Our cutting board/chopping block are made from solid Hardwood. It has been treated with pure 100% drug store grade Mineral Oil. It is laminated with a non-toxic, water-resistant glue. All boards continue to expand and contract and surfaces will dry out if not treated. There are three different types of board construction:
You and your Chopping Board - Ongoing Care
1) Flat-grain: Boards that are glued with the grain side-by-side as the grain on your dining room table or other furniture. These boards expand side to side, wider in the Summer as they pick up moisture, and less wide in the winter when artificial heat dries out the surface areas.
2) Edge-grain: Boards that are face-glued, so that the surface all have boards exactly the same width. These boards expand up and down like the construction of gym flooring, wooden truckbeds and most butcher block countertops.
3) End-grain: Boards that start off as flat grain panels which are then ripped across the wide grain whose thickness is determined by the desired thickness of the board and then the faces are glued together, thereby exposing the ends of the boards, giving it a checkerboard look. This is a great cutting surface as the knife blade cuts into the end fibers, minimizing cut marks and splintering and does not dull the knife blade.
Whatever the construction, all need care. The most important care tips are:
1) Keep the board clean. This is accomplished by washing the board surface with a quality dish detergent, rinsing, & drying all surfaces immediately. Do not soak in the sink or put the board in the dishwasher.
2) Keep the board well oiled with Catskill's Original Butcher Block Oil or drug store Mineral Oil found in the drug section. Mineral Oil is clear, odorless, tasteless and is FDA approved for food contact. Do not use olive oil, fruit oils, vegetable oils, oils derived from animal fats or the like, as over time these oils tend to get rancid. End-grain boards require double the amount of oil as flat-grain and edge-grain boards as the oil goes deeper into the end-grain fibers. How often should the board be oiled? A rule-of-thumb is: once a week for three weeks and then once a month for three months, then whenever the surfaces appear lighter in color and are drying out. YOU CANNOT OVER-OIL YOUR BOARD!!
3) All surfaces will show scratch marks when a blade goes across the grain, but the hardwood won't splinter like soft woods such as pine. Should the surface of the board get rough it is usually from too much moisture which causes the grain to raise. You can use 220+ sandpaper, sanding with the grain, or use a single-edge razor blade gripped between your thumb and forefinger, and scrape back and forth with the grain. This will remove the raised grain, will not gouge the surface, and will leave the surface smooth.
4) To prolong the life of your board or to repair end checks caused by too much water or the end fibers drying out, simply take a small block of hard beeswax, rub the wax at an angle across end checks and then wax the ends of the boards and massage the wax into the board with your fingers. It's also a good idea to wax the gravy/juice groove if your board has one. This little trick essentially water-proofs your board by keeping some moisture/oil under the surface and by keeping excess moisture out of the board surfaces. Repeat this every six months or so , or whenever the board needs sealing. Since end-grain boards have all surfaces exposed, it's a good idea to oil the board several times, then apply the beeswax to all surfaces, again massaging the wax into the fibers.