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Cleaning a cutting board before finishing

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Forum topic by Lumpy63 posted 01-06-2022 03:11 PM 1218 views 1 time favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lumpy63

27 posts in 493 days


01-06-2022 03:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting board cleaning mineral spirits

So this is something that I haven’t seen answered, after watching many videos about making cutting boards and reading many posts. After sanding, and before finishing with mineral oil, how should the board be cleaned? Is it the typical method for wood projects (blow off with compressed dry air, then go over with mineral spirits on a rag, then wait for it to dry and finally finish it) or is it something else? I’m getting ready to finish my first cutting board. Thank for any advice in advance. By the way it is an end grain cutting board made of Walnut, Padauk, Bloodwood and African Mahogany.


36 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

21709 posts in 2597 days


#1 posted 01-06-2022 03:53 PM

I do it exactly as you described – blast with compressed air then wipe down with mineral spirits. Be sure to blow the end grain thoroughly because really fine sanding dust can get packed down in there.

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

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LesB

3471 posts in 4902 days


#2 posted 01-06-2022 06:25 PM

HokieKen has your answer.

I would add that you need to be cautious about that Bloodwood the red color can dissolve in the oil and bleed into the surrounding pieces. Because you other woods are dark it may not be a problem.

I’m repeating myself but I don’t care for mineral oil as a finish because it never dries or cures. I would suggest you look into processed walnut oil (Mahoney’s is one brand). It soaks in well and cures to a dry finish at the same time it also strengthens the wood fibers. It is not allergenic so no nut allergy problems. I usually put on 3 or 4 coats and then like almost all cutting board finished apply additional coats as usage dictates.

-- Les B, Oregon

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Lumpy63

27 posts in 493 days


#3 posted 01-06-2022 06:57 PM

Thank you so much for the valuable information!

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therealSteveN

9987 posts in 2033 days


#4 posted 01-06-2022 10:18 PM

I’m not sure about using MS (Stoddard solvent) on anything I plan someone, or myself to use with food. MS poisoning is a thing, and I’ve never seen a “safe” amount to be used for individual consumption, or even breathing in fumes, so I’m gonna stay off of it for food related products.

I’m assuming it’s use would be for raising the grain, before final sanding, so your food safe mineral oil doesn’t on application. Water works wonderfully to do that, if it is the point of the MS use.

I do use MS often, just not for food related.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Lumpy63

27 posts in 493 days


#5 posted 01-06-2022 10:48 PM

therealSteveN – So how do you clean a cutting board before applying finish to it?

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HokieKen

21709 posts in 2597 days


#6 posted 01-06-2022 10:55 PM

I use mineral spirits to clean wood because it flashes off relatively quickly. Especially compared to water. I thought MS was food safe as long as it dried completely. But thanks for bringing it up, I’ll reinvestigate. I have used it on every food service item I’ve ever made and nobody’s got suck so far. So the risk seems minimal.

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

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Lazyman

9601 posts in 2846 days


#7 posted 01-06-2022 11:00 PM

+1 on the Mahoney’s products for food contact. I too would not want to use MS especially on end grain. I can sometimes smell it on face grain for several days so some of it lingers for a while, even when the surface looks and feels dry. The end grain will soak it up and keep it even longer. I would probably just use a wet rag (not dripping wet). Of course, you didn’t really say what you are trying to clean off? If you really need a solvent a little bourbon or vodka might do the trick.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View pottz's profile

pottz

25817 posts in 2443 days


#8 posted 01-07-2022 12:03 AM

i would never use any kind of solvent on a cutting board for food use.i just wipe em clean and soak with mineral oil.i am gonna try the walnut oil lesb talks about,sounds like a better coating.les always steers me in the right direction.

-- 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 BB1's profile

BB1

3198 posts in 2307 days


#9 posted 01-07-2022 01:04 AM

LesB – your recommendation got me looking at walnut oil options. Some reviewers commented on the finish not drying (i.e., leaving a ring on a paper towel days or weeks later). Have you found that to be an issue? Maybe was an application error but saw that concern in a few reviews. Interested on your experience and process.

