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End Grain Cutting Board using General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish

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Forum topic by DBordello posted 02-17-2015 04:31 PM 1580 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DBordello

132 posts in 693 days


02-17-2015 04:31 PM

Hi All,

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on my first end grain cutting board. There were plenty of lessons learned, but I applied the finish this weekend.

I sanded the board to 400 grit. I used General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish, thinned approximately 50% using mineral spirits. I applied 3 coats, with light sanding using 000 steel wool between coats. Yesterday, I brought it into the kitchen, and it looked beautiful. Nice deep stain, and very smooth.

I gave it to my wife for its inaugural run. After cutting an apple up, she washed it by hand with water and a little soap, and put it in the drying rack. However, it doesn’t appear to be too happy about it.

It is no longer smooth, and is rough to the touch. Except on the edges, it has lost that deep shine.

Is this expected? I realize this is a tool, and I shouldn’t have high expectations of the finish. OR, did I do something wrong. Are there some remediation steps I should take?


18 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3338 days


#1 posted 02-17-2015 05:27 PM

you have 3 issues, fist off, you should not sand it so fine,180 max,or you diminish the woods ability to absorb the finish, secondly you should not have thinned the finish, but rather apply it as packaged, let it soak for a few min then wipe it off, let it dry well, then a light sand with some 220 just to smooth, then another coat applied the same , if it looks full bodied then your done , usually on end grain it takes 3 coats, you want the wood to absorb the finish , not lay on top,and 3rd, you need to let it dry well, at least 3 or 4 days it takes about 10 days to do a full cure.

Re sand it to 180 and do as above, since it has some finish on it you may get by with 2 coats.

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DBordello

132 posts in 693 days


#2 posted 02-17-2015 05:31 PM



you have 3 issues, fist off, you should not sand it so fine,180 max,or you diminish the woods ability to absorb the finish, secondly you should not have thinned the finish, but rather apply it as packaged, let it soak for a few min then wipe it off, let it dry well, then a light sand with some 220 just to smooth, then another coat applied the same , if it looks full bodied then your done , usually on end grain it takes 3 coats, you want the wood to absorb the finish , not lay on top,and 3rd, you need to let it dry well, at least 3 or 4 days it takes about 10 days to do a full cure.

Re sand it to 180 and do as above, since it has some finish on it you may get by with 2 coats.

- CharlesNeil

Thank you for the detailed reply. Apparently I botched this one terribly. I was basing it on the cutting board episode of the wood whisperer. He specifically mentions thinning. However, since that didn’t work well, I will give that method a shot.

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3338 days


#3 posted 02-17-2015 05:35 PM

Thinning helps absorption but the salad bowl finish from GF is pretty thin as is. Thinning also slows the dry and reduces the solids. All that said, you simply didn’t get enough finish on it or let it fully dry.

You will be fine.

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ScottinVa

35 posts in 983 days


#4 posted 02-17-2015 07:09 PM

Dbordello, I think you should go back to the project page on the WW website – Marc goes into detail about why the 50/50 mix is better, and what you can expect from that finish. I’m doing one soon and just got through reading all Marc’s responses – lots of info there.

Charles, if you see this – love using your angle jig! Thanks for that video.

View RBWoodworker's profile

RBWoodworker

432 posts in 2819 days


#5 posted 02-17-2015 07:56 PM

I am currently doing a rather large butcher block..37” wide x 65” long..2” thick. I have never built a cutting board, butcher block or any of that.. I have asked Charles, how to go about it all from how thick to cut the widths of the boards to what grit to sand it all and the type of finish to use..have had zero issues..if Charles says to do something a certain way, rest assured the results will be exactly how he says..why test or experiment when you don’t have too..

-- Randall Child http://www.racfurniture.com/

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daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1042 days


#6 posted 02-17-2015 08:35 PM

you can buy mineral oil in Walmart for alot cheaper and it’s the same thing.

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3338 days


#7 posted 02-17-2015 08:44 PM

Actually the Salad bowl finish from GF is a varnish oil, its not mineral oil . The label states ” A non toxic finish When Cured”... , however it works quite well, far better than mineral oil .. which gives little to no protection, its just editable .

