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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm making my wife a new cutting board for Christmas. I bought a piece of 3/4 maple and will cut pieces 1.5" wide and glue the faces together so it will be 1 1/2" high. I picked up some of the cutting board pieces at woodcraft to add in accent woods. So far I am using yellow heart and Paduk as my accent woods and may use cherry as well. I'm going to glue it up using titebond III. My question is what should I do for the finish? I've never made a cutting board so I've never finished one, but my wife has been wanting me to make her one so I am. Woodcraft gave me a couple suggestions but I thought id see if there are any cutting board experts here to see what you guys use, and of course if you have any advice on any other steps I'm all ears. Also I'm going to round over the top edges, what radius or diameter round over should I use on this? I'm planning to buy a new round over bit for the project and will most likely make more of these in the future to sell so I would like to know what size round over would be best for a cutting board. I'm planning to make it 12x12 and 1 1/4" tall.
 

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I don't make cutting boards. I carve kitchen utensils in birch for food prep =spoons and 4-tine prep forks. About 70 (yeah, 70) so far, 12 spoons and 24 forks ready to finish. I have learned that with the usual heats of kitchen work, my finish cannot be washed off in 8 months, judging by my use in my kitchen.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Slop up your project with good olive oil. On a cake rack over a sheet pan, put your project into the oven for no more than 3 minutes BY THE CLOCK. Surface wood air heats and expands. Out of the oven, the remaining air cools and contracts, sucking the oil down into the wood.

You can do nothing at room temp, aside from a vacuum pump that can pull 10^-3Torr, to perfuse the surface wood like this. Really, any oil will do.

The neat thing you should see, fresh out of the oven, is that the wood is bubbling as expanded wood air is still coming out. On a cutting board, I'd slop the oil to it until the whole business cools off to room temp. To say that olive oil will go rancid is horse-puckey = on a dirty cupboard shelf, maybe. Not inside wood with no further exposure to air.

I tell you, you can't wash this off! This is simple physics, not product hype.
 

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I find 12x16 is a better workable size, fits on the counter better. As for finish, I use plain mineral oil. Some folks like a mineral oil and wax mix. There are plenty of threads here on how, just search.
 

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crosseyed & dyslexic
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So many people here have used kenbo's cutting board thread to learn the basics and his formula for a finish. I can personally attest
to his recipe :thumbsup:

Everything you need to know is right here.....http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/how-make-end-grain-cutting-boards-28721/


maybe not the radius bit, can't remember, but I would think a 3/8" would be fine or 1/2"

Good luck!

After reading the gentleman from Northbend's reply, I agree on that size. Well at least the depth of 12" mine are turning out
around 12x17, but that's just me.
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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As for the finish, I would suggest walnut oil. The walnut oil tends to be absorbed by the wood and doesn't turn rancid. You'll probably have to do two or three coats and allow the walnut oil to dry for a day.

During the first few months, you'll have to reapply the walnut oil once a week or so. After the first few weeks the walnut oil will need to be reapplied every six months or so depending how often the cutting board is washed.

BTW - Grocery store and Woodcraft walnut oil are about the same price and quality. As an old neighbor used to say, "Use either, it don't make no never mind."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice guys! I think I will go down to 12x16. It will save wood which equals money.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Mineral oil.....won't go rancid (the others can and eventually will).....is cheap and readily available.

I agree heat will help infuse the surface better....but be really careful...too much heat for too long will cause those joints to fail. Don't ask how I know.
 

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Precisely why I give both temperature and time. My kitchen tools can and will cook like French Fries if I overdo the heat treatment.

Once again, olive down in the wood can't go rancid as there's little/no air/oxygen in contact with the oil.
Of course any oil will do, they all "tend" to be absorbed into the wood by by capillary action.
But at room temperature, none can penetrate very far due to the back pressure of the air in the dry surface wood. The physics of the heat treatment does a better job.

I'm quite surprised how stain-proof this finish has turned out to be in daily use.

Be careful using nut oils. There are some very intense allergic reactions. Peanuts don't have a lock on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll pick up some oil when I get paid this week. How long should I wait to finish it if I'm using titebond III? 24 hours work? Also should I slaver the oil on and let it sit for a while or just send it in the oven ?
 

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Sawdust Creator
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My current method which works good for me....is to layout a cookie sheet, put down 1/4 inch of mineral oil on it, and set the cutting board into it....every hour or two I flip it over and add more oil as needed. Let it soak for a few hours on each side.
 

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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.

Never put a wood board in the dishwasher and don't soak it in dishwater for long periods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
HowardAcheson said:
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. Never put a wood board in the dishwasher and don't soak it in dishwater for long periods.
Thank for the tip. I'll definitely pick up the bees wax too if that's what commercial wood surfaces use. Yeah the dishwasher is a bad idea for cutting boards. My wife has put hers in their and that's why she needs a new one. It still works but doesn't have a lot of life left and it's pretty plain. This one will definitely look nicer with the different colored wood and just want to make sure it will hold up for a long time.
 

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I wish you well. Any food-safe finish you might care to concoct and spend days and days applying. If mineral oil was so awful gol dang good, why is it not in every salad dressing there is? Answer = ugly food crud.

I'm done in 3 minutes with a finish that's far more penetrating than anything you've got. This isn't fiction, voo-doo or doo-doo. Your wood spoons go black from rotting food juice in the wood. Like the butt end of a compost box.

Tell me. Why not let physics do all the work? Hot finish trumps room temp work, every time.
I like the idea of making up a brew of olive oil and beeswax.
Slop that on for 3 minutes at 350F and I am done, once and for all.
 

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I'm the cook. I don't want any finish on my cutting boards. I wash them down with hot soapy water after every use and and wipe down with bleach water. It's all about food safety. No finish stands up to knives and the constant washing. Folks that build fancy cutting boards should understand food safety and keep them bare. Mineral oil if you must for new appearance but it won't last more than a few weeks.
 

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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. Nut and vegetable oils are not a good choice as they can turn rancid with time.

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.

Never put a wood board in the dishwasher and don't soak it in dishwater for long periods.
 
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