New Cutting board question

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Joined Apr 15, 2017
I have a new Catskill end grain wooden cutting board. I opened it up and oiled it about 4 times over the span of about a week. After letting it dry thoroughly, I started using it. I have only used it two times and after each use I would spray it with white vinegar (full strength, I didn't remember to mix with water 1:1 ratio)

My Question:

The board has now become quite rough like fine sand paper, I am guessing it has just become dried out and needs more oiling am i correct? or has the acidity marred the surface and I should sand it and re-oil?
 
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Joined Sep 14, 2012
This is common with wood, not just cutting boards. Go to the sandpaper store (local hardware, Home depot Lowes) and buy some 220, 320 and 400 grit sand paper and some 0000 steel wool.

Make sure the board is completely dry and then sand all the surfaces with the 220 grit paper using a flat sanding block. Many things can be used as a sanding block but you might as well buy one when you get the paper. The next time use the 320 and the final time use the 400. Make sure you wash the board with warm water between each sanding and allow to dry.    

Once you get done sanding, and it feels really smooth wash the board and allow it to dry once again. Make sure it is standing vertical so it can dry evenly front and back every time you wet a cutting board.   

Now the board has been cycled four times and sanded and dried 

Now take what oil you are using and use the steel wool to rub the oil in and polish the board. Keep adding oil and polishing with the steel wool until the surface is quite wet with oil and let it stand for an hour vertically. 

Now the board is properly sanded and oiled. Take a clean rag or paper towels and polish the surface until it is smooth and polished. Some nuts like me might repeat the oil steel wool process a few times but you should be good to go. 

Oil the board as needed based on use. 
 
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... and I'm the complete opposite kind of nut: oil board once a decade, wash in hot water with dish detergent but dry immediately and store on side. Never yet had a crack nor food poisoning.
 
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Joined Jan 25, 2013
I am in between.  you should expect a little roughness, it will help keep food in place while cutting.  I have several PP and HDPE boards that I use for proteins, so wood boards see mostly veg.  I wash in hot water after each use.  I reapply finish when the wood looks dried out.  My board finish is a special secret blend of oils and waxes that can be duplicated by combining 50% organic bees wax and 50% mineral oil USP(usually found on the same shelf as Exlax) by weight in a double boiler.  heat until wax dissolves, stir, then pour into storage container.  My research found almost all cutting board or wood bowl oils are food grade or USP grade mineral oil

for the $$ Catskill Craftsmen are charging, I would hope after washing the board with soap and water, it would be ready to use.
 
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Joined Feb 17, 2010
I have a big boos block board that has never been oiled, gets washed with soap and water. 15 years later it's in fine shape.
 
1,691
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Joined Dec 23, 2000
Toxicant and Steve pretty well covered the ground. Oiled with USP mineral oil, which NEVER becomes rancid, wipe dry and store on edge or balanced on one corner.  NEVER use soap or detergent, and NEVER use any other oil- ALL others will become rancid  sooner or later

Hope I've made myself CLEAR.

Mike /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif  
 
3,267
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Joined Jul 13, 2012
I clean my board with cheap vodka - does the job and makes a decent bloody mary in the mean time.  I only use USP Mineral Oil about twice a year.  I use an overlay for processing proteins so that's not an issue.  Onion, garlic, etc. a wipe with a wet hand and a dry towel and it's good to go.  I have the same brand board too and I love it for the price.  
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
This is crazy.  I just wash it with soap and sponge and let it dry.  Works just fine for me, I'll leave the fancy stuff to the fancy people.
 
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Cbtting boards should be washed rinsed and sanitized after each use according to ServSafe.  If the board will absorb oil it will absorb bacteria.
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2000
When my son had a cabinet shop he built dozens if not hundreds of maple cutting boards, and he followed several research papers on cutting board technology from the Food Science Department of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.  They said any plant-derived oils will become rancid, but not USP mineral oil and that soap or detergent  removed much of the oil which is protecting the board. They also cited experiments that demonstrated that wooden boards do indeed absorb pathogens- that die immediately.  Their conclusion was that plastic boards don't kill bugs nearly as effectively, so a careless cleaning could prove dangerous. 

However, it's my understanding that most health codes don't permit wood boards in foodservice, and require that plastic (or glass /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  ones) be sanitized immediately after use and put through commercial dishwashers often.

