View Full Version : Refinishing a chopping block
Our kitchen has an island with a two-inch thick maple top. Over the three years we've lived here, the maple has been stained by different foods, etc.
I would like to sand the surface back to "clean" it off, and I'm wondering what kind of finish I should use to assure it stays in good shape. Since we use this surface to knead bread dough and cut the occasional vegetable, I want to finish the surface with something reasonable.
Thanks in advance, Sean
02-12-2001, 03:42 AM
There are two schools of thought to answer your question.
One says to use mineral Oil as the finish.
One says not to finish it at all.
First to get rid of the stains I would first try to use oxalic Acid to clean it. You will find it as a powder in paint section of you local home center. It will remove organic stains in wood. Great stuff.
Now back to the finish. If you are going to use the counters for food preperation then you should be cleaning them often with bleach to sanitize the wood. Mineral oil can be used to provide a nice looking finish, but profensional kitchens don't use it. I increases the chances of capturing contamination under the finish.
I am in the camp for no finish, but you will find other here than are in the other camp.
02-12-2001, 06:14 PM
I am pretty sure that what most kitchens use is vegitable oil. Like your plain old yellowish/clear stuff.
I do remember seeing an artical about plastic vs. wood cutting boards concerning bacteria. The wood was self disinfecting while the plastic actually encouraged bacteria growth, after 20 minutes. Sure made a convert of my second wife. I told her the plastic cutting board was a bunch of balongy, and I was raised helping Mom on a wood cutting board.
Sorry Lou, I'd not recommend bleaching, unless it was a diluted conciderable. Although Grandpa used bleach as an all around disinfectant. Burned like hell in a cut or scrape.
Why refinish it anyway? It has caricture and warmth as it is. Every ding, nick, or scratch has a story.
But it is your block. Say, give it to me and make yourself a new one.
02-12-2001, 07:07 PM
The Vegetable oil will turn on you don't use it. It will go rancid. I tool a 12 week 4 hour each Sat cooking class from the local 4 star French resterant. They clean a couple of times a day and when ever meat chicken or fish is prepaired for the night with bleach. You don't use it straight from the bottle, and don't use the fancy sented stuff. But, there are lots of stuff that gets on cutting boards that is very very bad. If you really want to finish it is meneral oil, or finish it like any furnature and us a loose cutting board and not your counter.
02-13-2001, 11:01 AM
Calm down Lou.
I haven't taken any cooking classes myself.
And I'm not poisoned yet either.
But my Daddy made sure I learnt to respect my elders. And to respect those who earned my respect.
I'm free to disagree with you if I so choose.
And I will continue to make my statements and to voice MY opinions based on MY experiance and knowledge.
It worked for Great Grandma, It worked for Grandma, It worked for Mom, And it works for me.
I personally use my OWN common sence in my life. And I do not follow paths of the resurch of others nor their opinions. Not until I personally prove it to be worthy. (Eggs are bad for you, now they are good for you. And on and on.)
By they way, I LIKE escargo. But I don't cook. I've spent countless hours helping prepare the food for those who have that expertise, though. My expertise is not in the kitchen, except as a helper.
But my shop speaks for itself, as well as the items I make.
End of discussion.
02-13-2001, 12:53 PM
Not upset or bothered. You are intitled to your opinion. It is just that my knowledge in this area is based on a bit more than experience. I have checked out your shop and your posts. All good stuff, but in this case you need to be careful when health and safety of others could be effected.
Check out a couple of the other threads on this subject and you will find that I am not alone in this position.
You want to keep things that are organic and subject to building bacteria away from place that you prepair food. Vegetable oil is organic and will go bad, It will allow bacteria to grow. You need to disinfect cutting boards that come into contact with potental bad bacteria with a very stong agent.
Maybe you have not had a problem but by telling someone else you might make their environment unsafe.
Just my humbel Opinion.
02-14-2001, 11:17 AM
I didn't tell anyone to follow me, that's their choice.
I for one, have a difference with you about exposing myself to "cides".
Things that kill things might someday build up enough to kill me.
Besides I don't care for the taint of soap nor disinfectants in what I eat.
Even if the cook tried to cover it up with sauces and spices and wash it away with wine.
I'm not one to be "chicken" about life, but rather to meet it head-on, face to the wind, until I die.
I will have at least lived it my way. Straight up and straight on.
Grandpa's opinion of me was: "That kind of Oak don't grow on bushes." That's what he told my Dad when He and my Dad met for the first time. (He was my ex-wife's Grandfather, a very nature wise pioneer from the Dakoda's. And one of the deepest thinkers I've ever known) He respected me because I earned it. Not lernt it.
Point, counterpoint. You believe what your tought, I believe what I have lived.
Read the disclaimer agian.
Get out in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans, I'm going back to work.