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Cutting Boards - Finishing with Howard's, but Which One?

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Forum topic by Ynot posted 09-12-2020 04:04 PM 802 views 2 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ynot

25 posts in 2468 days


09-12-2020 04:04 PM

I’m ready to finish some walnut/maple cutting boards and I’d like to try Howards. I’ve seen several of of their products mentioned here, but I’m confused as to which one I should use for bare wood.? Feed-N-Wax wood polish? Cutting Board Oil? Or Butcher Block Conditioner?

Also, would the Conditioner be simply for maintaining the cutting board?

Thanks for any help.


24 replies so far

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1540 posts in 2835 days


#1 posted 09-12-2020 05:23 PM

Use the conditioner for the original finish and to maintain the board.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6454 posts in 1457 days


#2 posted 09-12-2020 07:40 PM

A Google of “Howards, BUTCHER BLOCK CONDITIONER, MSDS” gives a person the following page.

https://www.howardproducts.com/files/sds/HOW-114_Butcher-Block-Conditioner-1.pdf

That product is Mineral oil, Beeswax, and Carnauba wax, all 3 easily gotten. Make sure to get food grade mineral oil, or it can go rancid.

Mix MO at 75% and the waxes at 10 to 12%, and go. Heat all of it in a double boiler to melt the wax fully, allow it to cool, and follow the Howards directions. If you want you can buy wood with money you save, or heck you can send it to me. :-)

Hazards shown appear to be mostly aquatic.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Walker's profile

Walker

405 posts in 1355 days


#3 posted 09-12-2020 07:48 PM

Howard’s
Feed-n-wax = carnuba wax, bees wax, and orange oil.
Butcher Block Conditioner = carnuba wax, bees wax, and mineral oil
Cutting Board oil = 100% mineral oil.

I’ve had good results with the Cutting Board oil for seasoning new wood, (because it will penetrate more), then switching to the Butcher Block Conditioner for a refresh every month or two on my butcher block.

-- ~Walker

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Walker

405 posts in 1355 days


#4 posted 09-12-2020 07:52 PM

Steve is right, it might be cheaper to make your own. However, the bottle of Howard’s is under $10 and will last you several years. Fine for one or two cutting boards. If you are mass producing them then maybe make your own?

-- ~Walker

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1540 posts in 2835 days


#5 posted 09-12-2020 09:00 PM

I’m with Walker. I can’t be bothered to brew my own in a double boiler. If you are making a ton of boards you can get Howard’s in a 128 oz jug (ten bottle’s worth) for fifty bucks. I buy the regular bottles in six packs on eBay or similar sources when a bargain can be found. I include a bottle along with care instructions with every board I give away. (Yep, give away – over two dozen and counting).

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3722 posts in 2377 days


#6 posted 09-13-2020 01:24 AM

I use Howard’s Block Butcher Conditioner for maintenance on boards,
but take a different approach for initial finish?

I apply two coats of Tried & True Original Wood Finish before using any mineral oil/wax.
It is food safe BLO and wax finish that helps seal the wood. First coat is 50/50 blend of MS/T&T. Second coat is only T&T OWF. It helps prevent end grain from soaking in huge amounts of mineral oil, and seeping oil for days.

The I give the board owner a 2oz bottle of Howards Block Butcher Conditioner. They cost ~$2.50 by the case of 36. Tell them to apply to conditioner after first use and clean up, and use it as needed when board surface looks ‘dry’ afterwards.

Sure I can buy a gallon for $50, and cases of little bottles, and make 2oz samples of Howard’s for less; but measuring out oil/wax goop is not worth the hassle to me.
Made and sold ~50 boards before I decided I didn’t like dealing with kind of people only wanting to spend $20 on hand made kitchen cutting board or cheese panel. Now I only make them for family and friends from shops scraps for free, or maybe trade for bottle of my favorite whisky.

Best Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3154 posts in 3827 days


#7 posted 09-13-2020 04:36 AM

How would other than food grade mineral oil go rancid. It has no more in common with plant based oils than a piece of petrified wood has with a living tree?


[T]hat product is Mineral oil, Beeswax, and Carnauba wax, all 3 easily gotten. Make sure to get food grade mineral oil, or it can go rancid.

Mix MO at 75% and the waxes at 10 to 12%, and go. Heat all of it in a double boiler to melt the wax fully, allow it to cool, and follow the Howards directions. If you want you can buy wood with money you save, or heck you can send it to me. :-)

Hazards shown appear to be mostly aquatic.

- therealSteveN


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Kelly

3154 posts in 3827 days


#8 posted 09-13-2020 04:40 AM

No butcher ever used Howard’s or any product with carnuba wax. Just straight mineral oil soaks into the wood and replaces lost moisture, stopping shrinking, which results in splitting and cracking or separation of the joints. Many of those are yet around a hundred years or so later.

