Cutting Board Finish

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dwg426

Doug
User
Hi Everyone, I have read a lot about pros and cons of different finishs for cutting boards. Is any finish better or worse for brightness and appearence? I have used plain mineral oil on the half dozen or so cutting boareds I have made.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
To quote Howard Acheson:

An excellent treatment for wooden food preparation surfaces like cutting boards and butcher blocks is a mixture of mineral oil and either paraffin or beeswax. This is what is used on many commercial wood surfaces. It will last longer and be more protective than just mineral oil. Mineral oil can be found in most supermarkets in the pharmacy section or in a true pharmacy. Paraffin is found in the canning section of the store or in a hardware store.

Heat the oil in a double boiler and shave in some wax. The exact proportions are not critical--a 5-6 parts of oil to one part of wax will work fine. Stir the mixture until all the wax is liquefied. Apply the mixture heavily and let it set 10-12 hours or overnight. Next day do it again and continue until the wood will no longer absorb the finish. Let it set for 10-12 hours and then lightly scrape off any excess. Then buff it with a rag.

Reapply whenever the wood begins to look dry.

I use an old coffee maker to heat the oil and melt the wax. Pour the oil into the pot (not the resevoir!) and turn it on. The warming plate gets it just hot enough.

I've used salad bowl finish in the past. It's a little more durable than mineral oil, but there's always a hint of smell.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Doug: (Bas and I were typing at the same time; similar but slightly different responses)

In use - I use plain mineral oil as well. Applied when it appears 'drey.'

For appearance, I use a mix of mineral oil and paraffin wax. I add small wax shavings to min. oil, to an approximate 10% wax content (nothing is measured). I microwave the concoction until wax melts. It makes slippery mess, but also makes for a great finish (wipe on to saturate, let sit, then wipe off). This has more 'soft luster' than just oil and I think feels better as well.

That's my method - anyone else out there do anything different?

Henry
 
Last edited:

DWSmith

New User
David
No need to apply until the wood no longer absorbs the mixture. That will lead to over oiling and is totally unnecessary. Just apply the finish as needed when the area used most looks lighter in color than the surrounding area.
 

SubGuy

Administrator
Zach
I like beeswax and walnut oil mix. I've heard others speak about the walnut oil going bad, spoiling or something of that nature but I have not experienced this. I have had a table I made with this finish for the whole table (legs and all) and it has lasted over 5 years. I have reapplied with light use only about every 2 years.
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I've used Tried and True brand Varnish Oil. It will soak in and darken the wood some, but I like the look it gives. The wife touches it up with Butcher Block Oil whenever it looks like it needs it. I would not buy Butcher Block Oil again as it is just Mineral Oil in a fancy bottle at double the price.

Any finish is food safe once it cures. Don't use walnut oil if anyone you know has nut allergies. Might not be a problem once cured but I wouldn't take the chance.
 

kooshball

David
Corporate Member
To quote Howard Acheson:

An excellent treatment for wooden food preparation surfaces like cutting boards and butcher blocks is a mixture of mineral oil and either paraffin or beeswax. This is what is used on many commercial wood surfaces. It will last longer and be more protective than just mineral oil. Mineral oil can be found in most supermarkets in the pharmacy section or in a true pharmacy. Paraffin is found in the canning section of the store or in a hardware store.

Heat the oil in a double boiler and shave in some wax. The exact proportions are not critical--a 5-6 parts of oil to one part of wax will work fine. Stir the mixture until all the wax is liquefied. Apply the mixture heavily and let it set 10-12 hours or overnight. Next day do it again and continue until the wood will no longer absorb the finish. Let it set for 10-12 hours and then lightly scrape off any excess. Then buff it with a rag.

Reapply whenever the wood begins to look dry.

I use an old coffee maker to heat the oil and melt the wax. Pour the oil into the pot (not the resevoir!) and turn it on. The warming plate gets it just hot enough.

I've used salad bowl finish in the past. It's a little more durable than mineral oil, but there's always a hint of smell.
Interestingly enough, that is also the same way that many shoe leathers are finished as well.
 
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