How to Make an End Grain Cutting Board Part 2 How to Make an End Grain Cutting Board Part 2
While producing your own end grain cutting board is exciting, you need to know how to glue and clamp the board parts together as well as how to finish it in an agreeable and health-protective manner. Follow the steps below to finish up your end grain cutting board.
Step 1 – Glue and Clamp the Wood Pieces Together
There are two basic ways to join the pieces of the cutting board together: dry-fitting and gluing. Unlike the first method, which presupposes considerable carpentry skills, joining with adhesive is quite easy to do and does not require expensive professional instruments.
Before you begin with the gluing, arrange the pieces of different color in alternating order, with the biggest pieces standing at the outside. Place the pieces on two loose clamps, turn a long-grain side up and apply adhesive by using ink. Turning the pieces back so that there is a layer of glue between every two adjacent pieces, press them together with your hands, level their ends and tighten with the clamps.
Stand the board and attach two horizontal clamps to ensure its flatness. In order to spread clamp pressure evenly, do not tighten the clamps directly on the board, but rather place two wood pieces beneath them. It is a good idea to cover these pieces with packing tape so as to avoid glue sticking to them. You may also want to add a third vertical clamp in the middle of the board.
If you have applied a sufficient amount of glue, some of it should begin to ooze out from the seams between the pieces. Do not leave it to dry on the surface but scrape it within half an hour from clamping. The cutting board should remain pressed for 24 hours after which you can remove the clamps.
Step 2 – Flatten the Surface of the Cutting Board
To smooth the board surface, it is best to use an electric planer. However, if you don't own one, you can also use an orbital sander or a regular scraper. Hopefully, your board will be flat already and won’t need much smoothing.
Step 3 – Finish the Cutting Board
To make your board perfectly smooth, sand its surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper. Apply a coat of food-safe varnish and let it dry for 12 hours. Sand a second time with really fine sandpaper, e.g., 220-grit, and reapply the varnish. After the varnish has dried, you can start using your cutting board.
- Wear protective gear all the time, including a dust mask, rubber gloves, ear muffs, etc.
- Reapply the varnish every half a year.
- Instead of using varnish, you can also finish the board with either mineral oil or a mixture of mineral oil and wax. These two, however, you will have to reapply much more often, i.e. once a month, to ensure the good sealing of the board.
- To add an extra touch to the cutting board, you can round off its edges using a round-bit router.