Planing End Grain (Cutting Boards)

I went to a crafts festival and saw some end grain cutting boards. One of them was made from Douglas fir, which I just happen to have lying around. Extra boards left over for the bed I built for my daughter.
https://i.imgur.com/GTDm9VG.jpg
So I said to myself, "Christmas gifts!" I went on YouTube, looked at the process and decided it's time to buy a planer.
Then I stumbled across this Wood Whisperer thread:
https://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/articles/end-grain-through-the-planer/
Now I'm shaking in my boots. However, I also read about techniques like adding runners to make it safer.
If I decide to move forward, it seems like I will be learning to use a power planer on a somewhat advanced/dangerous project. Obviously I would practice on some flat boards to get a feel for the machine before I fed something that could hurt me badly into it, but I'd like some encouragement/tips (or warnings/"Don't do it!") from you guys before I proceed.
Thanks!
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"Don't do it!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prt3HMq_k1g

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On Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 1:07:18 PM UTC-4, Spalted Walt wrote:

of

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ment/tips (or warnings/"Don't do it!") from you guys before I proceed.

I had to chuckle, not at the video that you supplied, but at the one that automatically followed it. As soon as the one you linked to ended, the next one was Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor (Ask This Old House) maki ng a end grain cutting board by sending it through the planer.
They had added leading and trailing boards to "prevent chipping", per Tom. Tom also said "I could sand it but that's going to take a lot of work" and (as to the planer) "only taking a little bit off each time".
He also stood almost directly in line with the in feed end of the planer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O97enrnp0MY

Here's a video of a guy using every precaution available, explaining each o ne.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ2LSj4RhAs

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On 10/13/2018 11:39 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

As the posters in the link said, the key is definitely to only take hair-thin shavings to avoid major tearout.
The problem with more severe issues as the kickback and such is more likely related to more gross misfeed like an end gets kicked up or a glueline breaks or the like.
On conventional planers with feedbed rollers, there can be a tilt caused by the leading edge moving over and if are set too high that can be enough to cause the knives to catch front edge too deeply to cut and given the endgrain is up, the side edge facing the knives is harder to slice than when it's endgrain in normal orientation that will split along the length more easily.
A full-length sled and a sacrificial trailing piece makes it do-able with care but it's not a "learning" exercise imo, no...
It's the cat's meow job for the surface planer or rig up a custom jig to use the router instead for starters...
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On 10/13/2018 2:04 PM, dpb wrote:

I've found that using a sacrificial leading and trailing pieces works out well for both the jointing and planing even with hard maple. I've had to keep my boards down to 12" and under because of the size of my equipment but doing it with the sacrificial pieces and keeping the cuts super-light make it pretty easy and safe. No more than light sanding is needed before oiling.
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On 10/13/2018 2:14 PM, John McGaw wrote:

I don't disagree it's doable and can be reasonably safe -- my comment was that I don't believe it's the very first use of a planer an individual ought to make without some "time in grade" to really become familiar with the particular machine in question and comfortable in its idiosyncracies...
I agree wholeheartedly that the way to make it the "most safe" is with leading/trailing edges; at worst they're tapered somewhat but still the end grain with the workpiece oversized; at best they are sacrificial sections of long grain; the problem there is one has to use something more than simply a butt glue joint for strength to be sure there isn't a failure there so it's quite a lot of extra work to do that.
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On Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 12:48:59 PM UTC-4, dpb wrote:

re: "the problem there is one has to use something more than simply a butt glue joint for strength to be sure there isn't a failure there so it's quite a lot of extra work to do that."
What about making the workpiece extra long, then gluing and screwing the leading and trailing end pieces? The piece would be long enough that once the screws are removed, the holes in the actual cutting board would be cut off also.
If using screws is a really bad idea because of the still-present danger of the board breaking apart, I'd accept that answer wholeheartedly.
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On 10/14/2018 7:27 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

I wouldn't put much faith in the glue part of the joint so it's counting on the screws to do the job. _Probably_ would be just fine but personally I'd worry about the "what if" enough I'd be awfully reluctant, personally.
If I were to go that route, I think I'd just go ahead and run a 1/4" or 3/8" dado and use a spline as the joint...it's more work but not a terrible, terrible lot.
I really do think the taper is enough, if you're careful-careful to not accidentally get too deep a cut on that first pass...
--




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On Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 10:00:22 PM UTC-4, dpb wrote:

This guy shows how he's run thousands of end grain cutting boards safely through his planer(s), right after he says that it's dangerous if you don't follow his suggestions and that he's not "telling" anyone to do it. We must all make our own decisions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ2LSj4RhAs

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On 10/14/2018 9:36 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

NB: He's _NOT_ using the lunchbox planer for this...
--




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On Monday, October 15, 2018 at 9:01:05 AM UTC-4, dpb wrote:

