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How durable should mineral oil/beeswax be on a cutting board? Mine didn't last one wash!

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Forum topic by ManOfTheHardwoods posted 02-11-2018 04:03 PM 1831 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ManOfTheHardwoods

1 post in 304 days


02-11-2018 04:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting board finish mineral oil beeswax durable wash

I recently finished a long grain cutting board with mineral oil and a mineral oil/beeswax mixture. I served some cheeses on it and I washed it with some water and soap to get rid of the soft cheeses which were stuck on. It appeared to have completely stripped the finish from the wood and allowed some water to absorb into the wood.

Is that expected? I read about others only having to recondition their cutting boards every few weeks/months. What are they finishing their cutting boards with that allows the to be able to do that whereas my finish didn’t even last through one wash?

Much appreciated and thanks in advance!


17 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile (online now)

johnstoneb

3054 posts in 2372 days


#1 posted 02-11-2018 04:13 PM

If you are using soap and water you’re going to wash an oil finish off that’s just the way it is. That why I keep a battle of salad bowl finish around just apply it after washing if needed.
If you just rinse the finish will last but to get soft cheese off you probably had to scrub some there goes the finish.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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waho6o9

8516 posts in 2776 days


#2 posted 02-11-2018 04:19 PM

I use Good Stuff but I don’t know how it would hold up during a cleaning so I couldn’t comment on that.

Good Stuff sure pops the grain though.

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Karda

1317 posts in 753 days


#3 posted 02-11-2018 05:08 PM

I turned a couple bowls and use them, what I do is as soon as I am b done eating I wipe the bowl out with a wet rag and them dry it. Don’t let water set on it. Its clean. One bowl is maple and the other is mesquite. But the finish does wear off I also use oil and bees wax. The maple has a tighter grain and a smother finish

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Wildwood

2471 posts in 2334 days


#4 posted 02-11-2018 05:17 PM

If you use soap & hot water will have to reapply mineral oil every time! Even just using a damp cloth will require reapply mineral oil from time to time.

There is no wood film finish that will survive hot soapy water!

Before buying a commercial product claiming to be food safe read the products Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Talking mostly about your salad bowl finishes.

While have to reapply mineral oil a lot; much prefer to do that than sanding old finish off before re-applying!

-- Bill

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jdh122

1052 posts in 3017 days


#5 posted 02-11-2018 05:24 PM

I like pure tung oil for bowls, but don’t bother putting any finish on cutting boards that get regular use. I make them for me or friends, though – to sell them it’d be smart to pop the grain with a finish.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Walker's profile

Walker

150 posts in 671 days


#6 posted 02-12-2018 01:19 AM

Most of the mineral oil /beeswax products I’ve seen say to “season” a new surface it takes 3-4 coats. Then re-apply when necessary. I’ve also read articles that suggest cutting boards should be waxed once a day for the first week, then once a week for the first month, then once a month after that, or as needed.

-- ~Walker

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Wildwood

2471 posts in 2334 days


#7 posted 02-12-2018 09:04 PM

You use same reapplication sequence for penetrating finish (pure drying oils) about wax posted by Walker. Mineral oil is a petroleum product but same rules apply. Bob Stockdale used to completely sink his bowls in mineral oil until it stopped soaking up oil. Then let it drain over the vat before finial wiping. I would stay away from oil-varnish blends.

Film finishes more work to refinish after awhile and definitely cannot use hot soap water to clean.

-- Bill

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William Shelley

595 posts in 1668 days


#8 posted 02-12-2018 09:23 PM



If you use soap & hot water will have to reapply mineral oil every time! Even just using a damp cloth will require reapply mineral oil from time to time.

There is no wood film finish that will survive hot soapy water!

Before buying a commercial product claiming to be food safe read the products Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Talking mostly about your salad bowl finishes.

While have to reapply mineral oil a lot; much prefer to do that than sanding old finish off before re-applying!

- Wildwood

The MSDS describes what is in the product in the bottle or can. It doesn’t have anything to do with the cured finish after it’s applied.

The bit about “no wood film finish that will survive hot soapy water” is just plain 100% wrong. Almost all film finishes will survive washing.

Shellac, while not resistant to alcohols, is a great finish for wood that touches food. For crying out loud, shellac is actually EDIBLE. A lot of candy and confection deserts are coated in shellac to make them shiny.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Jack Lewis's profile

Jack Lewis

342 posts in 1277 days


#9 posted 02-12-2018 11:24 PM

I had an butcher uncle that used table salt and a stiff brush to remove suet and stuff off of his. Then wipe with a damp cold cloth.

