I’ve got 4 boards cut to size for my cutting board, and find myself with a dilemma. I’m not sure which way I should orient the middle boards. The best layout for appearance means that the grain is oriented in opposite directions and I’m worried about getting tearout if I plane against the grain after assembly. I could also orient the boards so that the grain is a consistent direction for planing, but that layout isn’t as visually appealing.
Thoughts? Go for appearance or go for ease in planing? Will I avoid tearout by relying more heavily on a card scraper than a plane? I don’t have much experience with either.
I will normally orient the boards for appearance over ease of planing. You’re going to be looking at the finished product a lot, so spending a bit more time planing during the build is worth it. If you oriented the boards so you could plane them more easily, every time you looked at the finished piece you’d be thinking “I should have turned that board around”.
Depending on what sort of wood you’re using, if you get tearout when planing you’ll only have to scrape some small, shallow patches. Use a very fine set on the plane and make sure the iron is the sharpest you can get it. That will help reduce potential tearout. This will be a great exercise in sharpening card scrapers!
If you’ve got one, you’ll likely want to go over the whole cutting board with a cabinet scraper once it’s glued up anyway. Try picking one up on eBay if you don’t have one already. They’re amazingly useful.
Thanks for the advice! I’m using quarter sawn white oak like Paul has in his videos. I recently bought a Veritas cabinet scraper and it arrived last week, but I haven’t had a chance to take it out of the box yet. I think I’ll take your advice and give it a shot on this project.
Darrin, I agree fully with George; orient the boards for the best appearance. If you plane the boards smooth before gluing (while you can flip however you need) and are carful with your glue up, a #80 cabinet scraper will handle ANY planing that needs to occur after glue up.