Great News for end grain cutting board makers!

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Blog entry by woodsmithshop posted 01-09-2013 08:21 PM 24059 reads 16 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I may not be the first to discover this, but I did learn this on my own, and I am exited about it, I’ll start from the beginning,
I am sure that many of you that build end grain cutting boards have the same problem, sanding the boards after the glue up, I use my G1066 drum sander, (which I just upgraded with the kit to change the drums to Hook and Loop,) the problem has been that after leveling the CB, deep scratches are left behind that takes forever to sand out, I use 80 grit on the first drum, and 100 grit on the second drum, then I go to my ROS, and switch to 40 grit, then step up to each grit until the CB is as smooth as I want it, usually 150 or 220 grit.
today I started out sanding a fresh glued up CB, then started with my ROS and 40 grit, after about 45 min I still had a few scratches showing, about to change to a new disk, I thought I would try spritzing the CB lightly with water, waiting until there was no standing water on the CB, I started sanding again, after a couple of minutes the scratches were gone, thinking I may have just got lucky, I turned the CB over and sprayed water on the other side, giving it a couple of minutes so as not to have any standing water, I started sanding again, with the same old disk, after 3 or 4 min a lot of the scratches were gone, then putting on a new disk and respraying with water I sanded some more, in about 5 min all of the heavy scratches were gone, now I can start changing grits and finish the job much sooner, what a time saver.

I guess the water softens the fibers enough that the sander cuts them off much quicker.

I hope that some of you try this and see for yourself how well this works.
I was getting to the point where I dreaded starting a new end grain CB.

some of you may already know this, but I just found out and wanted to share this with all of you.
btw, changing to the Hook and Loop was a great idea, so much easier to change sandpaper now.

-- Smitty!!!

29 comments so far

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 3506 days

#1 posted 01-09-2013 08:49 PM

interesting idea, thanks

-- Joel

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 3807 days

#2 posted 01-09-2013 09:10 PM

I’m definitely trying this! Thanks

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View degoose's profile


7287 posts in 4807 days

#3 posted 01-09-2013 09:12 PM

As a maker of many endgrain boards, I have not heard of this before but will give it a go…. thanks for bringing this to our attention… well done…

-- Be safe.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1425 posts in 4997 days

#4 posted 01-09-2013 09:21 PM

Larry, after writing this blog I went back and changed my disk from 40 grit to 100 grit, then sanded and the CB was as smooth as if I had went through all the grits, I then put mineral spirits on it and it showed NO scratches, I was amazed at how well this worked, I hope it works on all woods, I used Hickory, Walnut, and Maple on this board.
I was afraid I might make mud, but no problem.
let me know how it works for you.

-- Smitty!!!

View inchanga's profile


117 posts in 3565 days

#5 posted 01-09-2013 09:58 PM

This sounds like a really useful tip. I will definitely give it a go. Thanks for sharing

-- chris, north wales

View woodsmithshop's profile


1425 posts in 4997 days

#6 posted 01-09-2013 10:22 PM

I apologize if I steered anyone wrong, on my initial sanding I use my drum sander then my ROS, the drum sander leaves heavy scratches, then spray on the water and sand with the ROS.

-- Smitty!!!

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3459 days

#7 posted 01-09-2013 10:42 PM

AHHhhhh yes. The ol’ WET SANDING technique!

Reminds me of a time back around 1970 or ‘71. A buddy amd I were going to paint my car (having NO real expierence doing so). We went to the auto parts store and the guy told us to buy “That black sandpaper. ” He said we could use it “Wet or dry” which went completely over our head :-)

We got to my house and started sanding. Rick happened to look at the backside of the paper and noticed it said “Wet/Dry” and asked about it. I mentioned that the guy in the parts house also told us that. So we got a bucket of water and started sanding again.

WHOA! What a difference… we thought we had INVENTED using water to sand with.

I never thought about using it on wood though. I’ll hafta give it a try next time.

(My car came out like CRAP by the way, but that’s a whole ‘nother story :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5029 days

#8 posted 01-09-2013 10:56 PM

Sounds interesting for sure.


View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 4462 days

#9 posted 01-10-2013 01:48 AM

If this works it would be brilliant! Thanks for the tip!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 4342 days

#10 posted 01-10-2013 02:13 AM

Mineral spirits works as well.
Wake sure you are using water repellent glue if you use water.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View woodsmithshop's profile


1425 posts in 4997 days

#11 posted 01-10-2013 02:52 AM

ksSlim, have you used mineral spirits in this way? I would think that water would be safer, also when I put MS on the board and sanded it, the paper loaded up, but it did not with water
I use TB III, so that is not a problem.
so far I have not seen a problem with it at all, I would like any input from those of you that try it.
this looks to me like something that can solve a lot of end grain sanding issues.

-- Smitty!!!

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 4049 days

#12 posted 01-16-2013 05:05 PM

Great find! I wish I knew this when I made a CB out of Jatoba and sanded for three days to get the scratches out.-don

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View woodsmithshop's profile


1425 posts in 4997 days

#13 posted 01-16-2013 07:49 PM

I have to revise a statement I made on this post, if you leave water standing on the CB when you start sanding, then the paper will load up, it is best to let the water soak in for a couple of minutes, if water is still standing then just wipe off with a cloth or paper towel before sanding, it may take a couple of wettings to get all scratches out but they do come out and quicker than without using water.

-- Smitty!!!

View harrywho's profile


123 posts in 4684 days

#14 posted 08-29-2014 07:37 PM

Hi Smitty,

I read this when you first posted it. Didn’t try it for awhile but when I did wow it really does work! I meant to thank you for the tip then but couldn’t remember where I’d seen it. So a belated thank you from me and a buddy of mine who I told about it.


-- Harry, Indiana

View woodsmithshop's profile


1425 posts in 4997 days

#15 posted 08-31-2014 03:18 PM

Harry, you are welcome, just glad to hear that someone has found that it works.

-- Smitty!!!

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