All Replies on UGH!!, Titebond Original on Cutting Boards, Am I Screwed?

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UGH!!, Titebond Original on Cutting Boards, Am I Screwed?

by groovy_man_6
posted 10-14-2012 01:02 PM

21 replies so far

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2816 days

#1 posted 10-14-2012 01:48 PM

I have a cutting board made from hard maple, it is a pull out type. It was glued with a “regular” PVA glue. I think Elmer’s was the brand name.
That board has been hand washed, soaked, dropped, and generally abused, but holding up just fine.
I don’t think I would recommend putting any cutting board in a dishwasher, no matter the type of glue. A board made from oak, wouldn’t do well with any liquid, IMO, because of the open grain.

-- Mel,

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3364 days

#2 posted 10-14-2012 02:05 PM

should be ok
as you state
no soaking
(or leaving on wet counters)

before thre was lll
there was ll
before that l

before that
there were boards
all the way back
to the age of flint

many with hide glue

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 3023 days

#3 posted 10-14-2012 02:29 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the input!

Mel: I agree with what you said about not using Oak, however I used white oak which has closed pores because they are filled with crystalline-like tyloses, giving it that extra-heavy weight good outdoor stability. Red oak might be a bad move, however I’ve been using a red oak one (didn’t know it was red oak until recently) for 2-3 years now and it’s in great shape surprisingly enough. We don’t soak it or put it in the washing machine though.

Dave: Thanks much for the input !!

Update, I put a block of scrap from the cutting board into hot water for the last hour or so… when I took it out the glue beads on the outside were DEFINITELY dissolving and getting soft, however the wood itself was still stable and adhered… so my guess is that one or two screw up and things may be fine, however, the more you submerge it, it will eventually fail.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2874 days

#4 posted 10-14-2012 03:09 PM

Good idea to test it, Paul.

The concern over the red oak is the porosity provides homes for microbes. Bleach treatment periodically would be a good idea.

BTW, I like the shape. Cute, in a make-me-think-of-bacon kind of way!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View woodtools's profile


21 posts in 2312 days

#5 posted 10-14-2012 03:22 PM

I have a maple and walnut cutting board laminated with elmers white glue 35 years ago and no problems, used weekly. You should be okay….. Nice work!

View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 3023 days

#6 posted 10-14-2012 03:41 PM

Thanks Lee/woodtools… appreciate your thoughts.

I don’t use it for meat cutting precisely for the microbe thing… veggies/fruits/herbs etc.. ok… I use plastic for meat. I just don’t want the blood getting all over it, yuck.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2272 days

#7 posted 10-15-2012 12:17 PM

If anything, I’d be worried about what appears to be and end grain to end grain joint toward the bottom. I’d be worried even if I used TBIII.

As far as cutting meat, the fact wood is worse than plastic is kind of a myth. Although I wouldn’t cut meat on any species of oak, wood has naturally occurring anit-bacterial properties; plastic does not. The bacteria will get into the pores in wood, but won’t live long. Plastic will develop “pores” after being nicked up time after time and harbor bacteria – however won’t be able to kill it on it’s own.

My wife has a pig cutting board that was her grandfathers. We don’t use it because it’s pretty beat up, but I think it’s time I make her one. Where did you get the pattern?


View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2874 days

#8 posted 10-15-2012 01:43 PM

Two cutting boards = good sense, Paul.

As for the butt joint, it isn’t going anywhere being surrounded as it is.

A story: Many years ago I was in a contractor-type store (of which I was one at the time, contractor not store) and the guy quite enthusiastically said, “Lee, come back here, I’ve got something new and interesting to show you.”

I did, and it was Corian! First in town! He told me it could be worked with a router, I was dubious, so he gave me a hunk, which I took home and routed and which is still in use. That would have been 30 years or so ago.