If you mean that he is not using the Makita, then I beg to differ.
At 0:58 he states that the Makita was in use for 3 years before he bought the Jet. I assume that he meant that he was planing end grain cutting boards with it. Now, we all know that making assumptions can be risky business, so let's fast forward to 10:35 and 11:45 when he actually does use the Makita to plane end grain.
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On Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 1:04:47 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

I've made several end grain cutting boards and I agree that the key is to take very thin cuttings on each pass. Patience is the key. I would also say to let the glue-ups cure for a day or more to make sure they don't break under stress.
There's no doubt that a surface sander is the better option.
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On Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11:39:51 AM UTC-5, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I wouldn't use a planer. I'd probably use a router, for initial flattening . A cutting board is not that large, that a sharp hand plane and/or a belt sander would be sufficient, before finish sanding.
Chain sawed slabs, then disk sanded with 32 grit.... After belt sanding (80 , 120 and 320 grit), palm sanding was sufficient for these end grain side t ables. A few touch-up hand sanding spots to make the grain show clearly ov er the whole surface. Time consuming, but worth it, especially with nice grain detail. https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/7327627522/in/date posted-public/
I've made at least half a dozen of these sorts of tables. I suppose the surfacing of these tops are similar to surfacing cutting boards. https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N04/8011569479/in/dateposted-public/
I think these, above, are the only end grain work I have experience with. I've never made a cutting board.
Cutting boards don't need to be absolutely perfectly flat, anyway, IMO.
Sonny
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typed in rec.woodworking the following:

    If memory serves, weren't the "little" block planes developed in part for smoothing butcher blocks?

    I'd say that cutting boards need to be flat "enough" that stuff doesn't get caught by any holes or high spots.
tschus pyotr
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pyotr filipivich
Next month's Panel: Graft - Boon or blessing?
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It's not the size of the plane that matters so much as the angle of the blade to the wood. A very low angle works better on end-grain than the standard angle (a higher angle than standard works better on gnarly grain). A low-angle jack would be the go-to plane for smoothing a butcher block, IMO.
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snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) on Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:10:38 GMT typed in rec.woodworking the following:

    "Low angle jack" - that's what I was trying to remember.
--
pyotr filipivich
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On Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 9:39:51 AM UTC-7, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Drum sander (or belt sander) would do it easier. Drop the raw item on the deck and run a flooring machine over it a few times, then take the machine back to the rental place.
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On 10/13/18 12:49 PM, whit3rd wrote:

I'd use a planer with the sacrificial boards if I didn't have a DS, but you'd need to clean you the surface first with a belt sander before having at it.
Since I do have a DS. I get the surfaces flat with 36 grit, then work up to 180 before finishing with a RO sander.
-BR
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On 10/13/2018 12:39 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I've not made end grain cutting boards, but, my recommendation is not to unless you get a segmented spiral cutter head. If buying a planer, (or jointer) I highly recommend getting a segmented, spiral cutter head anyway. These things cut knots, wild grain and so on without a stutter. The cutter heads are a little more money, but well worth it.
I would still use at least a leading edge made of long grain to get the cut started, and possibly a trailing edge as well for tear out, but that could be cut off later. The leading edge is where kickback might come from and that could be bad for your and the planer.
The advantages of spiral segmented cutter are many, so do yourself a favor if buying a planer and go for the better tool here.
--
Jack
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I'm a novice. I've been building garage shelving the hard way by meticulously edge gluing 1"x6"x8' pine boards to practice technique. I'm preparing to edge glue some 2"x12"x4' douglas fir for heavy-duty rolling shelves (previous shelves hung on wall brackets). I bought some cheap dimensional douglas fir that was already sufficiently dry but cupped, unlike the pine boards which were flat enough. But I lack a planer and am not particularly interested in buying one. (The point of the shelving is to help reduce clutter and to get everything off the floor. Adding bulky tools isn't helping things.) I tried hand planing with a jack-plane but there are too many knots, and I've decided I don't want to deal with 24' of those (nor pay for wood that can be easily handtooled, which would be the smart thing).
I do have a router and have already built a sled using an 8' MDF trim board (cut in half), two angle irons (already had on hand), a 2'x4' particle board backer, some scrap wood, and a 1 1/2" cleaning router bit. Hopefully I'll get a chance to start leveling the boards this weekend.
Regarding kickback, I would just say to hope for the best and *expect* the worst. I'm extremely cautious by nature, but grew up working summers on my dad's construction crew where it was normal to shoot nail guns at people when they're on 20'-high scaffolding for laughs. I always go slow but appreciate that people can be too risk averse. (Or maybe the lesson was just that people who are too risk adverse get shot at with nail guns when they're on 20'-high scaffolding.)
I've also read advice that free-handing a cleaning router bit can be dangerous too, especially for a bit size 2" or wider. I don't (and shouldn't) expect the sled to do much to minimize that risk.
I think the most important thing is to expect the unexpected, and don't get lazy about it. You already have good reason to expect the board to shatter or become a projectile, so prepare accordingly. Advice seems mixed, so you have plausible deniability about knowing how stupid it was.
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