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I have watched several of you making or seen the end product of your cutting boards for several years.
I am thinking of trying my hand at them. What is the best oil to use to finish a cutting board. I know it must be some thing that isn't going to poison
the users. I was thinking of baby oil or vegetable oil.

David
 

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Dave,

They sell mineral oil and cutting board oil at HD or Lowes or Ace ---- and a bunch of other places.
 
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David - Machinist in wood
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Just get the store brand mineral oil from the pharmacy department. It's far less expensive than mineral oil packaged for cutting boards but it's the same thing. That's what we've used on all the ones we've built (somewhere around 75 or so).

I also add a little Beeswax to the final coat but that's not required. I keep a container with a little Beeswax melted into the mineral oil and use it sparingly.

David

Edit - vegetable oil will go rancid so not a good choice
 

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David; I bought a plastic blanket storage tray to do my mineral oil process in. I flood the board with at least a pint of mineral oil and let it soak overnight. Flip it over and do the other side next morning. If it's end grain, the oil will have soaked right through.
take it out and let it dry a bit (maybe another day or so) then as the others have suggested, I apply a mix of 1 part beeswax to 4 parts mineral oil liberally. Let it soak in, then buff vigorously. The warmth generated by the buffing will help the wax penetrate into the wood.
The difference between mineral oil and vegetable oil is that the mineral oil will never go rancid.
I like to give the recipient a little jelly jar of 'board butter' with their gift cutting board; re-waxing when water no longer beads on the board is really important.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Thanks guys, I'll use the mineral oil. I believe I have some of that on hand.
I'll post what I come up with. (If they turn out decent).

David
Oh, no, you're not getting off that easy. At this point photos are required whether or not they come out decent! :wink:

David
 

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In the spirit of Full Disclosure, which ever oil finish you use be aware that there's a potential for a small amount of oil to migrate out and it could stain a tablecloth if your board doesn't have foot pads. Mine don't as I expect both sides to be used for cutting*.
I make one side with juice channels and the flip side without.
*No, not at the same time! ;)
 

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Theo
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Edit - vegetable oil will go rancid so not a good choice
Not so sure about that. Years ago I communicated with a college professor (food science I believe), and asked him about vegetable oil going rancid. He told me that it only goes rancid if heated above, or at, cooking temperature. I tend to believe this as I finished a rocking chair with new vegetable oil cooking oild. That was probably about 25 years ago, and it has sat in my front room ever since, and not turned rancid yet.
 

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I wouldn't take a chance on it Theo. Every so often I get a packaged food (like peanuts) which have sat in storage too long and the oil has started to go rancid.
 

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Not much to add to the above as the comments are bang on. I use the butcher block oils from HD, starting with the plain oil and the final coat is their combination of oil and beeswax. in each application the oil is heated in a small crock pot and applied as as hot as can be safely handled with a soft rag. The board is left to dry for 24 hours before the final coatis applied.

To date I have added footpads to all boards per the end users request. I use plastic feet from ACE hardware attached with stainless steel screws. These are added as the last step, the screw holes are however pre-drilled so that some of the oiled seeps into that area.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Not so sure about that. Years ago I communicated with a college professor (food science I believe), and asked him about vegetable oil going rancid. He told me that it only goes rancid if heated above, or at, cooking temperature. I tend to believe this as I finished a rocking chair with new vegetable oil cooking oild. That was probably about 25 years ago, and it has sat in my front room ever since, and not turned rancid yet.
It will very definitely go rancid. A couple of times we've had bottles sit in the pantry for a while without being used and when we tried to use them and unscrewed the cap you could tell instantly this had gone rancid. Now whether or not it will on a cutting board as quickly as a in a bottle I don't know but I won't chance it (I've read plenty of times that it will, btw).

David
 

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Theo
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I wouldn't take a chance on it Theo. Every so often I get a packaged food (like peanuts) which have sat in storage too long and the oil has started to go rancid.
Well, no, I wouldn't use it on cutting boards, just on general principles, if nothing else. But from my experience it will work as a finish for furniture, if you want to use it. That was part of my earlier experimental stage.
 

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If you're happy with your results, Theo, stick with it, but the point that the mineral oil proponents are making is that it's a very easy to work with product with no down sides.
Sort of like switching from oil based urethane to waterbourne. I actually prefer the oil based BUT the waterbased is just way too easy to use. Whatever it's negatives the lack of nasty solvents, ease of cleanup, and frankly, price, make the waterbourne very attractive.
I just use that as an example of making personal choices when selecting between products.
 

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Interesting thread. IMHO, no question about the oil going rancid being of concern since (raw) food will be in contact with the surface. Mineral oil is medically approved for all kinds of things, so poisoning my guests will only occur due to my usage of blue/green meat on sale or poor hygene, or on purpose, lol.

Wood has the magical characteristic of being self cleaning (something like 99+% of bacteria on a wooden cutting board surface will disappear), unlike the petri dish potential of plastic or the ...gulp....... knife edge fail of a glass cutting board, :surprise::surprise::surprise:!!

My son built me a cutting board in school shop class about 8 years ago. I use it every day, and think of him as I use it to prepare food and eat most meals from it; using my 48 year old Puma brand hunting knife my grandfather purchased for me in Austria......sentimental and caught in the past obviously.....

The board is starting to crack between the panels and is ever so slightly warped because of this. One of my to do projects is to cut the various seams out and reglue (perhaps dowel) it and also put a blood groove into it. It will be the first project to hit my Woodpecker router table, which is still sitting unused almost a year after acquiring it.

Thinking bandsaw strip cutting, and then re-gluing....any suggestions on what glue and procedures to use ?

The big boi board was given to me by a close friend when his wife complained it was too big and heavy to move around......been toying with the idea of cutting a blood channel into it as well, but it's so nice and original I'm scared to..........
 

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My son made a cutting board in wood shop about 1996. We used it regularly until a few years ago when he got his house and started a family. Then we passed it on to him. I miss that cutting board. It was just the right size.
 
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My Tutor, a few years ago, recommended Grape Seed oil.
 

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@tulowd

For the glue I would recommend Titebond III as it has been registered with the FDA as safe for wood that will come in contact with food. As for adding the grove, I wouldn’t add one unless your experience cutting on the board warrants it.
 

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I have watched several of you making or seen the end product of your cutting boards for several years.
I am thinking of trying my hand at them. What is the best oil to use to finish a cutting board. I know it must be some thing that isn't going to poison
the users. I was thinking of baby oil or vegetable oil.

David
I concur with yes on mineral oil and no on vegetable oil. Cutting boards run the gamut. If you ignore the specific use, I divide cutting boards into two groups; those that are too pretty to use and those that are intended to be used regularly. To date, my cutting boards have favored function over form. If you make a big board that you might carve a turkey on, then you should plan on liquid channels. About 50 years ago, a friend shared his cutting board design; it looked like an old fashioned meat cleaver. I am still making that shape and giving to family and friends; I get positive feedback on its utility. Keep wooden cutting boards out of the dish washer!!
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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My Tutor, a few years ago, recommended Grape Seed oil.
Also not a good choice - sorry. Grapeseed oil is a polyunsaturated oil, which means it can become rancid very quickly if exposed to light or heat.

With few exceptions these more exotic sounding oils pose issues. Stick with mineral oil.

David
 
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