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Butcher Block Care & Feeding

BossHog's picture

Butcher Block Care & Feeding (post #56351)

A couple of days ago my Mom gave me this butcher block:

Apparently my Dad gave it to her shortly after they were married 52 years ago. She doesn't use it any more, and was gonna throw it out.

I said I'd take it, as I think it's kinda neat. But I don't really know what to do to preserve it.

I have some tung oil, but I don't think you're supposed to use that on stuff that food might come into contact with. Maybe I could use it on the bottom, then use something else on the top?

I was thinking about sanding the top a bit to smooth it out before I finished it. Any reason I shouldn't do that?

TIA for any thoughts....

There are no stupid questions but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots

Gretchen's picture

(post #56351, reply #52 of 70)

Just sand it well--start with coarse grade.


Marie Louise's picture

(post #56351, reply #12 of 70)

Sanding it would be good.

This stuff will make it beautiful.

I use it all the time on my butcher block, and it looks pristine. It has a little tung oil, so it will darken it. It has a little wax to seal it, plus some food safe oil.

You can put cheaper things on your butcher block, but this stuff is the best. Such a priceless treasure deserves the best.

sally ryan's picture

(post #56351, reply #13 of 70)

I thought you were supposed to clean all wooden cutting boards with a mixture of salt and lemon juice.  That's what I do and mine looks okay.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #56351, reply #14 of 70)

I think that sounds like it would be hard on the wood if you did it very often.

I have a [200 pound] John Boos butcher block. Here are their instructions.

I don't scrape like they say, but I do make sure that moisture doesn't stay on it. I just clean it w/ a little soapy water on a sponge-same as my countertop.

Gretchen's picture

(post #56351, reply #15 of 70)

That is also a well known cleaning method. But bleach works quick, and I'd at least start with it on this block which, if I read correctly, hasn't been used recently.  Pretty sure that is what Glenys does with her boards.


Marie Louise's picture

(post #56351, reply #16 of 70)

I guess if it hasn't been used in a while a little bleach would be a good thing.

The fact that it is 52 years old means it was probably made from wonderful old trees, not new sapwood. If you look at his picture, you can see how tight the grain is. So, probably not too much bacteria or gunk in there that needs bleach? That's why I thought sanding made sense-if he gets down to clean, untreated wood he can oil it well and start using it.

I predict this is going to be drop-dead gorgeous when he has cleaned it.

BossHog's picture

(post #56351, reply #21 of 70)

Thanks for the link. I'm gonna order a bottle of that stuff and see what it does for the thing.

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not called a racist?

mulch52's picture

(post #56351, reply #33 of 70)

Hey Boss, aren't you kind of close to Effingham?  The John Boos factory is there, and their outlet store (a touch east of I-57) carried the oil--might save some postage that way....

if you don't want to go that route, I echo the advice to use food-safe mineral oil (in the laxative section of the drug store).

BossHog's picture

(post #56351, reply #34 of 70)

I'm about 2 1/2 hours from Effingham. The oil is already ordered and is (hopefully) on its way.

Make good use of your toys and life will be fun. [Jim Drosdick]

paretsky's picture

(post #56351, reply #18 of 70)

Sanding would work; do you have a cabinet scraper? I've never tried a scraper on end grain, but it might work faster than the sandpaper.

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
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"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol