flattening end grain cutting boards

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Forum topic by leftcoaster posted 11-28-2018 05:35 PM 940 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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258 posts in 1296 days

11-28-2018 05:35 PM

Hi, I don’t have a drum sander and hate using my router or my ROS for the length of time it takes to flatten an end grain cutting board. the thickness planer is dangerous for end grain.

Anyone here in the habit of planing these by hand to flatten out after the glue up? If so, any tips would be welcome.

9 replies so far

View LesB's profile


2126 posts in 3863 days

#1 posted 11-28-2018 05:56 PM

You can try a belt sander but it might be harder to keep the surface flat. Same with a rotary sander.

I saw in the catalog that CMT has a new type of router bit that is made for this sort of thing and would probably reduce the time involved.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Rich's profile


4564 posts in 1009 days

#2 posted 11-28-2018 06:10 PM

I run end grain through my planer with a shelix head. For pieces too wide to fit, I use a router sled. Once you do get it flat with a sled, I recommend using a 1/2 sheet orbital sander since it has the largest surface area of any hand held sander.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5316 posts in 2729 days

#3 posted 11-28-2018 07:16 PM

Some ideas here.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View bondogaposis's profile


5453 posts in 2771 days

#4 posted 11-28-2018 07:20 PM

I bought a drum sander, but I used to use a ROS. What I learned it to be very careful during the final glue up not to let the pieces get out of alignment. It will save a lot of work down the road.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View maxyedor's profile


24 posts in 744 days

#5 posted 11-28-2018 07:57 PM

Low angle jack plane is your friend here, oh, and ibuprofen.

It’s a very slow and physically tough process to flatten an end-grain cutting board with just hand tools. A router sled is a much better option IMHO, followed by a sander of some sort, preferably a geared head ROS like the Bosch 1250 or Festool Rotex.

I have a large drum sander, but never use to to “flatten” cutting boards, they’re just so, so slow. If you’ve got minor imperfections or a little rise/dip here and there, they’re awesome, but if one needs to really be flattened, pack a lunch and wear comfy shoes.

View them700project's profile


170 posts in 1438 days

#6 posted 11-28-2018 08:05 PM

Probably the wrong way to do this but I glue up an extra section or a sacrificial board and run it though the jointer/planer(it definately blows out the last bit), then I cut on table saw.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5782 posts in 2141 days

#7 posted 11-28-2018 09:35 PM

View WoodenDreams's profile


623 posts in 331 days

#8 posted 11-28-2018 10:43 PM

Clamp it to a workbench & use a 3×21 or 4×24 portable belt sander. Or if you have a 4×36 benchtop sander use that. Then finish off with a orbital sander or detail sander.

View jonah's profile


2075 posts in 3719 days

#9 posted 11-29-2018 12:37 AM

Grab a couple pieces of melamine-faced particle board from HD and use one piece on the top and bottom to keep the board flat when you glue it up. Cut the pieces about an inch smaller than the board so you can still get the clamps on the ends.

It makes the glue up a bit harder, but it keeps the board a lot flatter. You’ll only need to sand it smooth with a random orbit sander.

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