End grain butcher block split - any thoughts?

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Forum topic by LoganN posted 04-13-2013 01:06 AM 1763 views 2 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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414 posts in 1899 days

04-13-2013 01:06 AM

I built an end grain butcher block in the wood whisperer style. I used padauk and maple and finished it with several coats of salad bowl finish (cut 50/50 salad bowl finish and mineral spirits). I let it sit for 4 days and then coated it with a beeswax/paraffin rub. My wife used it today to cut some veggies, then pulled a pan off the stove and used the board as a hot plate. The board split down the middle. The glue joints feel swollen and i have slight feel of melt around where the pan was. Any thoughts on this?

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View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2485 days

#1 posted 04-13-2013 01:18 AM

My thoughts are that cutting boards are not pot holders. Mosern PVA glues, like TiteBond, are softened by heat.
It also occurs to me that since the split happened so quickly, there was still a lot of moisture in the wood causing excess expansion.
The salad bowl finish that you put on first sealed the pores so the oil/beeswax didn’t have much effect afterward.

This is what I give out with each one of the cutting boards I sell:

Care and feeding of your new Cutting Board

Congratulations! You are the owner of a hand crafted cutting board built by Dallas Farnworth

As the owner of a genuine wooden cutting board there are a few things you should know to help make your board last many years.

The first thing to do is to wipe the board down with a warm damp solution of soap and water. DO NOT submerge the board in water at any time. This will cause the wood to swell and can cause the joints to split, ruining the board.

You will notice that the board has a slight oily feel. This is the coating that protects the board from deterioration and protects you and the board from harmful bacteria.

After wiping the board down you should coat it with a light coat of fresh oil. The preferred oil is mineral oil that is available from your local drug store or grocery store in the Health and Beauty Aids section. This oil is non-reactive and doesn’t turn rancid over time like most vegetable based oils. It also does not allow bacterial growth in the wood fibers. There are vegetable based oils that can be used, but most of those are nut based, so if the board is to be used around people with nut allergies these oils are not recommended.

Please wipe this board off after every use with a warm soapy cloth and rinse with warm water.

Never put this board in the dish washer or submerge it in water. As noted above, doing so will cause the wood to swell and the joints will split.

At different times of the year or during times of changing humidity you may notice that the board has warped and doesn’t sit flat on the counter. This is because your board is made from a living organism and swells and shrinks with changing weather. Usually the board will return to its former flat shape when it acclimates to the conditions.
If the warpage becomes too extreme, you can force the board to return to it’s normal shape by cleaning it and drying it as noted above then coating it with oil and putting it in a warm oven for a few hours. Once it is warmed all the way through, remove it from the oven and place the concave side down on a flat surface with some heavy weight on top of it over night.

About once a day for the first week wipe the board with oil, then about once a week wipe it with oil.
Be certain to wipe both the top, sides and bottom with the protective oil to keep harmful bacteria from forming in the fibers of the wood.

As you use this board, you will notice that the knife blade will leave marks in the wood. This is normal and won’t hurt a thing as long as you are careful to keep the board oiled.

If you would prefer a shinier surface, you can coat the board with a number of coats of Watco Butcher Block finish letting it dry in between coats and rubbing well with 4X steel wool, available at your local hardware store.

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

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#2 posted 04-13-2013 01:38 AM

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2657 posts in 2275 days

#3 posted 04-13-2013 02:07 AM

+1 Dallas.....’s another excellent bit of info

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View LoganN's profile


414 posts in 1899 days

#4 posted 04-13-2013 12:51 PM

Thanks Dallas! I’ll have to start doing something like that. Ive used wooden cutting board like this before and never had an issue, so I really think the moisture on top, combined with the fresh from the stovetop pot, is what did the trick here. Now I need to head out to the shop and fix it!

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