Hydrate Your Knife Handle and Wooden Cutting Board
As winter sets in, especially for those enduring the harsh Nordic Canadian weather, it's crucial to give special attention to your kitchen tools. In particular, the wooden handles of your knives and cutting boards can suffer from the effects of dry indoor heating. To safeguard against issues like loose handles and cracking boards, consider the benefits of hydrating them with a combination of bee's wax and a quality wood conditioner.
In this blog post, we'll delve into the importance of proper care for your kitchen essentials and guide you through the process of maintaining them for years to come.
Understanding the Challenge
Among other periods of the year, winter, in particular, poses unique challenges to kitchen tools, especially in regions with cold, dry climates. Apart from acidic foods, washing, and the wear and tear on your hands that impact wooden handles throughout the year, the combination of low humidity and indoor heating can expedite the drying out of wooden products, leading to issues with knife handles and cutting boards.
Without proper care, handles can become loose, and wooden boards may crack and warp.
The Solution: Bee's Wax and Wood Conditioner
Bee's Wax Benefits
Bee's wax serves as an excellent natural sealant for wooden surfaces. It creates a protective layer that helps retain moisture, preventing the wood from becoming overly dry and susceptible to damage.
Below is an example on a cutting board. The left side of an end-grain wood cutting board was washed several times before being waxed on the right side only. We can immediately see how the wood revived its shine creating a nice and healthy cutting surface.
Here is another before-and-after comparison, but this time on the handle of a knife with a wooden grip.
Choosing the Right Wood Conditioner
Choosing a premium wood conditioner is paramount. Opt for products that are not only food-safe but also tailored for kitchen items. Many conditioners incorporate a combination of natural oils, enriching the wood, and promoting durability and resilience.
Additionally, they may include beeswax in that same blend to effectively seal the surface. However, it's worth noting that these components can also be found separately, with oils often in liquid form and waxes in a more solid paste.
Step-by-Step Guide to Hydration
Clean The Surface: Ensure your knives and cutting boards are pristine by removing any food residue. Some may even opt to lightly sand the surface.
Apply Wood Conditioner: Apply the wood conditioner liberally, allowing it to penetrate the wood for the recommended time specified on the product.
Apply Bee's Wax: Using a soft cloth or your bare hands, evenly apply a thin layer of bee's wax to the wooden surfaces, paying special attention to joints and crevices.
Buff and Polish: After the treatment has been absorbed, gently buff the surfaces with a clean cloth to remove any excess wax or conditioner. This step not only enhances the appearance but also smoothens the surfaces for a better feel during use.
Similar to the Alveoil Conditioner sold at Kakushin, some conditioners come in a 2-in-1 solution, which would merge steps 2 and 3.
Wood care for your kitchen knives and cutting boards is a small investment that pays off in the long run. With the right treatment using bee's wax and conditioner, you can enjoy the beauty and functionality of your tools even in the harshest weather conditions.