Best durable finish

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Forum topic by Memnoch posted 01-19-2021 02:05 PM 366 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 42 days

01-19-2021 02:05 PM

I’m a long-time lurker, first time poster, and my apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, but haven’t really found the answer I’m looking for.

I’m making some charcuterie boards for a friend that owns a restaurant. They are going to be edge grain striped boards, and I’m looking to see what the best durable finish is to use.

I did a couple of test boards, and used five coats of deft poly, very lightly sanding after every other coat. Just enough to smooth out the finish a bit. I’ve used this on projects in the past and has created a durable surface.

My concerns is that with long-use in a restaurant, how well will a finish like that stand up? I’ve noticed the boards that I made her in the past were starting to get pretty rough on the finish, but it doesn’t seem like it has really faded.

So I guess my question(s)...

1. What would be the best finish for a heavily used project like this? The items will be hand washed, but they will get a lot of use. The finish also has to be food safe.

2. How durable will the finish be? Is it something that would have to be refinished every so often?

Again, I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere. Just trying to figure out the best course of action for the project.

10 replies so far

View Axis39's profile


430 posts in 605 days

#1 posted 01-19-2021 03:00 PM

Any kind of film finish will be destroyed in no time whatsoever.

Although they are considered food safe after curing, I would never use them for anything I’d be eating food off of.

I’ve been using mineral oil for anything like that recently. It will get washed off, but can be easily renewed.

I haven’t heard of, or found a finish that’s any better for stuff like this. But, I’m not really an expert on stuff like this. hopefully others, with more experience will pop in soon.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View CWWoodworking's profile


1491 posts in 1187 days

#2 posted 01-19-2021 03:05 PM

IMO, the best way to approach is a renewable finish that can be maintained. Educate them on how to care or have an agreement for you to care for them. Maybe have extras that you can rotate while some are getting a sprucing up.

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


4672 posts in 2231 days

#3 posted 01-19-2021 05:08 PM

Agreed, no film finish as it will look terrible after a few washings.

Mineral oil is the “standard” for CBs, some add bees wax and melt it in for a longer lasting treatment, but it all will need to be maintained.

Be sure to wet the surfaces after your last sanding grit to raise the grain. Let this dry then sand again to remove the “fuzz”. If you skip this step, the grain will raise after the first washing and stay fuzzy thereafter.

View pottz's profile


14799 posts in 1993 days

#4 posted 01-19-2021 05:19 PM

i agree with the mineral oil,with daily use the oil can be reapplied as needed,and when the boards get heavily worn re sanded and oiled.

-- 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 wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2652 posts in 556 days

#5 posted 01-19-2021 05:40 PM

You have your answer already, but an alternative might be Walrus Oil, they make one specifically for cutting boards. Havent bought it, havent used it, have heard it is good.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View CWWoodworking's profile


1491 posts in 1187 days

#6 posted 01-19-2021 05:49 PM

Walrus oil?

Everytime I hear the word walrus, it reminds me of that Beatles song.

View LesB's profile


2861 posts in 4451 days

#7 posted 01-19-2021 05:56 PM

Mineral oil is good but I prefer not to use it because it never cures. There is a plethora of wax and/or oil finishes available if you search. Each promises to be the best.

In my opinion heat processed walnut oil does a great job because it not only soaks into the wood it cures to a dry finish and adds a little strength to the wood fibers. I use Mahoney’s. Like all oil finishes it needs to be renewed periodically. Also processed walnut oil has no allergens.

Recently I found a walnut oil and micro crystalline wax paste finish at Wood Craft. (I can’t recall the name right now) It looks like it would be good for maintenance of the items that have been treated with walnut oil. It may also last a little longer. I applied it to items already finished with Walnut oil and it worked quite well. Time will tell if it is more durable but the was may help repel moisture and make it easier to wash them.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Kirk650's profile


724 posts in 1757 days

#8 posted 01-19-2021 09:46 PM

I’ve used Walnut oil, mineral oil, and mineral oil with various waxes. Nothing I’ve found has lasted long.

That said, a friend once brought me a huge thick cutting board that he wanted me to duplicate. The board came from a big time Texas BBQ company that used a lot of them till the manufacturer in Maine quit making them. The board he brought me was almost cut through in the middle, and was no longer usable. But it still had a waxy feel to it. I duplicated the board, but could not duplicate the finish. All I could guess is that the board must have gone through some sort of pressure treating with the oil type finish. But, if so, how did the glued parts stay glued? I’ve always wondered. And I’m still using mineral oil, and sometimes ‘Walrus’ oil.

View Madmark2's profile (online now)


2300 posts in 1597 days

#9 posted 01-19-2021 10:12 PM


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


4672 posts in 2231 days

#10 posted 01-19-2021 11:57 PM

I did experiment with putting a board submerged into a bath of mineral oil, inside of a plastic box with two thick cauls over the top and bottom. The assembly was placed into my vacuum bag overnight. Basically the plastic box was protected from being crushed by the bag.

After releasing the vacuum for another 24 hours (letting the MO get pulled into the board), sawing the board in half showed 100% penetration. This was a hickory board (I don’t think hard maple would have done anything with it’s closed pores).

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