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Fine splinters on new cutting board?

I haven't bought a nice wood cutting board before and finally found my dream one over the weekend. It's HUGE. Been looking for this dream board for a few years now.

Got it yesterday morning and took it home and unwrapped it, washed it with a new clean sponge and it kept sticking to the board. Rinsed the board with same clean sponge, and dried it with a towel. Towel kept getting stuck as well.

I realized that there are thousands of fine hair like splinters all over the board. They are covering the entire board. I can't use the board at all and I am not about the sand down a brand new board.

I called the store I bought it from and was told that I can return it which I said that I couldn't do until next weekend. In the mean time I wanted to ask everyone if splinters on a new board are common? Does it seem like this is just a fluke? I should return the board and get my money back or should I consider replacing the board instead with another of the same item?

The board that I found is 30 inches by 20 inches and 1.5 inches thick so if anyone has a good recommendation for a board this size i would appreciate it. I do want a wood one.

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  1. Never heard of that problem in a new board. Return it. There are so many great choices out there. Whatever you get, remember to hit it with mineral oil -- once a day for seven days, once a week for four weeks, then once or twice a year should do it.

      1. re: petek

        I recently bought a board from Dave at The Boardsmith. This thing is as smooth as glass. No splinters here.

      2. assuming you might keep it, I don't see why you couldn't just sand it with fine sandpaper.

        1. What brand was the board you purchased?

          1. Alice, it just sounds like you raised the grain with the water when you washed it. A light sanding with 200 grit paper and 2 minutes of your time should solve this; it's not going to decrease the life of your board in the slightest, and don't use anything with power. After that oil it.

            1. Mateo is right. Whenever I build a board, one of the final steps in the construction is to wet the board to raise the grain, then sand the raised grain. I then wet it a second time to make sure that any moisture in its new home will not cause the problem you are having.

              1 Reply
              1. re: creekerswoodworks

                I agree with both mateo21 & creekersWW.

                I bought a pretty board at a local furniture shop (made from furniture scraps). I did the same thing you (Allice98) did with washing & got the exact same results with thousands of micro-splinters (the raised grain mentioned). All I did was oil it a couple of times, & 80%-90% of the splinters relaxed. I will go back & buff it with some fine sandpaper, but after the oiling it's completely usable without it.

              2. Like woodburner, it never happened to me for a cutting boards. Nevertheless, I have heard of many stories about fine splinters coming off on a new cutting board. I have that happened to me for other wood utensils. What mateo said is true. Most likely you raise the grain with the water. I would definitely do a light sanding (by hand if possible).

                1. raised grain...depends how wet you got it, and how it was previously stored...but hey, it's wood it happens! Just sand it w/220, oil it, move on...it ain't rocket surgery

                  1. I am assuming that you have an edge grain rather than and end grain board. We have several boards, expensive to inexpensive. And the boards had the fuzzies after their initial cleaning. I used and continue to use a single edge razor blade as a wood scraper. I stand it up nearly vertical and with slight downward pressure, drag it parallel to the grain, slightly overlapping with each pass. The blade does get warm to hot, and you risk cutting yourself. But it removes the fuzzes and pretty much seals the wood. You can buy a good wood scraper in a hardware store which is better and quicker.
                    I then wipe with oil including the sides, let it sit over night, and wipe it down. I may make a lighter pass the next day. Done. Flip it over and do the same to the other side.

                    For cleaning, just a damp paper towel, then dry, then a thin coat of oil which I wipe off. For bloody cleaning, ordinary salt to absorb the blood and kill germs (butch shop trick), and a quick wipe. Done.

                    Hope this helps.

                    1. You've bought an edge-grain cutting board. It's junk. You need an end-grain rock Maple or Beech board - everthing else is crap or meant to be decorative, not functional or safe.

                      Stay away from designer boards made with contracting woods. Especially stay away from Purpleheart and other tropical species and also stay away from Walnut.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: CharlieTheCook

                        my youngest edge grain board is 9 years old, completely functional, and never walks with scissors. No sense in spreading disinformation

                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                          Edge grain boards chip out and splinter into the food. End grain boards, of the proper species, do not.

                          1. re: CharlieTheCook

                            I've seen boards made with a single plank, face grain style, do that, but never edge...then again I do not cook professionally

                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                              You mean like the traditional Japanese cutting boards. They tend to be single plank, edge grain.

                        2. re: CharlieTheCook

                          "You've bought an edge-grain cutting board. It's junk. You need an end-grain rock Maple or Beech board - everthing else is crap or meant to be decorative, not functional or safe. "

                          While many people prefer end-grain cutting boards, I won't call an edge-rain board "crap", and really won't label it as nonfunctional or unsafe.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I highly advise against using a cleaver on an edge grain board unless you like missing thumb-sized chunks from your board.

                            End-grain - no problem.

                            Get the real thing, end-grain rock Maple or Beech in as thick a configuration as you can afford.

                        3. Is it end grain or edge grain?

                          I would get a sheet of fine sandpaper. Cheap! I need to do this, too, my board needs it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jaykayen

                            If it's edge grain you can jack-plane it with a regular Stanley No. 5. If it's end grain a low-angle jack plane (bevel-up plane) will work or a low-angle block plane, though a block plane is too small for the job IMO - a real knuckle buster.

                            For you guys who bought edge grain boards you'll immediately know if the manufacturer showed you any love by gluing up the boards with the grain running the same way. If they didn't, you'll need to move the frog on the plane to tighten the mouth and take very fine cuts to prevent horrendous tearout.

                            Don't ever sand and end-grain board. The grit will become embedded - especially on a board that's had some use. If you sand your long grain boards (edge grain board), scrub it with a brush and a lot of water after sanding.

