After 15 years of use, my 20"x14" cutting board looks tired.

wooden cutting board

Now that I'm looking to put in fresh kitchen countertops, I'm contemplating using the same kind of wood (do identify the type if you know) for a far larger area, but I know that its upkeep could become a hassle. Normally I'd say that after 20 years I'd be ready for another countertop anyway, and it'd be good if it lasts that much. The trouble is that I would hate it if it already looks tired after 4-5 years.

How do you maintain a wooden kitchen countertop? I have the impression that no amount of cleaning will keep it fresh enough. It may be necessary to shave off (with a planer? with a belt sander?) a thin layer every 3-5 years and oil (with a food safe product) the newly exposed wood. At that rate it would continue looking decent for 25 years, but then, just like a hardwood floor, would have reached the tail end of its lifetime. With this kind of care, would I be asking too much if I use the countertop as a gigantic cutting board?

1 Answer 1


No no no on the planer. Unless you can totally remove the top and send it through an industrial planer that can do it all at once, a planer is a terrible idea. It will just be full of ridges, you will have bad edges, and probably take off too much.

Normally I would hit something like this with 40 grit on an orbital sander - not belt - and then slowly work my way to 300-400 grit. Oil it a few times over the next two weeks, and you are good to go (have rehabbed many butcher block counters).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.