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Kazooman

628 posts in 1419 days


#8 posted 02-17-2015 09:37 PM

Actually, the General Finishes website says to thin Salad Bowl Finish when using it for cutting boards.

”Salad Bowl Finish is a film finish it is not recommended for cutting boards at full strength. To use for depth of grain and color, cut with 50% mineral spirits, apply, let soak in, and wipe back all excess leaving no film on surface, use GF Butcher Block Oil to maintain. GF Butcher Block Oil is a food grade mineral oil used to maintain butcher blocks, cutting board, knife handles, and wooden spoons for an oiled finish.”

In reality, they really don’t recommend Salad Bowl Finish for cutting boards in the first place:

“For actively used butcher block counter tops that are used for chopping and cutting, only use Butcher Block Oil.”

So, between these apparently contradictory statements from their website, we are left a bit in the dark.

View the_other_ken's profile

the_other_ken

23 posts in 2442 days


#9 posted 02-17-2015 09:46 PM

You didn’t really do anything wrong. Much like raising the grain with water before you put on a waterbased finish, your wife raised the grain with the water. Give it a light hand sanding with 180 or 220 to remove the raised grain. Not to much sanding or you’ll just create the problem again.

Wet it down again and let it dry. If there is any roughness, give it another very light sanding. Now apply your finish again and everything should be OK.

I just use mineral oil but if you want a little shine you can mix that with bee’s wax. I will get dull after a few cleanings anyways.

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3338 days


#10 posted 02-17-2015 10:05 PM

hang tight Kazoo, nasty out, going home , will explain more, If any of you have a cutting board, finished with mineral oil or mineral oi and wax, throw some food coloring on it, or wine or kool aid, see if it stains, then imagine that’s chicken blood or whatever.

Did a 10 disc set of DVDs , spent a year doing it, wrote a book ,spent another year, I tested every oil and process I could find, mineral oil is just cheap and easy.

But like smoking in the 50’s and 60’s its quite popular.

Later

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DBordello

132 posts in 693 days


#11 posted 02-17-2015 10:08 PM



hang tight Kazoo, nasty out, going home , will explain more, If any of you have a cutting board, finished with mineral oil or mineral oi and wax, throw some food coloring on it, or wine or kool aid, see if it stains, then imagine that s chicken blood or whatever.

Did a 10 disc set of DVDs , spent a year doing it, wrote a book ,spent another year, I tested every oil and process I could find, mineral oil is just cheap and easy.

But like smoking in the 50 s and 60 s its quite popular.

Later

- CharlesNeil

Interesting perspective. I am going to take some pictures when I get home to add some more information.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

628 posts in 1419 days


#12 posted 02-17-2015 11:00 PM

Hi Charles,

Actually, I am hanging loose, not tight. ;-) Been that way since I retired.

I went through this finishing decision making process when I made several end grain boards last winter. I actually bought a can of GF Salad Bowl Finish when I purchased the stock at Johnson Lumber in Charlotte, MI., in anticipation of using it on the boards. When I had the boards all prepped for finishing I went to the GF site and found the information I quoted above. Made me go with just plain old mineral oil. Mind you, I use the boards for cutting bread, not raw meat. It is hard for the occasional user to sort through the conflicting information, so I went with GF’s advice.

I did make a couple of small, thinner “trays” from the leftover stock and I did finish them with the GF SBF. We use these as serving boards for cheese and the like. They have held up very well and the finish is certainly much more durable than the mineral oil.

Not sure what passes for “nasty” where you live, but it has been pretty darned cold here in Michigan for the last several days. Hopefully Spring is not far off. I think you will get your reprieve from winter before we do.

View Justin57's profile

Justin57

38 posts in 2704 days


#13 posted 02-18-2015 10:13 AM

Asking a group of woodworkers “what’s the best finish for a cutting board?” is akin to asking a group of race car fans “who’s the best NASCAR driver?”. Lots of opinions out there.

