Wood burning is becoming a popular craft form, and wood burned cutting boards make beautiful gifts for friends and family or home decor for yourself. But if you want your cutting board to be as useful as it is beautiful, it needs to be sealed properly. We've researched the proper way to seal a wood burned cutting board and will share what we've found.
To ensure you get the most use out of your wood burned cutting board, use food-safe oil to seal it. Pour the oil directly onto the board and use a cloth or rag to rub the oil into the wood, following the direction of the grain.
Different types of oils can be used to seal a cutting board. Each of these oils seals the wood in different ways. Keep reading to learn about the different types of oils that can be used, how to apply them, and the purpose of sealing wood burned cutting boards.
Types of wood sealant oils
Linseed, tung, mineral, walnut oil, and beeswax, are commonly used oils for sealing wood burned cutting boards. These oils penetrate and seal the wood differently, so you can decide which one you want to use.
Linseed oil is extracted from flaxseed. Not only does linseed oil create a beautiful finish when used to seal wood products, but it also makes them waterproof, making it a good choice for a cutting board that will need to withstand frequent washing.
According to Vermont Wood Studios, linseed oil is one of the most effective wood finishes because it penetrates deeply into the wood, protecting the wood from scratches. There are different types of linseed oil: raw, boiled, and polymerized. Raw linseed oil is the purest form, but it can take several days to dry fully. Boiled and polymerized linseed oil take less time to dry but are not as pure and natural as raw linseed oil.
Tung oil is oil from the nut of a tung tree. It is extracted by pressing on the seed inside the nut. Using tung oil to seal wood will give your cutting board a shiny, wet look. It hardens with exposure to air and creates a transparent finish so that the natural wood grain shows through. Like linseed oil, tung oil will resist water and penetrates deep into the wood. Because it comes from natural sources, tung oil is non-toxic, making it an excellent choice for sealing the wood.
Mineral oil is a good choice if you want a cutting board with a natural finish because it dries clear. It is also non-toxic but differs from linseed and tung oil because it only fills pores in the wood instead of penetrating deeply into the surface; however, it will still repel water and other liquids.
Walnut oil, as it sounds, comes from walnuts. It is slow drying but will give your wood burned cutting board a satin-like finish. It works like mineral oil by penetrating just the wood's surface, filling the pores, and repelling water and food to keep bacteria and mildew at bay.
Beeswax can be used as an alternative to oils as a sealant for wood. It creates a silky finish, smells good, and repels water and microbes, such as bacteria. According to SuperBee, beeswax also contains propolis, a substance that keeps beeswax from going bad.
If you want to use beeswax to seal wood burned cutting boards, you will need to make it into a sealant by boiling it and adding olive oil. To see the materials and process needed to make your own beeswax sealant, watch the video below.
Sealing a wood burned cutting board
Once you've decided what type of sealant you want to use, sealing the wood is an easy process. You will need:
- Oil or beeswax sealant
- Lint-free rag or cloth
- Paper towel
Follow the steps below to seal your wood burned cutting board properly.
- Apply the oil to the surface of the cutting board, making sure it evenly coats the surface.
- Using the lint-free cloth, rub the oil across the wood following the direction of the grain.
- Let the wood absorb the oil.
- Repeat steps 1-3 until the wood saturates and stops absorbing the oil.
How often should you apply sealant to a wood cutting board?
Wood objects like cutting boards that are frequently used need to be sealed about once a month, especially because they are exposed to food and water. If you wash your cutting board with soap, you may need to apply sealant more frequently because the soap causes the seal to break down.
Do you have to seal wood after burning it?
It is a good idea to seal the wood after burning it. For wood that sees frequent use and exposure to food and liquids such as cutting boards, sealing it prevents the wood from rotting or harboring mildew, mold, fungus, and bacteria found in food due to improper cleaning. Wood that is not sealed tends to dry out and crack. Usually, 2-3 coats of sealant are enough to coat the wood properly.
What is the best finish for a wood burned cutting board?
The oils and beeswax that were previously mentioned are all good choices for finishing and sealing a wood burned cutting board because they are water-resistant and naturally occurring, and free of harsh chemicals. Any oil containing harsh chemicals is not a good choice for food preparation because it can leave residue on the food. This can be harmful to the people consuming the food.
The type of oil you choose to use depends on the type of effect you want the wood to have. Remember that linseed and tung oil cause the wood to have a shiny, wet-looking finish, while mineral oil, walnut oil, and beeswax create a matte or satin-like finish. Although mineral oil can sometimes make wood look dull.
What wood finish is food safe?
Pure tung oil and raw linseed oil are both food safe. Boiled linseed oil has drying agents that help it dry faster, so it may not be the most food-safe choice for finishing a wood burned cutting board. Walnut oil and beeswax are both natural products and therefore are food safe. Even though mineral oil is derived from petroleum, it is still considered food safe.
Is lacquer food safe?
Lacquer is a type of wood finish that is harmful if swallowed. It is toxic in its liquid state, but once it is dry, it can be considered food-safe, although it is not the best choice to use on cutting boards because it forms a film that can crack and peel with repeated exposure to water.
Can you put hot pans on wood burned cutting boards?
Wood cutting boards can handle hot pans a lot better than boards made of plastic, which can melt or warp with excessive heat. Bamboo is a common wood used to make cutting boards and can withstand temperatures of around 400-degrees. As long as exposure to heat isn't excessive or prolonged, the cutting board should be just fine.
So there you have it!
Now you know how to seal a wood burned cutting board properly. Using any of the products above will ensure that you get the most use out of your cutting board. Remember to reapply them monthly to keep the cutting board in good condition. What's even better is that these types of oils can be used to seal other wood projects as well!
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