Sorry for the nostalgic hijack of your cutting board thread. Paul.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 3023 days

#9 posted 10-15-2012 03:21 PM

Hi Lumberjoe: I haven’t mentioned this before, but I actually have a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology so I’m particularly attune to conversation about wood vs plastic and how it relates to microbial contamination. The truth is, there is no simple answer. There is research on both sides of the fence suggesting one or the other is better which is the case with most biological science. For example, with the “anti-microbial” properties of wood, is it truly anti-microbial (aka, the wood contains something that actively kills bacteria) or is it more mechanical than that (the bacteria are drawn into the wood through capillary action and then proceed to die in an hour or two because they dry out inside the wood). If it is really the drying out that kills the bacteria, then pores in plastic would be equally dry with time and the bacteria would die there too. For more discussion on both sides of the argument read (, where they actually site a few scientific studies directly.

That being said, I don’t really have much interest in debating the pros and cons of each because the immunologist in me says, “do you know anyone who has gotten sick and died from their cutting board???” —A dose of realism is likely in order! Probably not, but even if perhaps so, it would be hard to tell, but I’ll bet my hat that it’s exceedingly rare and not really something worth all the time and worry we devote to it.

Ok, enough with the science mumbo jumbo…

I’m with Lee, the end grain joint is stabilized by the other slats on top and bottom. One thing I didn’t mention though is that the cutting board I posted, I did a long time ago for myself where I just scrolled it out of a thrown away butcher block table top, hence the end grain joint. The pig I actually made yesterday I just took a picture of… seen here. Lumberjoe, you can find these shapes on the internet by googling them… I then put them on the computer, resize them to whatever size I need, print it out, cut the shape out, and then trace it on my cutting board blank. Voilia!

Lee: loved your Corian story!

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2272 days

#10 posted 10-15-2012 03:50 PM

Wow, thanks for the explanation. I’ve heard many fables and lore about both sides of the wood vs plastic argument. While I am nowhere near the ph.D level, I do remember my microbiology professor going off on a tangent about this in class. He was specifically referring to endgrain Larch cutting boards and some sort of tannin that would kill bacteria. It didn’t fully resonate at the time because I was not a woodworker, but I have only used wood cutting boards since. I do use different cutting boards for meats than I do with veggies and fruits, more so for cosmetic reasons than sanitary. I have to really hack it up when cutting through bones and what not, so I don’t want to gouge up my “nicer” board any more than I need to.

It’s funny you mentioned an old butcher block. I did the same a very long time ago when living in an apartment and the only tools I owned were a palm sander and a cordless circular saw. I didn’t cut a pattern, I simply hacked out a square, sanded it down, and coated it with butcher block conditioner. I actually did have a problem with an end grain joints though. I started to see pronounced cupping or flaring (depending on how you visualize it)after a few years right at the joints; there were 2 in the butcher block I used. While there was never a joint failure, the cupping was annoying because the raises would catch the knife when I was scraping whatever I cut off of the board.
My next question was going to be how you cut it, but you answered that already. Since I do not have a scroll saw, I’ll need something less intricate that I can rough out and finish with a pattern bit on the router table.


View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 3023 days

#11 posted 10-15-2012 04:09 PM

Lumberjoe: EXACTLY!! you nailed it!!! fables and lore. So many people speak with authority about this or that, when the truth is they haven’t tested it themselves in a controlled setting and can’t really speak to the truth on the matter. The real answer is always more complicated as you alluded to.. if tannins do really kill bacteria (the literature seems to suggest they do) what concentration of tannins would it require? Does the kind of wood you built your cutting board out of contain those specific tannins? (apparently tannins are a huge class of similarly structured compounds) What kind of bacteria are we talking about here, are they susceptible to killing by tannins (not all bacteria are as sensitive to killing by them)—This paper ( seems to suggest you need VERY high concentrations of tannins to kill some of the more common bacteria. Would the wood contain such high levels?? Would the tannins wash off the surface of the board over time?

The number of relevant questions that need to be answered to truly answer the anti-microbial wood question without the B.S. is dizzying, and frankly, probably not the best use of our time :-) —Like I said, do you know anyone who got sick because of bacteria on their cutting board? how would they know anyway With all the other things to worry about in life, this is not a question that I have the time or inclination to pursue. I think the real answer at this point is “It’s complicated”.

