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Old 04-20-2015, 08:37 AM   #1
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Making a chopping board out of a tree

Hi all, I hope i have posted this in the right forum.

We have recently cut down an ash tree and divided it in to decent thick pieces.

We would like to turn it in to a chinese style chopping board.

I have looked at a few websites advising only sanding and finishing with oil is required. However, my mum and some people at my local restaurant told me to soak the board in water for a few days and that will stop it from cracking when being used.

Are the methods mentioned above correct, if not which method would you lot recommend?

Thanks!

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Old 04-20-2015, 08:58 AM   #2
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Being that I make turkey calls and get all my wood from a mill that kiln tries the wood, I don't think soaking your wood or boards will prevent it from cracking, when wood dries out it will crack, unless kiln dried to certain %.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:24 PM   #3
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Your wood needs to reach an equlibrum with the moisture inside of it and the atsmosphere it's going to live in.

To air dry it you need to coat the end grain with a sealer (Wax works fine) so the wood doesn't dry too quickly. This is a major cause of cracks. Stack it so air can circulate around all sides. And wait.

I wouldn't soak it in water as that would only prolong the drying process.
If my fading memory serves me correctly allow aprox. 1 year per 1 inch of thickness for the wood to become stable.

Once you've fabricated your board then only sanding and oil are required for it's care. Use mineral oil as any vegetable oils will become rancid over time. You can add beeswax to the mineral oil and it tends to help prolong the time between treatments.

If it were me. Depending on how much wood you have to use. I'd go ahead and make my board (Provided it wasn't wet and oozing sap). Sand and oil it and just go ahead and use it. I'd also set some wood aside to dry to make a board later if my rushed one failed.

Good luck with your project and keep us informed on it's success or failure. We all learn from both.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:27 PM   #4
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Cutting board

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Originally Posted by aaron_mky View Post
Hi all, I hope i have posted this in the right forum.

We have recently cut down an ash tree and divided it in to decent thick pieces.

We would like to turn it in to a chinese style chopping board.

I have looked at a few websites advising only sanding and finishing with oil is required. However, my mum and some people at my local restaurant told me to soak the board in water for a few days and that will stop it from cracking when being used.

Are the methods mentioned above correct, if not which method would you lot recommend?

Thanks!
I would never soak a board I was trying to dry. If I were drying a round from a log, I would use plastic wrap on the ends to reduce the release of moisture. Even then the failure rate will be high. I think Japanese boards are dried in the log and the ends sacrificed.

Air drying a round 3 or 4 inches thick is a 3 or 4 year project.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:33 PM   #5
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I wouldn't soak it in water. As others have said, it will take a while to dry.
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:35 PM   #6
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I was always taught that a good chopping board should be cut along the grain not across it. It gives it a longer life, and liquids and gunk don't soak in.

In fact ash is quite open grained and something tighter grained would be better in the long run.

Don't ever make a board for food use from yew or laburnum as they are both poisonous
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:33 PM   #7
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Waiting to hear from CWS, since she has cutting boards made from trees from her property.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Waiting to hear from CWS, since she has cutting boards made from trees from her property.
And the mill to harvest the wood.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:45 PM   #9
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Cutting BoaRD

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Originally Posted by Mad Cook View Post
I was always taught that a good chopping board should be cut along the grain not across it. It gives it a longer life, and liquids and gunk don't soak in.

In fact ash is quite open grained and something tighter grained would be better in the long run.

Don't ever make a board for food use from yew or laburnum as they are both poisonous
I believe the general consensus is that the best board is end grain, largely because they are easier on knives, and less subject to warp. They are also easier to resurface if the need arises.


In general, tight grain hardwoods make the best boards, with maple being at or near the top. Quite a few woods, for various reasons, don't do all that well. Rosewood, Teak, and conifers all have their problems.

I believe the original poster was talking about a Japanese style board, which is a round from the bole. One piece of wood.

Apparently aaron could not wait around for an answer. He has not been back since his first two posts.
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Old 01-30-2016, 06:17 AM   #10
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Exclamation

Good Advice - Squeeze food safe mineral oil on a clean cloth. Rub the oil in on all sides of the cutting board. Let the mineral oil soak in.
Once the first coat of mineral oil has soaked in, apply a second coat of mineral oil. Let the second coat soak in before using the cutting board.
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