Hey there! I’m Thomas, a passionate carpenter who delights in DIY projects for the home. I’m here to guide both novices and seasoned woodworkers on how to flatten an end grain cutting board. Let’s dive into the process!
Essentials for Flattening Your Cutting Board
The task of flattening your cutting board requires some essential tools: a router, a pair of rails of equal dimensions, and a flat surface. The rails serve as a guide for the router, ensuring it remains at the correct distance from the board. They should be straight, flat, and wider than your cutting board.
I’ll walk you through the steps to flatten your cutting board, whether you’re using a handheld router or a router table. Plus, we’ll cover how to rectify a board that has warped after use.
Flattening with a Router
Firstly, you’ll need three key items: a router, a flat surface, and two rails. The router can be handheld or table-mounted. If you’re using a handheld router, you’ll also require a router sled that accommodates the router and spans the length of your cutting board.
Choose a flat surface in your workshop that’s large enough for the task. Your rails should be two identical pieces of wood – straight, flat, and of equal thickness. They guide the router or the cutting board across the router bit.
It’s vital to ensure all components – the flat surface, rails, and router sled – are uniformly flat. Any deviation could result in a bowed board.
Using a Handheld Router
For handheld routers, set the rails parallel on your flat work surface and secure them with clamps. Place the cutting board between the rails, and set the router sled atop, perpendicular to the rails.
If the board is unsteady, stabilize it with double-sided tape and shims under any wobbly corners. Set the router’s depth at the board’s lowest corner. If necessary, elevate the board with a flat wooden piece to align it with the router bit.
Begin flattening by moving the sled and router across the board. After each pass, adjust the sled and repeat until the entire board is flattened.
Router Table Method
Using a router table involves slightly different steps. Ensure the router bit is clean and sharp. Set the board a bit above the table and glue the rails to its sides. The rails help maintain a consistent distance from the bit for even flattening.
Once the rails are attached, adjust the bit height to the largest gap between the board and the table. Align one rail with the fence and adjust it until the bit grazes the rail’s edge.
Run the board over the spinning bit, rotating it for an even finish. Keep adjusting the fence slightly less than the width of the bit and repeat until the entire board is flattened. Finally, sand down your board for a smooth finish.
Correcting a Warped Cutting Board
If you’re dealing with an old or recently warped cutting board, it may require some adjustments. Wood naturally shifts over time.
For a cupping board, moisten it slightly and place it in a reverse clamp for about a week. This can help straighten it out.
Maintaining your cutting board involves mindful usage and drying. Always dry it on its side and be aware that different woods may react differently to temperature and moisture.
|Handheld or table-mounted
|Large and completely flat
|Straight, flat, same thickness, wider than the board
|Needed for handheld routers; should fit the router and span the board