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Old 02-03-2005, 03:09 PM   #1
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What is Wood Treatment Oil?

Hubby just got me a small butcher block island from Ikea since I'm pretty lacking in kitchen counter space. The top is wood and the directions say to treat it with "wood treatment oil." Of course Ikea has their own brand, but our closest one is about 1.5 hours away. What sort of wood treatment oil do you think they mean? Food-grade mineral oil?

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Old 02-03-2005, 05:24 PM   #2
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Food-grade mineral oil is what is ussed with butcher blocks. It soaks into the wood, sealing it against moisture loss and helps to avoid warping and cracking. Cooking oils and shortening go rancid after a period of time, which of course makes it necessary to clean the board with a powerful emulsifyer. This rmoves the natural wood oils and allows unwanted fluids such as raw poultry or meat juices to soak into the wood.

Be sure to spread the oil voer the whole board, top, sides, ends, and bottom, to "seal" the board. Clean with hot-soapy water after use, and re-season with more oil after cutting raw meat or poultry on it. Generally, if using it for veggies, you can just rinse it with hot water. But then again, pathogens have been found in geggies as well, especially those from foreign contries. Better to be safe than sorry.

Wood has natural oils and enzymes that inhibit bacterial growth, and so make good butcher blocks.

I would avoid anti-bacterial soaps as they tend to create super-microbes. Ordinary soap destroys and removes over 99% of all microbial nasties when used with hot water anyway, and is kinder to septic systems and the environment at large.

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Old 02-03-2005, 08:48 PM   #3
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Ditto what Goodweed said.

When I get a new wood board I never use it until I give it a liberal coating of mineral oil and give it 12-24 hours to soak in (the first day or two it might actually soak up most of the oil in 8-12 hours). Then repeat for several days until it's absorbed about all the oil it can. Depending on the type of wood, age of the wood, how long since it was cut, if it's an edge grain or end grain board, etc. - this can take from 2-days to 2-weeks.

Before you go crazy trying to find a bottle of mineral oil labeled "Food Grade" - just go to the drugstore and pick up a bottle of medical grade mineral oil labeled "Mineral Oil - USP". It will probaly be cheaper, a lot easier to find, and just as pure and is food grade. The only difference is who certifies it for what purpose.
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:11 PM   #4
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Michael in FTW; You said what I meant. I get my mineral oil in the laxitive section of the drug-store part of Wal-Mart. It's sold as a laxitive. You know, I 've never had to use a laxitive, and I'm 49 1/2. That's one of the best things about this body that I possess. Now if it only had better vision, less lipid tissue, more flexability, and could leap tall buildings with a single bound.

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Old 02-04-2005, 09:17 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys! I use mineral oil on my cutting board and was hoping that was what I needed to do on the butcher block, as well. It's was just Ikea's terminology that threw me off. I will begin the conditioning process tonight!
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:29 PM   #6
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I wasn't going to mention the laxative labeling thing Goodweed - someone on another board one time really flipper out about it and was convinced they would have to double the Charmin if they used it, would cause harm to DH, children, etc. :P

PA Baker - terminology wasn't the problem - the problem is marketing. If Ikea is anything like Boos, they want you to buy some special oil from them. Boos, for example, sells their "Mystery Oil" which is a blend of minerl, linseed, and tung oils - for a good bit more than just plain old mineral oil.
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:27 PM   #7
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WOW!!!!!

I did not know IKEA had made the transatlantic crossing. But there it is. Eric the Red et suivant.

Firstly, a hardwood chopping block requires to be treated as hardwood. In order to season it, it requires it's OWN NATURAL WOOD OILS. This will, if you think about it, give it the characteristics that you desire from it.

DO NOT pour artificial oils over it, particularly food oils like olive oil etc. The wood DOES NOT LIKE THEM.

That is not to say you cannot use food oils in preparation on the block. It has it's own memory, but that is not what the block is about

The block will serve you well if you remember that it has it's own identity, and treat it right.

Use the right WOOD oil to preserve and treat it, and chop away.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:12 PM   #8
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PA Baker - you can also use mineral oil - VERY inexpensive.
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Old 02-14-2005, 07:35 AM   #9
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Be careful with oils. Some wood oils and resins are harmful to the body. That's why I use mineral oil exclusively. I know it's safe.

Cooking oils all go rancid after a time.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:46 AM   #10
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I'm using mineral oil on it. Just like I do on my small, counter-top cutting board. I've been conditioning it once a day for the last 5 days or so--it's amazing how much oil it's absorbing! I think I'm getting close to the end, though, and it's looking just beautiful! Thanks for your advice! :D
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