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I have been asked to quote a big cutting board for a local BBQ cooking team.

Dimensions are ..."about 2 1/2' x 3 1/2 - 4 feet"...big enough to lay out two briskets at a time.

Here's my current situation. My drum sander is currently out of service. A spring broke and I haven't been able to figure out how to get into the machine to replace the spring with a new one I have. It holds tension on the sanding roll.

Clamps? You betcha. I got that covered by at least twice what would be needed.

Work area. Yes, no problem there.

My question is How would you go about building such a large piece so it would turn out flat?

I am thinking about making three separate glue ups. I can then run them through my DeWalt planer until they are almost at their final thickness of 1 1/4 inch.

Note: The individual pieces will be walnut and hard maple. Probably 1 1/2 inch wide strips of maple and 1 inch strips of walnut.

They pieces will be placed against each other and glued into panels. No end grain stuff here. Just simple rip and glue.

I will be buying the lumber in rough stock and mill it my self. Probably 6/4, and hopefully in widths less than 6 inches. My jointer is 6 incher.

Your thoughts appreciated. I know I can do it, just a little skeered!! :surprise::grin:

Something like the pictures, only considerably larger. The pics are from the four I built last year...flat on one side and a juice groove on the other.
 

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You know what to do . . . just do it. It'll be fine.
 

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This is like gluing up a top for a workbench. Doing it in manageable segments is the way to go but in my experience the final glued up piece may not be perfectly flat. I just finished a glue-up for a workbench (not my first) and I was very, very careful but in the end one side came out lower than it should. It was dead flat in the clamps but when the tension was released it changed. The solution was a lot of hard work hand planing and sanding. So all I am saying is be prepared for some final levelling. A router sled is an option instead of hand planing. And ,of course, hand planing requires an excellent plane and some experience. Is there a local mill with a large jointer and planer?
 

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Hi Mike
What about making smaller boards then fitting them in a frame or making a join to hold them together while being used.
A joint similar to floating floors use would keep them together while sitting flat.
My two bobs worth
Cheers
John T
 

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UGH! I called the hardwood dealer where I buy my lumber and asked if their wide belt sander is working. It was broke the last time I asked. The guy said no, they are rewiring the building.

Well, how much? He said, Mike, I ain't going to lie to you, it's $75 set up fee and $3/minute. About the same as the cost of the wood. :surprise::frown::frown:

6/4 maple is $5/bd foot
6/4 Walnut is $9.75 bd foot

At least I have something to work with.
Here is my drawing. It uses 1" wide walnut and 2" wide maple, so that would help keep the cost down.

In fact, I may ask the guy if all maple would be OK. Cheaper still.
 

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Hi Mike
What about making smaller boards then fitting them in a frame or making a join to hold them together while being used.
A joint similar to floating floors use would keep them together while sitting flat.
My two bobs worth
Cheers
John T
Thanks John. But I can see the board getting a lot of use, and abuse. Once I finish it, I would hope to never see it again, unless I get an invite to their cook off event. :grin:
 

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David
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My local cabinet shop that gives me their Cherry and Maple scraps that I turn into cutting boards has a 48" wide belt sander and while they don't do a lot of outsourcing of their sander it's about $25 flat to do something like that. No setup fee or charge by the minute. Are there other shop you can check with to see if they have a more reasonable rate? If you used a belt sander to level all the high spots so that the wide belt sander only has to take a few passes it would help, more than likely.
 

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@MT Stringer - Mike - I made 9 end grain cutting boards at Christmas - Cherry and Walnut. They were ~12" by 17" so no where near what your looking at. My first time and I was pleased. I was dealing with end grain and don't have a drum sander, so had to use a belt sander followed by ROS.

You're OK to do partial glue ups at the appropriate width to accommodate your equipment followed by running through the planer, because you're not dealing with end grain.

With your talents there is nothing to fear - dive in and post pictures - we're sure it's going to turn out great.
 

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Mike I have encountered the same problem. I have the same planer as you so have the same limitations. I break it down into manageable pieces and then glue the pieces together. As others have said, it is probably impossible to get it dead flat on the final glue up so you will still have some work to do. Good luck and let us see how it turns out.
 

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Given the size and the amount of expect abuse, I'd run a couple of flush with the bottom stretchers across the bottom. A little reinforcement and a good guide for your glue up............a little wax paper and a caul on top and use the bottom stretcher as your second caul. Leave it a little proud of the bottom and just plane it away after glue has dried...
 
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Call your buddy with the CNC -- glue it up and have him "skim" it like a spoilboard.

Another reason to look into that CNC!!
 

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Mike how heavy is this going to be. How many people is it going to take to lift the board when loaded with multiple briskets? I do a lot of BBQ and my board gets fairly heavy when loaded with one brisket and extras. My dad made mine over 25 years ago out of maple. It is about 3/4 inch thick. I am ready to make another one. I just don't have a plan. I was thinking about rope handles like on a large ice chest so each person could grab one.
 

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David
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Just a tip, Mike, and you may know this but use parchment paper instead of wax paper. Glue soaks through and sticks to wax paper but not to parchment paper. I've been using it for several years and have found that I can reuse pieces over and over so while it may cost a tiny bit more than wax paper it lasts through many, many glue ups so it turns out to be a much better deal.

My $0.02 for today - :grin:
 

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I would convince the guy to have that board made in three separate pieces that interlock when in use.
Apart from it making your job so much easier, you should ask him how he's going to handle, clean, and store something that big and heavy.
Three separate sections makes it a very easy thing to transport.
 
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