It’s important to understand the essence of what an object is. Why does an object exist? What is it for?
What’s a cutting board?
Literally, a place to cut. A thing to protect that which you don’t want to cut. You cut on the cutting board so you don’t cut on the counter. So your knife does not become dull.
The board exists to be cut upon.
That’s not a bad thing … it’s the essence of the cutting board. Be happy for the board when you cut on it: it is serving its purpose. It’s keeping your knives sharp. It’s protecting your counter.
In this particular case, 2 cutting boards were given as presents 3 months ago, and both came to me for restoration. What can be done?
I can fix some of the damage that had been done to the boards … but I will not forget why the boards exist. After I restore them, they will be cut upon again. And that’s a good thing.
Velda’s board, as presented. The colors are dull …
… but as you examine the board more closely, you begin to see the damage wrought by the active kitchen run by Velda.
The chopping and cutting has damaged the board … can it be restored?
The wood fibers have been scored. The chopping and cutting has damaged the board … can it be restored?
Here’s board # 2, presented with water damage. The board had some light cuts, but was really in need of sanding and penetrating oil to protect the wood.
As you sand the board, the oil-inundated wood fibers on the surface must be removed to get to the raw wood underneath.
A random orbital sander is not required, but it does make the process easier.
The sawdust is oily. The sandpaper must be thrown away. Since I was restoring the 2 different colored boards at the same time, I didn’t use the same sandpaper on both boards.
With sanding, the boards clean up nicely.
Even with the sanding of the boards, some cuts remain. That’s OK: remember, the essence of a cutting board is to be cut upon. Every cut, every scratch reminds me of a wonderful meal prepared in this kitchen.
With mineral oil penetrating the raw wood, the boards will again be protected.
The pool of mineral oil gives a hint of what colors are to come.
After 2 coats of oil, I was ready to do a final coat of Mrs. M’s Handmade Board Butter: a topcoat of locally-harvested beeswax and mineral oil.
For a time, I used a topcoat with too much beeswax in it, requiring it to be melted in a microwave and applied hot. Not fun! Mrs M helped create Mrs M’s Board Butter that melts upon application with your hands. Easy!
Mrs. M’s Handmade Board Butter: a coating of beeswax and oil to protect the board. After the topcoat dries, wipe off the excess with clean paper towels. The topcoat will maximize the water resistance of the board.
A fully restored board. The padauk is once again a vibrant orange.
The board in the afternoon sun, returned to Velda’s counter. All is well with the world.