Al Ladd  Fine Edge Woodworking

                          Cutting Board Care    
Since wood is a material that changes its size as it gains or loses moisture, it's important to take proper care of any wood cutting board, and as endgrain exchanges moisture with its surrounding environment about 12 times faster than other wood surfaces, this is especially true with end grain cutting boards.

Our boards are finished with a mixture of walnut oil and beeswax we mix up ourselves. A similar mixture can be purchased here. We sold our own mixture for awhile, but were selling more of it than we wanted to make (we'd rather make jewelry boxes and cutting boards than pour oil and wax into tins...). Walnut oil is considered to be the best drying of the edible oils, and the beeswax adds water resistance. We send a tin with each board we sell, and if you run out you can order from the above source, or you can re-oil your cutting board with mineral oil, or any edible oil, but use it very sparingly-- just a few drops rubbed in with a rag and some elbow grease. Do this every few weeks, or whenever you notice the board looking dry.

The best way to clean your cutting board is to wipe it off with a damp sponge or rag. People's fears about bacterial contamination are somewhat overblown, as wood is in fact very much an antibacterial material. For details see here. Try to resist the temptation to run a faucet over it, especially if it hasn't been oiled recently. If you do wash it under a faucet, dry it with a cloth right afterwards to minimize the saturation of the wood. Be especially careful not to dry it out too quickly by placing near a heat source after getting it wet. Try to avoid both very damp and very dry environments, and especially rapid shifts from damp to dry.

With proper care my boards will last many years with no splits, though as anyone who's ever seen an old butcher block in an antique shop knows, end grain cutting boards remain perfectly functional even with the hairline splits at the edges they sometimes develop over time. Proper care will keep your board looking new. Many of my oldest boards, made before 1985, are still in daily use, and they look all the more beautiful, with a glowing patina from constant use.