Refinishing an old cutting board

Joined Sep 21, 2010
I searched for 'refinishing an old cutting board', but didn't find anything. Sorry if I'm asking a question that's already been asked & answered.

I found an old end-grain cutting board at the local thrift shop for $4 and thought I could give it a good home.

It has lots of knife cuts, no cracks or splits, looks dry, should I do anything beyond washing and oiling it? I'm not sure the kind of wood, any  ideas?

Also found a Chef's Choice 310 for $4, a good day at the thrift shop!

Joined Apr 25, 2014
Watchu got there isn't a cutting board per se.  I would call it a carving board.  Notice the grooves for meat juices.

Anyway, refinishing is the same as finishing except you have to sand it first to get it to a raw state.  You would sand it enough to take out all the old scratches and cuts in it and the old finish.

Then you would wipe on a lot of mineral oil until it stops soaking it in over the course of days.  Then mineral oil/beeswax mixture for some water repellency.  That's all I would use on a cutting board.

Some foodsafe wood stuffs I use raw linseed oil (flaxseed) but I wouldn't on cutting boards just cause of the wear and tear.
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Nice find at a great price. I would not sand that board though. Doesn't really look like it needs to be taken down to raw wood to me. I'd rub with mineral oil but never found it necessary to soak in too much. One application is all I've ever gave mine and they last forever.
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
I'm just saying how, I wouldn't do it either.  The cuts dont' look deep enough to be a problem.  Seeing in person is different of course, so use your judgement. 
Joined Sep 21, 2010
Thank you for your replies.  Looking at it closely, both sides are in pretty good shape.  Oil is probably enough!
Joined Jan 21, 2016

There are two schools of thought when it comes to mineral oil and cutting boards. 

The first is mineral oil is a byproduct of the petroleum refining process. Then again, so is petroleum jelly.  However, we don't typically expose our food to petroleum jelly either.  So, there are those who believe that continuous exposure to mineral oil over time could produce adverse effects.  There are no studies that have been performed to date to either confirm or deny this notion.  Therefore, its still just a matter of speculation.

For me, I'm not comfortable with the thought of using a product that is part of the oil refining process on a surface that I use to prepare food.  But, that's just me. 

I use 3 parts coconut oil and 1 part beeswax and heat it so the two will combine.  The beeswax gives just enough water protection to keep moisture from getting into the wood and the oil preserves the wood. 

Coconut oil is a good choice because it does not go rancid like other oils such as olive oil etc.  I have an oak cutting board that belonged to my mother that is approaching the 30 year mark.  It has always been oiled with coconut oil and beeswax and is still going strong. 

Depending on frequency of use, the board should be oiled anywhere from once a week to perhaps once every month or two. 

Also, I would recommend two cutting boards.  One for meat and fish and the other for vegetables and non meat items such as cheese.  Natural wood has varying antibacterial properties. Oak is said to be the best in this regard.  Try to avoid plastic cutting boards as they tend to become bacteria magnets, especially when they have cut marks. 

Rinse the vegetable cutting board generously with warm water and dry with a towel. 

The meat board, wash with hot water and a mild antibacterial soap or regular soap.  If the board is properly oiled, the bacteria from the meat and fish will not penetrate the board and fester.  Because you are using hot water on the meat board, you may need to oil the board a little more often. 

Having said all that, its all still a matter of personal preference. 

Incidentally, coconut oil is great for oiling cast iron cookware.

Joined Jul 13, 2012
USP mineral oil is food safe and after washing my board with cheap vodka I oil it with that till is stops absorbing.  
Joined Jan 21, 2016
There are many worktop oils (many of which have silver for its natural antibacterial qualities.) I use Boiled Linseed Oil on my end-grain. Sand it down; then BLO once a day for a week, once a week for a month, and then once month for a year. Simple.
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