Cutting Board Oozing Mineral Oil

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Forum topic by harriw posted 12-21-2012 01:45 AM 1108 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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116 posts in 1626 days

12-21-2012 01:45 AM

Hey folks,

I finished up a pair of Cuttingboards for Christmas presents and have been putting mineral oil on them. I came home today though to find the boards “sweating” oil. The last few days they’ve been soaking it up like a dry sponge, so this is definitely different. I’ve been wiping them down, but they just keep oozing.

What’s going on here – is this normal? Does it just mean it’s saturated and doesn’t need any more? Only changes I can think of is that I sanded the second board down much finer – down to 320 grit. It felt so smooth and glassy that I took the 1st one back out and brought that down to 320 as well (once the previous coats of mineral oil had dried). Could I have closed up the pores by sanding it down too fine?

The other thing is the 1st board has many more coats than the second, as it was completed earlier. I think I have around 5 coats per side on the 1st board, and only 2-3 per side on the second.

A few other possibilities that don’t seem very likely: I’m down near the bottom of my 1st bottle of mineral oil. What abou weather changes? it got colder and started raining today, but both the temp and humidity have been up and down the last few days and I haven’t seen this problem until now.

Thanks a lot for your help!

-- Bill - Western NY

4 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1906 days

#1 posted 12-21-2012 02:20 AM

Mineral oil never ‘dries’.

I had the same problem with a Hickory counter I built in a motor home.

I added oil and added oil and added oil until it was saturated and wouldn’t take any more.

As the motor home was empty, the oil stayed in the board but as it was used, the oil would make puddles.

I attributed this to the RV going up and down the Rockies, but it might have had more to do with barometric pressure.

I ended up building a kind of oven 6’ long to put the counter in and heating it slowly. Temps got up to about 150°F and stayed there for about 8 hours.

After that no oil ever came out again.

Nowdays I use a beeswax-mineral oil mix starting with 2 TBSP bees wax melted into a pint of mineral oil, then I finish with a 50/50 mix of beeswax/mineral oil on a warmed board.
To suck it in I use a propane torch with a low flame, constantly moving the flame to suck the oil in.

Good Luck!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View harriw's profile


116 posts in 1626 days

#2 posted 12-21-2012 05:31 AM

Sounds like I might need to cook them for a bit :) What surprises me the most is that I think I’ve put almost twice as much oil into the first as I did the second. Of course, the first might have been saturated a while ago and I just kept adding it without knowing…

The first one had more walnut in it too, which I suppose might hold more oil given the courser grain?


-- Bill - Western NY

View Biff's profile


126 posts in 1432 days

#3 posted 12-21-2012 05:41 AM

Are these end grain boards? If so, that is pretty common. I prefer a 50/50 mix of beeswax and mineral oil.

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at

View harriw's profile


116 posts in 1626 days

#4 posted 12-21-2012 05:48 AM

Yes, end grain, sorry. Good point, it doesn’t seem to be oozing from the sides at all.

Will it “go away” on its own? I’ll need to wrap these by Christmas Eve, and don’t want them to soak the wrapping paper :) I’m a little un-easy about baking them though… I’m gonna let them air out for a day or two I think. Might try a heat gun tomorrow night too…

I have an older end-grain board that my wife got me for my birthday a few years ago at a craft show (I’ve been itching to make my own ever since – finally!). While I was putting oil on these, I sanded down and re-finished my older board. It didn’t suck in nearly as much oil and left pools behind, which I wiped off. That board isn’t having any problems “sweating” now though… Of course I only put one coat on that one.

Thanks again!

-- Bill - Western NY

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