Cutting board finishing

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Forum topic by Tim Kindrick posted 07-22-2011 09:57 PM 8038 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 2794 days

07-22-2011 09:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing cutting boards mineral oil

I know that I’m supposed to use mineral oil type finishes on cutting boards but WHY? Why can’t I use poly or lacquer or shellac or whatever, as long as it has plenty of time to cure.

I’ve read articles with opposing views on this subject but I would like the opinion of all you cutting board guys.

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

8 replies so far

View DrDirt's profile


4526 posts in 3982 days

#1 posted 07-23-2011 12:05 AM

there is no reason why not.
most avoid such a film finish because, especially Poly is a pain to fix (or just rejuvenate) once it gets all cut up.
Shellac is already in most medicines as pill coatings and time release stuff anyway.

I know folks will talk about the ppm level of Cobalt metallic driers – but I don’t see where one can transfer enough cobalt off the surface of a cutting board by running a knife blade across it to be harmful – I worry more about the processed junk (or melamine baby formula) in the food to begin with. But your results may vary ;-)

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4367 days

#2 posted 07-23-2011 12:33 AM

I was a Clinical Chemist and toxicologist in another life.
Finishes that are NOT labeled as food safe shouldn’t be assumed to be food safe.
Just because a finish is not toxic doesn’t mean it is safe to ingest.
Casual contact with a cured finish and ingestion are two different things.

Besides, film finishes are not appropriate for cutting board surfaces.

Only highly refined shellac is used in food and medicine, not the stuff used in wood finishes.

Like thinking: If some water is safe to drink, therefore all water is safe to drink. :)

Bro. Tenzin

-- 温故知新

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4062 days

#3 posted 07-23-2011 01:25 AM

Tim, another negative with film finishes- such as lacquer, shellac, poly- is that they will get scarred up pretty quickly when the board is used.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2792 days

#4 posted 07-23-2011 03:07 AM

I probably ingest more and worse chemicals via “hand to mouth” contact when I forget to wipe my hands from working on a project and get a bite to eat. The biggest offender is when I polish metals and forget to clean up, or do so, and there’s STILL crap on my hands and I can taste it while I eat. XD

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 2794 days

#5 posted 07-25-2011 09:39 PM

Thanks for all the comments

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 2890 days

#6 posted 07-25-2011 09:50 PM

I always use Salad Bowl Finish by General Finishes that stuff is amazing and easy to apply/fix if needed and lasts a long long time

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View Glenn Huovinen's profile

Glenn Huovinen

66 posts in 3180 days

#7 posted 12-22-2011 09:58 PM

Is there a product sold by lowes or HD that I could use to finish a cutting board?

-- Glenn Huovinen

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3414 days

#8 posted 12-22-2011 10:07 PM

I mix food safe mineral oil (often sold as laxative, at drugstores) with beeswax. Works for me.

-- -- Neil

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