Cutting board finish

Is there any way to add color to a maple cutting board? January 16, 2002

I made a large maple cutting board, which my customer wants to have a silvery-gray driftwood appearance. We were planning to use mineral oil--can this be tinted safely?

Forum Responses
If the cutting board is to be used for food, it has to have a finish that is not toxic. When I worked for a custom cabinet manufacturer, we used something called "salad bowl" finish on our cutting boards. If the customer is going to use it for something other than food, then toxic products will work, but I recommend a disclaimer of some kind, for the "just in case".

Boos Brothers, the makers of butcher block tops, has an oil/wax finish available. It works great.

Just a thought: Ferrous sulfate will give you a silvery grey color and after chemically treating the wood, you could wash it down completely with water a couple of times to remove any residue and then use your mineral oil. I would of course do a sample first. If the maple doesn't turn grey enough, treat with a mild tannic aid solution before the ferrous sulfate. Any chemical supply should be able to sell you a 1 lb. bottle--it's pretty cheap.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I have been told you can use a combination of baking soda and water paste. Wet the board with water, cover the board with the paste, wait a day, then rinse with water. This is a food safe, basic kitchen product. The reaction will be a grayed/worn look. Go ahead and finish the board with mineral oil, and reapply the mineral oil periodically, to keep it from cracking and spliting.

Comment from contributor M:
You can make your own oil/wax. A great solution is 10 parts Mineral Oil to 1 part Paraffin Wax. Gently warm it (like in a pan of hot water) until the wax melts and thatís it. The penetration of the oil and the shine of the wax works very well.