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Chopping board finish advice

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Andy

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Hi folks
I have a piece of oak left over from a project that is the perfect size for a chopping board. Can anyone recommend a suitable finish, that is both durable and food safe?
thanks, Andy
 

Sachakins

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100% food safe mineral oil, plenty of coats and drying time.
 
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I can't argue with the above answers but consider this. The first thing you do with food related surfaces is give them a good scrub. Then if its a chopping board you as attack it with a sharp edge and then scrub it again. It's not long until that finish is gone :unsure: .
For that reason I just used normal vegetable cooking oil. works fine and I've used it for year with no ill affects.
Just saying. 🤷‍♂️
 
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I wouldnt consider walnut oil is ideal for anyone with a nut allergy!
I'm sure oak will be fine if the open grain is filled and properly sealed.
 

Trainee neophyte

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I use olive oil, because it's what I have. I also mix olive oil with bees wax (4:1 oil to wax ratio by weight) and put that on almost everything. For chopping boards it is entirely esthetic: they don't need a finish, and don't hold it for long, but look much nicer with an oil.
 

eribaMotters

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Just think back to butchers blocks, you know the ones that used to be about 6" thick.
Why would you need to apply a finish. Do nothing, just use it, and scrub it clean after use and leave to dry.

Colin
 

baldkev

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I believe butchers blocks were regularly scraped back? I think im right in saying end grain soaks up moisture the quickest though, so although the 'cut' surface lasts longer, the blood from a butchers blood would go in quicker. Saying that, oak is to a degree antibacterial ( tannins etc ).

In terms of vegetable oil, it will go rancid after a while. I dont know how long
 

Jones

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Any kind of food oil, try Aldi or Waitrose depending on your budget.
 

Trainee neophyte

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In terms of vegetable oil, it will go rancid after a while. I dont know how long
I'm still waiting to find out how long - 3 years and counting with no sign of any problems . Of course, my olive oil is the best in the world*, so it might be that cheap nasty olive oil isn't as good ;-)

(* according to me, that is)
 

Craig22

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Oak isn't ideal because of the tannin. Now it depends on what sort of knives you use, but if you use anything fancy (like Damascus) tannin can cause rusting of the edge.

The better alternative is beech. But since the op has a chunk of oak, with regular stainless knives it is just fine.
 
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I believe butchers blocks were regularly scraped back? I think im right in saying end grain soaks up moisture the quickest though, so although the 'cut' surface lasts longer, the blood from a butchers blood would go in quicker. Saying that, oak is to a degree antibacterial ( tannins etc ).

In terms of vegetable oil, it will go rancid after a while. I dont know how long
A point of interest. The cutting surface on traditional butchers blocks were end grain which is less destructive to your cutting edge. (think of wood as a bunch of drinking straws) but due to absorption can harbour bacteria so aggressive abrading is required when cleaning.

Yes #baldkev, Veg oil would eventually go rancid but I suppose it would depend on the level of hygiene practices in the kitchen. We all should, by now, be aware of cross contamination so a cutting surface and utensils should (ideally) be washed between each food group but at the very least at the end of the food preparation session.
This point that #baldkev has raised is another interesting one. I think on reflection I have perhaps become blinkered to my own situation as we cook everyday and consequentially our cutting block is in constant use, where as, perhaps a busy working family uses convenience foods because of time restraints?
If I'm ever asked again to make a cutting board/block perhaps i should ask how often it will be used? :unsure:
 
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Daniel2

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Our cutting boards are in daily use, but I have never applied any type of
finish to them. Just a reasonable scrub at the end of the preparation session.
 
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Our cutting boards are in daily use, but I have never applied any type of
finish to them. Just a reasonable scrub at the end of the preparation session.
#Daniel2, I think it all depends on the wood, but as your board is in daily use as is mine I don't think anything needs to be applied either as it's constantly being cleaned :) On reflection, I wonder if we as woodworkers always assume that everything we make needs to have a coat of something?
 

Henniep

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I apply a single coat of vegetable oil when the board is finished. Thereafter the board draws it's moisture from whatever is being cut or chopped - and from regular washing. Have a board that has been in use for 4+ year and never needs to re-oil.
 
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