The oil does not evaporate. Rather, it appears to because it wicks to the dry spots. As such, oil applications are penetrating AND cumulative.

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

11710 posts in 1867 days


#9 posted 09-13-2020 04:50 AM

dont listen to all the high tech nonsense, just coat it with mineral oil,it’s not complicated geez.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1772 posts in 3733 days


#10 posted 09-13-2020 11:36 AM



dont listen to all the high tech nonsense, just coat it with mineral oil,it s not complicated geez.
- pottz

Yep, just keep it simple for boards that get regular use. For semi more decorative boards or display tables that I use commercially, We do use the wax added products from either Boos or Howard’s, simply for the fact that the appearance lasts longer between maintenance.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1540 posts in 2835 days


#11 posted 09-13-2020 11:46 AM

Yes, plain mineral ol works just fine. But as ChefHDAN mentioned, the small amount of added wax makes a big difference in the appearance of the board and how long you can use it between renewing the finish. If you haven’t tried a finish like Howard’s you really should. When the final coat has soaked in as much as it is going to you can buff the surface with a soft rag to give a beautiful look and silky to the touch surface. Not oily at all. I started using just mineral oil and I really prefer the finishes with a bit of wax in them. The end result is much nicer looking for presentation as a gift. I can well imagine it would help sell boards if that is your goal.

View Ynot's profile

Ynot

25 posts in 2468 days


#12 posted 09-13-2020 04:14 PM

Thanks all. I picked up a bottle of Howard’s CBO and will give it a try. If it works out I’ll but more at a discount online. I also grabbed a bottle of the conditioner to test out. If I do sell, being a bit “showy” might be a good thing. If it were just for me I’d pass as I’ve never applied wax to any of our regularily used boards that I made 20 years ago and they look great to this day, but quite honestly can’t recall what I used as a finish on them. Maybe mineral oil, but that was before I had kids and lost my memory, :)

I’m all for keeping it simple, thanks ChefHDan. Love the idea of sending out the small sample bottles with each board, thanks CaptainKlutz. I’ll try your other suggestions as well, TY again.

therealSteveN, where would you suggest I purchase the waxes? And I’m assuming using two pans to make up a double boiler would be fine.? Lastly, if stored, would I need to melt it down before each use? In-other-words will it solidify?

When I have a moment I’ll give straight (food grade) mineral oil and other suggestions a try as well to see what works best for me.

Thanks again for all,
Tony

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3722 posts in 2377 days


#13 posted 09-13-2020 04:53 PM

... I m assuming using two pans to make up a double boiler would be fine.? Lastly, if stored, would I need to melt it down before each use? In-other-words will it solidify? – Ynot
I use discarded soup/tomato cans as my melting vat. No clean up required?

Once the wax has been dissolved into the oil, it will stay in thick sludge like suspension forever. How thick depends on temperature and amount of wax used. Only if the mix is reheated above melting point of wax and sits for long time will you see it separate.

PS – Use only Beeswax in home made finishes. Candle (paraffin) wax melts at too low temperature.

Cheers!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3154 posts in 3827 days


#14 posted 09-13-2020 05:08 PM

As I noted, above, THE ONLY reason it will look like the mineral oil didn’t last as long as the mixes is, it’s doing a better job of protecting your cutting boards. It is not evaporating. Rather, oil in highly saturated areas are wicking to dryer areas.

As the entire board becomes more saturated with oils, so shrinking becomes less a concern, thus drying and splitting or cracking problems disappear.

Experiment with thinned motor oil on a dry wood fence. The first couple of generous applications will appear to be gone within a few weeks in the hot summer sun. The third coat, on the other hand, will be notable years later. This is because the surface area is more saturated.

You will still be able to add more oil over time. If you are rigorous in your initial applications, the fence will be better protected and that “not so durable” non-hardening oil finish will have your fence or shingles looking beautiful (a warm reddish gold, even on driftwood) and free from splits and cracks while the neighbors’ take on that beautiful gray, complete with cracks and splits.

You could compose a brochure explaining these things, including explanations of the hype many push. Approach it as a covering-the-customer’s-butt thing.


Yes, plain mineral ol works just fine. But as ChefHDAN mentioned, the small amount of added wax makes a big difference in the appearance of the board and how long you can use it between renewing the finish. If you haven’t tried a finish like Howard’s you really should. When the final coat has soaked in as much as it is going to you can buff the surface with a soft rag to give a beautiful look and silky to the touch surface. Not oily at all. I started using just mineral oil and I really prefer the finishes with a bit of wax in them. The end result is much nicer looking for presentation as a gift. I can well imagine it would help sell boards if that is your goal.

- Kazooman


View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

11710 posts in 1867 days


#15 posted 09-13-2020 05:09 PM

if a board is new or really dry i use pure mineral for as much penetration as possible than i use howards oil with wax as chefhdan stated.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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