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Thanks to this forum I have smooth off the surface of a professional butchers block to use as an outside BBQ table/chopping board using a router.

It is a full size 3ft/90cm x 2ft/60cm block made of either sycamore or maple. I ended up taking 5mm off some parts. I then sanded it. It looks great.

Since then I have been applying mineral oil as after 35 years in storage it is very dry.

My question is how much mineral oil would expect it to need?

I have been surprised how the end grain just sucks the oil in. Over the last couple of weeks I applied close to three litres of oil and it still seems to want more. When you squirt the oil on you can just want the grain take it up before you have had time to spread it out with a cloth.

Do I just keep going? Does it take time to equilibrate/settle?

Any comments gratefully received.

J
 

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I am completely puzzled by the amount of oil you are applying. 3 liters is an exorbitant amount of oil. When you apply it to one side, is it seeping out the other side?
 

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Billyjim: So was I! The block is 6.5inches/16cm deep and no oil is coming through.

Historically the reverse side has been used more. I did smooth that side because it is less even. I did oil that side and one coat was fine.

It seems that they act of smoothing it with the router on the less used side has opened up the end grain so that it is taking in loads of oil.
 

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6.5 inches thick is big. What are the other dimensions? End grain boards that I make are typically 2" thick and usually about 14x18. It takes far less oil to prepare a board that size.
 

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Although that does seem like a lot of oil, you're talking about a lot of wood. My largest end grain cutting board, made from walnut and maple, was 12" X 20" X 1.125". Just for the fun of it I played a bit with the numbers.

My board in cubic in = 12 * 20 * 1.125 = 270
Your block in cubic in = 36 * 24 * 6.5 = 5,616
So, your block is 5616 / 270 = 20.8 times larger than my board.
I'm trying to remember but I believe I used around 6 oz of mineral oil.
You've used about 100 oz (roughly 3 liters) of oil.
Making the, probably incorrect, assumption that both boards would absorb the same amount of oil, then your block would absorb roughly 20 times what my board did. So 20 * 6 = 120 oz
What that says is that you're almost there.

Ok, ok, you can stop laughing and, going with the times, call it "fake mathematics". But, what I was trying to say is, although that does sound like a lot of oil, it may not be, if the wood is very dry and the end grain pulls the oil through most of the thickness.

The way I oil my boards is, I flood the surface with oil, let it sit for 15 minutes, adding oil in areas that drink it in. After 15 minutes I wipe off all remaining oil and let the board sit for a few hours. I then repeat the process. I usually get 3 coats in in a day. When I check the board after a few hours or the next day and see oil on the surface I know that's the time to stop. I then wipe down the board periodically, a couple times a day, until I see that the oil is no longer oozing to the surface.

Back to your block. Since you've been applying the oil over a period of weeks, and it's still absorbing oil, I'd keep going at a slow rate, maybe twice a day and then letting it sit over night until you see the oil on the surface. Just my opinion so take it for what it's worth. I may be totally wrong about your block so please keep us posted. Your experience would be good info for any of us who may venture from boards to blocks.
 

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He did say it had been in storage 35 years, and was very dry. I helped my grandfather paint the trim on his house. Hadn't been painted in I don't know how long. Paint a section white, looked great, solid white. Move to another section, look back, first section looked like it had never been touched. Took a LOT of coats before we started seeing white when we looked back at it. If it sat that long, then I would say, yes, it is going to suck up a whole lot of oil.
 

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Thanks for these informative posts.

I am a fan of 'back of the envelope' calculations and so am impressed with Barry747's analysis. I will keep adding oil and keep you posted. My kids would expect me to start trying to create a graph of block volume verses oil volume!

You may be amused to know that I bought this butcher's block off a butcher in 1986. He asked if I had a big kitchen. I replied I don't even own a house yet. I always said I was going to do it up when I retired. Over the years it came out for street parties. I retired in August this year! I have attached a photo.

J

butchers block.jpg
 

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Thanks for these informative posts.

I am a fan of 'back of the envelope' calculations and so am impressed with Barry747's analysis. I will keep adding oil and keep you posted. My kids would expect me to start trying to create a graph of block volume verses oil volume!

You may be amused to know that I bought this butcher's block off a butcher in 1986. He asked if I had a big kitchen. I replied I don't even own a house yet. I always said I was going to do it up when I retired. Over the years it came out for street parties. I retired in August this year! I have attached a photo.

J

View attachment 396643
That's a nicer block that I envisioned. I thought it would be end grain to the edges and not have have an edge grain frame around it. If you're dimensions included the edge grain then my numbers were too high since edge grain doesn't absorb oil anywhere close to the way end grain does. Anyway, keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Thanks for these informative posts.

I am a fan of 'back of the envelope' calculations and so am impressed with Barry747's analysis. I will keep adding oil and keep you posted. My kids would expect me to start trying to create a graph of block volume verses oil volume!

You may be amused to know that I bought this butcher's block off a butcher in 1986. He asked if I had a big kitchen. I replied I don't even own a house yet. I always said I was going to do it up when I retired. Over the years it came out for street parties. I retired in August this year! I have attached a photo.

J

View attachment 396643
Now that's a butcher's block!
 
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