You might wonder: How does the wood on my cutting board look “wet” all the time, though it feels dry?
This is mainly because of the finishing process. Generally, when a cutting board is finished, it is sanded to 120 grit sandpaper, then it’s sprayed with water to raise the fine grain. After it dries, the grains are sticking “straight-up” you then knock those down with a 400-800 grit sandpaper, making the board, very smooth!
Because Cutting boards see a lot of abuse and are washed a lot with water. They need to be water-proof. Naturally, most woods are not waterproof, and without a protectant, they will rot over time. Another thing you must take into consideration is the finish being food safe. Most polyurethanes and clear coats are NOT food safe.
One of the most popular finishes to cutting boards is Mineral Oil. In the pharmaceutical world, it’s considered a liquid laxative (which means you can actually drink it). This sinks deeply into the grains of the wood making it waterproof, and resistant to being washed time and time again. However, after a while, it will wear off and need to be reapplied. Another common product used alongside the mineral oil is Butcher Block Conditioner (a mix of natural waxes, and some more mineral oil). The conditioner is applied after the mineral oil and can be used as a touch-up/re-appliance product. Theoretically, the wax is applied in a liquid (thicker consistency) phase, and then with different temperature change hardens. With this change, it allows the knife marks in the cutting board to be “filled in” and further protected when a cutting board is washed, which further activates the wax.
Below, you can find steps on how to properly re-apply protection to your cutting board:
1. Completely clean the cutting board, and allow to dry for 1 hour.
2. roughen up the surface with 220 grit sandpaper (don’t go crazy, just open up the pores of the wood).
3. Apply a liberal coat of Mineral oil or butcher block conditioner, and completely rub into all parts of the board, allowing the board to soak up as much as possible. Allow the board to absorb it for 10-15 minutes, or until no excess is present on top of the board.
4. Wipe off excess mineral oil or butcher block conditioner wax after 20 minutes.
5. Allow the cutting board to re-acclimate itself with the new coating for 2 hours, rinse it before continuing regular use.