I'm wondering if anyone who has made an end-grain cutting board with the
blocks aligned in a simple grid has had any problems with it failing
and cracking all the way across. I know modern glues (Tite-bond 2 or
Gorilla are recommended I see) are said to be stronger than the wood,
but it occurred to me that it might still be best to offset the blocks
so there are fewer continuous glue joints edge to edge. This makes for
some very finicky measurement, however, which I'd just as soon avoid.
The scraps I have would make 2" x 3/4" blocks, at least 1" deep, fwiw.
I made one and it is fine after about a year; but I made it a bit
I made up a regular cutting board, and then cut it crosswise into strips. I
turned the strips on end, mixed them up, and glued them together. So mine
are effectively offset. Also, it makes clamping a lot easier.
I did about 25 years ago and after about 6 years the top failed. The glue
joint was fine but the wood cracked all the way across. With natural
liquids always soaking into the end grain the wood expanded too much and a
crack opened up on the top. I later learned that the better brand butcher
blocks use a threaded rod, washer, and nuts to keep every thing constantly
clamped. The ends were hidden behind plugs.
Consider this. The wood will attempt to expand after taking on moisture,
meeting the resistance of the rods. Since it can go no further unless it
breaks the rod, it will take a compression set, which will make the rod
loose after the whole loses moisture once again.
When I make butcher blocks I glue up a bunch of 3/4 x 3/4 pieces two or
three feet long - whatever is the longest I can - in sufficient number
to make one dimension of the block. When dry I crosscut them to the
ultimate thickness of the butcher block. I then glue those strips
together. Sometimes I offset them, sometimes I don't. When I do, it is
solely to make an interesting pattern. I always use TiteBond II, I have
never had a joint in them (or anything else) fail.
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What you may want to consider, is gluing up strips of wood, say 1"
square X the length of the board, in the conventional manner. Then
cut them perpendicular to the glue lines, turn them 90 degrees so the
end grain is facing "up", and glue the resulting strips together, for
a cutting board with all end grain on the cutting surface.
The December issue of Canadian Woodworking covers exactly this
technique. However, the last strip is half the width of the others.
When you turn the cut bits so the end grain is facing up, you also flip
every other piece end for end. This way, the glue lines are offset.
Yes, this is pretty much what I was thinking - where you only get
continuous glue line along one axis. This is an easier way of putting it
together than what I'd come up with so far, though.
I'm considering some kind of spiral structure now, but I probably won't
Chris Friesen wrote:
The butcher block I've seen from Boos appears to be assembled in this
manner, as the glue-lines are only continuous on one axis - but just
barely. The stagger is only in the range of a sixteenth or less, from
what I've seen.
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