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Thread: Cutting Board Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Central Indiana
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    Cutting Board Question

    I've been tinkering with wood for 40+ years, and have always paid close attention to grain direction when gluing anything together.

    I'd like to make a few cutting boards for Christmas gifts. While doing some research, I'm seeing glued up boards with grain running in every direction imaginable.

    Does expansion/contraction somehow not apply to cutting boards?
    Dave....in Indiana

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    I'm a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I would need to see a picture of what you're talking about. But yes grain direction absolutely does matter. Gluing endgrain in any orientation is a recipe for disaster without the help of some sort of spline/loose tenon. Gluing edge grain perpendicular to each other is also a recipe for failure in the not so distant future. With seasonal movement there is bound to be some sort of failure, which i've experienced first hand. I will say that Epoxy has changed the game in what we used to think was acceptable gluing practice. I am starting to use epoxy more and more, especially with complicated glue-ups that take longer than I have open time with PVA glue. At some point I may just switch to epoxy exclusively for gluing everything except edge to edge panel glue-ups. Even after all these years of woodworking I'm still amazed at how well PVA yellow glue does when gluing two boards edge to edge. It might be my favorite thing about woodworking, grain matching two boards to create a panel or table top and edge gluing them. When the glue line disappears after flattening the surface to create a seamless panel I get absolutely blown away even to this day.

  3. #3
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    I find that many woodworker's don't feel the laws of wood movement apply to them. Prime examples are the cast acrylic table folks. Watched a video the other night of a company that fully encases huge thick slabs in the center of a giant pour of resin. They were pouring the resin from 5 gallon buckets. Hard to imagine that huge slab staying inert.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Central Indiana
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    Here is a couple examples.

    The zig zag thing is a lot of end grain to end grain.

    The comments in the YouTube clip, the guy says he's had no problems with the end grain to face grain.

    The zig zag is kinda iffy at best, and the other one is failure waiting to happen (IMO).



    cutting board.jpg
    Dave....in Indiana

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    For the boards that use a lot of very small parts, the risk for movement, while still there, is greatly reduced due to scale...the movement is very slight. Glue adhesion is probably more of a challenge with end-grain to side grain. Design matters, too. In that last example, there is more substantial cross grain. I would worry about the top, larger section expanding sideways enough that it could break the joinery between it and that narrower cross grain component over time.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    SoCal
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    I have boards that have been in daily service for years that I can sort of keep track of since they are owned by friends and family. Pleasantly (surprisingly?), no failures even one that was clearly abused by not being re-oiled for nearly a year. Some end grain . . .

    Opt-Illu-Cut-Brd (10).jpg . Cutting Board Hand Grip.JPG

    Some edge grain . . .

    CB with Inlay (16).jpg

    All have held up very well. I would not be concerned. If the boards are abused; not re-oiled, put in water or dishwashers, all bets are off ;-)
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 12-08-2019 at 7:17 PM.
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  7. I've made many cutting boards and give them away too all family. many people put EVERYTHING! in a dishwasher, no matter what. Tell the recipients of your boards to not do that.
    Another thing about boards is that they are not truly as clean as more modern choices. In my home where I made everything in sight, we use the large plastic thin sheets sold in sets @ Walmart and limit cutting boards to a cheese setup or home made bread for guests. Wood holds germs not that i'm dead yet...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Minnesota
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    Plastic cutting boards hold germs more than wood does.
    I only prepare meat on a wood board.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    These will be gifts for kids and grandkids. If/when they fall apart, Iím sure they will let me know.
    I think Iíll go ahead and make a few, assuming wood movement doesnít apply to me.
    I appreciate the feedback gentleman.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    I made a few cutting boards a few years ago, this one I kept and just re-oiled it this past week. When making them, I read or got info on Youtube that the grain pattern should be mixed.

    The surface is all end grain, even the Walnut strips.



    These were finished this past week for 2019 Xmas Presents.









  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Johnson View Post
    Plastic cutting boards hold germs more than wood does.
    I only prepare meat on a wood board.
    Agree, I think it was the government that did testing. The plastic stays wet in the cuts and gets germs .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
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    The one with the handle is guaranteed to fail unless it is kept in a place with consistent humidity, which is not usually the case in a kitchen. Gluing end grain to side grain for that distance is not practical in my opinion. The ones with the end grain exposed on the cutting board faces must be a lot of work to make, but they shouldn't be affected by humidity, other than growing or shrinking a bit. The problem is when the wood on one side of the glue joint gets longer or shorter and the wood on the other side stays the same size. Some of my customers here at the sawmill just don't seem to be able to grasp the idea that wood shrinks and expands across the grain, and does not along the length of the grain.
    Zach

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