I’ll show you how easy it is to restore an old wood cutting board. We’ll walk through how to clean a wooden cutting board, how to sanitize a wood cutting board, how to sand a wooden cutting board and how to condition and refinish a wooden cutting board.
I am not one of those who usually gets lucky in thrift stores or garage sales. I have a friend who has an incredible thrift store radar…but she hasn’t shared it with me yet (Sherry…I’m looking at you!)
On a recent thrift store foray, when I had a list of items that I was looking for that included an old wooden cutting board…guess what I found?
A thick, edge-grain cutting board…with feet nevertheless. With a 14″ diameter and 1 1/2″ thick, it’s a great size.
And it was only $10.00…that really never happens to me.
It showed signs of use and was quite sticky, but I was excited to bring it home and restore it.
So, how do you restore an old wood cutting board whose history you know nothing about?
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How to restore a wooden cutting board: Sanding the cutting board
- The first step is to sand it down. To the question, can you sand a cutting board? The answer is absolutely yes! Sanding the cutting board is a critical first step in the refinishing process. When thinking about how to sand a wooden cutting board, I thought I should use a medium grit (#100) sandpaper first. Once I had all the existing finish off the top, sides, and feet, I then used a fine grit (#220) sandpaper to smooth it down further. For the fine sandpaper, I used my orbital palm sander. I wasn’t interested in removing all the scratches and cuts…I like the character they add.
- I wish you could feel it at this stage…truly felt smooth as satin.
How to sanitize a wood cutting board:
- Because I didn’t know the history of this cutting board, (i.e. whether it had been used to cut meat or poultry) I needed to sanitize it before I could use it.
- Bleach wasn’t an option I wanted to use, so instead I used the less caustic hydrogen peroxide. I placed the cutting board in my sink and covered it with hydrogen peroxide and let the peroxide sit until it stopped fizzing then scrubbed the surface with a scrub brush. This is an important step when you restore an old wood cutting board. If you are more comfortable using bleach, I have read that you can use a diluted solution (2 TBs/gallon of water) of bleach to sanitize your wooden boards.
- It was interesting that each time I poured the hydrogen peroxide, it would fizz in the same area.
- I repeated this process until the hydrogen peroxide no longer fizzed…which was 4 times at which I was comfortable moving on to the next steps in how to sanitize the wood cutting board.
- Then I poured white vinegar over the whole board and sprinkled baking soda over it. With a scrub brush I scrubbed the entire board; top, bottom, and sides.
- I rinsed it and let it dry for 24 hours.
- Once it was all clean and dry, I hit it again with the orbital sander with fine sandpaper. All the cleaning revealed a few areas that I missed from the initial sanding.
How to condition and refinish a wooden cutting board:
- Now for the fun part. I used some existing butcher block conditioner that I have John Taylor Butcher Block Conditioner and my hands and applied the conditioner over the entire board…top and bottom. The old wooden cutting board soaked up the first application of the conditioner in no time, so I repeated it again about 2 hours later and let the board sit overnight. In the morning I used a paper towel to rub off any of the conditioner that hadn’t been absorbed…which wasn’t much. The best way to tell if you have enough conditioner or oil on your cutting board is to drop a few drops of water on it and see if it beads up.
TA DA….and that’s how easy it is to refinish and restore an old wood cutting board…took me part of a day and most of that time was the cutting board soaking or drying.
I may use this cutting board more as a serving piece than an actual cutting board. Pop on over here to see ideas for displaying cutting boards in your kitchen.
By the way, do you ever have just meat and cheese for dinner? It’s one of our favorite meals…and a tradition on Christmas tree decorating day. We vary the meats and cheeses but do like some sweet and savory jams with whatever we decide upon. This savory onion jam and spiced cranberry conserve are our current favorites.
See that hammered copper pot in the background? It was another one of my thrift store finds…but I couldn’t tell you if it was a good deal or not.
Oh, I almost forgot…this cutting board has a little…something on the bottom…not sure what to call it.
The only thing I can think of is that it is for a big butcher type knife. What do you think?
If you love this big chunky round cutting board but haven’t happened upon one in the thrift store to refurbish, I did see that you can get a new one on Amazon.
How about a little before and after action!
If you might want to refinish and restore an old wood cutting board, make sure you pin this image or bookmark the page for your future reference.
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