Family Xmas presents 2011

End Grain (“Butcher Block”) Cutting Boards

This year’s family presents are end grain cutting boards made from Eastern Hard Maple and Padauk.  End grain boards make superior cutting surfaces, as they are very hard and the knife edges tend to go between the wood fibers rather than severing them.  We intended thse boards to be used.  They are assembled with a waterproof, FDA-approved glue, and finished with food-grade walnut oil.  While the glue is waterproof, when cleaning they should just be rinsed and at most only briefly immersed in water.  The oil finish will need to be replenished occasionally to maintain it (the walnut oil we used was obtained at Whole Foods).  

Research at UC Davis has shown that wooden cutting boards actually discourage bacterial growth better than plastic boards. Apparently, once plastic boards are used a bit, they develop deep scratches that tend to harbor bacteria. 

We took a few photos during the project. 

Ruairí with the raw material at Crosscut Hardwoods in Portland

Beth's old Subaru does the hauling duty (before it was repaired after its fender-bender).

Pieces milled and cut to length acclimate in the house

Pieces cut into strips before the first glue-up

Boards after the first glue-up, still in the clamps

After the first glue-up, boards are cut into strips again at a 90 degree angle to the first. Alternating strips are then flipped to make the "checkerboard" pattern. Lastly, every board is rotated 90 degrees before glue-up to reveal the end grain surface.

A pile of boards ready to be sanded smooth. Since the end grain surface is so hard, sanding each one was quite of bit of work. Beth and Erin took care of much of it.

Barry and Ruairí apply the walnut oil finish

Beth made a little video while the guys were applying finish:

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