Why Is My Butcher Block Cutting Board Warping?

Why Is My Butcher Block Cutting Board Warping?

Is your cutting board warping? Properly maintaining, caring for, and storing cutting boards made of wood are the keys to prolonging their lives.

Sandra, the newest member of our team of customer care experts, recognized that warping cutting boards is a common concern from our customers.  In this blog, she will share her knowledge of the subject, answer common questions and address warping cutting board concerns you may have…

Cutting boards can be found in a wide variety of materials other than wood, like bamboo, glass, rubber, composite, and plastic. While each material has its pros and cons, we are partial to wood cutting boards because they have been proven, throughout time, to be an excellent choice for durability, functionality, anti-microbial efficacy, and of course, aesthetics. But wood does require a bit more tender loving care given it is natural… sourced from a living, breathing tree. Even after it is cut down, wood will still react to its environment; it will expand and contract to changes in temperature and humidity. Without proper TLC, butcher block can experience drying, cracking, and warping.

DRYING/CRACKING
If you allow your board to get excessively dry it can lead to splitting and cracking. It is of the utmost importance that you clean and oil your board regularly. An average user should moisturize their board monthly with mineral oil to prevent excessive dryness. If your butcher block undergoes frequent/heavy use, you should oil it every two weeks. Also, it is just as important to NOT over oil your board! Excessive oiling will over-saturate the wood, causing a breakdown of the fibers and construction. We recommend John Boos Mystery Oil.

mineral oil
WARPING

Warping of wood is a result of a moisture imbalance between the top and bottom surfaces. There are 3 common causes of warping in butcher block cutting boards:

  1. Inadequate oiling – The most common cause of cutting board warping is from oiling one surface of the cutting board, and neglecting the rest of the board. You must oil all six sides of the board to prevent warping.
  2. Insufficient drying – Another common cause of cutting board warping is insufficient drying after cleansing. After scraping, washing and rinsing, you must towel-dry the cutting board and set it on its edge to air dry. This will allow air flow around the entire board. Never submerge a cutting board in water or put in the dishwasher.
  3. Improper storing – Where and how you store your wood cutting boards can have an impact on warping. While a cutting board made of plastic, glass, or composite can be stored lying flat in a drawer, cabinet or countertop without worry, this is not true for wood cutting boards. The best way to store a wood cutting board is on its edge and never in direct sunlight. When left on a cold, stone countertop, the wood is not allowed to breathe and a moisture imbalance can occur. If you love the beauty of your cutting board and want to show it off in your kitchen, you can safely display it flat on the countertop… with a little added help. You just need to make sure you store it in a way that will still promote air flow to the bottom surface. You can choose to add rubber feet/pads to each of the bottom corners; or for a reversible board, you can place it on top of a mesh rubber mat that will lift it up off the counter to allow air circulation.
cutting board storage

REMEDY FOR WARPING BOARDS
If you have a warped cutting board, it may not be too late to attempt to remedy the warp. The concave side (inward curving surface) is the dry side, and the convex side (hump side) is the side that has more moisture. The key is to moisturize the dry side while leaving the opposite side exposed to air.
Step 1: Generously oil the concave side of the board with mineral oil.
Step 2: Tape plastic on the entire concave side to lock in moisture, using something like dry cleaning bags or plastic food wrap.
Step 3: On a flat surface (preferably not cold granite or concrete), flip the board over so the concave surface faces down. Place a cookie sheet on top of the hump, then place some weight on the cookie sheet (try a bag of sugar or flour, not to exceed 5 lbs).
Step 4: Let it set for about 1 week to allow the board to slowly correct itself.
Step 5: Unwrap, lightly oil the entire board, wipe dry, and store on edge.

cutting board warping explained

Love your butcher block cutting board. For more ways to show you care, visit our Help Center for Butcher Block Care & Repair Tips, FAQs, Guides and more.

Antimicrobial Efficacy of Oiled John Boos Cutting Boards Is Validated

Antimicrobial Efficacy of Oiled John Boos Cutting Boards Is Validated

Scientific Research Has Substantiated the Antimicrobial Efficacy of John Boos Wood Cutting Boards Protected with Boos Mystery Oil and Boos Block® Board Cream.

