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May 25, 2011 06:05 AM

Butcher Block mineral oil application

So I just had a Sapele Mahogany end-grain butcher block installed into my counter-top and supposed to oil it frequently.

Any ideas on applying the oil? Ive been squeezing the the oil over the countertop but found that spreading the oil with a paper towel absorbs most of the oil. So far the best method has been to spread it around with my hand.

The humidity has made this thing grow in size quite a bit since the winter...They werent kidding!

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  1. When I oil a butcher block cutting board I use a small cotten cloth. It does soak up a bunch of the mineral oil, but once it's saturated it doesn't pick up more. I then store it in a jar with a lid and reuse it. I also wear a rubber (nitrile actually) glove. Not that I'm worried about any ill effects from the oil, I just don't like the feel of the oil on my hands. I know, it's strange. Anyway, you want to oil it and let it soak in for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess with a dry rag. I usually spread it around for several minutes making sure I recover any spots where it soaked in extensively.

    9 Replies
    1. re: mikie

      great.....ive been leaving the oil on overnight as I feel like it will get nice and saturated that way. I was told that you can never put too much oil on the block......What kind do you have? Pics?

      I just got mine and absolutely love it. My wife says she is jealous of the butcher block.

      1. re: FoodExpression

        I just use a cotton cloth as well.For some reason I can only get my hands on "heavy"mineral oil,so I was told to warm it in the microwave for a minute.Works really well.Might I suggest you invest in some kind of bees wax/mineral oil conditioner if you don't already have some.
        BTW you can over saturate a board with oil,causing it to "sweat" when the humidity rises.

        1. re: petek

          "Might I suggest you invest in some kind of bees wax/mineral oil conditioner if you don't already have some."

          An excellent suggestion. I make my own in the microwave. I bought a chunk of bees wax from a hobby/craft store and mix in some with mineral oil, heating it in the microwave. By volume it's about 2 parts mineral oil to 1 part bees wax, heat and stir to mix them together, the bees wax will not disolve in the mineral oil at room temperature, so you must heat the mixture. You can apply hot or let it cool to a soft paste. I apply this after I have applied mineral oil as it is a bit more of a sealer than straight mineral oil.

          1. re: mikie

            My butcher block table just drank up mineral oil. Adding beeswax gives it a much more durable and long lasting surface.

            Rather than a paste, the proportions I like best are 1 oz (by weight) of beeswax in a pint of USP mineral oil. The result is a translucent liquid that smells faintly like honey and pours like molasses. I melt them in a double boiler (my microwave doesn't seem to do the trick) until the mixture is clear, then allow to cool completely (which takes a while).

            Funnel it into a squeeze bottle, and apply every couple weeks or as needed, depending on how heavily you use and clean your butcher block.

          2. re: petek

            What's the point of the bee's wax? Thanks in advance for any enlightenment.

            1. re: Bada Bing

              Further water seals the board. You don't have to treat it as often.

              Also leaves a pleasantly smooth surface.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                Thanks. I have heard of it used in woodwork finishing and even cast metal protection (from rust), but never thought to use it on my counter...

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  Like Pete, Mike and cowboy said, beeswax is very useful for cutting board. It seals the wood boards better than straight mineral oil. If you think you will be using it quiet often, then it is cheaper and easier to buy the pure beeawax from craft stores and mix with mineral oil at a ratio which works best for you.

                2. re: cowboyardee

                  Some of the store bought products also smell kinda nice,but like mikie said, you can make your own if you want fragrance free.

        2. I use my fingers. They don't soak up the oil - just spread it around until the surface is coated evenly and then give the wood a little while to soak it in. Wash hands. Done.

          You wind up wasting a lot less oil this way. It's also easier to oversaturate your board, so be careful with multiple applications. Can't think of any reason it would be harmful to get food grade mineral oil on your fingers (that plus fragrance is all that baby oil is). YMMV.

          1. I have had wood counters and in my experience you can put too much oil on and then it gets gummy around the edges. I also found that if you heat the oil so it thins out--I use the microwave--it gives you a thinner coat that' absorbs more easily.

            1 Reply
            1. I buy the cheap less than a buck paint brushes at the hardware store then just brush the oil on. Let it soak then wipe off with paper towels.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Eric in NJ

                That's a nice tip. I've used my hands in the past. Mostly because I have an island top that is all wood, and I need to cover at least 15 square feet of surface. Nothing beats hands, but the cleanup is a bit of a PITA.

                You make me realize that I could also use my silicone barbecue sauce brush and then just throw it in the dishwasher. Sweet!

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  The good thing about using your hands is the warmth of them helps thin the oil for easier spreading.