View Lancefromvt's profile

Lancefromvt

9 posts in 1344 days


#10 posted 01-07-2022 01:08 AM

I always give mine a quick rinse in the dishwasher and then heat dry

View Lumpy63's profile

Lumpy63

27 posts in 493 days


#11 posted 01-07-2022 01:22 AM



+1 on the Mahoney s products for food contact. I too would not want to use MS especially on end grain. I can sometimes smell it on face grain for several days so some of it lingers for a while, even when the surface looks and feels dry. The end grain will soak it up and keep it even longer. I would probably just use a wet rag (not dripping wet). Of course, you didn t really say what you are trying to clean off? If you really need a solvent a little bourbon or vodka might do the trick.

- Lazyman

Lazyman – As I first posted, it’s an end grain cutting board, the question was how to clean it after sanding it and before finishing it.

View pottz's profile

pottz

25817 posts in 2443 days


#12 posted 01-07-2022 01:37 AM



I always give mine a quick rinse in the dishwasher and then heat dry

- Lancefromvt


not knowing you,joking i hope ?

-- 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 therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

9987 posts in 2033 days


#13 posted 01-07-2022 04:57 AM



therealSteveN – So how do you clean a cutting board before applying finish to it?

- Lumpy63

If I’m raising grain before last work prior to finish I use water to do that, and then once dried blow it real good to dislodge any hangers on. That is my regimen if it’s a food/kitchen item. Mostly I use my wide belt sander to sand end grain as slick as I can make it. I, unlike most go to 220 grit.

If it’s not for food use, I’ll use water, blow it out, and there I will employ a tack cloth if I feel it needs it.


+1 on the Mahoney s products for food contact. I too would not want to use MS especially on end grain. I can sometimes smell it on face grain for several days so some of it lingers for a while, even when the surface looks and feels dry. The end grain will soak it up and keep it even longer. I would probably just use a wet rag (not dripping wet). Of course, you didn t really say what you are trying to clean off? If you really need a solvent a little bourbon or vodka might do the trick.

- Lazyman

Nathan I want to thank you for that blurb about some booze, if you get too much ya might get sick, but I bet the food will taste better. :-))

-- Think safe, be safe

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1884 posts in 4308 days


#14 posted 01-07-2022 01:32 PM

I guess the question you should answer is how will you clean it afterwards??? Soap & water right?

The key reason wooden boards are safer than plastic/poly boards is because the wood can absorb/wick away moisture and bacteria/pathogens need moisture to propagate. From final sand my production pieces, end & long grain, only get blown off with some air and then go into the oil tank to soak. I don’t really see any need for any sort of cleaning prior to oil. Once boards are out of the tank and have had a day or two to dry they are ready to go to the customer.

My card that goes with the board instructs the owner to wash the board prior to 1st use with soap & water, using a green scothbrite for a light scrub. Same method after use. For a new board oil once a week for a month, once a month for a year and as needed thereafter.

Lots of good products on the market, I recommend the Howard’s product just because they are priced right for thier effectiveness, and the products with some beeswax in them last longer than the straight mineral oil.

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

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

21709 posts in 2597 days


#15 posted 01-07-2022 01:50 PM

So a little research seems to confirm what I thought – mineral spirits leaves no residuals (harmful or otherwise) after it completely flashes off. However, it also seems that it takes longer to flash off than I thought. In the case of food contact surfaces, I saw where some people recommend 24-48 hours. Others say when you can’t smell it it’s completely dry. But I can attest to the fact that not all noses are equal. Especially when one of them has been hamstringed by Covid.

So in tbe future, I think I’ll either do my final wipedown several days ahead of applying my final finish or just use compressed air. I really only use the mineral spirits on most pieces because it tends to show any spots with residue that may affect finishing anyway.

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

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