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1489 posts in 803 days


#10 posted 02-13-2018 12:03 AM

Other than it looking good I’m still not sure what benefit there is to it. My wife throws ours in the dishwasher or uses a scotch brite pad. I use Milk Paint on my reclaimed slate countertops so I’ll throw some on the cutting board a few times a year when company comes over and we’re cutting cheese. Lasts a lot longer than mineral oil. Great stuff.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

576 posts in 948 days


#11 posted 02-13-2018 03:49 AM

I’ve tried a lot of cutting board finishes – mineral oil, walnut oil, tung oil, and several oil/wax blends. I suppose that Tung oil is my favorite, but really doesn’t last much longer than mineral oil. Just buy plenty and reapply as needed.

Had to tell a few folks to NOT put the boards in the dishwasher.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

3340 posts in 3308 days


#12 posted 02-13-2018 04:04 AM

The cutting board that came with my house (possibly the original- the house was built in ‘68) just gets some dish soap and water, then left to dry. No finish on it at all, in the time I’ve lived here. No sickness from it, that we can tell. I’d never run a cutting board through the dishwasher.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

595 posts in 1668 days


#13 posted 02-13-2018 04:10 AM



I’ve tried a lot of cutting board finishes – mineral oil, walnut oil, tung oil, and several oil/wax blends. I suppose that Tung oil is my favorite, but really doesn’t last much longer than mineral oil. Just buy plenty and reapply as needed.

Had to tell a few folks to NOT put the boards in the dishwasher.

- Kirk650

Doesn’t make sense. Tung oil and walnut oil are ‘drying oils’. They cure (eventually) to what would be a film if it were on a nonporous surface. On wood, they cures ‘inside’ the wood. It’s no longer a liquid at that point, and it’s polymerized into a solid substance.

Mineral oil is a non-drying oil. It will never stop being oil.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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Woodknack

12430 posts in 2579 days


#14 posted 02-13-2018 05:18 AM

Used motor oil is best, totally food safe when it cures.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2471 posts in 2334 days


#15 posted 02-13-2018 11:31 AM

William, beg to differ with you MSDS or SDS only list some of the hazardous components by percentage but not all! You need a degree in chemistry or do your own research to get a SWAG what is in the stuff! Those chemicals do affect both drying and appearance.

It’s true mineral oil is not a drying oil it’s a petroleum product. You want to use laxative MO versus industrial or baby oils. Indus trail & baby oil should not be used in food contact wood ware!

Pure drying oils (linseed, tung, walnut) used as wood finishes do polymerize over time but do not penetrate wood very deeply by themselves. For furniture & floors vendors recomment using thinners to increase penetration and speed up drying times. Talking about tung oil using mineral spirits or citrus solvent althogh some folks do use turpintine or paint thinner. Walnut oil comes from salad oil industry and not aware of any thinner recommended. Hardly anyone uses pure linseed oil for finishing today. Manufactures of oil vatnish blends do use less expensive non-drying or semi-drying oils in their mixtures.

With exception of tun oil if apply enough coats problem with prue oil and oil varnish blends is they don’t stop water vapor transfer in out of wood!

While film finishes do slow down water vapor transfer they don’t stop it! Talking about chemical resigns poly or varnish and other additives: Laquers, and shellac which uses DNA. Same for water base/born finishes. Won’t even touch pre-cast finishes most hobby & semi pro wood workers don’t use them.

Majority of film finishes reach 90% cure in nine or ten days but may take full 30 days to fully cure! Only importance in that time line if going to rub out a finish.

Speaking from experience never want to bring a wood turned item (salt & pepper shakers) outside finished with poly inside no finish into a house from outside to dry/cure! Women don’t listen and will proceed to wash with hot soapy water as soon as you leave!

Green community doesn’t like shellac finishes due to using DNA. Green community wants finishers to use low or zero VOC finishes! If check into government VOC standards they are a joke!

99% of my woodworking-woodturning gets a film finish and less than 1% get mineral oil or no finish at all. Bowls (mixing & salad) for food contact get mineral oil and bottle of the stuff goes to the buyer. Scoops & rolling pins get no finish.

If want to go with the no finish on wood look for dense closed grain woods. This subject has been discussed here before if in doubt check wood toxcity charts for guidenence. Espeically if want to use exotic woods!

-- Bill

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