Cutting Board is Warping

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Forum topic by rlrobinhood posted 03-11-2012 04:56 AM 1766 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rlrobinhood's profile


80 posts in 2885 days

03-11-2012 04:56 AM

Hi all,

I built this cutting board not too long ago and it is warping (project). It was perfectly flat when I finished it. Also, I have applied multiple coats (some after it was begining to be used as a cutting board) of a mineral oil/wax combination. The board has warped over the short distance. Byu this I mean the two short edges are looking like bananas.

I was curious if anyone had any advice on how to prevent this with future boards and also why this is occuring?

Thanks a million.

9 replies so far

View dakremer's profile


2742 posts in 3330 days

#1 posted 03-11-2012 05:01 AM

is it because all the grain is going the same way?? I’m sure you’ll get the right answer here! best of luck to you

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View patron's profile


13641 posts in 3580 days

#2 posted 03-11-2012 05:07 AM

the only thing i can think of
after looking at the board

the wood may have still been moist
it has been laying on the counter
and drying more on the top face
(maybe flip it over from time to time
or leave it on edge or hanging
so it can breath evenly)

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

View rlrobinhood's profile


80 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 03-13-2012 01:16 AM

Hi all,

Thank you very much for your replies. The wood seemed very dry to begin with, so I suspect that patron is correct and after it gets washed, I’ll set it on edge.

Thanks again and have a great week.

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2816 days

#4 posted 03-13-2012 01:21 AM

Maybe put rubber bumpers on the bottom?

View WDHLT15's profile


1797 posts in 2715 days

#5 posted 03-14-2012 12:34 AM

Cup occurs due to a change in moisture, generally an uneven change, say more on one face than the other. I suspect that the wood was not in equilibrium moisture content in the final use environment, and as it dried, it cupped.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View woody123's profile


53 posts in 3545 days

#6 posted 03-15-2012 05:28 PM

I would think the boards are warping because you used 2 or 3 different species of wood that expand and contract at different times or level of moisture. If your going to make your board from different species of wood, you will have turn the pieces on end then glue the strips together. For your finish, you would do better to use plain mineral oil, purchased from a drugstore for $1.50. Use it liberally and let it dry. That’s it.

Just my .02

View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2590 days

#7 posted 03-15-2012 06:32 PM

Cutting boards that get wet on one side only will cup in the opposite direction. Next time you wipe it down after use, wipe the other side as well and see if that helps. I have a board similar to that and I flip it periodically to utilize both sides and when I wipe it down I wipe both sides and put it in the drying rack.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2687 days

#8 posted 03-15-2012 07:14 PM

First, I think you would have been better off making an end-grain cutting board that was a bit thicker. They are more resistant to cutting damage, and in my experience, are much less prone to warpage when different species of wood are used. (This is just my experience, it m-ay not be right in all cases)

Second, you used the wrong finish. I know I will get flamed on hard, but mineralol is he worst finish possible for a cutting board, for a number of reasons.
First, it is food for bacteria. While it may never get rancid, bacteria can abd will feed off mineral oil. It is old technology that needs to be left behind and replaced with a much better alternative.
Second, mineral oil doesn’t harden or cure, and does a very poor job of sealing the wood or preventing the wood from absorbing moisture or even releasing moisture, which will in many cases cause the cupping you see.
When wood dries more on one side than the other, it will cup. Sealing it so it cannot absorb or release moisture, or so that it does so at a very slow rate, will help prevent this cupping.
There are many oher problems with mineral oil, but I won’t get into it further. Just know it is to be avoided on cutting boards.

The best finishes you can use, starting with my most liked and going down from there, are:

1) General Finishes Arm-R-Seal -It soaks into the wood and then hardens, creating a barrier inside the wood that seals it well. It is 100% food safe after curing and extremely durable. I like to thin the first coat or two with mineral spirits or naptha and really soak the wood so that it soaks in deeper. Just remember to wipe it back after the wood stops absorbing the finish.

2) Waterlox -Works very much like Arm-R-Seal.

3) General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish -Another oil finish hat will soak into the wood and cure, leaving a hard barrier.

There are others that will work, but these are the best’ hands down.

If you want to see a good demonstration, go to YouTube and search for Charles Neil and find his demonstration on food safe finishes (it may be under his “InTheWorkshop” screen name). He applies a single coat of several finishes to an end-grain cutting board, let’s them dry and then wipes a dye soaked rag over each section to show the difference in sealing ability. The results speak for themselves.

If you want to try to fix your cutting board, let me know and I’ll give you some advise. I’ve taken some pretty good cups out of pieces in the past, and I may be able to help.

Good luck

-- Kenny

View rlrobinhood's profile


80 posts in 2885 days

#9 posted 03-17-2012 08:23 PM

Hi Kenny,

Thanks for the detailed message. I will definitely check out your youtube reference. And, I’d be glad to hear your ideas on how to remove the cup. I’m new at woodworking, so any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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