There was enough demand that he purchased a semi load of hard rock maple cutoffs from a company that fabricated and installed 

bowling alleys! If things were a little slow, he cranked out cutting boards in various sizes, using Titebond III glue which is waterproof

and FDA approved for use in food prep environments. 

When gluing them up - especially the end-grain ones -  he learned that Norm Abrams' maxim  "You can't have too many clamps" is absolutely correct. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

Mike  
 
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Hi Mike LM

Re Soap and water....Yes detergentes will remove mineral oil (Maple does not contain much--if any oil, matter of fact most woods don't except for a few exotics like teak or rosewood).  But you have to re-apply the mineral oil after washing.  This is quite a bit of maintainence.

If the wood board is being used as a bread board, you don't have to do much, except sweep the crumbs off.

If the wood board is being used solely for vegetables, a good rinse is pretty good. (unless you're cutting beets......)

If "                                                           " for fruit, you need to wash off the sugar and juices, and hot water is sufficient

But if the board is being used for meat or fish, this is where you really have to watch out with sanitation, and soap and detergents are a must.

Yes a lot of studies have been done with the propeties of wood killing bacteria on contact.  My questions to these studies are:

If the wood surface has been treated with mineral oil, this would effectively be a barrier to the wood fiber/food contact, then how do the pathogens get absorbed?

Assuming the board was not treated with mineral oil, how many cycles of food preparation would it take before the wood fibers on the board become saturated with fats, oils, minerals, and salts, and therefor cannot absorb pathogens? 

Don't get me wrong, I love wood, and I can bore you with photos of many of my furniture projects that I make.  Bu wood cutting boards--especially when used for meat and fish, need to be maintained, with much more attention than it does to toss a nylon board in the dishwasher.
 
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     I've had a block of beeswax sitting around for several years. It is so hard I couldn't figure out how to apply it. After reading Scott Livesey's post I tried the mineral oil mixture. I used 50/50 as suggested but it still came out too hard for me so I remelted it and added more mineral oil to about 75/25. Poured it in an empty coffee can.

Now it's a nice firm but spreadable mixture. 

Cleaned and dried the cutting board, coated a couple of carbon knives I have in storage, and lubricated a set of wooden drawers. I'll be trying it out on some furniture soon and various other wooden surfaces. I'm sure I'll come up with more uses.

So Thank you, Scott. I still have half the block of beeswax for another use.  
 
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
................................. I remelted it and added more mineral oil to about 75/25. Poured it in an empty coffee can.
Now it's a nice firm but spreadable mixture.............
I use 1ml beeswax per 500 ml mineral oil and it works fine on my cutting boards.  For furniture waxing (I'm just guessing) I'd probably use a thicker mixture meaning more beeswax per unit of mineral oil.
 
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7
10
Joined Apr 15, 2017
 
This is common with wood, not just cutting boards. Go to the sandpaper store (local hardware, Home depot Lowes) and buy some 220, 320 and 400 grit sand paper and some 0000 steel wool.

Make sure the board is completely dry and then sand all the surfaces with the 220 grit paper using a flat sanding block. Many things can be used as a sanding block but you might as well buy one when you get the paper. The next time use the 320 and the final time use the 400. Make sure you wash the board with warm water between each sanding and allow to dry.    

Once you get done sanding, and it feels really smooth wash the board and allow it to dry once again. Make sure it is standing vertical so it can dry evenly front and back every time you wet a cutting board.   

Now the board has been cycled four times and sanded and dried 

Now take what oil you are using and use the steel wool to rub the oil in and polish the board. Keep adding oil and polishing with the steel wool until the surface is quite wet with oil and let it stand for an hour vertically. 

Now the board is properly sanded and oiled. Take a clean rag or paper towels and polish the surface until it is smooth and polished. Some nuts like me might repeat the oil steel wool process a few times but you should be good to go. 

Oil the board as needed based on use. 
my board wasn't that far gone so I just used #0000 grade steel wool, worked great. My question now is, how do I remove the dingy gray residue from my cutting board? Thanks Toxicant!
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
my board wasn't that far gone so I just used #0000 grade steel wool, worked great. My question now is, how do I remove the dingy gray residue from my cutting board? Thanks Toxicant!

It comes right off with 00 steel wool.
 
3,267
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Joined Jul 13, 2012
I just rub oil in with my hands - 000 steel wool leaves . . . well . . . steel behind.  I never oil and stand vertical they oil runs off.  Oil it and let it sit what doesn't soak in wipe off.  Repeat tomorrow.
 

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