TIPS FOR FLAT, TIGHT RESULTS
START WITH LONG STRIPS:
Before cutting strips, cut your boards at least 1 in. longer than the final length of the cutting board. That way, you won’t have to align the ends perfectly during glue-up. Trim off the imperfect ends after glue-up.
TUNE UP YOUR TABLE SAW:
Clean, precise cuts are critical. Grab a square and make sure the blade is square to the tabletop. Also check that the fence is perfectly parallel to the blade. Your owner’s manual will show you how. This is a good time to install a fresh, sharp ripping blade too.
LAY OUT THE STRIPS:
Arrange the strips with their best faces up. Then mark a guideline across them. During glue-up, that line will help you keep them arranged correctly (see photo, right). Also check the overall width of the combined strips.
DO A DRY RUN:
Once you start to spread glue, you have to work fast. So first clamp and caul the cutting board without glue. This dress rehearsal will reveal problems like a misfit joint or alert you to the need for another clamp.
RIP THIN STRIPS SAFELY
Cutting thin strips with just the fence is dangerous and leads to bad cuts. This simple jig will keep your fingers far from the blade and will prevent strips from getting trapped along the fence. It’s exactly 5 in. wide, so you get 1/4-in. strips, for example, by setting the fence set at 5-1/4 in. I used it to cut all the strips that were thinner than 1 in. and then cut wider strips against the fence using a push stick.
CAULS KEEP IT FLAT
To guarantee a flat glue-up, I cut three pairs of cauls from a 2x6 and taped the edges to keep glue from sticking. I set the strips on the lower cauls, applied a generous bead of glue to both sides of every other strip and lightly tightened the upper cauls. I added clamps, applying only light pressure at first. Then I gradually tightened down both the cauls and clamps, alternating between them.
3/4" x 5" x 23" Cleat Cleat pushes board forward Guard removed for photo clarity— use yours!
2" 1/2" hole 5/16" hole 3/8" x 5" lag bolt and washer 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" x 20" Duct tape