What You Need:
- Clean your board and line the crack with plastic
- Apply food-grade wood glue directly to fill the crack and allow to dry
- Remove plastic and sand away excess glue
- Clean and treat board with mineral oil
A great cutting board (or two) is an absolute must in any home kitchen. But if you don't properly treat your cutting board, it can develop a split that can trap food particles or moisture—and that's a recipe for disaster. Not only will expanding moisture continue to warp and split your cutting board, the bacteria can make you sick if it gets in your food.
Fixing a cutting board that's totally split in two will require a more serious intervention, but if you act quickly even a sizable crack can be fixed in just a day or two. Here's how to do it yourself.
1. Clean and prep your cutting board
The first thing you should do is clean your cutting board so you have a good surface to work with. If the crack is wide enough, you may also have food particles or something like flour stuck inside. Clean as much of this out as you can without making the crack worse.
While the glue we are using is rated safe for indirect food contact and is non-toxic, you still don't want a bunch of glue all over your cutting board. You can use plastic wrap to line both sides of the crack (just weigh it down with some butter knives or something).
2. Apply the wood glue to fill the crack
For this step it's essential that you use glue that has been rated for use on surfaces like cutting boards. We used Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue which can be found online and is widely recommended. The manufacturer claims it is even FDA approved for use on cutting boards.
This step can be a bit tricky (and messy). If you have a small plastic syringe (like the kind that comes with children's liquid ibuprofen) then you can use it to get the glue right into the crack.
In my case, the crack in my cutting board was a few inches deep and the glue tended to pool at the top. Gravity will draw most of the glue down into the crack so just give it some time to work and then wipe away the excess with a damp cloth. You may need to repeat until the crack is filled.
3. Pull away plastic and sand away the excess glue
Once the glue is good and dried (up to 24 hours is recommended) you can remove the plastic and clean off the excess glue. Use sandpaper to smooth the surface. You want the crack to be properly filled and covered, or else water will just get back in and could re-crack the board.
4. Use mineral oil to seal and protect your cutting board's surface
With your board (almost) good as new, protect it with some mineral oil. I used Howard BBB012 Cutting Board Oil, which I also purchased from Amazon. It works great, though you may want to follow the instructions for a first-time treatment to make sure it's properly protected.
Side note: it's recommended you stick to mineral oil for protecting a cutting board. Other oils you may have in your kitchen (like olive oil) can get trapped in the cracks and spoil, leaving a rancid flavor on your food and potentially causing even more problems.
Once you're finished, you should be left with a cutting board that performs as good as new. Be sure to regularly re-apply mineral oil according to the directions on the bottle to keep your board looking and performing great. To prevent future cracks, always clean your board after use and make sure you don't leave any standing water on or under the board.