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Cutting board oil/conditioners!?

2119 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  KellyCraig
What is everyone’s go to oils, waxes, and conditioners for finishing your cutting boards? Also where do you get yours? Do you buy in bulk?
Thanks in advance!!
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Store brand mineral oil on the roughly 90 cutting boards we've made. I add some melted Beeswax to the final coat and it has worked great on all of them. No sense in buying all the specialty products - they cost too much and do the same thing.
Store brand meaning food grade. What you would find at a drug store ect.
Don't cheap out and get the livestock grade (not food grade) sold at farm supply stores.
Store brand meaning food grade. What you would find at a drug store ect.
Or Walmart or Kroger type of store brand.
Store brand mineral oil on the roughly 90 cutting boards we've made. I add some melted Beeswax to the final coat and it has worked great on all of them. No sense in buying all the specialty products - they cost too much and do the same thing.
I agree
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I don't make many cutting boards.

In my opinion, the various food-grade mineral oil products for cutting boards (with and without wax) are essentially the same. Some will advertise special additives like "Vitamin E", but I doubt the additives make much difference.

I use the Howard products - Cutting Board Oil (plain mineral oil) and Butcher Block Conditioner (mineral oil, beeswax, and carnauba wax). I bought them out of convenience and the fact that I have used their products a long time. I don't think that they are better or more special than other brands.

The last cutting board I made, I used only the Butcher Block Conditioner. In retrospect, I wish I had used a few coats of the mineral oil first, then finished with a couple coats of the Butcher Block Conditioner. It turned out well anyway.

If I were doing production quantities of cutting boards, I would make my own finish from low cost sources of food grade mineral oil and beeswax. I might add carnauba wax, which is harder than beeswax. There are lots of recipes on the internet.
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Read this somewhere and it seems to generally work, will depend on use and care of board.

Mineral oil schedule, warm in microwave before applying:
Once a day for a week.
Once a week for a month.
Once a month forever.
Walrus Oil (yup, thats what its called), bought online

thee oil finish seems to hold food dye quite well, and the beetroot color is also holding up.
Other options, Beeswax, and Raw Linseed Oil (not boiled)
I use coconut oil on cutting boards. I’ve been told it can turn rancid but I have been using it for years and nothing has turned rancid yet. I also use coconut oil on my cast iron pans.
I used walnut oil. Grocery store aisle for salad oil. I'm told it cures when exposed to air.
@TAC Creations should learn the difference between non-drying oil finishes and drying oil finishes.


Mineral oil and the coconut oil that @Kerrys mentioned are a non-drying oils. The same is true of mineral oil based products, like the Howard brand that I mentioned and the Walrus Oil that @kiwi_outdoors mentioned. (Walrus oil is a non-drying combination of mineral and coconut oils, along with other additives.) They are non-drying oils.

Non-drying oils soak into the wood, providing a moisture barrier. You should "renew" or "refresh" your non-drying oil finish periodically by applying a fresh coat and letting it soak in. Mineral oil and other non-drying oils do not provide any physical protection for the wood, only a moisture barrier.


The other kind of oil finish is a drying oil like the walnut oil and linseed oil mentioned above. As they dry, they "polymerize", which means that the oil plasticizes and hardens in the top layers of the wood. That hardening provides a limited physical protection. A drying oil finish is not a hard coating above the surface of the wood like a polyurethane or lacquer finish.

The walnut oil mentioned by @NoThankyou is an example of a drying oil. Depending on the choice of drying oil, they can take a long time to dry (cure). Raw linseed oil (grapeseed oil) can be used, but it takes a very long time to dry. Tung oil is another example of a drying oil, but it takes time to cure, too.

Mahoney's Utility Finish is a pure walnut oil that has been heat treated to dry faster and be less allergenic. It has a great reputation among my friends as the best walnut oil for wood finishing. Disclaimer: We have all met Mike Mohoney, and he is a good, trustworthy guy. I don't know how walnut oil bought in the grocery store compares with Mahoney's as a wood finish.

I have never tried a drying oil on a cutting board. I wonder how drying oil polymerization affects how the cutting board works with knives in actual use? I hope that others chime in with their experience between drying oils and non-drying oils (the traditional cutting board finish). I use the non-drying mineral oil finishes on the cutting boards, but I use food safe drying oils on bowls, baby toys, and other woodworking projects. (In case it matters, I use Tried and True, which is a food safe linseed oil finish. It is not very different than Odie's Oil and other "boutique oil finishes" on the market.)


Whatever you buy, be sure it is "food safe." Watch out for toxic additives that speed up the drying process for drying oils. "Boiled linseed oil" - isn't actually boiled; it has toxic metallic dryer additives that help it cure faster.
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I second Howard Butcher Block Conditioner. Easy finish to apply and refinish with in the future.

Also General Finishes "Wood Bowl Finish", not as easy but gives a beautiful finish.
All fancy "board oil" or "bowl oil" products are over-priced BS, cynically offered to suckers who think or are led to believe the finish requires some special product.. Plain mineral oil (or baby oil, as it's also known) is THE thing and it's dirt cheap. See Amazon for 'mineral oil.' 'baby oil, 'mineral oil laxative' and 'mineral oil for cutting boards' and buy the cheapest stuff available: they're ALL food-safe, all the safe thing, all as cheap as 15 cents an ounce. N.B.: Baby oil sometimes has aloe, vitamin e and fragrance added, w/o harmful effect.
I do like the Howard BBC. It has wax in it and it dries sorta hard. Not like GF Wood Bowl Finish for hardness. It is easy to apply and fix and not real expensive about $10 to $12. I could make my own but don't want to have all the product around to store.

Yes mineral oil is fine and cheap.
Other options, Beeswax, and Raw Linseed Oil (not boiled)
Raw linseed oil is still a hardening oil. It just takes much longer to harden than treated flax seed oil takes. It. essentially, is a seal coat. And it goes rancid, in time, just as do other food oils.

For cutting boards, I, like others, just go with mineral oil. A little goes a long ways and a bottle is cheap, unless you buy the stuff with magic in it.

I bought a butcher block, which was cracked and split from drying out. I added mineral oil and it sucked it up like there was no tomorrow. Throughout the day, I kept adding wherever it had soaked in. By the end of the day, it had slowed way down on how fast it was absorbing in. I slathered on a generous coat and walked away. When I came back, a couple weeks later, the oil had soaked into the pours and such well enough all the cracks seemed to have disappeared.

Essentially, the oil just swelled the wood back to its original condition, before it lost so much moisture it shrunk and cracked or split.

Had I used a hardening oil, the wood would not have swollen back to its original state [it was in when built].
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