Bucher Block - Need Finishing Advice

capetownSeptember 3, 2007

I've just started to do more woodwork. Something I've always wanted to do, but never had the time.

I've made a 18" by 24" end-grain bucher block for our new kitchen. Everything was going fine - beautiful hard maple and walnut pattern etc . . . . now I've run into some problems.

1) As I laminated the wood, some of the strips did not line up exactly - off by about 1/16". (Clamp pressure?) Because of the size of the block, ordinary hobbiest electric planers won't handle the size. Will a belt sander be able to smooth out the top and bottom? Its a lot of wood to remove. My finishing orbital sander, even with 80 grit sandpaper, was unable to touch the hard maple. Or should I shelve buying a belt sander and try find a local place with a large commercial planer?

2) I clamped and glued up everything yesterday morning. Now, within 36 hours, the board is noticeably bowed - probably my as much as .25". Is this normal? (It's been stored flat. Also, I would have thought all the cross grain patterns would have stabilized the wood. Before starting the project, I mistakenly stored the walnut and maple in the garage, causing some nasty splits in the ends of the lumber, but I used lumber well away from any of the cracks.)

Any help would be much appreciated.

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sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
I'd recommend finding someone with a 36" wide thickness sander, preferably with a brand new 100 grit belt. Planing is no good, as the maple is extremely likely to tear out. The key to clamping up wide glue-ups (for me) has been to work in stages, ending up with two boards finally glued into one. This gives you more chances to fine tune the assembly and compensate for out-of-square components.
Especially with the small size of your board, you could have used some clamping boards across each end to keep all aligned and flat before tightening the assembly clamps.
I think you mean edge-grain, btw. You absolutely cannot plane end grain butcher block. You must sand and then use a cabinet scraper.
Casey

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 10:06PM
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capetown

Casey:

Thanks for the advice. Guess I won't be looking for a planer.

Just to clarify - the butcher block surface is end grain. Essentially I cut short strips from a board, and flipped them so the end grain was top and bottom for the butcher block. What was the face and edge of the lumber is now the glued up part. (I thought this was best for keeping knives sharp, no?) If you look at a butcher block like at www.devoswoodworking.com (e.g. gallery . . . cherry), there are end grain butcher block examples. My grain looks identical to this.

What is a 36" thickness sander? Is that like a huge belt sander?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 12:00AM
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