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Cutting Board Finishes

by HorizontalMike
posted 10-27-2016 07:00 PM


41 replies so far

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ScottKaye

575 posts in 1856 days


#1 posted 10-27-2016 07:20 PM

I’ve only built a few boards so Im still just a noob. Here’s my uneducated guess. I don’t think you want your oils to dry in a cutting board.. sort of defeats the purpose. I use the $2.00 bottle of mineral oil that you find near the pharmacy in Walmart. Besides, Im not sure Id trust that the chemicals in Japan Dryer wouldn’t leach into the wood after it dries.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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ErichK

80 posts in 567 days


#2 posted 10-27-2016 07:31 PM

Based on this: http://www.kleanstrip.com/uploads/documents/PJD40_SDS-1000.5.pdf

I likely wouldn’t. There are some things that don’t look like they’d evaporate with some pretty nasty effects.

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Joe Lyddon

10024 posts in 3955 days


#3 posted 10-27-2016 08:09 PM

I feel that Mineral Oil, as suggested before, is the best choice…

It functions well on knife handles, wooden spoons, etc. and Cutting boards for the initial finish as well as Maintaining the Finish… and as another function… it solves cases of constipation too! LOL

Some have also suggested that adding a little parafin wax to it when finishing a cutting board is a nice way to Finish a cutting board; I have never tried this…

I choose to KISS it… Keep It Simple Stupid…

Mineral Oil will NOT EVER HURT you… Period… and it works beautifully…

Why think about such a simple solution? :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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bigblockyeti

4981 posts in 1624 days


#4 posted 10-27-2016 08:23 PM

Mineral Oil will NOT EVER HURT you… Period…

I think if you had enough of something claiming to work as an “intestinal lubricant” you might be a little hurt or at least those in close proximity around you might be. I know what you’re trying to say, and I would have to agree, something that’s designed to go into your body and unlike some other oils, won’t go rancid is the way to go. The fact that it’s cheap and will last virtually forever is just a bonus.

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HorizontalMike

7747 posts in 2817 days


#5 posted 10-27-2016 08:48 PM


I feel that Mineral Oil, as suggested before, is the best choice…

It functions well on knife handles, wooden spoons, etc. and Cutting boards for the initial finish as well as Maintaining the Finish… and as another function… ...it solves cases of constipation too! LOL
- Joe Lyddon

BINGO JOE! +10

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.
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Anyways, that MSDS on Japan Drier convinces me to nix that idea.

HOWEVER, what about diluting mineral oil with ETOH? I have and can get laboratory grade 100% ETOH, but can also get 70% if needed. All I can say is that I personally know just how ETOH affects the human body (I experiment with this nightly ;-) ).

That being said, do you all think that mineral oil diluted this way, will penetrate …more or …less? And bottom line, will it eventually dry & harden?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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AandCstyle

2977 posts in 2160 days


#6 posted 10-27-2016 09:15 PM

Hey, Mike, it is good to hear from you again. Oil and alcohol don’t mix, so I can’t recommend that combination for a cutting board. However, feel free to experiment with oil/alcohol this evening if you like. :D

If you are trying to get more oil into the board, warm the oil. Mineral oil doesn’t dry which is a good thing in this situation.

-- Art

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George Coles

183 posts in 2348 days


#7 posted 10-28-2016 12:24 AM

I have used Grape Seed oil for many years for this purpose and have had great results. put on three coats and on the last one, give it a buff and immediately you have a low sheen and dry board. Also non toxic.

-- George Coles, https://www.jarrahworks.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7747 posts in 2817 days


#8 posted 10-28-2016 05:52 PM

Hey Art, thanks! Been laying rather low for awhile.

As far a my choice for finishing the cutting board guys, I went with Olive Oil (because that was what was in the kitchen). Still have it soaking up the oil, but here is a quick and dirty view of it. I had a couple of pieces of White ash left over from my Blanket Chest project so I grabbed them and matched them up with an interesting piece of Claro Walnut that I picked up at Woodcraft (actually bought 7 of them at $8/lb.). They had an entire pallet of this stuff, so I spent over an hour going over each and every piece on the pallet, before selecting the best Claro. And yes, I ended up re-stacking that pallet 2-3 times by time I was done… but it was worth it… ;-)

FRONT

BACK

Olive Oil Finish Still Drying

BTW, I threw in a ULU knife that I turned a Rosewood handle too:

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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splintergroup

1872 posts in 1125 days


#9 posted 10-28-2016 06:43 PM

True, the oil never dries, but that is OK.

