Hand-crafted Cuttings Boards
Building a few dozen cutting boards in a few months was a focused learning experience. Getting more comfortable with the wood was key, especially understanding how flat and clean wood must be for effective gapless bonding. Learning to joint surfaces flat and plane edges is fun when properly prepared woods seems almost magnetic. I'll be making another batch later this year.
Maintaining your hand-crafted cutting board
My cutting boards and cheese boards are made from tight-grained hardwoods: maple, walnut, beech, cherry, and purple heart. It was finished (seasoned) with food grade mineral oil and a conditioner containing beeswax. The goal of the oil is to penetrate the wood and saturate the fibers to stop any other liquids or moisture from soaking into the board. Here's how to maintain your board to keep it sanitary, to extend its life, and to maintain its appearance.
Proper cleaning and washing
What to do
- Wash your cutting board with a mild soap and warm water. Scrub well, but not too vigourously. Wipe with a towel and let it air dry on a raised rack.
- If your board stains, use lemon juice or white vinegar directly on the area.
What NOT to do
- Do NOT put in the dishwasher.
- Do NOT submerge in water.
- Do NOT use bleach.
Conditioning Your Board
Keep your board conditioned using food grade mineral oil and beeswax. The oil penetrates the wood and the wax acts as a physical barrier to protect against stains and fills in microscoptic cracks and knife scars.
- First clean and allow board to dry.
- Using a paper towel, apply a generous amount of mineral oil to the board.
- Let the oil soak overnight (or a least a few hours).
- Remove excess oil.
- At least once a month, assess if the board needs to be re-conditioned. If a few drips of water remain on the surface, then you're good. If the water soaks in, add some more mineral oil (and perhaps beeswax as well).
Some cutting board makers recommend conditioning a board everyday for a week; once a week for a month; once a month for a year; and then, as needed.