Some advice please on finishing maple kitchen island top

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Forum topic by Navig8r posted 03-24-2014 01:29 PM 1274 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 2662 days

03-24-2014 01:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: maple finishing

I have an edge-grain maple butcher block style island top,3’ x 6’, it is currently finished with poly of some sort, in poor condition(bought the house recently). I want to remove it, sand down, re-shape(round off corners) and re-finish.
I will use the surface for food prep(pizza dough, etc…), but not cutting.
Wife is pregnant, so no-odor finish is important at this time, as is something relatively quick, as I’d like to be start to finish (removal to re-install&finished) in one weekend, or less.

I am thinking of an oil, and I really dont mind periodic maintenance on it.
I looked at the John Boos Mystery oil, and Board cream… any thoughts on these products?

If I use an oil (as opposed to a poly) do I oil the underside before installation? What is best?

Any thoughts at all on my situation are greatly appreciated!


-- ~ T.J. Hudson Valley, NY. It's all fun & games until somebody loses an eye!

8 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4723 posts in 2346 days

#1 posted 03-24-2014 01:31 PM

Mineral oil.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View David's profile


198 posts in 2659 days

#2 posted 03-24-2014 01:41 PM

I second the mineral oil. Does require periodic refreshing but it’s easy to do, food safe, and no worries about it going rancid like vegetable oils.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View vetwoodworker's profile


104 posts in 1702 days

#3 posted 03-24-2014 01:42 PM

Melt Beeswax down and mix with Mineral Oil, this is what the John Boos basically is. Allow to saturate into the wood for 15 mins and wipe away excess. Repeat 1 more time. Follow this every 3-6 months to keep it fresh and protected. Nothing beats the character of solid wood counter/island tops!

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#4 posted 03-24-2014 01:45 PM

You are on the right track with your suggested products, but don’t waste your money. Those products are all simply mineral with some beeswax or carnauba wax melted in. I would recommend the mineral oil first, let it soak, then hit it with some of the oil/wax mix


View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2365 days

#5 posted 03-24-2014 01:55 PM

Another vote for mineral oil. I’ve been in the same situation as you. I salvaged the old maple butcher-block top from my parents’ house when they remodeled their kitchen, and used it for the top of an island I built. The top was unfinished, but also I do not remember them ever oiling it and it was bone dry.

I cut it to size, hand-planed the years of crap off the top to expose fresh wood, and after multiple applications of mineral oil, it finally stopped sucking it all in. We use ours for food prep, dough, etc. About once a month I rub a little more oil on, then come back 10-15 minutes later and wipe it dry. You can get a big bottle for a couple bucks at the grocery/drug store. The nice thing about keeping it oiled is that nothing really sticks to it. We just use a warm wash cloth to wipe it down. You’ll be able to tell very easily when it starts looking/feeling like it needs more oil.

P.S. My wife is pregnant, too, and this really comes in handy when she feels the need to bake 6 dozen cookies, 15 loaves of bread, etc. like she did last pregnancy.

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

View Bruce Taylor's profile

Bruce Taylor

21 posts in 1933 days

#6 posted 03-24-2014 08:45 PM

Ed, let me know when your wife is on a baking binge and I’ll be there to help consume the overage! We eat a lot of bread at our house and, of course, my sugar fix is satisfied with cookies. Do I get to pick?

-- Captain Bruce, Washington State

View Navig8r's profile


32 posts in 2662 days

#7 posted 03-24-2014 11:50 PM

Thanks all! Sounds like Mineral Oil is the way to go…. What type of ratio of beeswax to oil works? I assume this is not a precise ‘recipe’ but where do I start?
Also, should I oil the bottom of the block before re-installing it? Any thoughts?

-- ~ T.J. Hudson Valley, NY. It's all fun & games until somebody loses an eye!

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2365 days

#8 posted 03-25-2014 12:41 PM

Mine appeared to have some sort of yellowish sealant on the underside. I just left that in place and oiled the sides and top. I think that with the orientation of the rings in an edge grain board, combined with the fact that it’s going to be secured down to the island, warping is not going to be an issue. I don’t use beeswax on mine just because we use it so much, I just feel it’s easier to wipe on some oil every now and then. I have used beeswax and oil on some smaller cutting boards I made, and I kept shaving beeswax into the oil until the oil had a consistent yellow tint. It was pretty scientific.

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

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