Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Cutting Board Finish
I'm often asked what type of finish to use on cutting boards, wooden spoons, and toys for young children. The easiest answer is to suggest one that's sold as "non-toxic." But this implies that other finishes are harmful, and this isn't necessarily true.

Most of the obviously harmful solvents evaporate as finishes sure. So are finishes really dangerous? Once they've cured completely, most may be safe -- but they may not be. To be on the safe side, you can use a finish approved for human consumption, like mineral oil or walnut oil.

Here is our "Custom Finish for Cutting Boards." In developing this finish, we were looking for two things: the penetration of an oil and the shine of a wax. So we made up an oil-wax finish. It's not a complicated formula, and it's not a scientific process. Roughly ten parts mineral oil to one part paraffin wax. That's it.

We mixed a batch by filling a coffee cup about half full of mineral oil. Then we scraped shavings into the cup from a block of paraffin wax (just like carving a bar of soap).

To dissolve the shavings, we simply put the cup in the warmest spot we could think of -- the sunny dashboard of a car out in the parking lot. A pan of hot water would do the same thing. Just stay away from open flames -- paraffin is a petroleum distillate and potentially flammable.

About about fifteen minutes, the wax shavings had dissolved and the finish was ready to be applied. We immediately wiped it on a cutting board that had been sanded up to 220-grit. The next day, the board was ready to be used. We just buffed it up with a soft cloth.

Go to Tip #50
Woodworking Tips Index ©August Home Publishing Company