End Grain Blocks

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Project by oleCB posted 08-18-2012 07:17 PM 2746 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am ‘trying’ to make a Hope Chest of Walnut End Grain blocks with cedar lining on the inside. The first picture is of one of the end panels. The second is of the pieces I am making the front,back and top out of. This will take some time because paying work keeps getting in the way.

I cut the cants from some smaller logs I have here with my small mill. I then dried the blocks in the microwave and glued them up onto the inside cedar lining. Few if any cracks in these blocks. I’m more excited abt that than the Chest.. ;)

The blocks are 4” square and 3/8” thick.

-- There was only one perfect carpenter... It wasn't me!

13 comments so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3162 days

#1 posted 08-18-2012 07:53 PM

An ambitious project ! I wonder if the panels will want to go out of flat ?

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 4194 days

#2 posted 08-18-2012 09:00 PM

Neat project! I really like the grain.

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 4225 days

#3 posted 08-18-2012 11:29 PM

I’d be worried about cracking and warping. Especially since your using the piths in almost all those blocks!\Let us know how it turns out!

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3382 days

#4 posted 08-18-2012 11:42 PM

I say …..................go for it. It will either be right or it will not be right! LOL

I think the idea and design is really unique.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3175 days

#5 posted 08-19-2012 12:38 AM

Pretty neat grain patterns, just keep us posted how they stand the test of time…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4696 days

#6 posted 08-19-2012 02:25 AM

Very cool pattern! You may want to make a small box to test out how it may move/warp/buckle? I think this could be applied to a few interesting projects.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Chris P.'s profile

Chris P.

79 posts in 3639 days

#7 posted 08-19-2012 05:37 AM

Maybe this is a dumb question, but how do you dry blocks in a microwave?

View oleCB's profile


77 posts in 3655 days

#8 posted 08-19-2012 06:18 PM


The only dumb question is the one that wasn’t asked.

I have been laying 4 of these on a sheet of brown paper bag material and then setting the MW for 3 mins. I weigh a sampling of them before I put them in. As soon as the time is up I grab them out and stand them on end. letting them cool while another batch is being ‘dried’ ( the amount of steam that comes off them is amazing.) Some took 2 – 3 minute runs and some took an additional 2 min run. (I use dry paper every time.) In walnut if they are reduced in weight by 1.53 they are dried to 8% moisture. (example. 2 lb block /1.53 = 1 lb 5 oz or real close. ) I am using a fish scale to weigh them and use kilograms instead of lbs because you can get much closer to ‘dry’ weights.

The National Hardwood Lumber Association Chrat shows that Green Black Walnut weighs 4.833 lbs or 2.192 kg per board foot. Dried to 8% moisture it will weigh 3.159 lbs or 1.433 kg PBF. This is where I came up with the 1.53 figure. 4.833/3.159 = 1.529.

These blocks are 3/8” thick and I have found that you can boil thicker ones (1 1/8”) for an hour laying flat, it then only takes 1 – 2 1/2 mins in the microwave to get them dry to the right weights. I make sure I am getting them to weigh just under the Green Weights / 1.53.

I am gluing the blocks to 6” X 18” X 5/16” thick cedar and it is staying pretty flat. I an also placing a 1 1/2” frame around each panel to help keep the panels flat.

Some of the 3/8” thick have curled/warped. I am going to try something a little different with the thicker blocks and see what happens. NONE have cracked. The blocks are thicker than what I want to end up with and after gluing them onto the cedar, I used a router jig I made to plane the panels flat then sanded the H$#l out of it!

I did abt screw the pooch, I don’t know now if I accidently hit 30 mins or put a block back in before it had cooled enough on the inside. I got the block out before is actually started burning, but it took a couple hours to get all the smoke out of the house.

-- There was only one perfect carpenter... It wasn't me!

View oleCB's profile


77 posts in 3655 days

#9 posted 08-21-2012 12:12 AM

This is going to be the front panel. Still needs more sanding and varnish, but I think it’s gonna be kinda nice!

-- There was only one perfect carpenter... It wasn't me!

View chrisstef's profile


18127 posts in 3980 days

#10 posted 08-21-2012 12:18 AM

I dig these kind of projects. For me its like ive got just enough information and knowledge to get in trouble. Ill be following along for sure.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View oleCB's profile


77 posts in 3655 days

#11 posted 08-21-2012 12:29 AM


Same here. I got into this when a guy at a local saw mill asked if I could dry the blocks without them cracking and checking. I decided I would find away and I’ll learn as I go for sure. He says there is a big market for the end grain blocks for floors and walls.

I did try the ‘new’ idear I had. About 1/2 the thinner blocks warp. I’m now cutting them 1 1/8” thick drying them, trimming em and then glue them back into a short cant and recut them 3/8”. This keeps them from warping and when back into a longer ‘cant’ I can use my miter saw to cut them, saves on finners!

-- There was only one perfect carpenter... It wasn't me!

View chrisstef's profile


18127 posts in 3980 days

#12 posted 08-22-2012 01:37 PM

oleCB … whatta ya got to lose right? It reminds me of the football project i did. Grabbed a log from the yard and just started hackin away … eventually the ideas kept coming and ill be damned they worked too. In the end the most fun project i had done to date. Keep it up ill be watchin.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View oleCB's profile


77 posts in 3655 days

#13 posted 01-29-2013 02:13 PM

Well, I got side tracked from this project. The first panel has stayed flat and still doesn’t show any cracks. I did make a long panel 36” X 18” and then other things started happening. I moved that panel outside and an emergency came up, I forgot, left it and it got rained on. That screwed the pooch for that one.

Then recieved a request for ‘samples’ of the tiles for flooring and wall panels. I have sold several hundred 6” X 6” X from 5/8” to 1” thick since then. I have started a web site and am trying to sell more of them those sizes. I had just enough time and tiles left over to make the jewelry boxes I posted here last week. The tiles are coming along pretty well and I get very few cracks in them. Am making a new order for another 200 right now. I’m hoping this really takes off. My site is

The chests would be better yet with the larger tiles. ;)

-- There was only one perfect carpenter... It wasn't me!

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