I have been making end grain cutting boards for years. A while back (8 years?) I wanted to try my hand at a chaotic cutting board. It was fun and the board turned out great. I kept looking at my rip offcuts and thought about gluing them up rather than repeated slicing of planks to get random shapes. So I started saving my rip offcuts.
When I have time or want to take a break from other projects I’ll glue these strips together into assemblies. They form small planks around 1” in size. Then I’ll eventually glue them up into wider boards. I get them to a uniform thickness with my drum sander. Then they sit on a shelf. For a long time.
I also had a large chunk of walnut that had been milled from a local tree. The piece was 3”x4” in cross section but was horribly checked. All I could get out of it was pieces of a very small cross section and only a foot or so long. I could get a lot of them but nothing like a regular board.
I then got this wild idea to make Morse code planks to put into my cutting boards. I worked out patterns for a handful of words and glued them up. The dots and dashes are walnut and the spacers are maple.
I then wrapped the words with a layer of maple. I used narrow strips of maple and rotated the grain to keep things stable.
When I looked at past swaps it looked like my recipient (HokieKen) has gotten a lot of different gifts, but no cutting boards. That’s probably because the BBQ part was recently added. If I remember right, he has a connection with railroads. That’s close enough for a Morse code board.
I also wanted to try a different technique for end grain boards. I made up a blank that is 4” thick. That is the largest size that will fit in my drum sander.
Once that was done, I made up some boards of maple strips. Again, I switched up the grain direction with smaller strips of maple.
These were glued up into boards that were wide enough to wrap the main blank.
Then I put the border on the longer sides.
Next, I squared up the edges.
Putting the maple border on the ends finishes the blank.
The next step is to slice the blank into 4 boards. I made a couple passes on the table saw and then finish the cut on the bandsaw. This is after the first separation.
And I end up with 4 cutting boards. Kind of like a limited edition 😁
I rounded the corners and did a ton of sanding. That was follow up with 3 coats of butcher block conditioner.
Now I have 3 more to finish up and give away. Well, only 2 since I think one of these is staying here.
PS: I think I’ll hold off on posting the Morse Code solution. Others can do that in the comments if they wish.