I prefer using natural materials that are easy to maintain. Woodcrafts develop more beauty and strength over time, and they will last with proper care.
Butcher block oil & mineral oil: typically the same thing, this is a petroleum-based product that can be harmful to yourself and others (and the fishes). Also, it never dries or cures, leaving your woods feeling constantly oily. Flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and natural wood finish (made with flaxseed oil and local beeswax) are great alternatives.
Wood has natural oils to protect it. Without the oils, the wood will feel “dry” and may begin to crack. Keep the oils in the wood, an it will stay happy. With time, you can learn to feel what the wood needs.
- Avoid washing away the oils
- Restore the oils by occasionally applying a light coat of cooking oil
- Or protect with a more durable natural wood finish
Proper care means avoid anything that removes oils from the wood: avoid strong cleaners, dishwashers, soaking in water, boiling water, and rainy weather. More exposure means the wood needs to be oiled more often.
Clean with a towel and water or light soap, without soaking the wood. It’s usually a good idea to lightly oil the surface after heavy scrubbing or using a strong dish soap.
Kitchenware is exposed to heat, water and soap, and the oils may need to be restored more often than other woodcrafts. Lightly wet the surface with a cooking oil or natural wood finish to the surface after washing, or whenever the wood feels dry. Sometimes this means more than one coat. The wood can become more durable with age and need oiling less often.
Restoring the finish is easy: Apply a coat of natural wood finish or similar oil & wax finish, wipe of excess, and allow a time to cure. Occasionally restore the finish if the surface gets scratched, faded or you just want it to feel like new again.