice. I love the patterns.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View SNSpencer's profile


133 posts in 3647 days

#4 posted 12-15-2009 09:05 PM

Great title for the project post. Question… How do you level the boards? You stated that you needed a planer but is there an issue with using that since you are going at the end grain? I would be afraid of blowout and of course damage to my planer.

-- Jef Spencer - Refined Pallet -

View degoose's profile


7259 posts in 3888 days

#5 posted 12-15-2009 09:29 PM

Now you are trying to make me look lazy, LOL
Very nice job… I have tried one of the boards in pics 2 and 3 but it did no turn out as good as yours.
I say well done… you have proved your rite of passage… LMAO!

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 3968 days

#6 posted 12-15-2009 11:56 PM

degoose – Coming from the master, I take it as the highest of compliments.

SNSpencer – I didn’t have any issues with the planer. I run my pieces through the planer after each glue up to make sure they are all of equal size. Also, I take extremely light passes (1/32” or 1/64”) once I am planing the end-grain. I learned a trick along the way, which others had warned me about when it comes to blow out. I glued a scrap piece of pine to the infeed and outfeed edges of my boards to keep from tearing out the end grain. If you need more explanation, I’d be happy to PM you with more details. I learned this the hard way when some of my boards had to be cut down to a fraction of their original size. :)

Will Stokes – Basically I used a 10 step process.
1. Rip 30” (length depends on overall length of board) strips of 3/4” lumber @ 1.75” wide. Shoot for an even number (I used 16 due to the width of my planer).

2. Take two of these pieces (mates) and glue them together face to face. Do the same for the other 7 mates. Clamp them all together (remember that you will only have glue between the 8 mates). After the glue dries, you will be left with 8 individual pieces.

3. I then use some double-sided tape and stick these 8 pieces together face to face and feed them through the planer until they are 1.5” thick. (Simple math: 3/4” + 3/4” pieces glued together and then planed down to 1.5” thick = a nice long square that is 30” long). The reason I cut these a bit proud is to compensate for shifting in the glue-up process.

4. I remove the double-sided tape and flip every other piece 90 degrees. This gives us the checkerboard pattern as seen on the maple and cherry/maple boards above. Glue them together in this pattern and clamp them to dry.

5. Once these have dried, I take this large piece (should be 12”x30”x1.5”) and run it through the planer just enough to remove glue and any slight imperfections from shifting during glue up.

6. I then take it and make crosscuts on my table saw. This step determines the final thickness of your finished board. I shoot for 1.25” or 1.5” thick. (Remember these will soon be rotated 90 degrees to expose end-grain).

7. I then take all of these cross cut pieces and “flip-flop” every other piece so that when they are laid out on the table (end-grain up), they create the checkerboard pattern.

8. I glue all of these pieces together. At opposite ends of the narrowest edge, I glue scrap pieces of wood (pine) the same height as the height of my board. (This assures that there won’t be any tear-out during the final planing).

9. After they have dried, you should be left with something that resembles an end-grain board (with scrap planks on either end). If you were careful with your glue process, they should be level enough to run through a planer.

10. After a successful planing, you can run the board across your table saw to remove the pine scrap pieces from the edges.

Optional steps – sanding to your preferred grit, rounding the edges with a router, making recessed handles on the underside with a router, etc. Finish is up to you. Plenty of advice/theories on the perfect finish.

I hope this helps and hasn’t confused you. Probably reads a bit “wordy” but give it a shot and you’ll figure out a method that works well for you. Best of luck to you and thanks for looking.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View kine97/Theresa's profile


121 posts in 4312 days

#7 posted 12-16-2009 12:00 AM

I was concentrating on how you put together the pattern for the zigzag closely, until I saw
the line about them being “Legless Vegetable Death Tables”. I had a good laugh when I reread it! Great job, and thanks for the giggles too :)

-- "My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning, and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can." -Cary Grant

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 3968 days

#8 posted 12-16-2009 12:00 AM

PrairieFire – No true meaning to the silly title. Just figured everyone was sick of seeing cutting boards on here. Legless tables that serve as the final grounds for innocent vegetables before being sliced/diced/chopped was catchier in my opinion. Maybe a bit too far. Either way, they are what they are.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 3968 days

#9 posted 12-16-2009 12:03 AM

Theresa - Glad you liked the title. I was hoping it would get more laughs than it did raised eyebrows.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4222 days

#10 posted 12-16-2009 01:44 AM

Nice designs …I’d really like to see them with the finish applied though : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4631 days

#11 posted 12-16-2009 01:46 AM

You made me laugh. Thanks.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View sras's profile


5228 posts in 3663 days

#12 posted 12-16-2009 02:03 AM

Nice job on the boards! I like the zig zag pattern, but I really like the title!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View DuaneEDMD's profile


115 posts in 3886 days

#13 posted 12-16-2009 03:37 AM

Those are really great. I love the designs. I have one quick suggestion you may want to try. Just run a block plane across the trailing end of your end grain boards prior to planing them and you will have no blow out and you can save yourself some time gluing on and then cutting off the pine scraps. A slight bevel on that edge will eliminate the blow out completely. Again, great job….they look great.

-- --It's not how long you live, but how you live that makes it a life.--

View Dudley's profile


742 posts in 3794 days

#14 posted 12-16-2009 04:22 AM

Great what ever they are. My next what ever’s are gonna look something like your’s I hope. BZ

-- Dudley Young USN Retired. Sebastian, Fl.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4861 days

#15 posted 12-16-2009 05:15 AM

i’m totally throwing away all our cutting boards and getting ourselves some of these death tables, sans legs of course.
made my wife and I laugh outloud.

oh, and nice boards too!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

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