Wood cutting boards will last for years if you invest a little time into maintaining and protecting the wood.
Some people ask, why use a wood cutting board rather than a less expensive plastic one? Two reasons: Plastic boards dull knives much faster, and there's no way to repair a plastic board once it's been scarred by a knife.
Wood, of course, dries out. Knife marks become glaringly obvious. Our main cutting board, made from mesquite, sees a lot of action. Exhibit A:
We try to eat at home at least five nights a week, so there's a lot of chopping and dicing going on in the kitchen. Taco salad for dinner, parfaits for breakfast...we could go on. We restore the board once a month using these three easy steps.
First, make sure the board is clean and completely dry. Grab a medium grit sanding pad and sand the board until the knife marks fade. Then, if desired, finish with a fine grit pad until the board is smooth.
Next, wipe down the board with a dry rag to get rid of any lingering dust. Do not use a wet rag; water should not touch the board before it's re-sealed.
The final step is to apply cutting board wax and buff to the desired finish. You can use a special applicator like the one in the picture below, but a thin dishrag works just as well. Let the wax soak in for at least an hour.
We pre-treat the cutting boards and serving trays we sell in our shop with cutting board mineral oil and wax so the boards are sealed and ready for customers to use immediately.
The wax and oil mixtures we use to treat our boards are food-safe, non-toxic and all-natural. Plus, the orange and lemon oils smell delicious. But any good brand of cutting board reconditioner will work, too.
Here's the final result:
The wax really brings out the natural reddish tones in mesquite. Here's a look at the before and after.
One final tip: When finished using a cutting board, don't submerge it in water or put it in the dishwasher. Extended exposure to water can cause the board to warp and crack. To clean after use with non-raw meat foods, simply wipe it down with a dishrag dipped in warm, soapy water and dry it thoroughly.