From The Shop: Restoring A Cutting Board   Leave a comment

I say it at every event: yes, a steel knife will mark wood. That is true, even though I make boards out of hardwoods. My boards will not mark as easily as plastic or softwood boards that many people are used to. With proper care, my cutting boards will last for decades.

Also said at every event: restoring a cutting board takes me 5 minutes. In this case, though, it took me 8.

Here’s the board, as it looked when presented, Christmas ’13. This was one of the first 5 cutting boards I made:

Cutting Board 13 – 08. Goncalo Alves, Black Walnut, Jatoba, Cherry & Honey Locust. Edge Grain. 14″ x 21″ x 1-1/4″.

Here’s the board, as it was returned to me after a few years of use. This was the 2nd time the board has come back to me in 5 years:

So, nothing to do but get to it.

To restore a board, I use the same 5 grits of sandpaper that I used to smooth the board originally. I progress through each grit, removing the knife marks to reveal the smooth wood beneath. Each piece of sandpaper is ruined in the process, with the grit quickly clogging with the oil-laden wood that I’m removing. Typically, each grit gets about a minute of work … in this case, the first 2 grits got about 2 minutes due to the deep marks that I needed to remove.

The grits: 80, 120, 180, 220, 320.

And just like that, the hard work is done. I did use my 5″ sander, the lightweight Festool ETS EC 125/3 EQ Random Orbital Sander to clean up the 4 edges … THEN I was done. Brush off the sawdust that the dust extractor didn’t remove, and here’s what the almost-raw board now looks like:

 

Applying mineral oil to an unfinished board is about as close to pure joy as a woodworker can get. Finally revealed: the “new” board, looking glorious.

Once the oil has soaked in, only 3 steps remain:

  1. Apply a topcoat of Board Butter, which is my mix of locally-harvested beeswax and mineral oil, and
  2. Practice Mr Miyagi’s “wax on, wax off,” and
  3. Take a picture for posterity!

Cutting Board 13 – 08, as restored in 2018. 2nd restoration. It took 8 minutes.

More

From The Shop: Just Like New

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