OMG, one thing I have to clarify is that I DID NOT use a scroll saw on this!! HAHAHAh.. I used my band saw to cut the shape out. I tried to use a saber saw (jig saw, reciprocating saw, whatevs) and the wood was so thick and so hard, the blade started smoking after 1 minute, then promptly broke. I’m ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the same would happen with a scroll saw. = disaster! A nice thin bandsaw blade made EASY work of cutting the shapes. I never thought of using a router.. interesting idea!

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2272 days

#12 posted 10-15-2012 04:22 PM

I don’t have a working bandsaw so jig saw it is! It’s not even funny how bad I suck with a jig saw. I can freehand shapes all day with a router and cut almost perfectly straight freehand with a circular saw, but put a jig saw in my hand and it’s guaranteed to be a bad time. I usually cut the pattern out (poorly) with a jig saw REALLY oversized, then clean it up with a coping saw, then off to the router table and finally a spindle sander. I may wait until I get my bandsaw set up.


View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3170 days

#13 posted 10-15-2012 04:32 PM

“do you know anyone who has gotten sick and died from their cutting board???”

I love this question! I always try to assess the actual risk in any situation before making changes to behavior. The key is to look at probability of any given event occurring. Asteroids don’t worry me the way that inattentive drivers do as I am much more likely to encounter the latter than the former.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2817 days

#14 posted 10-16-2012 12:17 AM

I like the boards. Where did you get the pattern? Those are really cool. Bummer on the glue but you should be ok. Those are lessons you don’t forget.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 3023 days

#15 posted 10-17-2012 12:57 PM

Hi cutworm,

I just googled pig silhouette or pig cutting board and then downloaded the picture from the internet, resized it to the size I actually wanted in Adobe Illustrator, and then printed it out across multiple pieces of paper…. cut it out, trace it on the block, then off to the band saw and oscillating spindle sander for touch up. That’s about it.

Glad you like them, I’m a sucker for the animal shaped cutting boards, I think they’re cute… esp. the pig ones.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2699 days

#16 posted 10-17-2012 04:12 PM

I made a maple cutting board 40+ years ago and it was glued with white Elmer’s glue. The old standby in those days. It is as good as the day it was made. It is used several times a week. So far there are no deaths to report and the board is also healthy. It is washed in a sink of soapy water and allowed to air dry in a rack. My wife on the other hand is a Home Ec. major and nothing goes into the dishwasher that maight look like it could ruin. We are using the same pots and pans we got for a wedding gift because she will not put them in the dishwasher. It ruins the handles. What can I say.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2817 days

#17 posted 10-17-2012 09:26 PM

Looks great. We have a rooster board and this is now a must have. Thanks for the tip.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Everett1's profile


213 posts in 2557 days

#18 posted 11-16-2012 02:40 PM

Should be fine with TB1.

I personally use Gorilla glue (poly glue) on all my boards. Works awesome and, to date, none have fallen apart.

We have an end grain board in our kitchen and we cut meat and veggies on it (not at the same time, but after scrubbing). I haven’t turned into a zombie yet, but brains sound delicious oddly.

-- Ev in Framingham, MA

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2984 days

#19 posted 11-16-2012 04:06 PM

I used to sell restaurant equipment and supplies. One of the things about wood cutting boards was the possibility of wood pieces in food. I have always heard that the tannins (acidic) in wood were a good antibacterial agent. Now we add man-made bacterial agents in countertops and cutting boards, toys, etc. Now the bacteria become immune to them.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3569 days

#20 posted 11-16-2012 04:40 PM

I have read that bleach should not be used to clean a cutting board, but white vinegar is the best thing to use .

I did hear of one guy dying because of a cutting board, but it was after his wife hit him in the head with it. lol

-- Smitty!!!

View DS's profile


2924 posts in 2444 days

#21 posted 11-16-2012 05:30 PM

I made a cutting board with TB1 back in High School (1979-80 era) and gave it to my mother as a gift.
She used it for nearly 25 years before the glue joint failed.

At home, I have both Plastic and Wood cutting boards. I don’t know about the micro-biology of it all, but the wood one gets far more use. Something about cutting with a sharp knife on wood is more satisfying to me than cutting on plastic.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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