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How to finish cutting boards

If you have purchased a wooden cutting board, you must apply a surface to prevent damage to the board during use. The first step is to select the desired finish. Cutting discs are in two categories: drying and non-drying. Drying oils requires only a single application and is soaked deep into the wood fibers. Non-drying surfaces do not dry or harden in the wood, and it will therefore often need to be reapplied.[1] Cutting boards made of plastic do not have to be finished.


[[[[Edit]Choose a non-drying finish

  1. Use mineral oil for an affordable, popular finish. Mineral oil is easily applied to the surface of a wooden cutting board. This option is water resistant, which means that juicy foods such as tomatoes or raw meat do not leak liquids into your cutting boards. Mineral oil actually comes from petroleum, but is completely food safe. As it is an oil that does not dry, it will not leave an aroma behind.[2]
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    • You can buy mineral oil in all kitchen stores or woodworking stores. Many large grocery stores also sell mineral oil.
  2. Apply a mixture of beeswax and non-drying oil for an attractive finish. Beeswax and oil form a liquid mixture that goes deep into the wood bottom. This is beneficial for your cutting board, as it makes the wood look attractive and repels water. However, like other non-drying oils, reuse will often be required.[3]
    Finish cutting boards Step 2.jpg
    • You do not need to mix beeswax and oil yourself. Mixtures of beeswax and oil (usually in a 1: 5 ratio) are sold in woodworking shops and catalogs.
  3. Choose carnauba wax for a stiff, water-repellent finish. The structure of carnauba wax is similar to beeswax, but the wax itself dries harder than beeswax and is excellent for repelling liquids. Like beeswax, carnauba wax is usually mixed with non-drying oil. If you plan to cut lots of water-containing foods on the cutting board, carnauba wax may be your best choice.[4]
    Finish cutting boards Step 3.jpg
    • Carnauba wax can be a little hard to find. Check woodworking shops. If they do not fill in the wax, find an online woodworking catalog and order the wax from the website.

[[[[Edit]Choosing a drying finish

  1. Finish your cutting board with clean heavy oil for a durable finish. Heavy oil is a thick substance that dries and hardens the wood’s fiber. This gives the insert strength and makes it very water resistant. Unlike alternatives that do not dry surface treatment, heavy oil does not need to be applied often.[5]
    Finishing cutting boards Step 4.jpg
    • You can buy heavy oil in most woodworking stores and through online woodworking catalogs.
  2. Choose crude linseed oil for a cheap and easy to achieve finish. Linseed oil is an FDA-approved food additive, which means that it is one of the safest surfaces you can put on a cutting board. You can buy linseed oil in all kitchen accessories or woodworking shops. Many large supermarkets or home sales stores will also sell it. Flaxseed is a drying oil, so you must let it sit outside for 5-7 days before using the cutting board.[6]
    Finish cutting boards Step 5.jpg
    • However, flaxseed oil also has some disadvantages. It takes a long time to set, which means that the cutting board must sit outside for a few hours after you have applied the oil. Linseed oil is also not very water resistant.
    • Never apply boiled flaxseed to a cutting board. This processed oil contains metallic drivers and is not safe for consumption.
  3. Choose walnut oil for a dark, protective finish. Walnut oil is a durable, long-lasting finish that gives a water-resistant coating to your cutting board. However, the curing time is quite long. You must wait at least 4-5 days for the oil to dry.[7] You can buy walnut oil in any woodworking stores or online catalog. Keep in mind, however, that walnut oil is very dark and will make the color of the wood you apply to it darker.
    Finishing cutting boards Step 6.jpg
    • Depending on how light or dark you want the cutting board to be, it can be a positive or negative aspect of using walnut oil.

[[[[Edit]Apply and maintain the finish

  1. Wash the cutting board before you are done. You do not want to apply the surface to pieces of food or dirt on the cutting board. Then rinse the board under running tap water. You can also rub it down with a small bowl of soap and a clean sponge.[8]
    • After rinsing it clean, let the board dry for about 30 minutes before applying the finish.
  2. Rub a cloth off the surface on each side of the cutting board. Pour a small top of the surface on a clean cotton cloth. Use with the cloth, rubbing the surface of the cutting board in long horizontal strokes. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the cutting board so that there are no gaps in the finish.
    • When the first side is finished, turn the cutting board and rub a new double on the second side.
  3. Let the surface dry for several hours or days. Different types of oil take different amounts of time to dry. Non-drying oils will dry in 3-4 hours, while drying oils can take up to 7 days to dry completely. You can see when the finish is dry by running your fingertips over the wood. If the surface is dry, the fingers will be cleaned off. If it is still wet, you have an oily residue on your fingertips.[9]
    • While the cutting board is drying, leave it on the bench or in another safe place where it is not disturbed by children or pets.
  4. Apply non-drying oils again when the wood starts to look dry. The frequency with which you need to re-use drying oils varies depending on how often you use the cutting board. Most users will need to apply for the finish once a month. This includes all non-drying oils such as mineral oil and wax mixed with oils.[10]
    • If you neglect to reapply non-drying surfaces, your cutting board will dry out and liquids from the foods you cut will enter the wood.
    • If you finished the cutting board with a drying oil, you do not need to apply the surface again.

[[[[Edit]Things you need

  • End
  • Clean cotton cloth
  • Washing-up liquid


  • Never apply a varnish or varnish on a cutting board. These surfaces form a thin film over wood, which will flake off and get into the food when you use the cutting board.[11]
  • Film-forming surfaces also break down quickly and cause liquids from the food you cut to penetrate the cutting board.[12]
  • Do not apply food-based cooking oils, such as olive, vegetable or rapeseed oil, to your cutting board. As time goes on, these oils will become hard in the wood.[13]


  1. https://ardec.ca/en/blog/7/how-to-finish-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board-or-butcher-block
  2. https://www.woodshopnews.com/columns-blogs/cutting-boards-wood-countertops-and-finishes
  3. https://ardec.ca/en/blog/7/how-to-finish-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board-or-butcher-block
  4. https://www.finewoodworking.com/2006/08/01/food-safe-finishes
  5. https://ardec.ca/en/blog/7/how-to-finish-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board-or-butcher-block
  6. https://ardec.ca/en/blog/7/how-to-finish-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board-or-butcher-block
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUyQIn6tmFQ&feature=youtu.be&t=2m26s
  8. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-oil-and-maintain-a-wooden-cutting-board-lessons-from-the-kitchn-195642
  9. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-oil-and-maintain-a-wooden-cutting-board-lessons-from-the-kitchn-195642
  10. https://www.woodshopnews.com/columns-blogs/cutting-boards-wood-countertops-and-finishes
  11. https://ardec.ca/en/blog/7/how-to-finish-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board-or-butcher-block
  12. https://ardec.ca/en/blog/7/how-to-finish-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board-or-butcher-block
  13. https://www.woodshopnews.com/columns-blogs/cutting-boards-wood-countertops-and-finishes

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