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Mineral Oil Wicking Out of End Grain Cutting Boards

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Forum topic by BigMig posted 12-14-2012 08:45 PM 1261 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BigMig

266 posts in 1272 days


12-14-2012 08:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mineral mineral oil cutting board end grain cutting board end grain

I finished sanding 3 cutting boards and began applying straight mineral oil several days ago. After a several applications, the oil was beginning to wick out through the bottom of the boards. So I turned them over and applied oil to that surface too.

Now, when I handle the boards, they wick out a little oil where my hands have been. Have I applied too much oil? If I want to apply a last wax/oil mix, should I apply that to the boards as they are, or prep them in some way first?

Thanks!

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA


12 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3434 posts in 1629 days


#1 posted 12-14-2012 09:52 PM

What kind of wood did you use?
Wicking sounds like Red Oak or Ash.
It is important to note that Rockhard Maple and a few other closed grained hardwoods are the only suitable woods for cutting board use.

One should never use oak, ash, hickory or other open grained woods for a cutting surface as the pores can harbor germs and decaying food particles.

Softer closed grained woods deteriorate with knife cuts and usage and become unsanitary and wood splinters or particles wind up in foodstuffs.

Mineral oil never dries and never really seals the surface. If you have open pores like Red Oak it will indeed wick right through.
A combination of 10 parts mineral oil and 1 part paraffin, heated till melted together, will probably be the best thing to do at this point. The paraffin tends to clog up the pores when it cools. But, in the long run, this is not a fix, just a get by. Food can still get in there.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3457 posts in 2619 days


#2 posted 12-14-2012 10:09 PM

Crank has it nailed.
That’s why I use UHMW for cutting boards.
Not a slam on the craft. Just a way I work in the kitchen. The wood boards are really nice, but not my choice for regular use.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Towtruck's profile

Towtruck

70 posts in 1267 days


#3 posted 12-14-2012 10:11 PM

Is this true of all Ash? I recently acquired some brown ash that I would like to use for a cutting board. It seems to be tighter grain than the white ash I’m used to.

-- I cut it off 3 times and it's still too short!

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NewEnglandsWoodWorks

117 posts in 1260 days


#4 posted 12-14-2012 10:15 PM

I don’t like to use mineral oil on cutting boards. As mentioned above it never really cures and never fully protects the board. I use a food safe varnish sold by General Finishes under the name of salad bowl finish.

-Brett

-- Brett

View BigMig's profile

BigMig

266 posts in 1272 days


#5 posted 12-14-2012 10:57 PM

Thanks all; the boiards are made from hard maple, purpleheart and a very small amount of cherry. No oak, no ash, etc.

I’m aware MO doesn’t cure, but it can be replenished and MO will prevent water from penetrating…that’s the theory

I’ll try the 1:10 mix of MO & Parrafin.
Thanks.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View LeChuck's profile

LeChuck

417 posts in 1721 days


#6 posted 12-14-2012 11:09 PM

I’ve read studies saying that there is less bacteria developing on oak, because of the tannic content, than on plastic, because of all the micro cuts it gets where bacteria can develop.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

799 posts in 751 days


#7 posted 12-15-2012 03:51 AM

Mineral oil doesn’t penetrate very far into the wood. It’s there mostly to make the wood somewhat more water resistant. It’s there to help prevent cracking. I’d just wipe off the excess and keep wiping it off as it comes up. Eventually you’ll need to re-apply the mineral oil.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14754 posts in 2334 days


#8 posted 12-15-2012 04:34 AM

Bill, What is UHMW ?

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3365 posts in 1472 days


#9 posted 12-15-2012 04:58 AM

Mineral oil, while safe, is a terrible finish for cb’s. I prefer Howard’s butcher block conditioner which is a mixture of mineral oil and waxes. It dries velvety smooth, and is very easy to work. It is cheap, and available from Home Depot.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Biff's profile

Biff

126 posts in 672 days


#10 posted 12-15-2012 05:36 AM

I’ve had great luck with the 1/2 mineral oil, 1/2 beeswax mixture. Plus it leaves a nice shine on the board!

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at http://www.willamettepropertiesgroup.com

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

799 posts in 751 days


#11 posted 12-15-2012 08:20 AM

I think UHMW refers ultra high molecular weight. I was under the impression it referred to a kind of plastic. I assume he’s saying the cutting boards he uses are ultra high molecular weight plastic.

Hopefully he’ll confirm or deny this. I’d rather not have my foot lodged in my mouth.

View harvey4804's profile

harvey4804

113 posts in 1340 days


#12 posted 12-15-2012 08:25 AM

Purrmaster, you are correct.

-- Ryan, FRMR HMM165 - HMX1 01-10

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