After saturating the board with as much mineral oil as it will soak up, I give it a good wipe down with paper towels. The board is no longer ‘greasy’ and looks great.

There are other oils, but MO is petroleum based and will no go rancid after time.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

4981 posts in 1624 days


#10 posted 10-29-2016 12:00 AM

Does anyone using olive oil with a shelf live of ~3 years or grape seed oil with a shelf life of ~3 months have any long term issues with the oil as it ages in the wood?

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HorizontalMike

7747 posts in 2817 days


#11 posted 10-29-2016 10:53 AM



Does anyone using olive oil with a shelf live of ~3 years or grape seed oil with a shelf life of ~3 months have any long term issues with the oil as it ages in the wood?
- bigblockyeti

Good question.

I’m not sure, but thinking about it it does not seem to me that there would be enough oil in any one place on the board to promote bacterial growth. The only oils I have seen go rancid have been larger amounts of standing liquid, as in still in the bottle. Added to that, one would be washing the cutting board after each use with soap & water, before re-applying any oil.

A possible example that comes to mind is the tanning of deer hides by Native Americans. They would smear the deer’s brains all over the stretched hide in order to soften the hide for later use. Once softened, I never heard of the hide going rancid, though if the entire brain were left intact and exposed to the elements it would spoil quickly. Just a thought…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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JoeNJ

37 posts in 1179 days


#12 posted 10-29-2016 11:38 AM

I have been using a homemade mix of organic beeswax and mineral oil on my end grain cutting boards. It been a while since I made a batch but I use a 3 part wax to 1 part oil ratio. You really can’t go wrong with the ratio…it just depends on your preference of consistency. Think paste wax (less oil) as opposed to something pourable (more oil). It works great and the organic beeswax acts like a natural anti-microbial which is great for wood. I think over time that olive oil will get sticky. Just my 2 cents.

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UncannyValleyWoods

542 posts in 1767 days


#13 posted 10-29-2016 12:12 PM

If you’re trying to rush something, you’re trying to wrong something… Just my 2 cents…

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7747 posts in 2817 days


#14 posted 10-29-2016 12:29 PM



I have been using a homemade mix of organic beeswax and mineral oil on my end grain cutting boards. It been a while since I made a batch but I use a 3 part wax to 1 part oil ratio. You really can t go wrong with the ratio…it just depends on your preference of consistency. Think paste wax as opposed to something pourable. It works great and the organic beeswax acts like a natural anti-microbial which is great for wood. I think over time that olive oil will get sticky. Just my 2 cents.
- JoeNJ

I like the idea of using bees wax in the long term. I’ll look into that when I find it, maybe at the grocery today…

As far as olive oil becoming sticky over time, I don’t think that would happen to a board that is in use near daily because of the constant cycle of cleaning between uses and re-applying of the oil. Long term storage… maybe.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Wildwood

2240 posts in 2038 days


#15 posted 10-29-2016 01:02 PM

To answer your question, no would never use that product, for wood & food contact after looking at MSDS. There is a definite learning curve to using that stuff most professional painters & refinishes find it can be a blessing or curse!

http://go.rockler.com/msds/klean-strip-japan-drier-pjd40-msds.pdf

Why I don’t like oil oil but wife still uses it for cooking & salads!

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/most-of-us-are-blissfully-ignorant-about-how-much-rancid-olive-oil-we-use/

At least with mineral oil know what I am getting as a finish! Nothing wrong with using bees wax if can find it locally, from a bee farmer. Very expensive if have to order online. I would not use bees wax in finishing due to cost and folks not wanting to buy the stuff when time to reapply mineral oil.

