Cutting Board Finishes
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There are as many different opinions of what kind of coating should go on a cutting board as there are different kinds of cutting boards. The purpose of this article is not to suggest what can be used but to provide information on a wide number of products that could be used.
It is up to the woodworker to make the final decision based on where the the cutting board will be used.
In the end, the best coating for a cutting board is no coating or finish at all.
If we look at the life of most wooden cutting boards, they begin as new wood with some sort of a coating on them, usually some sort of oil-type coating. During their use they are either used to cut meat, or they are designated to cut other things like fruits, vegetables, breads and other common cutting items. In either case the cutting boards are cleaned regularly with warm soapy water, dried off then left to air dry. This process of constantly washing a drying, in a short period of time will wash off any coating that was originally put on the cutting board.
Since most cutting boards are seldom, or never re-coated after they begin use, what happens is the cutting board develops it's own patina or look that in some cases is similar to what the board was originally coated with. This is now most cutting boards live their life, which can go on for years and years. Cutting boards should be disposed of if they develop any kind of a crack in the wood, or if during their use they subjected to some very deep cuts. These kinds of cuts and cracks can harbor bacteria and pathogens that could cause illness so it is best to eliminate these threats.
Before we get into what are some of the finishes you can use on cutting boards, lets look at the short list of what you should not use, or at least be very cautious in using ....