Refurbishing a butcher block cutting board - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-06-2020, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Refurbishing a butcher block cutting board

Refurbishing a butcher block cutting board - at least 60 years old

I first "planed" it with the router (multiple passes, leaving 4 nubbins for constant height), cut off the nubbins, sanded with 4" belt sander, re-rounded the corners, sanded sides, oiled with Linseed Oil. I don't use the big belt sander much anymore - but it was ideal for this application.

This was meant to be only a functional refurbishment - to flatten the cutting surface, which had hollowed out approx 1/4". I don't have the patience to make it as pretty as it once was.
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Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's. From the 50's if you count the scrap woodpile on the farm!
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-06-2020, 06:26 PM
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nicely done!



I did a large knife block and use side pcs clamped on as a "sled" to flatten the 45' bottom cut - that's some tricky business . . .
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-07-2020, 03:05 PM
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Looking good

Best Regards,
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-14-2020, 07:07 PM
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I believe mineral oil is the better and safer finish for cutting boards. Linseed oil is toxic and should not come into contact with eatable foods.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-14-2020, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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toxic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordieax View Post
I believe mineral oil is the better and safer finish for cutting boards. Linseed oil is toxic and should not come into contact with eatable foods.
interesting subject:
from https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/is-linseed-oil-toxic/


Toxins in Wooden Furniture

Finding nontoxic wooden furniture can actually be just as challenging as finding a nontoxic sofa, even though you don’t have to worry about flame retardants. Choosing only solid wood pieces is a great start (lots of “wooden” furniture is really made of particle board or plywood which is glued together with formaldehyde-releasing adhesives), but the finishes can be another big problem.

One area of confusion for lots of folks is around linseed oil. Is this truly a nontoxic wood finish, or just Sneaky Stuff?

Here’s the deal with linseed:

Based on our research, we feel that pure, 100% linseed oil poses little, if any, toxic threat to human health, even though it does emit an odor as it dries. Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) on linseed oil tell us that it is non-toxic, and various other sources confirm this.

Boiled Linseed Oil
Beware of “boiled linseed oil.”

The confusion around linseed oil arrives when with “boiled linseed oil,” which is what’s found in most stores/home-centers is confused with 100% linseed oil.

Basically, there are three types of linseed oil, two of which are non-toxic.

1) Raw linseed oil is, in fact, flax seed oil. It takes a long time to dry but is entirely non-toxic.

2) The polymerized version is true “boiled” linseed oil, sometimes called “stand oil”. Stand oil is generated by heating linseed oil near 300 °C for a few days in the complete absence of air. Under these conditions, a is highly viscous product results, which provides exceptionally uniform coatings that “dry” to more elastic coatings than linseed oil itself. It also dries much more quickly (although still more slowly than toxic, commonly-used polyurethanes.) This true boiled linseed oil is also non-toxic.

3) The “boiled linseed oil” you can buy in most stores is actually mostly raw linseed oil, but with plasticizers, hardeners, and heavy metals added to make it act like true boiled oil, without the time and effort it takes to actually boil it; in other words, it’s cheap. Folks who are concerned about the toxicity of linseed oil are likely thinking of this type.

We’ve identified two sources for good linseed oil: Heritage Natural Finishes and Earthpaint.

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's. From the 50's if you count the scrap woodpile on the farm!
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-14-2020, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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At 69 years old, and considering that I don't scrape the butcher block and eat the scrapings, I am not worried. This is end-grain butcher bloc, the knife blade mostly dives between fibers, there is not much getting cut loose.

I took a look at the SDS - it seems to be the usual harum-scarum and weasel words.

BTW - I chewed on my wood pencils as a kid - no harm done. I am on good health other than a lower back condition that is my fault, and muy IQ was just fine after the pencil chewing.
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Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's. From the 50's if you count the scrap woodpile on the farm!
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-15-2020, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi_outdoors View Post
At 69 years old, and considering that I don't scrape the butcher block and eat the scrapings, I am not worried. This is end-grain butcher bloc, the knife blade mostly dives between fibers, there is not much getting cut loose.

I took a look at the SDS - it seems to be the usual harum-scarum and weasel words.

BTW - I chewed on my wood pencils as a kid - no harm done. I am on good health other than a lower back condition that is my fault, and muy IQ was just fine after the pencil chewing.
I was uncomfortable when I read @kiwi_outdoors comment about using linseed oil finish for the same reasons as others. The quote above leaves me more uncomfortable.

The Klean-Strip Boiled Linseed Oil that kiwi_outdoors used has toxic metallic driers. The finished wood products are not recommended for food contact. I took a look at the SDS. Klean-Strip uses cobalt manganese salt as the drying agent.

While I admire kiwi_outdoors' 69-year-old courage and bravado, he/she may want to reconsider that the cutting board could be used to prepare food for young family members like grandchildren, nieces/nephews, or other guests. They may not all agree with kiwi_outdoors' assessment of the SDS as "harum-scarum and weasel words."

New woodworkers should NOT follow the example of ignoring the warnings and building food-contact projects with boiled linseed oil finishes, the ones with toxic metallic drying agents.

If you want a food safe linseed oil finish, consider the ones mentioned above. For myself, when I want a food-safe, baby-safe, non-toxic linseed oil finish, I use Tried and True. I have also tested Odie's Oil. Both are non-toxic and look nice.
https://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com
https://www.odiesoil.com

I prefer a mineral oil and wax combination for cutting boards. Earlier, I used pure mineral oil, but switched to one with wax. Many people make their own mineral oil and wax finish; just use food grade mineral oil.
https://howardproducts.com/product/b...k-conditioner/

Note: Even though mineral oil is considered food safe by most people and government agencies, there are some well qualified experts who disagree with the consensus.

-> There is no dispute about the metallic drying agents in boiled linseed oil. They all agree that the drying agents are toxic and the finishes are not food safe.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-23-2020, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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The kiddies (not grandchildren) only visit a few weeks a year so I am no more worried about that linseed oil issue than eating lead paint of pencils when I was a child. Tho I will be following up on the non-toxic oil recommendations.

I am just fed up with the paranoia in our society about what harms us. Its really over the top (as the brits say). Lead paint - don't paint with it five days a week. Asbestos - don't lag pipes with it five days a week (or mine asbestos ore). Its all about quantity ingested or absorbed. Occasional casual contact is not an issue. Heck- folks used to take Arsenic as a medicine!

As for the linseed oil issue - it polymerizes as it dries, it ain't rubbing off the cutting board. The knife blade sinks into the end grain of the cutting block, parting the wood fibers and the polymerized oil, not scraping the oil off. And the block ain't going to be oiled frequently (so sad, but true) - the old one was never oiled until now - that was over the 5 decades we have used it.

Yes, we need to be aware and careful - but temper it with some common sense.

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's. From the 50's if you count the scrap woodpile on the farm!
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-23-2020, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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FYI - the SDS for Tries and True linseed oil sounds like something that our President would have written - its all wonderful. It lacks meaningful detail IMO.

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post #10 of 10 Old 08-23-2020, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well - too many oils on the web - so I ordered some "Walrus Oil" :-) because it got good reviews.

Not made from Walruses.

But I am sticking to my dangerous oil for the card holders (which also hold scrabble tiles).

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's. From the 50's if you count the scrap woodpile on the farm!
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