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Blog entry by spunwood posted 01-05-2011 04:06 AM 2077 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Clamping a cutting board row by row. Two blocks align it along with a vertical clamp. A deadblow mallet levels it. Stephanie came up with this method. I put packing tape on the alignment blocks and on the board they are sitting on to keep them from sticking.

Clamping the rows together.

After the disaster, back home, having discovered what can be saved. You can see some of the planer gouges.

I have been working on an end grain cutting board. I hope to join the ranks soon of the cutting board club, but my membership bid is not quite almost ready anymore.

I was using PurpLev’s Magen David Design. I figured out how to get a mitered rip on the table saw by attaching the sized up piece to some MDF and using the MDF as a sled. This worked great.

I did the glue ups in rows and trimmed each row. Then I did the final glue up and began sanding the hard maple and walnut. It seemed that sanding would take forever so I decided to take the board down to the local high school. We ran it through the planer & BAM! It was in pieces. I could tell be the sound that the cut was too heavy. Also the board had a slight twist, so maybe it snagged an edge.

Either way, it was in pieces. I felt bad for the fellow who ran it through. I could tell he felt terrible. I was mostly still in shock.

Well, I got home, regrouped, and saw that I still had 1/2 the board (though a bit gouged) & that I had all the wood I needed, most of it ready to be cross cut, or mitered…

It will be thinner than I would have liked, and some of the miters will be imperfect because I will have to trim the one half to fit the other and each row will not fit as nicely as the first time, when I had the table saw all set up for each cut…I rarely can repeat such close cuts.

Well, I have all the pieces ready for glue up again, but I will wait until tomorrow…otherwise I am sure to rush it through stress and whatnot.

I am thankful though, because I did not freak out and waste my energy on anger or what ifs.. And I now can do the best heavy sanding by ripping it on the table saw in two halves. I could not have done this when the board was whole because my blade has a maximum rip of 3.5, not 5.5”.

I am amazed at how deep the glue penetrates & if I do this again, I will oversize the board by 1/4-1/2”.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

5 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8598 posts in 4535 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 04:54 AM


1st and foremost – glad to see you are unharmed.

Nice work on the design – but now you may realize why I flattened my board with a router sled and not (never will I run an end grain through ) a thickness planer. I just don’t find the risk worth taking.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3985 days

#2 posted 01-05-2011 05:28 PM

There was an extensive thread about this exact thing last week. The biggest problem when planing a cutting board with blocks of end grain is the bottom not being dead flat, prior to the planing operation.
Once it rocks from the planer pressure, it will grab a high point and bingo.
If you can get the bottom flat, without any twist or bow, you can take very light cuts off the top until you clean it up. Then flip it and take light passes off the bottom.
Still, the safest way is like Purplev said, is using a router sled.
Did the planer get damaged ?
Stay safe.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3723 days

#3 posted 01-05-2011 05:55 PM

Man, wish I had caught that thread. I think the planer is fine. It was a huge old powermatic with handcranks and what not.


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4844 days

#4 posted 01-05-2011 08:08 PM

I am lucky enough to have a friend that owns a dual drum sander….without a doubt one of the best and safest ways to flatten cutting boards. I have put edge grain boards through a planer to flatten them, and never had a problem. Never tried and end grain though..and now I probably wont!


View dubsaloon's profile


622 posts in 3681 days

#5 posted 01-08-2011 01:09 PM

Sorry for the trouble brother. I lost the end of my thumb learning the end grain troubles. happy to see you are o.k. and regrouped. Should be a nice project.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

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