                            If you're clueless about how to use a hand plane, then forget all of this. You'll do more harm than you will good.

                            1. re: CharlieTheCook

                              There is one other thing, if you run a cotton cloth across the board with the grain you run the risk of pulling a large sliver up and through your hand, done it, hurts like hell ,hurts worse getting it pulled out.

                          2. What you feel with the fuzzy surface is the grain raising slightly. There is nothing wrong with the board. The water raised the grain slightly, a completely normal experience. Go ahead and use the board, there is nothing wrong with it.

                            If you want to get rid of the fuzzy surface, scrape the board with a cabinet scraper, food scraper or the edge of a knife. However, the surface will still raise after washing, just maybe not as much.

                            The recommendation not to sand is wrong. How do you think the manufacturers get the boards smooth in the factory? Even if there was some sanding grit left, there would not be enough to damage an edge. For that to happen you would have to be cutting on a sandpaper surface.

                            Brushing is equally as wrong unless it is a soft brush. I have seen what a stiff wire brush can do to a good board and it isn't pretty.

                            In the end, go ahead and use the board. The fuzzy surface will lessen with each use and washing and after a while will disappear altogether.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: BoardSMITH

                              A board that has seen some use, that has some knife scars, should not be sanded.

                              Boards are traditionally maintained with cutting tools- planes and scrapers - not sandpaper.

                              1. re: CharlieTheCook

                                a scraper is great for board maintenance, but the op seemed a little hesitant even for a quick sand...doubt they would have considered a scraping even if they happened to have one. so Allice, what did you finally do?

                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                  As mentioned above I cannot make the return until this coming weekend. I planned on returning this particular board all along, as I did mention. Sorry to sound snobbish but I didn't pay what I did to come home and redo the stupid board, that was what I was paying the manufacture to do for me. I haven't ever seen a cutting board that wasn't abused in this condition and back it will be going.

                                  The question I was asking though above was should I exchange it for another one of the same make and model or stay away. No one really answered that.

                                  If I were to sand down the board and it turned out it was actually defective I could never return it meaning I would be out the money and still stuck with a bad board. I can't fine another board that is the same size as what I bought so I am really extra disappointed.

                                  1. re: Allice98

                                    You should be able to contact the manufacturer of the board if it is made in the USA. Just google them. If it is an imported board, you may not be able to locate the manufacturer, but a reputable store should exchange it. However, you may experience the same problem all over again.
                                    If you are happy with your choice, keep it, scrape it, and enjoy it. It is wood. The first Boos board we bought fuzzed up after the first cleaning. I scraped it, and have never had the problem again.

                                    1. re: Allice98

                                      Buy a thick, substantial, end-grain board made of hard Maple. Make no mistake, this is the standard, the archetype, by which others are judged. There are dozens of suppliers on the internet several of whom appear willing to make a board to a custom size. Measure the one you have before you take it back.

                                      This is an important piece of kitchen equipment. While I think these boards look great, looks really don't matter. If you do much cooking at all it'll show it soon enough.

                                      1. re: Allice98

                                        Unless the board was just made it may have been months since it left the shop or factory. Temperature and humidity will effect the board over time. The plastic wrapping helps but mainly is there to keep dirt off the board.

                                        Any board is going to require some maintenance and sometimes that comes when the board is new. I never use soap on a wood board. A 50/50 solution of water and vinegar works great as does a salt scrub which some people use with half a lemon.

                                        1. re: Allice98

                                          Allice, I think everyone answered your question.... that there isn't anything wrong with this board, make or model -- this raised grain is something that wood does. If you like this size and shape then get it again. Be aware, however, that it sounds like the manufacturer might not be oiling the board heavily before they leave their shop, so I personally wouldn't wash it right away again, give a few coats of oil first, then wash.

                                          I don't mean to argue... but you mention that you would have to "redo the stupid board...", this isn't something the manufacturer did wrong, this is characteristic of wood, it happens.

                                          1. re: Allice98

                                            "Sorry to sound snobbish but I didn't pay what I did to come home and redo the stupid board"

                                            Sanding a board is not the same as redo a board. It is normal, just like sharpening a knife.

                                            "The question I was asking though above was should I exchange it for another one of the same make and model or stay away. No one really answered that. "

                                            We didn't say "Yes "or "No", but we did say it is normal, so that basically is the same as saying "No".

                                            If I had asked, "my puppy follows me around all the time, should I return him for another puppy?" What would you think most of the responses would be? Most people will reply that "This is normal", which is the same as saying "No". It is a characteristic of a wood board to rise its grain, just like the fact that it is normal of a puppy to follow people around.

                                            The truth is that sooner or later, you will have to sand the board when it gets older. I have sanded my board at least once now.

                                            1. re: Allice98

                                              When I make a board, and I typically make end grain boards, I raise the grain and sand three or four times before I oil it. When I make furnature, I only raise the grain once as furnature gets a film finish, so it doesn't see moisture like an oil finished cutting board does. Moisture makes wood swell, that's one of the reasons you oil a board in the first place, to keep the moisture out. It could be this is just a board that got past that step in the process, or it could be the manufacturer doesn't perform that step or if oiled first the grain wouldn't raise. Even if it didn't raise when you washed it, it would probably do so at some time in the future, but then would likely not do it again.

                                              As far as quality of edge grain boards is concerned, most home cooks don't use a cleaver the way a butcher does, so for simple slicing, although I believe an end grian board to be the better choice, and edge grain borad should be fine.

                                      2. I discussed it with the manufacture and have it all settled. Thank you for those that provided comments.

                                        1. Is your board (that you don't have any more) a side grain board? (face or edge grain)

                                          End Grain boards don't splinter. The grain will raise (as all above have said) but if kept conditioned that won't happen much.