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View trhoppe's profile

Cracks in the walnut of an end grain cutting board

by trhoppe
posted 12-03-2018 02:45 PM


14 replies so far

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2736 posts in 3181 days


#1 posted 12-03-2018 05:07 PM

Walnut occasionally has small voids like that in it. For non-cutting board projects it really doesn’t matter but I wouldn’t use them for a cutting board.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View trhoppe's profile

trhoppe

9 posts in 108 days


#2 posted 12-03-2018 06:30 PM

Thanks for the response!

I had no idea. I’ve seen how it’s great material for cutting boards, I guess you just have to be a lot more picky with what wood you choose.

Called the hardwood dealer and they are going to hook me up with a new piece, so I’ll do that vs trying to fill them in

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1284 posts in 2250 days


#3 posted 12-03-2018 06:49 PM

As Manitario pointed out, that is the nature of walnut. You can find similar voids in other species or discoloration that mess up the visual appeal of your project. You cannot always see these internal defects in the stock before cutting. A simple way to deal with this in the future is to make the glue-up that you are slicing into strips for the board longer than what is actually needed. If you reveal a void you will hopefully have enough extra to make better pieces. When I do this and end up with a leftover piece I saw it into thinner slices and glue them up to make small trivets or serving trays. Nothing goes to waste in the end.

View Steve's profile

Steve

1085 posts in 880 days


#4 posted 12-03-2018 06:50 PM

are those voids on both sides? I’d salvage the one you’ve started by filling in those cracks and putting them on the bottom if possible

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2573 posts in 1520 days


#5 posted 12-03-2018 07:47 PM

Walnut can get ornery.
Those pictures look like you currently have the strips cut, but have not yet glued them together into a board?

If so, there is nothing restricting the wood from expanding/shrinking on it’s own, unrestricted, so it’s very likely just the wood relieving internal stresses. Things would get much worse had the board been fully assembled.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5255 posts in 2649 days


#6 posted 12-03-2018 08:10 PM

It looks like drying stress from the dry kiln. No much you can do at this point except to get another board.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View trhoppe's profile

trhoppe

9 posts in 108 days


#7 posted 12-03-2018 09:23 PM

Voids are on both sides :( Basically, the middle of the board was bad. Those pieces were super brittle too.

The hardwood place agreed that wasn’t right. They gave me a free slightly longer/wider piece of walnut to make sure I got a good section. I bought a 2nd big piece of maple for $30, and now I have enough to make a 2nd board. I think I’ll actually go edge grain on this one, as it’ll be slightly easier to make and I learned that it’ll be used less for cutting and more for like putting bread on and serving and other things. Also, I read that edge will be less prone to warping even though it’s not as good for self healing/knife care.

As a bonus, this was a big board (18×24) and half the pieces had these defects, so I still managed an 18×13 end grain board out of this, so now I have two :)

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

933 posts in 848 days


#8 posted 12-03-2018 11:15 PM

Would it be possible (and food safe) to fill the voids with some sort of hard epoxy, then sand flat and wipe with butcher block oil? If this idea is food safe I’d prefer this route verse basically throwing all that work away. Or mayb use it as a checker/chess board or just to hang on a wall and look at

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

956 posts in 3381 days


#9 posted 12-03-2018 11:51 PM

Some of the cracks look like simple end checking(hard to say without knowing where in the board they came from). Most of it (or possibly all), is interior checking, or ‘honeycomb’. It’s a drying defect and almost always a kiln drying defect. It’s not normal or natural and shouldn’t be accepted as such.

Glad they replaced it for you.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1284 posts in 2250 days


#10 posted 12-03-2018 11:55 PM



Would it be possible (and food safe) to fill the voids with some sort of hard epoxy, then sand flat and wipe with butcher block oil? If this idea is food safe I’d prefer this route verse basically throwing all that work away. Or mayb use it as a checker/chess board or just to hang on a wall and look at

- JCamp

It would both possible and food safe to fill the voids with epoxy. The catch is that it would negate the desired aspects of an end grain board. The patch would not accept the usual mineral oil and wax finish and would stick out like a sore thumb. End grain boards are “friendly” to scoring by knives from use. Cutting across the grain on long grain boards leaves more damage. Most knives wouldn’t dent a chunk of hardened epoxy so the patch would be more apparent with time. I just wouldn’t do it. Make it a serving tray or something like that and it would be OK, but I wouldn’t do that either. It sounds like the OP was able to find a way to cut the flaw out to make a smaller board. I would do that.

