I recently completed a cutting board which will pull out from a slot in the
kitchen cabinets just below the the level of the counter top.
I made the project using hard birdseye maple boards edge glued and buiscuit
joined. It's dimensions are 29 3/4in x 24 1/4in x 3/4in.
I am finishing it by applying many coats of mineral oil.
The problem is that it appears to be wildly unstable. After first glueing
up but before applying any oil, I left it alone for a week or two, the end
result being that it was severely cupped in the center. I wet the surface
with water placed it on a flat table with a weight in the center and it
again became flat. After apply several coats of oil I was hoping it would
be more stable and left it again without a weight but it cupped again. I
have reapplied the weight and it is straightening out again but my fear is
that once installed it will begin to cup again and will not slide freely,
or may even get stuck in place.
What should I do? Is there a way for me to permanantly stabilize this
How did you orient the boards? It sounds like they're plain-sawn. A
cutting board will be more stable and more durable if you put the
edge-grain up. This effectively gives you quarter-sawn sections and
will be less likely to cup.
Also, biscuits give you no strength advantage when gluing up panels,
although they may help in alignment.
That is pretty wide I would shorten it and add a 2 or 3 in piece front
and back of hard maple - Not Birdseye - a dovetail with a small
wooden pin in the center that would allow some side to side movement.
And add a decorative touch. Just a thought
I have made literally hundreds of Maple cutting boards from 3" x 3"
to 3' x 6' and have only ever seen this in very thin pieces. Then, it
struck me by reading your description again. Let me guess... you edge
glued together a few wide, 3/4' thick boards to create this plank. If
this is the case this thing will continue to move all over the place
The proper method is to rip the wide boards into thinner strips (say
7/8" in your case). Then you glue them face to face so you see the
edges as the face of the cutting surface (this is the second best type
of cutting board, the best is end grain, but lots more steps\work).
Then you sand out the variances until you reach your 3/4 thickness.
Good news is you can reuse use some or most of this wood, just rip it
down and start over. However, you'll need to loose an inch wide strip
at each joint to get rid of the biscuit slots.
Of the many I have built only a few were destined for life in a slot
under the counter but the one I see on a weekly basis has been in
service for several years at a good buddies home.
If you're showing the eyes rather than the "nerve" you're showing the
flatsawn face, so the best advice is to first make sure the wood is
seasoned, something you don't appear to have done, then make your new rips
in such a fashion that you end up with annual rings as flat as possible.
Parallel or perpendicular to the surface, no big curves in the annual rings
translates to none in the final.
Breadboard ends will help, but caution your spouse that they will stick out
in dry weather and duck back in wet, or she'll have you trimming.
Sorry about the mineral oil. You have created a wonderful environment to
gather and retain dust, dirt and bacteria/spores in that hidden spot. Leave
it bare so you can wash it, or put a bit of curing oil on to help reject
water. DON'T use a mineral-oiled board for anything you won't be cooking.
Mineral oil is exactly what you want to apply. John Boos Company, the
biggest maker of hard rock maple cutting boards in the US (and maybe
the world) suggests "Once a day for a week, once a week for a month
and once a month for a year."). The biggest reason is to keep moister
from getting into the board. Secondly food oils that can go rancid.
Mineral oil is not at all toxic. It is sprayed on food you eat and is
used to make things like gel caps, etc. It is actually prescribed as a
mild laxitive and that is one of the lowest cost ways you can buy it
retail, in the pharmacy, food grade mineral oil.
What the hell is "curing oil" anyway.
Breadboard ends are a specific way of adding boards across the ends of
a slab of other boards to keep them flat. There are some specific
methods to ensure the slab can expand and contract and not easily
explained in writing. Fine Woodworking Magazine has an issue on th
stands recently called "Building Furniture" (I had to walk to the
bathroom to get that title) and it has a good explaination with lots
o' pictures if I recall. It will fix your cupping (that is it's
primary purpose) but is a fair amount of work.
The problem is it never cures, rather provides a lipid-friendly haven for
bacteria and their spores away from the power of water and detergent. That
is, until you wash it away. Collects and preserves other things too, like
odors. Leave it bare or put something that creates a washable surface.
Lipids? You are just wrong. Mineral oil is a by product of the
petroleum refining process. There is no food oils in it whatever.
Maybe you should call the FDA and ask them why it is approved for use
in commercial kitchens.
And virtually every seller of wood counter tops recommends using......some
also recommend melting paraffin or beeswax into the mineral oil for first
application with just oil following.......seemed to have worked fine on my
center island. Rod
The principle of lysing the bacterium to kill it is what we're after. If it
finds shelter under a coat of oil ("lipid-friendly") rather than in water
with a surfactant, the job isn't done at all. Consider the benefit of
having a waterproof layer so we can take advantage of both mechanical and
Honey is a natural antibacterial, so beeswax isn't a bad recommendation.
Commercial butcher places which still use wood salt the tallow or lard
nightly. Salt, of course, will lyse the bacteria.
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