Why Do Wooden Cutting Boards Bend? (Quick Answer)

Wooden chopping boards are long lasting and great quality that can last a lifetime if well cared for. So really a great investment as most items today are throw away.

Here Is How Wooden Cutting Boards Do Bend:

Chopping boards bend due to water or moisture. This is normally caused by soaking your board or the dishwasher, and as the boards surface dries up it will shrink. This is what causes the bending of the board.

We are going to discuss in the article thoroughly why and how cutting boards bend, how you can prevent a boards from warping, how you can flatten it out (if it has already happened to you), and discuss using planners. Thanks for reading.

Why Do Wooden Cutting Boards Bend?

The simple answer to what leads the cutting board to bend is water or moisture; it swells the boards.

Usually, when you let your wooden cutting board dry, the board surface as it dries up will shrink. Conversely, when you lay wet products on your dry cutting board or when cleaning it soaks up water, it will expand.

This drying and soaking up water causes contraction and expansion to your board, leading to cupping. The water that the board absorbs causes your board to swell. When you put it to dry, the drying process will be uneven as the absorbed water does evaporate slowly on your chopping board.

As the board tightens up when the water is evaporating, it will be experiencing two different forces that entire time. The static side of the board and the drying force will conflict. This conflict that is happening is what leads to warping on your board.

How Do You Stop A Cutting Board From Warping?

You can use several methods to stop your cutting board from warping, such as:

(I)Water and Pressure: Under this method, you need to take your wooden cutting board and place it in a bucket containing hot water. Let the board soak that water all the way through for some hours. If your board is too thick, you may leave it in the water to sit overnight.

Once your board is soaked through, remove it and place it on a flat area and place some flat objects above it and add some heavy things on top of it to press it.

The heavier the materials you will find, the better. For instance, you can use some heavy books or a cooler filled with water. Wood clamps can also assist you greatly.

This entire process is done to warp your wooden cutting board back into place. You will expand your board fibers with water and then wait for the board to dry out.

It requires patience for your board to completely dry up before removing the weight load on top of it. It may take 22 to 3 days to be complete. Alternatively, you can speed up the drying process by pointing a fan to the board. The aim is to confirm that your board fibres are back to their original flat shape once it dries up.

(II)Heat and Moisture: This method is suitable for a one or less thick board and warped just a little bit. Be warned that using this method can potentially lead to your board developing some crack, depending on how severe the warping might have taken place.

First, find a wet kitchen towel and get your clothes ironed. Place your wooden cutting board on a hard flat surface with the warped side of the wood facing up.

Once you have done this, place your wet towel over the board and then turn on your iron box. Once it has become hot, start ironing your cutting board the same way you would do to your wrinkled set of clothes using your steam button the entire time.

As you perform this task, place your elbow into it. During this process, whatever will be at work is a combination of pressure, moisture, and heat to help the wood bend and be back to its original shape.

The pressure and heat help force the wood fibres to be back in place-moisture aid in making the wood to be malleable.

(III)The Steam method: The principle of this method is to help your warped cutting board so that the wood fibers expand and flatten your board back to its original flat shape. First, you need to place a tall pot and fill it almost to 1/3 level with water on the stove.

Secondly, place a colander inside the pot and place your cutting board to rest over the colander with the concave side facing up.

Then begin to bring the water inside to a simmer until you finally see steam coming up and holding. If you are lucky, the heat and moisture produced from the steam will cause your cutting board to flatten out once the fibres expand out.

This process may take 1to 2 hours. Note that steaming gong on has a high chance of making your wooden board crack as the wood begins to expand.

Therefore, if you are going to use this method on a butcher block or an end grain board, ensure that you use a low simmer and raise your board as high as possible to avoid damages to them.

These methods may help you in one way or another. The best fix is prevention. Apply a good amount of mineral oil on your wooden cutting board’s entire surface and place it somewhere to soak overnight.

This will help your board to become moisture resistant. Further, it will keep your board more lubricated to prevent warping and drying out.

Avoid washing your chopping board. This is the best method to prevent warping, keep your board far from boiling water. This is because heat to be more flexible.

Extreme temperature in the dishwasher is ideal for causing distortion. Use lukewarm water if it’s a must to clean the board.

How Do You Flatten A Cutting Board?

Here are the top 3 solutions to help you straighten out your bent wooden cutting board.

(I)Flip your Board: Most warping on your wood will be caused by excess water that drains when it settles on the surface.

If your board is beginning to warp, the easiest step to follow is to flip it over the other side and ensure that the bottom side gets the same exposure as the top side. It may take time, but the board will eventually even out. Once this happens, ensure that you turn your boar daily or weekly or each time you use it.

(II) Soak the board: Soaking the board is a technology solution you can use to fix a board that is more pronounced to have a bend. It may take less time than the flipping method to straighten your warped board.

Fill a container that can hold your board with hot water and leave the board to soak inside for a few hours or overnight. Once you take the board out, please leave it to dry on a solid surface.

After drying it with a dishcloth, add some weight on top of it. The wood fibres will straighten up once they become malleable.

(III)Full Steam: This method is risky as it can cause a crack to your board if not done correctly, but it is a more drastic option to try.

Place water almost half on a tall pot, and then place a stream basket, a colander, or a frying pan on top of your board. When the water begins to boil and remove steam, place your board on the steamer with the curved side facing down.

The steam action will help even out the board’s fibres, straightening them out again.

Can You Use A Hand Planer On A Cutting Board?

Yes, you can use a hand planer; it will deliver what you want on your cutting board.

A hand planer will help you to remove the roughly dimensional stock on your chopping board or take off the rough exterior before you finally move to flatten and complete the smoothing process using a smoothing plane.

Some people prefer hand planers as longer smoothers on the cutting board. If you have a number 5, it will help you immensely.

For a hand planer to work best on your wooden cutting board, ensure that it has sharp and new blades. Use sacrificial anti-tear pieces on each side of the cutting board.

The planer should not pass more than an eighth of an inch on the board. Then use glue runners after completing the planer work on the sides of the cutting board to prevent sniping and for safety.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have A Planer?

When you don’t have a planer, you do not have to despair. Several alternative ways will help you get the result you need.

(I)Use a table saw: If you have a large board to the plane, using a table saw would be ideal and ensure the blades are placed correctly and adjusted well to avoid flaws. Also, move the board smoothly against the saw.

(II)Find sandpaper: Get a better grip on your wooden board with good old sandpaper. You can also purchase rubber sanding blocks to help, use them to work toward the direction of the grain.

(III)Use a Rooter: Before using a router, please construct a jig where your wood will be passing the router at the right point. The jig in this place is a wooden frame made in the right size to help you hold your board securely.

You will be placing your board in a good position and then pushing the jig until it passes the router so that you may cut the faces of your board. Ensure that you work on your board in the direction of the wood grain.

(IV)Wide Belt or Drum Sander: Wide belt and drum sanders work similarly to power planers. The only difference is they use sandpaper instead of knives.

You can use your wooden board for planning to get a fine finish. However, it would help if you would be patient as it would take longer to get your wood to the required depth.

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