Wooden Cutting Board Advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Fonzie, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    I have a simple question but I just don't know the answer to it. My wife prefers using cutting boards made out of wood, only they keep on splitting on us long before their useful life is up. Is there some kind of "safe for humans" wood oil we can use or would we be better off using some kind of wood sealant? Thanks in advance.


    Fonzie
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    I would believe any cooking oil would work, the spliting is usually moisture related so try to keep it as dry as possible at all times.
     

  3. Even if you put some kind of oil on the board it will likely seperate anyways. That is if it is one of the inexspensive GLUED EDGE type boards. Just take one that has already failed and completely seperate it if you see NO biscuits between the wood, its just glued edge. Most are made that way today. You would have to HEAVILY oil the wood to prevent moisture from entering it.( the humidity change thus causing the seperation) If the surface is dry to the touch moisture can get in and it will seperate! That's why furniture builders know to leave "wiggle" room when screwing down table tops and other panels. Even if they are biscuit joined, they can still crack! The reason your cutting boards crack even under no tension is because like so much today they are poorly made. Using wood that is too small/thin and not aligned or joined properly.
    When that kind of a wood product sees humidity, it's toast. So in short the only way you'll get a long lasting wood board is to buy an OAK board of an inch and a half or more, nice would be 3"!! Keep it as dry as possible and rub in oil periodically. Too bad she doesn't like plastic, it is MUCH more sanitary, cheaper and will not split.
     
  4. lacyj

    lacyj Well-Known Member

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    How are you washing your board? I hope you aren't putting it in the dishwasher or leaving it in a sink of water... Boards should be washed, immediatly after use, don't use too much soap and rince in hot water, then stand on end to dry. You can use mineral oil to season wood, it won't go rancid, like vegie oil will. Make sure that the board is completely dry, don't use it for a few days, before oiling.
    lacyj
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    There is a wonderful product for you application. It is called Tung oil and it is derived from a natural edible product, the nut from tung trees. Tung oil is easily applied by rubbing the wood with your bare hand wetted with tung oil. Between applications you need to let the oil be absorbed and if you want a super smooth surface rub the dried finish with 0000 steel wool. Repeat applications will increase the sheen to your desired level. Wood treated with tung oil can withstand a standing sweating beer mug over night without water marking. Tung oil is available at building supply stores.
     
  6. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Trouble with plastic is that it gets "shreddy" after a while (wood does too, but ingesting a little wood probably won't bother you). If you use a board for only dry items such as bread, then brushing it off afterwards is enough most of the time.

    Unless you really like using a cutting board, you might be better off using a food processor to slice and dice, especially wet stuff.
     
  7. You can also use mineral oil available in any drug store. Mineral oil (unlike many cooking oils) will not go rancid. Also works real well on slate and soapstone sinks. If you ever get the board flat and surface dry, you could also try waxing (paraffin or beeswax) it to make it a little more waterproof. Wax will help keep new water out of the board and the water in the board from escaping too quickly and cracking the wood. Used to use a similar trick on carved walking stick to keep them from cracking.
     
  8. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

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    i seem to recall reading somewhere that wooden cutting boards are MORE sanitary than plastic... the plastic,on a microscopic level has more places for the bacteria to hide than porous wood. strange, but apparently true.
     
  9. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Use food grade mineral oil which is the oil you will find in any pharmacy section. It is crystal clear and will not smell or get rancid. Do not use cooking oil! Also don't soak the board in water.
     
  10. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    You could get an untreated 1x12 and cut it as long as you like, like to fit across the sink! or even a 2x12, it must be untreated !!! rub it down with some sandpaper and oil it with mineral oil, the laxitive (sp?) kind as mentioned before.

    You can have one for raw meats, one for cooked foods, one for raw vegetables, one for bread, one for cheese, one for smackin' the goat up side the head when they get in the house.
     
  11. John_in_Houston

    John_in_Houston Well-Known Member

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    Also, I've read that the wood will 'dry out' the bacteria, etc, by absorbing their water.
     
  12. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the answers !! My problem is now solved.


    Fonzie
     
  13. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Whatever kind of cutting board that you choose, if you cut meat or fish on it, you must clean it with a Bleach solution.
     
  14. YOU CANNOT USE TUNG OIL ON ANYTHING FOR HUMAN FOOD PREP OR CONSUMPTION. PERIOD. Tung oil is not safe for that kind of use. Use it for gun stocks, furniture and so on but NOT ON A CUTTING BOARD!
    MINERAL OIL is the only "oil" you should use.
    Plastic IS more sanitary then wood BECAUSE you can clean it in a dishwasher or at high temp by hand and can use chemical cleaners.
    Any of these processes will damage wood.
     
  15. Case

    Case Well-Known Member

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    My solution: Cheap wood cutting boards from Wally World.

    They'll usually last a couple of years, sometimes longer.

    After a few uses, scrub with vegetable brush under water (NO SOAP), wipe it off with a paper towel and let it finish drying.

    When it starts coming apart, throw it in the fireplace and get another one.

    Life's too short for angst over cutting boards.
     
  16. We bought a nice cutting board at a kitchen supply store at Mall of America a long time ago. We laughed at our only souvenir....that was actually manufactured in Illinoise. It came with directions on keeping the board nice.

    Make a blend of mineral oil and parafin. I used a tin can in a pan like a double boiler to melt the parafin....then stired in the mineral oil.

    Rub into the cutting board and wipe off the excess. You can tell when you need to re-apply. Just reheat the can and contents when you need to repeat the application.

    I even used some on an old pair of workboots to extend the life and water repelency.
     
  17. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've heard both when it comes to sanitation - plastic vs wood.

    I watched a tv program where they went into some home kitchens and tested for bacteria. They used an indicator chemical that turned red when bacteria were present. It was everywhere - on the table, the rag, the sink, the counters, the cutting board, the fridge handle, inside the fridge, etc. They found wood boards tended to have less bacteria in the average home.

    Wood has natural ingredients that retard bacterial growth, plastic does not. Plastic can be cleaned with harsher chemicals, but will still support the bacteria after cleaning. Either can be kept clean. Its your routine that counts.

    You can contaminate a clean board with a slightly dirty rag or unwashed vege's. or by setting it on a "dirty" surface. Any surface can look clean and harbor bacteria.

    I dont see many wood boards in the restaurant kitchens I visit, but I do see some. I don't know whether the health departments have rules against them. I would expect them to be illegal if they are so unsanitary.
     
  18. Mullers Lane Farm

    Mullers Lane Farm Well-Known Member

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    Ugh, Pttt, yeck!

    I couldn't imagine putting mineral oil, parafin or other petroleum products on a surface I use for food!

    I am using a couple wood cutting boards that are over 40 years old. Every so often I rub beeswax on them. Mostly, I rinse them with a bleach water (about 1% bleach), then rinse with clear water and let them drip dry.
     
  19. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    My favorite wooden cutting board happens to be a smaller walnut one made by a friend from scrap wood. I keep it happy by oiling it with olive oil once a year.

    I gave in and bought a plastic one. It shreds easily with my sharp knives. I read it holds and spreads bacteria too, so now I use it only for vegetables until it wears out. Luckily I have other wooden boards and a marble one I use often.