I’ve made LOTS of cutting boards in my 12 yrs of woodworking and this is how I finish all of my boards (this includes face grain carving boards as well as end grain cutting boards), and why I choose this method.

After trying different types of finishes, I now only use General Finishes (GF), Arm-R-Seal (for those that haven’t yet learned this…GF Salad Bowl Finish is Arm-R-Seal thinned out). For the first coat, I thin it with Mineral Spirits (MS), … (not 50/50, more like 80/20 with the 80 being the Arm-R-Seal), then apply with either a foam brush or clean, lint free rag. I apply this first coat very heavily. I let this soak in about 3 – 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it and adding more to spots that soak up the finish. Using Painters Pyramids, I’ll do the other side as well. After allowing it to soak for that 3 – 5 minutes, I get a fresh lint free rag and slightly dampen it with MS then wipe off all of the finish I can possibly wipe off. I then take a dry lint free rag and wipe it down until the rag will glide smoothly across the cutting board. I do this to both faces and all four sides of the cutting board, then let this dry overnight.
The next day, I’ll “wipe” the board with a 320 grit foam pad (the white powder you create is the dried finish that’s laying on top of the wood), and wipe clean with a very lightly damped (with MS), lint free rag. Then I apply the 2nd coat the same as the 1st using much less finish (because the wood is sealing up, it won’t soak up nearly as much finish). Again I let it dry overnight.
The 3rd day I repeat the 2nd day’s work to apply the 3rd and final coat. Additionally, I’ll spend extra time buffing (wiping off excess finish), so that I have no build up on top of the wood.
I let my boards cure for 7 days before I’ll give them to a customer so they’re not tempted to use the board too soon.
My reasons for using this method are that I am of the group that believes any finish is “food safe” once fully cured and because I also understand that I only want to seal the wood rather than build up a finish on top of the wood.

-- North Carolina Woodworker

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3338 days


#14 posted 02-18-2015 02:52 PM

As stated this topic can get out of hand in a second, and I was just trying o help the OP.

How ever having tested and re- tested this issue for a DVD and a book I wrote, as well as being asked to test numerous oils and finishes for various manufactures here is what I know.

Mineral oil is not a finish its a treatment, and it works so so until it dries out, so it needs to be re-coated as needed. Adding bees wax helps a little , but not a lot. Mineral oil does make wood look nice, it adds sheen and depth, its also the main ingredient in baby oil, and if you have ever been to the beach you understand it doesn’t only make wood look good…....oops sorry got side tracked

When it comes to thinning or not, here is what you need to understand, pretty much any finish can be thinned, many will tell you not to , but its not because you cant, its because if you do the solvent you add will exceed VOC regulations, many will tell you not to use on industrial or architectural projects, meaning large applications, Now ask your self, if you can use a stain or finish on a table why can’t you use it on a big doorway, or all the trim in a room… the answer is again VOC regulations, meaning the thought is that if you use alot of it you exceed the limits. Believe it or not its that simple .

Thinning any varnish oil for use on a cutting board or similar, is fine, just remember your adding more solvent, and getting less solids,so multiple coats may be needed. If the oil is heavy then of course thin it some, so it can be absorbed, as Justin stated above the object of the game is to get the finish IN the wood and not build a film .

Water base products are a bit different, their performance can be altered by over thinning .

So ask yourself , why would a finish work on a salad bowl and not a cutting board .

And the next time your at the beach, check out other uses for Mineral oil .

View DBordello's profile

DBordello

132 posts in 693 days


#15 posted 02-18-2015 04:29 PM

Holy cow, what have I started. I didn’t realize this was such a contentious topic.

It is clear I did several things wrong.

1. Sanded too fine (to 400 grit).
2. Didn’t let the board cure (1 day)
3. Perhaps thinned the finish (debatable).

So, I have a new plan.

1. Resand to 180 grit.
2. Use SBF unthinned
3. Lightly sand using 220 between coats
4. Apply new several 3-4 coats
5. Let cure for 1 week

I am out of town this week, but I will be sure to follow up when I return.

Thank you everybody for the advice.

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