Cutting Boards - How much sanding is enough and what is overkill

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Forum topic by Rob posted 10-14-2013 01:17 PM 1387 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rob's profile


316 posts in 3013 days

10-14-2013 01:17 PM

Over this past weekend, my wife and I went to two different Fall Festival Craft Shows here in Western, NY. As a woodworker, I found myself drawn to any vender site that had wood products for sale. There were two venders (one at each show) that were selling cutting boards as their main product. At one, the boards were not sanded to a smooth finish. They were a little rough feeling and I could feel ridges and depressions between different wood species. His boards were marked between $10 for a cheese board and $60 for a very large board. All of his boards were edge grain and in my opinion, more work needed to be done on those boards. Also displayed at this vender was a bottle of Crisco Vegetable Oil. I wanted to say something about his choice of what to put on a cutting board since there’s a great risk of the vegetable oil becoming rancid but I kept my mouth shut. Not my place to be critical of his work or what he chooses to tell people to put on their cutting boards. At the other vender, the boards were as smooth as glass. His pricing was $20 for a 5”X5” board up to $170 for a board about 10”X15”. These boards were all end grain boards and on some boards he was using some exotics (bloodwood, bubinga etc.). I asked the woodworker how fine of a grit of sandpaper he used and he told me he sands all of his boards to 1500 grit and puts no finish on them at all. So my question is, how much sanding is enough sanding when making cutting boards for sale? I’ve sold a few and have only sanded to 220 grit. My boards feel smooth and you can’t feel any imperfections but they could become smoother with more sanding work. What are your thoughts?

3 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 03:01 PM

I made about a dozen edge-grain last year for Christmas. I sent them through the planer and then finished up with a quick sanding of 220 and mineral oil. I’ve seen a few of them since and they seem to be holding up fine. So in my very limited experience, that seems to work. I think getting them smooth to the touch is all that matters, I mean, these are cutting boards. I guess maybe sanding to a higher grit on end-grain boards might be required to get all that end grain to feel smooth and burnish them a bit?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View rustfever's profile


752 posts in 3337 days

#2 posted 10-14-2013 03:29 PM

I usually go to at least 320grit on edge grain and 600 grit on end grain boards, before applying two coats of pure mineral oil.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3092 days

#3 posted 10-14-2013 03:31 PM

For long grain boards I hand scrape first, then hand sand using 600. This produces a nice surface. For end grain I sand thoroughly and go through 600. Sanding end grain is a pain and takes a long time, but it needs to be done thoroughly until all scratches are gone or the board will look lousy. We finish with mineral oil and wax. Nice luster and fills in cuts nicely. We warn customers about vegetable oil going rancid over time, but some still use it if they wash the board regularly.

-- PaulMayer,

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