Caring for Wood…
First, a little background. My dad is a master woodworker a real craftsman if you will. And, my brother inherited these skills over many years helping out dad in the shop. This Thanksgiving, my brother got to spend the holiday with us and we were so pleased because we hadn’t spent a holiday with family in 7 years! While he was visiting we started talking about cutting boards and that led me to realize how pale my had become. I admitted I hadn’t done anything to them in at least a year, maybe more.
Now, I’m no stranger to the proper way to care for the wood items in my kitchen. Some of which have been handmade by my dad or brother and I want these to last forever!! So I finally bit the dust and I went online to buy what I needed to restore my cutting boards, cookbook holder, and butcher block kitchen cart.
How to care for the wood in your kitchen
Step 1: Clean the piece. That’s get all the dust off of it, scrape off the bit of dough you missed after the last batch of rolls, and if it’s really in bad shape, sand with some very fine grit sand paper with the grain. Luckily I didn’t need the sanding.
Step 2: Grab your trusty oil. DO NOT get olive oil or vegetable oil or any of the cooking oils for that matter. They will go rancid. Instead, you can use mineral oil which can be found at most health care or grocery stores.
Step 3: Grab a clean rag. Gently rub the oil into the wood with the grain. Wipe off any excess. Wait 1/2 an hour and repeat if necessary. You want to make sure that the oil soaks into the wood to prevent splits.
Alternate Step 2 & 3 (what I did): Get a bottle of “Howard Butcher Block Conditioner”. Grab the clean rag and rub into the wood with the grain. Wait 1/2 an hour and wipe of any excess. Repeat if necessary.
Here’s why I use the butcher block conditioner… It contains food grade mineral oil and natural waxes. The mineral oil penetrates the wood and the waxes add a water resistance to the wood. This really helps to prevent drying and splitting in the wood. Also, this is not runny like plain mineral oil. The consistency is more like thick applesauce which makes it really easy to work with. Especially on vertical surfaces. If it’s to difficult to apply, you can always warm it up to make it closer to a melted wax consistency.
When you buy a new wood item for your kitchen (cutting board or butcher block kitchen cart), it’s a good idea to “season” it by using the conditioner at least 3 times to build up a nice moisture content inside the wood as well as get a great base layer to be water repellent.
Once you’re finished oiling or conditioning the wood items in your kitchen, your hands will be super soft! Mineral oil is also a very good skin moisturizer. You will also notice that the wood is darker, possibly heavier, and the grain shows with much more detail than before. Now go out and get some mineral oil or butcher block conditioner and take care of those wood items in your kitchen. If you do, they will last, and last, and last.