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Thread: Board conditioning

  1. #1
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    Board conditioning

    Just getting some thoughts out there from some of you out there. I have some smaller end grain bamboo boards that I love and they hold up well. As a gift, a friend made a larger edge grained maple/walnut board for me. I would obviously rather have an end grain board but I figured I would try to make this one work. Especially since it was a gift. So, I used some Howards board conditioner on it. I think I probably did 4-5 coats over a couple of days on it. I warmed the conditioner and rubbed it into the board and let it soak for a while before wiping it down again between coats. I believe Howards is a mixture of mineral oil and bees wax. I still feel like the board is not sealed well. I still get a good bit of grain lift after a session of cutting vegetables. What are some of the other methods that you all are using to seal your boards? Thx

  2. #2
    Sounds dry to me. I would use straight mineral oil to penetrate the wood, and leave it on for a while. The wax adds extra water repellency, but I would do that after several coats of straight mineral oil. I think the 'board butters' EG oil and wax combo, are good for maintenance once the board is well conditioned, but I wouldn't start with it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Namaxy View Post
    Sounds dry to me. I would use straight mineral oil to penetrate the wood, and leave it on for a while. The wax adds extra water repellency, but I would do that after several coats of straight mineral oil. I think the 'board butters' EG oil and wax combo, are good for maintenance once the board is well conditioned, but I wouldn't start with it.
    I agree. I put a good few coatings of mineral oil (more when new or if the board hasn't been maintained for a while). Usually you'll be able to notice when it takes longer to absorb, or needs less. After it's well oiled, try the board butter to give the final seal. You can do quick monthly maintenance with oil, or repeat this whole process if the board starts to get really dry. How often you need to maintain it will depend on frequency of use, how much you wipe vs. clean with soap, your climate, etc. Note what the board looks like when it's well-oiled and buttered, and when it starts to look much different, and shows knife marks, it's time to give it some care.

    Incidentally, edge grain is decent. End grain is better, but it costs more, and requires more thickness, which makes it heavier, which can be an issue for some people. I'm not familiar with "end grain bamboo." Bamboo is actually a grass and needs a good bit of glue, which is hard on knife edges, to create the board. Yes, it probably holds up well because of that glue, but you probably won't find the same is true for your knife edges.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys..I will do some coats of just mineral oil and see how it goes from there.

  5. #5
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    And thanks for the feedback on the bamboo. With all the smaller pieces of wood, it definitely stands to reason that it would take a lot more glue. I have actually been looking hard at the MTM Boards. I should just pull the trigger.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by rodneyat View Post
    And thanks for the feedback on the bamboo. With all the smaller pieces of wood, it definitely stands to reason that it would take a lot more glue. I have actually been looking hard at the MTM Boards. I should just pull the trigger.
    Boardsmith is relatively close to you shipping wise, and makes a fantastic product.

  7. #7
    I think the rule of thumb when it comes to seasoning a board is once a day for a week, once a week for a month and once a month for general upkeep. There's a thread I started not long ago here about stinky board syndrome. Might be worth a read for some great tips to keep it from smelling. Bamboo doesn't have that problem since it retains no smells so the wood board will be a bit different.

    Also, making the wood butter is easy. If you want to try it it's a 4:1 mixture mineral oil to beeswax.


    ETA: forgot to mention, when I first get a board i get it wet to expose the fuzz that comes up. Let it dry and sand it to smooth. Wipe with a wet cloth again to make sure there's no rough spots left. Season once it's fully dry and it'll be smooth forever.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rodneyat View Post
    And thanks for the feedback on the bamboo. With all the smaller pieces of wood, it definitely stands to reason that it would take a lot more glue. I have actually been looking hard at the MTM Boards. I should just pull the trigger.
    I will say that having a nice big board is a real pleasure. You can make piles for different ingredients, waste, etc. Makes cutting stuff up more fun. Even better if it looks nice and keeps your edges sharp.

    If you're gonna get a nice one, get the biggest one you can fit in your workspace.

  9. #9
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    I stopped oiling my board, too annoying because it's always thirsty fot more oil, will likely try one of those wood-like synthetics.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SyndicateNova's Avatar
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    Get Boos Block mystery oil or board cream. It really seals in the moisture

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