Stop your wooden chopping boards from cracking – in 5 easy steps

Miss Thrifty8 October 29, 2008


For one reason and another I’ve ended up with nine wooden chopping boards, which works out at four-and-a-half chopping boards per member of my household. I only went out and bought one of them (the first one) but I’m a kitchenware geek – and the people who buy me presents know the way to my heart.

I doubt I’ll ever need to buy another chopping board as long as I live, because all my boards are in tip-top condition. This is what I have learned:

  1. Don’t buy those boards that are made up of compressed and glued sections of smaller pieces of wood. They may look good, but they are more likely to crack. A board cut from a single piece of wood is far sturdier. It’s probably cheaper, too.
  2. Go as thick as you can. Yes, the thinner boards are more economical – but they’re flimsier, too. The blocky ones are better value for money, in the long run.
  3. Never put your chopping board in the dishwasher, or leave it submerged in soapy water. Not that you’d do this anyway; as a reader of this blog you are evidently blessed with the highest quality brain cells. I’m just sayin’.
  4. Okay, this is an important one. Oil your board on a regular basis: every four weeks should do. Boards crack because over time, they dry out. Keep them moisturised, and they’ll go on and on and on. Just spill a little bit on, and rub it over and into the board with kitchen paper or a clean cloth.
  5. Don’t do this with cooking oil, though. It may cost next to nothing, but those vegetable oils go rancid over time. IKEA does a chopping board oil for £4.99, but I’d avoid that too. It’s mostly made up of linseed (i.e. vegetable) oil. I love linseed oil because you can use it for loads of things – like keeping leather sofas soft – but sloshing it around food preparation surfaces isn’t one of them.  You want food grade mineral oil, also known as butcher’s block oil. The bottles that I have found all come in around the £4-£5 mark: you can pick them up at any hardware store, or order online.

Easy peasy!


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8 Responses to “Stop your wooden chopping boards from cracking – in 5 easy steps

sharon rose says:

Hi there-great tips, especially about the oil usage!

October 30, 2008 at 10:15 am

MJ Ray says:

No butcher’s block oil listed on the linked web page. Got another good source?

December 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm

MJ Ray says:

Thanks – ordered some! Given how popular butchers blocks seem to be, I’m surprised the oils don’t seem to be in High Street stores.

December 31, 2008 at 11:13 am

admin says:

Yeah – me too! Some people use olive oil / cooking oil, which is cheaper and readily available, but turns rancid over time. I only know this because I met the MD of a chopping board company (a very niche meeting!) a few years back and he practically grabbed me by the shoulders and made me promise that I would never, ever abuse my boards in such a fashion. Kitchenware geeks rule!

– Miss T.

January 3, 2009 at 12:38 am

Chrissie B says:

‘Food grade mineral oil’ is liquid parafin – it’s much cheaper from your local chemist (pharmacist) – about £1.95 a 500ml bottle. I use it all the time for the chopping boards I make and sell.

December 5, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Tina says:

All the products on are foodsafe, odourless, colourless and tasteless, so perfect for all wooden boards.
These products are also nut free and vegan.
A perfect solution of any wooden butchers block, chopping board, cheese board, salad bowl and utensils…. no more nasty linseed, just beautiful conditioned wood.

January 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Andy says:

Ikea chopping board is not linseed oil but is in fact white mineral oil, the same or similar to liquid paraffin.

July 20, 2016 at 12:46 am

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