The TL;DR version is: We recommend picking up some mineral oil and or bees wax.
But for those interested in a little bit more information...
So, if you've ordered from me, then you know that each piece comes with a care card that details how to maintain your coveted piece. I've included that text below and will expand upon it later with some anecdotes.
Coat with mineral oil once every couple weeks, or as much as needed.
For a more resilient finish, apply beeswax/mineral oil mix with a soft cloth. Wipe off excess.
Dampen a wiping rag with 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar. Dry immediately with clean rag.
Use of bleach is not recommended.
Stabilize the board by placing it on top of a dish towel before cutting.
Wash with sponge or rag, dish soap and warm water.
Don’t ever put this board in your dishwasher.
Avoid using a scrubby pad and never use a steel brush; sponges and wiping rags are best.
Avoid using a serrated edge on the board as it is particularly harsh on the board’s surface.
Those of us dealing with food safe wood products tend to encourage our customers to apply mineral oil frequently. We do this for a few reasons: (1) mineral oil does evaporate unlike a finish such as varnish (2) you can't really oil it too much, so whynot make sure it's kept treated? (3) if there is an issue, such as a split, we know that the board was kept stabilized if it was treated so it helps us determine what may have happened.
While we're talking finishes
, don't do vegetale oil or olive oil or canola oil (etc). These spoil. Some people request tung oil, which I'm happy to do upon request, but I'll tell you why I don't use it as my go-to. I am not a fan of tung oil primarily because it is a finish that will show a knife mark a little bit more. In my opinion, the awesome thing about mineral oil is how it can permeate into a board, making the finish and the wood one and the same. Tung oil on the other hand, dries hard and sits on the surface as opposed to richly soaking into the wood. Perhaps this is just a finicky preference, but it's mine so I use it as my standard. One more thing about treating your board with mineral oil: let the oil sit on the surface for 15 minutes or so to let it soak in and make sure you do *every* *single* side. Top, bottom, front, back, left, right. Wipe off any residual oil. I'd recommend using a paper towel so you can just toss it afterwards. You won't really want to use a cloth soaked in mineral oil until after it goes through the wash. If you then feel like applying Bees Buffer, use something soft like a t-shirt cloth to buff the wax into the board. We offer both oil and Bees Buffer on our Store Page.
I encourage the use of Bees Buffer because it does make the board extra water resistant and it adds a nice luster the surface. So in short, mineral oil is required and wax is greatly recommended.
I don't recommend bleach for cleaning because... well it's bleach and if vinegar can do the job, why use bleach? Alternatively, you can leave salt on top of the board over night. You're also welcome to use your dishsoap and water. I tell people to dry the boards immediately because water is really a board's worst enemy. They just don't mix, so I try to minimize an interaction between the two.
While we're talking about moisture, let's talk about storing your block.
A board is best left upright overnight. You could leave it flat, but if it is resting on the counter day after day, moisture will inevitably build up and it will ruin your piece. Just flip it up. The 2" height is plenty to let it sit up.
I think at this point you've gotten the rule that boards and water don't mix, so obviously the dishwasher is the last place for your piece.
Okay, but I bet the last two "DON'Ts" on the card are throwing you for a loop. "No steel brushes? No scrubby pads? No serated edges?"
Look, you can use all of those things and in retrospect, the "no scrubby pads" may have been a little bit of an overreaction, but a steel brush will mar the surface of your board and create unnecessary marks. I've seen butchers use steel brushes to clean their blocks, come keep in mind they typically cut on a workhorse that's been used for 40 hours a week for decades. Their surfaces are going to look worn after a week from so much use. I disuade people from using serated edges because, if you think about it, a serated edge isn't too unlike a saw and why would you want to take a saw to your cutting board? Honestly, these two last ones are entirely your call, but the directions I give are intended to make your board to work well and look good. That cover's that.
I've recommended a lot in this blogpost, but I still have to recommend that you stay tuned to the blog, facebook and especially twitter. I know I've been kind of quiet (catching up on orders I got from the writeups on Gizmodo and a few other blogs), but there's going to be lots of stuff to update you guys on. First off, I'm moving. I'll still be in Brooklyn, but I'm moving my shop from
Gowanus down to Sunset Park. Alas, I do love Gowanus, but it has become nigh impossible to find noise-friendly workspaces. It is also difficult to find workspace below 2 bucks a square foot (per month). I have worked in Gowanus since I first started working for Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn in September of 2009. I moved my shop to Gowanus in August of 2010. Meanwhile I moved from apartment to apartment until I found an opening in Gowanus in August of 2011. I worked here and I wanted to live here so I could work here more. My New York experience circled entirely around Gowanus. So what I once considered my place of work will now exclusively be my living situation. So, cheers to you Gowanus for being such a great place for me to work! There's my ode to Gowanus. That having been said, I'm eager for this move. A bigger space with a big communal shop area will generate a lot more efficiency and more spare time to start making a few new things.
If you follow me on twitter and facebook, you'll see photos of the new shop and its buildout! The first thing we got to do is build a new wall, so expect to see some pictures of that this weekend.
Okay, I'm exhausted.