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Thread: Oiling cutting board

  1. #1
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    Oiling cutting board

    Not had much interest in making cutting boards. Last week my wife spilled some water on the counter and didn't think to pick up her maple cutting board. The water got under it and it warped really bad. So I whipped out one from some scraps in the shop to surprise her. Oiled it and when she washed it, it raised the grain big time!

    Resanded it this morning and oiling it now. Question is, how much or how many coats does it take to water proof the thing??

    I have had the same problem with oiled paddles. Grain raised so bad they felt like sand paper on your hands. Resand and oil and same thing when it got wet. Finally gave up and just varnish mine now. Obviously I am not doing something right. I assume not enough coats of oil.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


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  2. #2
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    I've always used mineral oil on a cutting board. When I first made the one we've been using for nearly ten years, I bathed it in oil -- literally. I applied very heavy coats. let each soak in overnight, rubbed it off and applied another coat. I did this until it wouldn't absorb any more oil. Since then, I wash it after each use and apply a coat of oil about every 20 uses. The board is made of maple with walnut accents.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
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  3. #3
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    Mineral oil is preferred except by us old world Italians. Then, it's olive oil. That's what I use on my personal cut board.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    .... I did this until it wouldn't absorb any more oil.
    I am thinking that is the key. I just didn't have enough oil in it (or the paddles).

    FWIW my sister is a Chef and they use vegetable oil on theirs in the kitchens. She said it works fine and won't get rancid. Plus they always have that in any pro kitchen.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  5. #5
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    When I was making a lot of cutting boards, I'd always spritz them with water to raise the grain after sanding through the grits. Then, once it dried, I'd use 400 or 600 grit to knock down the raised grain, then slather it heavily with mineral oil for at least 24 hours. If the oil raised the grain any more, I'd wet sand (with more oil) with 600 grit until it was smooth.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    ... FWIW my sister is a Chef and they use vegetable oil on theirs in the kitchens. She said it works fine and won't get rancid. Plus they always have that in any pro kitchen.
    Vegetable oil might work in a pro kitchen because they use and clean cutting boards all day long every day. It WILL turn rancid according to all other references I have ever seen. I'll stick with mineral oil as recommended.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  7. #7
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    I've used mineral oil for years with good results. I have used the same method Vaughn described. Works great!!!
    ________

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    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    Vegetable oil might work in a pro kitchen because they use and clean cutting boards all day long every day. It WILL turn rancid according to all other references I have ever seen. I'll stick with mineral oil as recommended.
    My thoughts (and experience) exactly. How quickly (or indeed if) veggie oil goes rancid depends on various factors, but for a cutting board for a home kitchen, I'd still go with the mineral oil.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  9. #9
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    Vaughn's method is the right track. Water is what will raise the grain on wood and cause the "fuzzies", so for best results spritz with water, let dry and sand with a fine grit, then spritz again and sand once more. Repeat the procedure til no fuzzies appear, and then soak in oil til it won't absorb anymore, wipe and let it dry. I use mineral oil and sometimes mineral oil with some paraffin melted in it in a double boiler.
    Last edited by Norman Hitt; 11-16-2008 at 08:42 AM.

  10. #10
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    Ditto on what Vaughn and Norman said.

    I've been making quite a few end grain boards lately.

    I sand them up to 220, spritz with water, then hit it with the 220 again to knock down the raised grain. Then I slather on plain mineral oil for about a day. Basically, I just keep a rag in a bowl and when the board looks dry, slap some more on.

    After that I apply a coat or two of my oil wax mix and then buff it with some paper towels.

    It seals the boards, protects it against liquids, gives the boards a nice satin sheen to them and a great tactile feel. Just a really silky smooth feeling that plain oil just doesn't seem to match.

    I make up bottles of cutting board oil/parafin mix. About 4 or 5 parts oil to 1 part parafin wax. I just melt the wax and oil together in a mason jar in an old rice cooker.

    I know a lot of folks use vegetable oil successfully, but I find this mix works really well without the possibility of rancidity.
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