We all spend a lot of time fighting end grain. Whether in joinery or finishing, end grain presents obstacles that must be confronted. I finally gave up. . . and decided if I can't fight it, I'll join it. The result is this end-grain box top.
It may be of some consolation to know that this is one project where good old white pine yields better results than almost any hardwood. The box top shown here was made from a piece of plain-cut white pine 2x4. To get the best ring pattern, select a 2x4 cut from, or near, the center of the tree. (Fortunately, this is very common.)
The box top consists of 32 blocks, each 1W square. In order to get these blocks cut and arranged in the bull's eye pattern, 1 followed this cutting sequence.
step 1.1 started with a piece of 2x4 about 18" long (for easier handling) with a 12" clear section at one end. Since 2x4s come with rounded edges, it must be squared up first. 1 wound up with a piece 2V*" wide and about 1%" thick.
It's important to choose a blade that will give a nice smooth cut because it's not wise to do any sanding after cutting. I chose a Sears hollow-ground planer blade.
step2. Set the rip fence exactly 1W from the inside of the blade, and rip off two pieces 1W wide as shown in Fig. 1. Then turn each piece on edge and make a second cut so it's 1W thick. Now mark off ZV» lengths on each piece and number each section to keep them in order.
step 3. Cut four 3"-long sections from each piece (yielding eight sections in all). These sections are 'opened' as shown in Fig. 2 to produce 'book matched' pairs.
step 4. These eight sections are then glued up. paying close attention to the end grain pattern. Looking at the end of this block, the ring patterns should form a series of four half-circles. Fig. 3. If. during gluing, the blocks have slipped, you must careftilly plane the surfaces flat.
step5. Now, four strips can be ripped off the end of this block. Fig. 4. Each strip should be about V*" 'long.' These strips are then matched to form the bull's eye pattern and glued up in two rows.
Since I wanted to preserve the bull's eye pattern all the way out to the edges. 1 built the lid first and then built the box to fit so no trimming would be necessary. The box shown here is made of red gum and joined with locked rabbet joints.
The lid and box were finished with \V-> lb.-cut white shellac, and then given a coat of carnauba furniture wax.
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