-- Bill

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KYSean

119 posts in 3500 days


#16 posted 10-29-2016 02:20 PM

Mineral Oil or Mahoney’s Walnut Oil are the go to choice IMHO

-- http://editedwrite.com

View Joe Lyddon's profile (online now)

Joe Lyddon

10024 posts in 3955 days


#17 posted 10-30-2016 12:19 AM


I feel that Mineral Oil, as suggested before, is the best choice…

It functions well on knife handles, wooden spoons, etc. and Cutting boards for the initial finish as well as Maintaining the Finish… and as another function… ...it solves cases of constipation too! LOL
- Joe Lyddon

BINGO JOE! +10

.
.
.
Anyways, that MSDS on Japan Drier convinces me to nix that idea.

HOWEVER, what about diluting mineral oil with ETOH? I have and can get laboratory grade 100% ETOH, but can also get 70% if needed. All I can say is that I personally know just how ETOH affects the human body (I experiment with this nightly ;-) ).

That being said, do you all think that mineral oil diluted this way, will penetrate …more or …less? And bottom line, will it eventually dry & harden?

- HorizontalMike

Mike,
I have never had a problem with it NOT penetrating… I just pour a little on and then just spread it in… rubbing it in… kinda fun… Then, I let it sit while I do the rest of the project(s), knives, spoons, etc…. then I rub it all down really good.

If I were you, I’d get some Mineral Oil & run a test finish on a small cutting board… and compare the finish & feel with the other board finishes you’ve done…

It does a really good job of popping the grains… very easy to Maintain by using it again after a few months, too.

If I wanted to make sure it was fine enough to penetrate more, I think I would heat some up and spread it heated to see if it penetrated any better… I have never had a need to do that; straight out of the bottle works for me.

I have never noticed the wood getting hard, etc. from the MO finish… It always stays about the same as it was from the start… just needs to be rejuvinated once in awhile.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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ArtMann

824 posts in 719 days


#18 posted 10-30-2016 05:22 AM

I would not use olive oil because it will go rancid pretty quickly. There is a reason most people use mineral oil or a combination of mineral oil and wax. None of the oil coatings I know of that are recommended to apply to a cutting board are drying oils.

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HorizontalMike

7747 posts in 2817 days


#19 posted 10-30-2016 12:19 PM

Well after finding out that beeswax goes for $15-$17.00/lb plus tax&sh, I was forced to look elsewhere. On a whim I checked the orange big box store and found this:

I already use Howard’s Feed-n-Wax on our 160yr old cherry drop leaf table and have been doing so for years. That works great.

And NOW, I see they have the above product for cutting boards and butcher blocks in a food-safe mixture. Cost me $8.00 for the 12oz container. A bargain IMO, as I have to spend $3-$4 in gas just to get to the closest little town with a big box store. And a little goes a long way.

Problem solved… 8-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Joe Lyddon

10024 posts in 3955 days


#20 posted 11-01-2016 06:54 PM

Looks like you have found something that makes you happy…

Looks like a good product…

Enjoy…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#21 posted 11-01-2016 07:36 PM

Yeah, I think Nixing it is a good idea too, Mike. The only thing I’ve ever seen added to hardening oils is a heavy metal type catalyst (probably not the right scientific name) to aid the polymerizing process.

As to adding it a non-hardening oil, the only thing it would do is contaminate it.

I’ve used a lot of non-hardening oil for decks and cutting boards. From that, I’d say the only thing you can do, to deal with excess, is wipe it off, then allow a little more time for it to wick in.

On decks, and this “in-a-pinch” solution might work in other situations, is wash it down with Dawn or another good grease cutting soap. After that, let it dry and, again, allow a bit more saturation /wicking time.

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Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#22 posted 11-01-2016 07:41 PM

Just for reference, I talked with local beekeepers and can get a pound of wax for about four five dollars.

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Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#23 posted 11-01-2016 07:46 PM

For those in the habit of putting mineral oil on, letting it set, wiping it off, then doing it again, remember, you are just wasting product. Nothing, whatsoever, is gained by it. You would do far better to let the oil set as long as possible.

Doing this, I’ve restored butcher blocks that had cracks and splits. This is because the oil swells the wood like water would. When it does, it’s just replacing the lost water, which resulted in shrinking of the wood. The oil is not evaporating. It’s wicking to the next, drier cells until they all equalize or there isn’t enough to keep wicking.

