Salad bowl finish not for cutting boards?

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Forum topic by NateX posted 04-16-2010 05:56 AM 34248 views 3 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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98 posts in 3638 days

04-16-2010 05:56 AM

I know, I know, salad bowl finish again? I just (about an hour ago) put a coat of salad bowl finish on an end grain cutting board i made. I went to read what the fine folks at General Finishes had to say about maintenance of their product and found this: “For actively used butcher block counter tops that are used for chopping and cutting, only use Butcher Block Oil.” Full page, 3rd one down.

I did a search and found more than a few other people who also had used GF salad bowl finish for cutting boards. Is this a recent change? The Wood Whisperer was more than enthusiastic about the merits of said varnish, could this be a change due to the sudden surge in use of the product on working boards?

What say ye? Is it safe? Will it just get thrashed by knives? Will it bubble and chip? Will it give me face cancer if i dice jalapenos on it?

This is supposed to be a gift for someone with small children, what do you think?

30 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3716 days

#1 posted 04-16-2010 05:31 PM

I’ve used salad bowl finish on every cutting board I have ever made (about a dozen). To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever suffered any harmful effects from using the cutting board.

However, I also understand that most, if not all, of my cutting boards were used for display – not for actually functioning as a cutting board. The phrase I often hear is “It’s too pretty to use”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View PetVet's profile


329 posts in 4129 days

#2 posted 04-16-2010 05:51 PM

I have used it on all my cutting boards too, which I then topped with bees wax/mineral oil. I will let you know if my relatives start dieing off…

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4512 days

#3 posted 04-16-2010 06:44 PM

all is good my friend , actually salad bowl finish is a great choice, it has some urethane, and driers ( not lead), it will protect well, and serve well, it thin enough to be absorbed into the wood fibers.. cut them perrper , let it dry well about a week

dont need to hear about the hair… he he he

just how it is .. check it out

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6846 posts in 3836 days

#4 posted 04-16-2010 06:47 PM

Greetings Nate….... +1 for the above remarks on the finish….. No worries, mate. It is what it is, but when in doubt, which there shouldn’t be…... use good ‘ole American made (?)............... mineral oil…can’t beat it…

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 3992 days

#5 posted 04-16-2010 07:08 PM

It depends on how paranoid you want to be. I’m paranoid. I don’t personally even want non-lead metallic driers on my cutting board. Also, I wouldn’t want a film finish because the cuts on the film can hold bacteria much the same as a plastic cutting board would.

Mineral oil is the way to go for paranoid caution and also for easier maintenance and cleanliness. I refresh it with another coat every couple of months.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3912 days

#6 posted 04-16-2010 07:22 PM

i would chime in that the salad bowl finish probably does not penetrate as deep as an oil finish. I have always rubbed my cutting boards with oil….I have used the salad bowl finish on my turned food containers…and that finish is pretty durable considering the scraping of knives, forks and salad implements….So I would not see a problem with it on a cutting board…..I don’t use it there as I learned to make cutting boards with my grandfather, and there was no such finish around at that time and like mentioned above…it is really easy to refresh the finish with an additional rub.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4888 days

#7 posted 04-16-2010 07:36 PM

Simple bleach and a mineral oil rub is my code and I’ll take it to the grave, before long I might add. LOL.. BTW I’ve got to post my first attempt at a Lazy Larry cutting board. I’m surprised my turning students haven’t ratted me out. They’re such good guys!!!

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4315 days

#8 posted 04-16-2010 10:21 PM

I wouldn’t want a film finish because the cuts on the film can hold bacteria much the same as a plastic cutting board would.

What he said. No film finishes on cutting boards. Anyone who tells you different should be ignored.

View joey's profile


396 posts in 4546 days

#9 posted 04-16-2010 10:30 PM

I only use mineral oil or walnut oil to finish my working cutting boards it works great, its cheap, and it can cause no harm. the only draw back is you have to reapply it every few months, but that enhance the finish over time and protects the wood.


-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 3607 days

#10 posted 04-17-2010 03:00 PM

I used to use (on my cutting boards) food grade mineral oil but I found and tried Mahoney’s bowl oil which is heat treated walnut oil. I prefer Mahoney’s over the mineral oil because I feel it lasts longer between applications. Like stated above, you have to reapply an oil ever so ofter because it either soaks in, evaporates or just dissipates. It is stated on the bottle (Mahoney’s) that the finish will harden when exposed to UVs. I also use this oil on my cribbage boards and peppermills to help magnify the beauty of the grain, then I buff and polish with the one way system to really get the grain to pop. I have also heard of folks using veg. oil but I also read that veg oil can turn rancid when used like this. So I didn’t take the chance. Mahoney’s is a little more expensive then your run of the mill mineral oil but I like the results better so I spend the money. I must admit though, when I sell a cutting board I advise the new owner to use mineral oil (easier for them to find and buy).

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4512 days

#11 posted 04-17-2010 03:04 PM

mineral oil… I agree on one point… it’s cheap…
salad bowl ,arm r seal, waterlox, ARE oils… absorbed.. unless multiple coats are applied no film is afforded.. how it works…

This is one of those topics that there are alot of opinions, as long as it works for you , all is good

its one of those “agree to disagree things”

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3763 days

#12 posted 04-18-2010 02:27 AM

I have a friend that has been turning and selling wooden spoons and such at craft shows for 19 years. He would never use anything except mineral oil. He even puts it on the decorative bowls he sells.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4410 days

#13 posted 04-18-2010 02:41 AM

the reason why they say that is because they don’t want to be liable incase someone doesn’t let it cure long enough. the salad bowl finish is just a thinned oil so it will soak in the end grain and not make a film and it has a faster cure time. that’s about it. on a salad bowl you don’t see heavy duty use that often but on a chopping block if you apply too many coats and get a film and don’t allow it to cure then there could be problems. if you apply maybe two coats and then give it a week or two to cure you should be all set.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4315 days

#14 posted 04-21-2010 01:25 AM

Salad Bowl Finish has Urethane resin and other resins in it. It is a film finish.

View GuyK's profile


356 posts in 4721 days

#15 posted 04-21-2010 01:42 AM

I totally agree with Jim about Mahoneys. I have used it for years on cutting boards and it is a fantastic product. It holds up great, and when most of my customers who have purchased them, tell me they need theirs redone they want me to do it, with the same finish. They have all comented on how well it holds up.

-- Guy Kroll

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