True Or False : A completely water submerged cutting board will not crack...

llucas

luke
Senior User
OK, I will admit that the title of this post is aimed at getting a response, or several responses.
I have made many cutting boards (end-grain and otherwise) and have always followed the glueing, oiling, avoid water cautions.
Recently I had a gift endgrain cutting board returned for repair of 2 cracks (along the glue lines, but splitting the wood rather than simply along the glueline.
My first thought was that the owner had simple let a splotch of water rest on the board and caused absorption and expansion at the cracked places...it is my understanding that that is the most common cause of cracks.
I decided to slice the board along gluelines and re-glue it...got a good result which was hardly noticeable.
During the post sanding oiling ritual I watched the oil continually absorbed into the grain and a thought hit me.
Bear with me here, you critical thinking types.
If I only put oil on a single location (such as might happen with a few drops of water left on the board), would i be promoting a crack by the oil expanding the wood in that location? We don't see that maybe because we always completely saturated the board with oil.
Extended thought process....would completely saturating an unoiled board with water cause even absorption and even expansion and result in no crack?
Or even submerging completely an oiled board be completely safe?
I think yes to both questions. Just make sure the water is spread evenly over the entire board.
Thank you for your indulgences.
 

llucas

luke
Senior User
This particular board was made with walnut, maple and purple heart. the split was mostly through black walnut
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
Just a wild guess but I wonder is the walnut you used had be subject to wind shake.
 

WoodWorksbyTim

New User
Tim
I've made and sold a ton of cutting board also. I think you're over thinking it. My guess is that the customer put the board in the dishwasher. That said, I don't think either of the scenarios you described would cause a properly glued cutting board to crack.
 

ste6168

New User
Mike
I have a wood cutting board, made by a friend, that we run through the dishwasher a few times a week, for probably the past 6-ish years. The glue joints are splitting slightly at the edges, my guess is he used TB1 or TBII, but I have no clue. I have also never re-oiled the board, so that could have contributed to the splitting, as well.
 

Attachments

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Wood can split in water but depends on the type and the graining or knots and temperature just less likely.

Ring check and Heart check are defects either caused by damage when growing or when felling the tree.

My guess the reason it is assumed wood in water is more stable, it is more to do with basic physics.
 

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
I made a end grain board for my son (finished with oil/wax combo). About a 12" circle. He used it as a cake platter and put it in the fridge, not sure how long but found it cracked from the center and the edge was opened about 3/4" from the moisture of the cake. When I visited him a year later, it took a while to find the crack. I expect an end grain board submerged in water for some time would have a similar fate.
 

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