Wood is a natural material that comes with natural defects. You have to plan for the occasional natural flaw when planning a project. When you purchase rough sawn / dried stock for a project you have to be prepared for a hidden defect in the stock when you joint and plane it into the desired dimensions. Same goes for the thicker pieces used to build cutting boards, even if they have been prepped from the rough sawn state. You really need to be prepared to deal with natural flaws in the stock.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

956 posts in 3381 days


#11 posted 12-04-2018 01:00 AM


Wood is a natural material that comes with natural defects. You have to plan for the occasional natural flaw when planning a project. When you purchase rough sawn / dried stock for a project you have to be prepared for a hidden defect in the stock when you joint and plane it into the desired dimensions. Same goes for the thicker pieces used to build cutting boards, even if they have been prepped from the rough sawn state. You really need to be prepared to deal with natural flaws in the stock.

- Kazooman

100% Correct.
Except….none of the defects in the photo’s are natural in any way. They are kiln drying defects and shouldn’t be thought of as acceptable or normal.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1284 posts in 2250 days


#12 posted 12-04-2018 02:07 AM


Wood is a natural material that comes with natural defects. You have to plan for the occasional natural flaw when planning a project. When you purchase rough sawn / dried stock for a project you have to be prepared for a hidden defect in the stock when you joint and plane it into the desired dimensions. Same goes for the thicker pieces used to build cutting boards, even if they have been prepped from the rough sawn state. You really need to be prepared to deal with natural flaws in the stock.

- Kazooman

100% Correct.
Except….none of the defects in the photo s are natural in any way. They are kiln drying defects and shouldn t be thought of as acceptable or normal.

- Tony_S

In an ideal world all kiln dried wood would be free of any defects from the drying process. Even the best of suppliers will have a small amount of issues. The question is how to deal with that. The OP doesn’t sound like a large volume purchaser. How does he deal with a one off trip to the wood supplier to make his Christmas gift?

I have to make about a sixty mile trip each way to pick up my wood. It is from a first rate supplier I have recommended many times here. If I got a defect like what was shown in the pictures, I would imagine that they would give some compensation, but I would not expect them to offer a complete replacement board. Even if they did, it would not help me finish a project. I need to plan ahead to get the job done and purchase appropriately, not make another road trip to plead my case. Replace my original comment on “natural defect” to include “man made defect from the usual kiln drying process”. It is one and the same issue when it comes to turning the stock you purchased into a finished piece. You cannot count on using 100% of your stock. You need to allow for defects in the stock, defects in the design, defects in the actual plan of work, and defects in the eventual execution.

Yes, the OP could go back and complain. He did and got some more wood. He is happy. Didn’t miss the Christmas deadline. If he had ordered a few more inches of stock the defect (man made or otherwise) would be in the burn barrel and the cutting board would be under the tree.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

956 posts in 3381 days


#13 posted 12-04-2018 11:08 AM


If he had ordered a few more inches of stock the defect (man made or otherwise) would be in the burn barrel and the cutting board would be under the tree.
- Kazooman

I’m not talking about minor end checking, which to a small degree is an acceptable defect.
What the OP has shown in the pictures for the most part, is INTERNAL CHECKING/HONEYCOMB. It isn’t something you can typically see, predict, or allow for in your wastage calculations. The degree it can effect the lumber can vary from very minor, to quite serious, rendering a full board, or hundreds of board feet completely useless. Not to mention, case hardening typically goes hand in hand with internal checking and can cause problems anywhere from instability, higher waste factor, difficult to work and in the worst cases, plainly dangerous to perform ripping operations on.

If you’re willing to accept unnatural, man made defects in your lumber, whether it be due to ignorance or you just don’t care, so be it. Thats your choice.
What you shouldn’t do is lead other less educated wood workers to believe that this is either normal or acceptable.
It isn’t. Period.
As the OP has shown…


Voids are on both sides :( Basically, the middle of the board was bad.
The hardwood place agreed that wasn t right.
- trhoppe

Any respectable seller/distributor will have no issues exchanging or refunding lumber with these defects.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View trhoppe's profile

trhoppe

9 posts in 108 days


#14 posted 12-04-2018 03:28 PM

Just another follow up.

I did use half of the pieces that did not have these failures to make an 18×13 board. It seemed the failures were exactly in the middle. So the end cuts came out right, and about 6-8” of the original board in the middle had these defects.

I also made a 2nd board, or at least the cuts for it, still gluing up on pieces as I have to do 1/2 at a time to fit through my planer, and I double/triple checked everything, and did a test through cut, and the new walnut looks perfect. No defects!

Thanks for all the lessons!

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