“My New Cutting Board”
A guide to proper care and maintenance
There are a few facts you should be aware of in the use, care and maintenance
of your new end grain cutting board. End grain board means it has gone through several steps in order to use the softest
part of the wood to protect your knife blades. Most commercial boards are mass produced in a side grain pattern and
although fewer problems may occur with those than an end grain board, end grain is the professional chef’s first choice
for a cutting board. Eventually all cutting boards crack or dry out from use and exposures so don’t be alarmed when
that happens. To extend the life of your new board I have provided the following information to guide you on maintaining your
board. Hopefully, you will have many years of service with your new kitchen friend.
Products used include:
Hard Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Hickory, Purple Heart and a few proprietary woods have been used to produce your new cutting board.
Board selection is your choice. The glue used, Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, is the first one-part, water cleanup wood
glue ever that is also proven to be waterproof. The waterproof formula passes the ANSI/HPVA Type I water-resistance specification
and offers superior bond strength, longer open assembly time and lower application temperature. Titebond III is non-toxic,
solvent free and cleans up with water and is safer to use than traditional waterproof wood glues. It provides strong initial
tack, sands easily without softening and is FDA approved for indirect food contact for projects like cutting boards, picnic
tables and more. Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue conforms to ASTM D-4236 standards.
Information about hard woods: Wood used in the making of an end grain cutting board is much different than what you find at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Commercial suppliers offer wood that is pressure treated, dried, trimmed and shipped ready to use for most construction projects.
Exotic hardwoods, on the other hand, are rough cut timber that has had NO treatment, drying or mass production. It
is raw wood purchased in small quantities and sold for high-end projects such as cutting boards, fine furniture, turnings,
flooring and cabinetry. It is a wood that is alive and well long after it has been transformed into any of the above. As it
dries over the years, it has an insatiable need for moisture and protection. It requires care and maintenance throughout the
life of the wood. Most of what is provided here can be found on the internet but, it’s important to pay close attention
to the cleaning and maintenance information provided here.
How NOT to clean your cutting board:
1) An end grain cutting
board should never be submerged into hot soapy water. Never use hot water in any application when you clean your
board. That is the number one killer of an end grain cutting board. As it craves more and more moisture, it
soaks up more than it needs as long as water is available, a lot like a Christmas tree. As the wood expands and contracts,
it can cause cracking and sometimes breakage in the grain of the board.
clean the board with hot or cold water and lay it flat on your counter. The absorption will pool to the middle
of the wood and cause what is referred to as ‘cupping’. It will literally come to life, right before your eyes.
As a result, the pulling of the wood stresses the glued joints and will crack the wood and joints of the board pieces. Pieces?
That’s right, pieces. Your board has many glued pieces of wood, which given the right amount of moisture, will cause
all the pieces to decide to head in opposite directions at the same time, resulting into the most exotic sack of firewood
you will ever own J. Just don’t do it.
Preferred method of cleaning your cutting board: The recommended way to clean your board is with pure white
vinegar. Use a spray bottle and apply a small amount directly to the wood. Wipe clean in a circular motion with a soft
cotton cloth or paper towel, stand it on its side and allow it time to dry. Then apply about a tablespoon of food grade mineral
oil to both sides and again, stand it on its side to absorb the oil. Food grade mineral oil should be applied at least once
every two weeks if the board is used daily and once a month with occasional use.
You have also
received a small amount of beeswax mixed with mineral oil. This is the water proofing used in the initial treatment of your
board. It should be applied once a month after cleaning. Excess oil or wax should be removed with a soft cotton cloth
and rubbed in a circular motion.
Deep Cleaning: If you feel that your board is in need of a more aggressive
cleaning than normal, use either sea salt or rock salt and a lemon. Sprinkle the salt on the surface of the board,
cut the lemon in half and rub the board in a circular motion with the lemon. Note: There are helpful YouTube video
experts (morons) that suggest you go buy a belt sander and sand the board yourself. That’s a great idea
if you want to ruin your board but if you insist, buy an orbital sander, not a belt sander and use no rougher than a 220 grit
paper, or just use the method I am explaining to you now. The lemon and salt cleaning is much safer, cheaper and does a much
better job than you can hope for with the sander method. Once clean spray the board with vinegar, wipe it down with a soft
cloth or paper towel and apply a heavy coat of mineral oil. Let that sit for about 20 minutes to allow the board to soak up
the oil. Then take the beeswax mix and apply a heavy coat, rubbing in a circular motion until you see the entire board has
been coated. Let that sit for about 30 minutes and wipe the coating down with a cloth. This is reapplying the water resistance
to the board.
(Note: If none of this works, then all
I can say is “I tried”)
Hopefully, this will help you keep your board in great shape for many years to come.