I have three maple boards, all with glued pieces of longitudinal grain, not end grain. One is 47, one is 34, and one is only a few (5?) years old. All have developed longitudinal cracks at the ends. All three boards now leak juices from whatever is on them, leaving a mess underneath. I have always kept them clean, dried them well, and used mineral oil on them regularly. I tried various glues and wood fillers to fill the cracks. None worked well. I assume my issues are not unique to me. Has anyone found a solution other than replacement? Do end grain boards have this issue as much? In restaurant kitchens I never saw this issue on end grain. Obviously these cracks provide a place for yucky stuff to fester. So I need to do something. For now I am just using a bleach solution.
Like juice flows from the top of the cutting board to the bottom? I am surprise. I won’t think any small crack will allow liquid to flow through like that. Or do you mean the liquid flowing over… that is different.
No, I have never seen leak like that from my three wood cutting boards. If you use glue and wood fillers to fill the gap, then where else can the flow comes from?
Thanks for their ages, but what are their names? I’m thinking they might be ready for retirement, but there may be solutions out there on YouTube or wherever.
I wouldn’t use glue on cutting boards. I have a beautiful end grain one; I wipe it and keep it dry, no cracks, had it about 10 years. I use Boos oil in the tube on it, leave overnight, wipe off any residue in the morning.
I think this is the one I have:
Reviews complained about too short rubber feet; I was going to get someone to replace them but it never happened. I just always keep it dried off.
I would say its time to let it go . Provided good use over the years
Maybe try some marine-grade epoxy filler from a boatbuilding supplier?
I’m no expert, but I didn’t see anything on that website that suggests their epoxies are food safe.
I’d pitch them and buy new ones.
Yes, I guess there may be issues with gnarly stuff leaking from the epoxy into the food chain? But people live for years surrounded by the stuff on fibreglass boats, and many water tanks are fibreglass too, so it’s unlikely to be much of a problem. I’d be happy with any risks.
My boards are 30+ years old, as far as I can remember. I’ve been lucky - one is a little warped (why I don’t know, I never subjected it to soaking), but the only one that has cracked (and it did so shortly after I bought it) is an end grain chopping board. I oil all of them when I think about it .
As someone who has done so, people who live on boats dont typically use the hulls as a food prep surface, and water tanks are coated with surfaces that are safe for water tanks.
Marine epoxy is nasty, nasty stuff and shouldn’t be anywhere near anything you want to put in your mouth.
It was flowing through. Yikes. At one end the cracks went through the board on all three!
I never named them. Great idea. I saw a guy walking three very large, bush, gorgeous German shepherds yesterday. I imagined him introducing them. “These are my dogs, A, D, and T.”
They are destined for replacement. Thanks for all the support for that conclusion. They have been the beginnings of thousands of good meals. Not bad value. I think the oldest was about $20. Over its long life the cost per use lessens the sting of letting it go.
Hi Tim. I’ve never had any of my end-grain board develop cracks but I have thinner (5/8 inch) longitudinal type boards get a crack near the end of the board. They’re irritating because if the juice gets near the crack, the crack acts like a great wicking fissure to suck the juice through and (as you mention) the juice ends up on the counter.
I repaired one with wood glue by first running a strip of sandpaper through it (like flossing your teeth) to clean/prep the surface, and using a very fine wire (like the windings on a small electric motor) to work the glue all the way down into the fissure. Used a pipe clamp to force the sides of the crack together as much as possible and it’s been holding.
But I also managed to introduce just a bit of a bow (about 1mm from edge to edge) that gives it some wobble. Since I generally chop with a folded towel under a board (to keep it from slipping across the granite) that’s not really a problem. But if I did it again, I’d brace both surfaces with pieces of wood when I clamped it to see if I could avoid the bowing.
I’ve also seen people do a countersink diagonal pilot drill hole and a small screw to pull a crack together.
This guy did a couple of applications of glue, using a small vacuum cleaner to pull the glue down into the crack and seemed happy with the result. No clamping, just basically a fill job.
Edit - this one might be a better example of getting the glue fulling into the crack. He then clamped.
You could always just snap the cutting board at the crack, clean up the edges, and re-glue the thing.
Hopefully you can give them a second chance at life as trivets or something? I just gave away 3 wood cutting boards away on FB Buy Nothing and people had all sorts of non cooking related ideas for using them - charcuterie anyone?
depending on the width and the exact crack pattern, it may be possible to cut them apart and re-glue. the will be a bit narrower than before.
I had a maple edge grain that cupped - cut it, squared the edged and re-glued.
used for many years thereafter.
if you have to pay someone to do the cutting/etc - it’ll be cheaper to buy a new edge grain board - quality end grain . . . new may perhaps not be cheaper.
JB Weld makes a waterweld product that can be used on potable water tanks.
Might be worth researching??
Bally Block Co. sells a urethane gel that will seal the wood (unlike oils or waxes). You’ll need to sand your boards to raw, and then a couple of liberal coats should seal any leaks.