How to glue up multi-piece cutting board quickly

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Chameleon posted 03-11-2019 09:07 PM 705 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Chameleon's profile


29 posts in 878 days

03-11-2019 09:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting board glue up complicated glue-up gluing techniques

This has probably been answered previously; my apologies for asking again. I recently made a “basket weave” cutting board that looked great when I dry fit it. I was worried about gluing up the whole thing at one time (wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it quickly enough), so I did it by gluing a few pieces together, then glued those to another group made by gluing a few pieces together, etc. Thought things were going fine until I was left with two sections (each about half of the board). These didn’t fit together at all; they weren’t square to each other and had huge gaps. So, I have two questions: 1) Is this “piecemeal” method inherently flawed, or did I just do it poorly; 2) Are there any “tricks” to doing the glue-up all at once (using Titebond III), other than “work fast? Thanks, Howard

9 replies so far

View gwilki's profile


355 posts in 2277 days

#1 posted 03-12-2019 12:00 PM

The “piecemeal” method is not inherently flawed. For large pieces, it’s the way I do things. I don’t quite understand how you could have done something badly, though. If it was square and true when dry fit, it should not matter how many stages you use to get it all glued up. It should still come out square and true. The only thing that comes to mind is that, when you glued it up, you did not put the pieces in the same order as you did when you dry fit it. Nothing else really makes any sense to me.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View LesB's profile


2573 posts in 4246 days

#2 posted 03-12-2019 05:36 PM

I suspect what happened may include what Grant said but also tiny variations buildup in each sub assembly so before trying to put them together you need to make sure they are true and square. This could be accomplished by making a thin cut on the table saw on the surfaces being glued together.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Chameleon's profile


29 posts in 878 days

#3 posted 03-12-2019 11:10 PM

I guess I didn’t post photos, so I’ve attached a few. After gluing a bunch of pieces individually, I’m left with two that don’t fit well; the blue tape is where the glue lines should be. Squaring up the outside borders won’t be a problem; can’t say the same for the inside gaps. (As you can see, the dry fit is pretty good, certainly not perfect). Grant, when you do large pieces, do you start in one corner and work out from there? I think part of the problem is that I glued multiple segments that could be glued easily, and then glued a few segments together, etc. Agree that I probably made very small errors with the “sub-assemblies,” and was left with the sum of the errors at the end. I definitely put the pieces in the correct order; they were all labeled and I re-checked this. Les, I think it would be difficult to make multiple thin cuts on a table saw to keep things square with a pattern like this (wouldn’t it?). (Photos with tape show pieces held next to each other at different angles).

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


3339 posts in 2298 days

#4 posted 03-12-2019 11:46 PM

Wood moves, glue line thicknesses vary, piecemeal can be disaster – unless you leave one trim-able edge.

IMHO – Change how you apply glue and you can assemble the entire board at one time.
Do you use a roller bottle?

On extreme end of things – build or buy something like these commercial machines:

I made a roller glue dispenser made from a commandeered veneer roller and plastic tray. Punch some holes for roller on each side, mount it to something so it doesn’t slide around, fill with glue, run each piece across the roller to put on glue.
Don’t use it very often, as roller bottle does the trick most of time. Will have to remember to take pic next time I assemble the crazy apparatus and fill with glue.


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Aj2's profile


3177 posts in 2601 days

#5 posted 03-12-2019 11:55 PM

It’s a bad design that’s why it’s so hard to glue up.
Unfit for use. Too complicated it’s likely to fail

-- Aj

View WoodenDreams's profile


1091 posts in 714 days

#6 posted 03-13-2019 12:04 AM

This is where a roller glue applicator helps with the speed of a glue-up. A silicone

glue roller with tray about $10. if your trying to glue-up all at one shoot

View rustfever's profile


793 posts in 4114 days

#7 posted 03-13-2019 12:20 AM

I have made five of these ‘Basket Weave’ boards. First board was very difficult to do final fit, as I too, glued int sections. I then took a LJ’s suggestion. I reduced it to 5 basic step

First, get all the pieces and make a dry fit. Make any adjustment necessary to get your fit. Do not move these from the position. They must always be in the same position to get best results.

Second, learn how to move the pieces to a new location without reorganizing. Starting the lower right corner of your final dry fit, move each piece to a new location, some two or three inches away. [ Beining right handed, I moved them to the lower right] Practice this moving until you are comfortable with your ability to do it rapidly and accurately ‘Dry run’ time should be down to two or three minutes. In your mind, you must recognize which piece/sides are to be glued.

Third, get all of your glue, glue-up supplies, laid out in comfortable position, including clamps, cauls and edge cauls, etc. [I screwed lower and right cauls to the bench, in perfect position.]

Forth, Wipe your mind clear of misc ‘stuf’

Fifth, Starting at the lower right hand corner of the ‘dry-fit’, move each piece, apply glue, move into final position against right and lower cauls, [set at a perfect 90d to one another]. [I previously screwed these two cauls into position on my work bench] Work nonstop, getting clamps into position, before the ‘time limit’ of the glue.

I was very successful in building the next four boards. I found it to take me between 9.5 and 11 minutes to do step 5. No failures.

Good luck.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Chameleon's profile


29 posts in 878 days

#8 posted 03-13-2019 03:01 AM

Thanks for the advice; all of the comments (except for one) were very helpful. Don’t know why I didn’t know about glue roller bottles, but I do now, and will definitely use one in the future. CaptainKlutz, sounds like you’re describing something like this, correct? WoodenDreams, is that second photo a glue roller that you made? Looks very cool. I’m relatively new to LumberJocks (and to woodworking), but I’m surprised that comments like Aj’s are tolerated. Aj, I don’t think it’s a bad design; it was modeled after several boards I’ve seen on this site (Rustfever has made 5 “basket weave” boards). It was, however, poorly executed. Are you feeling OK Aj? Something particularly troublesome (aside from my post) happen today? To everyone else who replied, many thanks. Howard

View WoodenDreams's profile


1091 posts in 714 days

#9 posted 03-13-2019 07:21 PM

The glue silicone roller is available on ebay for $5.99.. If you go to ‘Bing Images’ and search for glue rollers for woodworking, you’ll see many versions.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics