In-counter Cutting Board - Router Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Default In-counter Cutting Board

I've been asked to make an in-counter cutting board. The formica counter of this older home has a hole cut in it over the dishwasher that the board drops into.

Below is a picture of the hole in the counter - along with a partial shot of the moldy board that is being replaced.

The design of the new board is not finalized, but one of the potential designs is here for reference. Woods used might be Walnut, Cherry, Yellowheart, Jarrah, Bloodwood and Purpleheart.

My question is, any ideas on how to protect the new board from damage from the harsh environment. Dishwasher heat + wet cutting board = ideal environment to grow nasty contaminants, right?

1. What should I do to protect the board that I am making?
2. What should the homeowner do in the future to protect the board?

Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrrun View Post
My question is, any ideas on how to protect the new board from damage from the harsh environment. Dishwasher heat + wet cutting board = ideal environment to grow nasty contaminants, right?

1. What should I do to protect the board that I am making?
2. What should the homeowner do in the future to protect the board?

Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
I've seen some research that says wood is much less likely to grow bacteria than we might think. Do a Google search to convince yourself. I think your biggest worry is the heat from the dishwasher. I'd add a layer of foil-backed foam insulation under the cutting board to protect from the heat. Film forming finishes such as varnish or poly don't work good for cutting boards. I'd coat it liberally with mineral oil and leave some for the homeowner to refresh periodically.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 08:46 AM
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Henry,

If you haven't already done so, I'm going to suggest that you check into TOXICITY of each of the woods you plan to incorporate into said cutting board. I saw you mentioned PURPLEHEART - I think that is one to be avoided in this scenario, but I suggest you research all of the options. Also, if it will be in layers (as shown in your inset) check into glue compatibility, as some of the "oily" woods have poor adhesion qualities. Just recommending caution here!

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 10:08 AM
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Hi Henry. For my cheese boards/cutting boards, I use hemp seed oil. It is non-toxic, food safe, and has no petroleum distillate, as has mineral oil. I recommend this. You can buy it from Hempola, Barrie, Ontario, Canada. All the best, Bill Major, Bill Major
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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You're correct, DonkeyHody, wood is naturally anti-bacterial. It is the best cutting board surface for this reason! For links to some relevant scientific proof of this, go to my blog post: "Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?"

OPG3, I've checked the toxicity of each of the species of wood that I use, including purpleheart. It's certainly true that purpleheart is a "sensitizer," meaning that it and many exotic hardwoods can lead to an allergic reaction through persistent contact with the wood, and, especially, the sawdust of the wood. HOWEVER, there is no evidence that this species can cause an allergic reaction through either food contact or contact with the finished wood. It's used for furniture world wide, for example. I've actually received this caution before ... and can't find any scientific proof of toxicity beyond the common admonition to be careful while working with the wood.

Billy Boy, we're going to respectfully disagree on the proper surface treatment for a cutting board. I use mineral oil specifically as it is both shelf stable and will not go rancid. Hemp oil is neither of those, and has a relatively short shelf life according to Mrs M (my wife!), who uses hemp oil in some of her small batch lotions & balms. Mineral oil is FDA approved for human consumption, and that's the gold standard for me.

My current plan is to treat the underside of this board with Good Stuff, which is a treatment for wooden counters that is FDA approved for food contact. This is a urethane that is water proof, and should provide better protection for the wood in the hot/wet environment it's going to be in. I'm also going to admonish the homeowner to sterilize the counter opening that appears to have a mold infestation and not put a wet board back into that opening. Finally, I'm going to give them my board care kit, which includes mineral oil and Mrs M's own board butter (locally harvested beeswax + mineral oil) so that they can keep the board well oiled & protected from water damage.

Make sense? Anyone?

Henry
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 11:11 PM
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I think you are on the right track Henry. I have used all of the woods you listed in making end grain cutting boards,except Bloodwood. Only because I have not purchased any yet. I also use mineral oil, for the
same reasons that you stated. I have seen the boards that you have made, Wow! Keep us updated on your progress.
The wood database is an excellent source for information of woods and their uses. I think Maple is one of the few FDA approved woods for cutting boards. That does not mean that it is the only wood that can
be used. Keep up the good work.

Ellery Becnel
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 07:30 AM
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thinking outside the box....consider solid surface material (corian or similar) other than wood, no toxicity issues, no heat/moisture concern, easily replaced when worn, inexpensive (visit a top shop for sink cutouts), many colors available....fwiw.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 05:04 PM
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Henry - From past posts it's clear that you have a great deal of experience making and finishing cutting boards. I wouldn't try to make any suggestions about the board materials or the finish. Particularly since I do the same thing.

However, I wonder if there is any possibility of leaving some room under the board for air flow. Does the board have to be flush with the counter top? If not, by routing a rabbit along the edge you can form a lip so the board can be dropped in and supported by the counter and leave a little room under the board for air flow. If it has to be flush maybe you can support it underneath with an absorbent materiel that will drain moisture away from the underneath side of the board. Either way, how do you plan to keep any spilled liquid from seeping down between the edge of the board and the edge of the counter? Other than putting some kind of drip pan under it I'm coming up blank.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 05:35 PM
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I like the idea of the board sticking above the counter top so it can be removed for cleaning.

Note: I have the cutout for our sink that I saved when the counter top people installed our Silstone counters. It is 33 x 16 (or thereabouts) and heavy!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 05:57 PM
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Henry, I love your boards, but in this case I have to agree with Ron re using a non absorbent commercial cutting surface. If it's anything like our house, there'll be water around it and on it all the time. Maintaining a wooden board under those conditions will just become a chore (read p.i.t.a.)
I'm the clean-up guy at our place and I'm ruthless around the food prep areas. If it isn't Cl than it's a Quaternary disinfectant, or H2O2...pretty sure none of those are wood cutting board friendly.
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