60 year old cutting board

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Forum topic by jp1953 posted 02-09-2012 05:07 PM 2023 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2262 days

02-09-2012 05:07 PM

My parents brought this cutting board from Peru in 1951. Been in the family forever and have great memories associated with it. Found it at my older brothers stashed away a few days ago. Would love to be able to fix the splits without comprimising the integrity of the piece. Solid mahogany 3” thick. How to I make this a solid piece again? Soak in mineral oil? Do not want to use fillers. Thought about sanding and then using the dust mixed with epoxy to fill yet that would probably look funky…..All thoughts and help would be greatly appreciated…Thanks for your input.

Will try to attach photos….James

15 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2325 days

#1 posted 02-09-2012 05:13 PM

My 95 year old mother still uses the cutting board I made for her in 8th grade shop in 1954.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3304 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 05:28 PM

maybe some ‘nakashima’ stile butterfly splints
across the bad ones
them some tapered splines
glued in and beat down
sand and finish

nice treasure

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

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 2957 days

#3 posted 02-09-2012 05:29 PM

My wild guess is that you can’t pull these cracks together or others will develop. So it seems the only option is oil. Or “Dutchman” in some wedges where the cracks are.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View premieretreeservices's profile


17 posts in 2262 days

#4 posted 02-09-2012 05:37 PM

Mixing sanded particles from your board with carpenter’s glue and just filling them is probably your best bet. I agree with Don. I would be worried that using splints would do more damage, especially because of the age of the wood. Are you more interested in using the board or having it look nice?

-- Premiere Tree Services Network:

View Joni Hamari's profile

Joni Hamari

55 posts in 3655 days

#5 posted 02-09-2012 07:47 PM

Does it need more structural support? Or just need to be filled? If it were mine, I would put a support on the outside edge, and fill the crack with a beeswax…foodsafe, and can be tinted if needed, A light sanding and finish it off with olive oil. Nice find!

-- Joni Hamari,

View yank's profile


57 posts in 4096 days

#6 posted 02-09-2012 08:04 PM

First of all I would clean it up, let it dry good, and sand it really well, and save the dust. Mix with type III glue, and fill the splits. After it has set, usually 24 hrs, sand again and put lavish coats of mineral oil on it, let set for 24 hrs, add another coat, you my need at least 3 coats of mineral oil, all over top and bottom. I use finish nails on the bottom for it to set on and remove them after board is finished.

Hope this helps.

-- My Father was my mentor for my woodworking hobby and knowledge. Luv ya Dad.

View Ed Pirnik's profile

Ed Pirnik

83 posts in 2794 days

#7 posted 02-09-2012 09:14 PM

The top split in the photo seems to be going in a pretty straight line, with the grain. One options might be to somehow secure the board to a tablesaw sled and rip right along that split, and re-glue (Titebond III). Of course, the fact that the kerf will take away 1/8-in. will alter the diameter of the circle segments you have now cut apart and this will show when re-glued. You’ll thus have to re-cut the circle at the bandsaw and re-roundover those edges.

That takes care of split number one. For split number two, I might consider making a long skinny wedge and gluing it in with an epoxy that will fill in any gaps, handplane the whole thing, re-oil, and call it a day.

It’s gonna be tedious.

The other option would be to first handplane the cutting board to get back down to nice uniformly-colored wood. Then just cut two wedges and glue them into each crack with epoxy tinted (using powdered pigments) to match the color of the wood. Plane the wedges flush, seal with oil – done.

Good luck! Heirlooms are worth the effort:)

-- Ed Pirnik, Fine Woodworking Web Producer

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3298 days

#8 posted 02-09-2012 09:34 PM

If there are only a couple of bad splits I would probably saw through it, plane it and reglue. it would be out of rround, but that can be redone as well. At least it would be usable.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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15881 posts in 3298 days

#9 posted 02-09-2012 09:35 PM

You might try gluing lit with titebond III. I would soak it in water first to swell the wood and then let it dry until the crack opens a little and then apply the glue. That should swell it again, and the glue should hold it together when it drys.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JohnMeeley's profile


255 posts in 2296 days

#10 posted 02-09-2012 10:13 PM

Wouldn’t the idea of filling the checks with glue and saw dust create a built in wedge that would force its way further down the board?

I like Joni Hamari and her idea of beeswax. Protect the antique with love, not surgery. Masking tape around the perimeter would create a dam for the wax. easily shaped and as Joni said, completely food safe.

I would first scrub it with coarse kosher salt to clean and sanitize it. Let dry for more than a day. Then before all else start the oiling process as though it were new. Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, and once a month for life. Leave all of the character that took sixty years to accumulate. Somewhere along the line try the beeswax if you feel the need.

-- "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what others say you cannot do."-Walter Bagehot

View jp1953's profile


2 posts in 2262 days

#11 posted 02-09-2012 10:49 PM

Thanks everyone for replying. Do not want to saw through the piece for it has always been one solid piece of wood. That is the “Heirloom” part I wish to keep. So it comes down to sanding saving the dust and mixing with either Type 111 glue or Titebond. Or the beeswax.. Not familiar with that. Does beeswax harden? Would I have to keep a “dam” on the outside perimeter—-if so that would not work. Yes I want to use it not look at it. Worried about the glue though getting into food…Further thoughts before I start….Thanks again…..James

View premieretreeservices's profile


17 posts in 2262 days

#12 posted 02-14-2012 04:25 PM

The beeswax sounds like a good solution. It should keep water from soaking into the wood and damaging it further. I would apply a beeswax finish to the outside of the whole board if that’t what you’re going to do. It does get dirty easily though, so watch out for that.

-- Premiere Tree Services Network:

View triw's profile


36 posts in 2272 days

#13 posted 02-14-2012 04:37 PM

If you gave it several good coats of oil could you use something like a large hose clamp to bring the cracks closed?

View packymule's profile


4 posts in 1366 days

#14 posted 07-28-2014 10:02 AM

I agree with “trig”.. The Tite Bond III Glue and a perimeter clamp around the outside .. Have used that glue on many of my own cutting boards and not even a hint of a crack after.. Would use some of the wood dust in the glue to hide the glue up area.. If you go to a cook site though they will caution you about cracks and open wood poses the risk of bacteria being trapped in the wood.. But there are ways after the repair to lessen , but not totally eliminate the bacteria issue.. Even that said , have read that wood cutting heirloom boards sometimes just have to be admired for what they were.. and retire them ..

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15280 posts in 2582 days

#15 posted 07-28-2014 11:43 AM

I would cut, joint and glue as well.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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