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DirtyMike

637 posts in 805 days


#24 posted 11-01-2016 07:48 PM

Thats a good deal for wax, Howards Makes good products but i feel that their butcher block conditioner is a little skimpy on the wax.

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Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#25 posted 11-01-2016 07:51 PM

Regarding using olive oil, there are many threads on the matter. Generally, the consensus is, don’t do it.

I have been around a few butcher blocks that reeked of rancid olive oil, but the owners were so used to it they didn’t think about it. Perhaps a bit like someone who has animals and the fact is obvious to all but them.

It’s still an oil and will wick. As such, the deeper oil will remain in the wood and will react with oxygen. The only thing between your food and the rancid oil is the fresh coat.

I don’t know if the olive oil will harden, but it will, at the least, turn gummy over time.

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bigJohninvegas

417 posts in 1365 days


#26 posted 11-01-2016 09:00 PM

I just use danish oil on my boards. I had read that it is food safe after it cures, which is normally a few days. Longer as it gets cold out. After that, I advise my customers to use mineral oil on the boards that get kept for decoration. And for the boards that get daily use I use whatever you favorite oil to cook with.
It seems customers are about 50/50 where they think the board is to pretty to cut on, and the ones that really want a nice cutting board. As for the oil turning rancid. I use my board almost daily. And I clean it after every use.
Don’t see it having a chance to do that.
30 plus years now. Never a problem.

-- John

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

524 posts in 652 days


#27 posted 11-01-2016 09:12 PM

I’ve used tung oil, mineral oil, Walnut oil, BLO, a commercial mixture or two, and Watco Butcher Block Finish. The Watco is the prettiest, for sure, and builds a finish. Looks good, but if you use the board, you’ll just cut up the finish. Tung oil seems to hold up well, and better than most. But, I have come to believe that the best approach might be to submerge the cutting board in mineral oil for a few days or a week, and let it get a serious soak. I haven’t tried that yet.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#28 posted 11-02-2016 01:14 AM

Keep in mind:

- once you use a hardening finish, you cannot add non-hardening oil, but the hardening finish WILL fail;

- butchers have a whole lot more experience with butcher blocks than 99% of us, and they never use a sealing finish.

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Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#29 posted 11-02-2016 01:16 AM

John, the reason the finishes never went rancid is, you used either non-hardening oils on them or you used polymerized oils (e.g., “tung oil” finish,” or so called Danish oil, which is just thinned poly.


I just use danish oil on my boards. I had read that it is food safe after it cures, which is normally a few days. Longer as it gets cold out. After that, I advise my customers to use mineral oil on the boards that get kept for decoration. And for the boards that get daily use I use whatever you favorite oil to cook with.
It seems customers are about 50/50 where they think the board is to pretty to cut on, and the ones that really want a nice cutting board. As for the oil turning rancid. I use my board almost daily. And I clean it after every use.
Don t see it having a chance to do that.
30 plus years now. Never a problem.

- bigJohninvegas


View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7747 posts in 2817 days


#30 posted 11-02-2016 01:01 PM


Thats a good deal for wax, Howards Makes good products but i feel that their butcher block conditioner is a little skimpy on the wax.
- DirtyMike

Now that I’m using their butcher block conditioner, I am tending to agree with you regarding being light on the wax. Howards ALSO have a cutting board bottle of 100% Mineral Oil (again @$8/bottle). At that price I would buy the MO at the grocery.

FWIW, after coating the above board(post#8) with the Howards butcher block conditioner, it seems to wick dry overnight and leaves a slight waxy surface that you may be able to leave your fingerprint drag on, if you try hard enough. Good enough for me…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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LittleShaver

267 posts in 523 days


#31 posted 11-02-2016 01:33 PM

I made a mix of 4:1 Mineral Oil to Bees wax and use it on anything for the kitchen or the little grandkids. Use a double boiler, heat the oil and beeswax to 140 F, stir, then pour into a suitable container. My wife keeps it handy in the kitchen to re-freshen her boards and such, so the grandkid projects end up getting finished on the island. Thankfully, I have and understanding wife.

