How to Care for Your Cutting Board

As a sustainable furniture craftsman (and former farm boy), I can’t throw anything away. I use every bit of the wood that I can, and that includes the off-cuts that Eli and I generate throughout the year as we craft furniture.

Off-cuts are the ends and sides of boards that we trim as we build the piece. These off-cuts are not quite scrap—they are too good for firewood but not big enough for furniture. So, as we work, we store them in a corner of the shop.

Then, every October, we take a week or so to sort through all the offcuts, and then we craft cutting boards and useful boards from them. Sometimes, we make butcher-block style cutting boards. Sometimes the boards are simply finished into small, irregular, live-edge slabs. Either way, they are beautiful pieces of cherry, walnut, sycamore, and ash, and they make perfect little cutting boards, cheese boards, or serving boards. And once a year, in November, we sell them to our friends and clients in St. Louis (they make excellent gifts).

Now, I can’t speak to how other woodworkers finish their cutting and serving boards, but we use many coats of hand-rubbed mineral oil. This helps seal and protect the board. Those of you who bought boards from us back in December already know this, but for everyone else, here is how to care for your wood cutting board:

  • Never put your cutting board in the dishwasher.
  • Do not soak your cutting board.
  • To clean, simply use a damp cloth or scrubby, and mild soapy water if necessary. Be sure to rinse and dry you board thoroughly.
  • If your board appears dry, apply a few coats of a good-quality food-safe oil, like mineral or walnut oil, and rub it in well. Never use commercial furniture polish on your board.

If you take care of it, your board should last a good long while. Thanks everyone!