Cutting Board problem

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Project by WaltGarrison posted 02-17-2013 03:05 PM 2009 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this board following the Wood Whisperer technique; out of Rock maple and Purple Heart. I was quite happy with it until I went to shop this morning and discovered cracks in the largest blocks of Purple Heart that carried all the way through. Everyone of the largest pieces has at least one crack- none of the smaller sizes do.

Yesterday I applied the first coat of finish. It is General Finishes- Salad Bowl Fish . I used Tite Bond II glue and allowed 24 hours for both glue ups.

I am wondering: Did I leave it clamped for too long- over night? Did the drying agent in the finish cause the cracks? Where the two different types of wood not equally cured? I purchased the wood at Wood Craft of Houston. They did not appear to be at all green.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? Is it salvageable?

Many Thanks,

-- WLG- Experience is what you got when you didn't get what you wanted.

10 comments so far

View Trackman's profile


74 posts in 3046 days

#1 posted 02-17-2013 03:22 PM

I have done many of these and have not had this problem. It may well be a problem with the moisture content in the wood. The only issue that I’ve had is the natural relief in the wood will always make the pieces not be flat when I go to do the final glue up. I have to rerun each piece through the table saw to ensure that they’re flat and will glue up with out any stress.

-- Trackman, Washington

View abie's profile


904 posts in 4379 days

#2 posted 02-17-2013 03:48 PM

Super Glue to the rescue.
place a strip of tape on one side and fill with thin super glue. let it stand over night and then sand.
Might just work
does for me.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View waho6o9's profile


8812 posts in 3185 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 04:00 PM

A similar situation happened to Marc on the Wood Whisperer and he
used a food safe epoxy I think.

Nice looking cutting board Lane.

View Ken90712's profile


17820 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 02-17-2013 04:08 PM

Nice work, and sorry to hear about the cracks in your cutting board. I have made over 300 boards with Purple Heart, Walnut and Paduak with no cracking until recently. I did one with Port Orford cedar and it cracked like crazy after sanding. Leaving the clamps on overnight will not hurt it. I think like mentioned above it was the moisture content of the wood. I would recommend in the future using Titebond III as its waterproof and II is water resistant. The Woodwhisper has a video on fixing cracks as well. I use 5 min epoxy and add a drop of dye to it for color blending.
Good luck and nice job you get it!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View WaltGarrison's profile


25 posts in 3066 days

#5 posted 02-17-2013 04:10 PM

Thanks everyone. I’ll try to save it!

-- WLG- Experience is what you got when you didn't get what you wanted.

View Kevin May's profile

Kevin May

74 posts in 2923 days

#6 posted 02-17-2013 05:50 PM

Nice work on the board. I notice very accurate alignment of the pieces, something that can be difficult.

I’ve had a similar problem with purple heart. Not cracks in the wood, but separation of the glue joints. I had made a pattern of block letters, with purple heart being the letters, and yellow heart elsewhere. It appears that the purple heart shrunk after some time, or the yellow heart expanded. The board was finished with mineral oil. Both glue-ups were left in the clamps 24 hours. There was never seperation between any yellow heart blocks, only between 2 purple heart blocks, or a purple heart and yellow heart. I checked grain directions to see if I could see a pattern, but could not. A moisture issue is the only cause I could think of.

-- Kevin May "Making wood useful and fun!"

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2719 days

#7 posted 02-17-2013 06:25 PM

How long was the wood left in your shop before you started working on it?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View WaltGarrison's profile


25 posts in 3066 days

#8 posted 02-17-2013 11:19 PM

I starting the project the same day I brought the wood home. It was pretty high humidity. Should the wood be left in the shop for awhile before starting?

-- WLG- Experience is what you got when you didn't get what you wanted.

View Chris Peroni's profile

Chris Peroni

101 posts in 2547 days

#9 posted 02-18-2013 12:03 AM

it’s always a good idea to let wood acclimate to the humidity of the space it will remain in once being worked on and used. I am running into problems roght now in my garage because it is so cold and dry. Boards I’m bringing home are becoming very moisture deprived (too much) and even splitting at the ends a bit. To some extent you can’t do anything about humidity changing as your finished work ends up elsewhere in your house or others homes, but for sure wood should be left a few days in the shop before working.

-- Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. -Plato

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6052 posts in 3017 days

#10 posted 02-18-2013 03:49 AM

Always a good idea to let wood aclimate to your shop before working with it. I know, you got the wood and like anyone else you want to work with it today. Problem is things like cracks and such show up. The project is savalageable use superglue or epoxy and fill in the cracks. For next project buy the wood now, and say in a month get started. If you are like me you have 10,000 other projects that can be worked on in the mean time. That being said Purpleheart can and is rather fussy. Many a pen has been started and then salvaged in one way or another because it had a “moment”. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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