-- Sawdust Maker

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bigJohninvegas

417 posts in 1365 days


#32 posted 11-02-2016 02:51 PM

Yes, no worries with the watco danish oil. I have read several forums where it is felt using vegetable oils will turn rancid. I start with danish oil. Then months later as the boaerd gets used, washed, etc. I use whatever vegetable oil is handy in the kitchen to maintain the board over the years. Never a problem. And of course the board gets cleaned as it gets used.


John, the reason the finishes never went rancid is, you used either non-hardening oils on them or you used polymerized oils (e.g., “tung oil” finish,” or so called Danish oil, which is just thinned poly.

I just use danish oil on my boards. I had read that it is food safe after it cures, which is normally a few days. Longer as it gets cold out. After that, I advise my customers to use mineral oil on the boards that get kept for decoration. And for the boards that get daily use I use whatever you favorite oil to cook with.
It seems customers are about 50/50 where they think the board is to pretty to cut on, and the ones that really want a nice cutting board. As for the oil turning rancid. I use my board almost daily. And I clean it after every use.
Don t see it having a chance to do that.
30 plus years now. Never a problem.

- bigJohninvegas

- Kelly


-- John

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wingate_52

224 posts in 2473 days


#33 posted 11-02-2016 03:44 PM

I made up a batch of Spoon Butter. 4 parts Cold pressed Flax oil to 1 part bees wax. I use it on my carved spoons.

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wingate_52

224 posts in 2473 days


#34 posted 11-02-2016 03:45 PM

2 coats on wet ash.

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wingate_52

224 posts in 2473 days


#35 posted 11-02-2016 03:49 PM

On wet Cherry.

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Joe Lyddon

10024 posts in 3955 days


#36 posted 11-02-2016 11:00 PM

Mineral oil at the markets or RX house is very reasonable… NO WHERE NEAR $8 bottle!

I usually get mine at Walgreens or Rite Aid…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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CopperTree

53 posts in 961 days


#37 posted 11-06-2016 05:54 AM

I make a lot of end grain cutting boards and am a big fan of Clapham’s Bees Wax Salad Bowl finish. It contains mineral oil, is food safe, easy to use, and easy to reapply. It’s made in Western Canada but likely available at most suppliers. Two or three quick coats with zero dry time and they are ready for use. They also carry a $7 small size container that I provide the end user so they know what is on the board and have a year or two supply on hand right from the start.

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1deadeye

5 posts in 831 days


#38 posted 11-07-2016 11:14 PM

Seventy years ago my dad cut a scrap of 3/4” fir plywood for a cutting board and liberally oiled it with mineral oil. Other than cut lines on the surfaces, it still looks great. I don’t think anyone has put any more oil on it in the last 50 years.

View Joe Lyddon's profile (online now)

Joe Lyddon

10024 posts in 3955 days


#39 posted 11-08-2016 06:07 AM



Seventy years ago my dad cut a scrap of 3/4” fir plywood for a cutting board and liberally oiled it with mineral oil. Other than cut lines on the surfaces, it still looks great. I don t think anyone has put any more oil on it in the last 50 years.

- 1deadeye

I have NEVER seen a Cutting board made from Plywood before…
... That is a NEW one… :)

Will have to try it… I sure have enough plywood scraps… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1914 posts in 2847 days


#40 posted 11-08-2016 03:15 PM

I’ve probably seen hundreds of plywood cutting boards. Almost every house used to have one built into the counter. It was just a 3/4” piece of ply with banding.

Seventy years ago my dad cut a scrap of 3/4” fir plywood for a cutting board and liberally oiled it with mineral oil. Other than cut lines on the surfaces, it still looks great. I don t think anyone has put any more oil on it in the last 50 years.

- 1deadeye

I have NEVER seen a Cutting board made from Plywood before…
... That is a NEW one… :)

Will have to try it… I sure have enough plywood scraps… :)

- Joe Lyddon


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bonesbr549

1492 posts in 2970 days


#41 posted 11-08-2016 03:34 PM

Someone may have already posted one of this dude’s vids but I love watching them. You can shoot to the end and see how he does it finish wise.

https://youtu.be/zqgbbziBkvo

I’m a subscriber to his youtube feed. cool stuff.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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