John Boos & Co., with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in the Central Illinois town of Effingham, dates back to 1887. That’s when founder Conrad Boos carved his first wooden block from a Sycamore tree for use as a blacksmith’s sturdy work table. Recognizing that meat butchers too had need for rugged chopping tables, Boos’ son John expanded the family’s product line. Today, Boos’ ubiquitous butcher blocks and wooden cutting boards are trusted by professional and celebrity chefs and preferred by aspiring gourmets because of their design, craftsmanship, beauty, and functionality.

But there’s another reason for pros and amateurs alike to flock to Boos cutting boards: their antimicrobial properties. This characteristic of properly oiled Boos Rock Maple cutting boards was assessed by Professor Nenad Miljkovic of the University of Illinois and his team of researchers who are experts in the areas of nanoengineered surfaces and coating technologies.

Miljkovic and his team studied NSF-approved Boos cutting boards made of U.S. Northern Hard Rock Maple. NSF is an independent evaluative and testing organization that assesses the raw materials a manufacturer uses, plus its manufacturing processes and practices. The NSF designation signals that the product that carries it meets recognized food service industry standards designed to promote public health.

The key finding of the university’s research team was that once a Boos NSF-certified maple cutting board used to carve meat was then coated with Boos Block Board Cream and Boos Mystery Oil, the level of bacteria on its surface was reduced to “a ‘clean level’ in just three hours.”

The researchers determined that application of the two moisturizing substances created a hydrophobic, or water-resisting, barrier on the boards that made it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the wood.

Furthermore, they concluded that Boos Mystery Oil helped any meat juice remaining on the surface of the board be absorbed into the fibers of the wood, where naturally occurring enzymes found in Northern Hard Rock Maple killed off any remaining bacteria. 

Professor Miljkovic stated that, “Prior to this project, we believed the function of cutting board oil was simply to prevent drying of the wood, but our research showed that it actually enables microbes to absorb into the wood grain, which contain antimicrobial enzymes that kill bacteria. We found that USA grown Northern Hard Rock Maple, used by John Boos & Co. to create cutting boards, was the most effective species of hardwood that contained these antimicrobial enzymes, which kill bacteria.”

For more information, please visit https://butcherblockco.com, a leading online dealer of John Boos products.

Mineral Oil Applicator Makes It Easy to Care For Your Butcher Block

Mineral Oil Applicator Makes It Easy to Care For Your Butcher Block

Our customers love their butcher blocks. Many folks invest a great deal of money in their cutting board, butcher block table, or countertop, so it goes without saying that they will want to protect their investment with proper butcher block care. And proper care means oiling your natural finish butcher block once a month!

Butcher block is a natural, “living” product that responds to the environment around it. It will lose moisture through repeated use, washings and simple evaporation. On top of that, temperature and humidity fluctuations brought about by seasonal weather changes can increase the risk for an untreated butcher block to dry out and possibly crack!  Don’t let that happen. Here is what you need to do:  Watch our short video – How To Care For Your Butcher Block

An especially effective maintenance regimen involves the use of both block oil and board cream using an easy-to-use mineral oil applicator:

  • MOISTURIZE butcher block with a food-grade mineral oil once a month to keep it from drying and cracking. We recommend you first apply a coat of John Boos Mystery Oil . This mineral oil based product will penetrate deep into the block, moisturizing the wood.
  • PROTECT butcher block by applying a beeswax board cream to lock in the moisture and provide a protective barrier. After the mineral oil application, apply John Boos Beeswax Board Cream to lock in the moisture and leave a silky, wax barrier on the surface of the wood.

This one-two punch, using both oil and cream, is an especially effective maintenance regimen.

Now, it is even easier than ever to extend the beauty and life of any butcher block with this no-mess mineral oil applicator. Use it to apply both block oil and cream to your butcher block every 4 weeks.Mineral Oil Applicator

Visit our Butcher Block Co. Help Center for more information on care and repair of butcher block.