Cutting board finishing

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Forum topic by MichaelTT posted 12-06-2021 04:08 PM 401 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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55 posts in 1428 days

12-06-2021 04:08 PM

So, with christmas just around the corner, I have cranked up the cutting board production..
To finish them I use cutting board oil from the big orange store, applying it with a rag, works well enough.

But I have seen a bunch of youtube videos, where they submerge the board in a bath of mineral oil.

My question is :

Is this better than applying the oil with a rag, and why ?
How long does one leave the board in there ?

thanks !

8 replies so far

View Davevand's profile


315 posts in 2178 days

#1 posted 12-06-2021 05:21 PM

Submerging is just quicker and easier for you, but depending on the species of wood and type of cutting board it could weep oil for days or weeks after it is removed from the oil.

View Knockonit's profile


1073 posts in 1544 days

#2 posted 12-06-2021 06:29 PM

i vat them for about 10 min. but ole gal usually does it twice, i picked up some old baker racks and trays, made some drying racks for boards, oil leaks out on to rack, i pour back, when in off times its a nice storage rack for the pcs from projects to be used as boards later. good luck,
rj in az

-- Living the dream

View therealSteveN's profile


9403 posts in 1916 days

#3 posted 12-06-2021 06:57 PM

My question is :

Is this better than applying the oil with a rag, and why ?
How long does one leave the board in there ?

thanks !

- MichaelTT

Probably overkill if the board is face/edge grain material up. Now if it’s end grain out, then that stuff is thirsty, and especially if doing a lot of boards it’s mostly a time saver. Otherwise you brush/wipe/spray on a coat, quickly it absorbs, so another, to fully coat due to inconsistencies in wood you may have to put on 5 or more coats, wait, more coats. A lot of time. A 10 minute soak will get almost any wood well covered/saturated.

*Note you will get some run out, drip off, so it’s best if you can get that back to the tub the Oil is in. A rack hanging over a clean return. I use plastic sheathing formed into a gutter, ending back into my oil pan. Unless you are going into board manufacture, you want something that could be taken down. For a onsie, or even up to 10 boards this is overkill.

-- Think safe, be safe

View HokieKen's profile


20733 posts in 2480 days

#4 posted 12-06-2021 08:17 PM

I rag it on too but if I were making more than a couple, I’d probably submerge them too. The goal with either method is to feed the board as much oil as it will soak up. Ragging it on is kinda like sneaking up on the board being saturated by applying a bit at a time until it can’t absorb it all. Dunking it is kinda like drowning it then laying it on it’s side to cough all the excess back up :-) Basically ragging on requires more hands-on time but less curing time and submerging requires less hands-on time but more curing time.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Tony1212's profile


665 posts in 3076 days

#5 posted 12-07-2021 02:17 PM

Submerging is just quicker and easier for you, but depending on the species of wood and type of cutting board it could weep oil for days or weeks after it is removed from the oil.

- Davevand

As we’re only 2.5 weeks from Christmas, this weeping could be an issue. You may want to look into other options such as a beeswax based finish, then insert a card that reminds the recipient that some maintenance will be needed.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View LesB's profile


3254 posts in 4785 days

#6 posted 12-07-2021 06:13 PM

OK, so I’m not a fan of mineral oil because of the non drying factor and the weeping already mentioned. Also if you need to refinish the board the oil in the wood clogs sandpaper and is messy.

My preference is process walnut oil. I use Mahoney’s Utility oil but there others. In cures quickly to a dry finish and polyermises in the wood to strengthen it. Two to four wiped on coats several hours apart is enough in most cases and can be done in a couple of days. When is is cured you can also as a wax top coating (bees wax or carnuba) or use one of the wax/walnut oil pastes. Occasional re-application as needed.

Note: Heat processed Walnut oil is non allergenic and completely food safe. Do not use the cooking type walnut oil from the grocery store, it does not dry or cure and can become rancid over time.

-- Les B, Oregon

View splintergroup's profile


6382 posts in 2564 days

#7 posted 12-07-2021 08:05 PM

When I make some boards for resell and have time to address the weeping issues (usually a month or more), I use a setup created for use with my veneer vacuum bag.

The board is placed into a tupperware container with enough mineral oil to cover the submerged board and then some. The board is kept submerged with some weights.

This container is placed into a very sturdy box and the box placed into my vacuum bag for a day of (de) pressurizing to pull out the air trapped in the board. The vacuum is removed and the board sits submerged for another 2 days so the oil gets drawn in to replace the air.

Full saturation.

For simpler times I’ll second the wipe on/wipe off approach. Les’s walnut oil approach also sounds like a fine way to get the same level of protection without the hassles.

View Rich's profile


7756 posts in 1931 days

#8 posted 12-07-2021 08:35 PM

I’ll toss in one option that will not weep. Melt paraffin and apply it to the board. Once it hardens, scrape it off. You can put the scrapings back in the pot with the melted paraffin for the other side of the board.

You can do the same with beeswax.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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