• Author: Rachel Sabine

Here are a few super simple tips for giving your cherished Woodland Soul board some love so it can last a lifetime and beyond!

It’s surprisingly easy to look after your board and just a small amount of the right care will make all the difference. All you have to do is to keep your board clean and apply a food safe pure mineral oil or wax oil as needed. This will soak gently into the wood, protecting and nourishing it. It’s always really lovely to see the colour and grain of your wooden board glow in all its natural beauty.

Protecting & Nourishing Your Board

Food safe wax oil treatment for woodAt Woodland Soul we recommend a good quality wax oil to extend the life of your chopping board. This offers a longer lasting way to protect and nourish your board. It coats the surface with natural waxes and leaves a natural sheen finish.

We always use Brandon Bespoke. Brandon Bespoke specialise in food safe treatments made from the finest natural oils and waxes.  Their excellent quality is confirmed by the fantastic feedback on Amazon and Ebay. We also really like that they’re based close to us, just up the road near Basingstoke.

The food safe Brandon Bespoke Wax Oil Treatment is a blend of different oils with beeswax, carnauba and a wax oil in the blend. The beauty of this is that the oil soaks into the wood while the wax gives a lovely sheen. It’s great for your domestic board and requires minimum effort to apply. While we now use the Brandon Bespoke Pure Mineral Oil as this is nut free, wheat free and beeswax free so great for vegans, carnivores and everyone in between. You can buy pots and bottles of this fabulous stuff on our site BUY BOARD TREATMENT

Celebrating Wonderful Wood

Wood is a wonderful organic material and almost half the weight of freshly sawn wood is water. All the timbers that we source for our food boards undergo meticulous drying to carefully reduce the moisture content.

The process of air drying the timber depends on its thickness. For each inch of thickness the timber is dried for one year, plus one additional year. It is then kiln dried to reduce the moisture content to at least 12%. Wood is influenced by changing humidity and that’s why you want to share the love with your board and not subject it to excessive changes in temperature or moisture content.

Keeping Your Board Clean

Wood is naturally antibacterial and an ideal medium for food boards, as well as being heat resistant to hot pots and pans. 

Do

  • Clean your board by simply wiping down or scrubbing lightly (using a small amount of detergent if needed)
  • After washing, wipe dry and let your board air naturally in an area that is away from heat sources
  • Oil your board regularly with a natural food safe mineral oil or wax oil

Don’t

  • Don’t wash your board in the dishwasher
  • Don’t soak your board with water as this will cause it to wrap and/or crack
  • Don’t dry on or close to areas of heat sources such as radiators and ovens

There’s nothing better than preparing and presenting food on a good solid beautiful board made from a single piece of English wood.

If you would like to commission a handmade board or boards with your choice of edge, type of wood, selected dimensions and finish, contact Rachel directly via hello@woodlandsoul.co.uk

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When we’re out and about with our Woodland Soul boards, people often ask our advice when it comes to making the most of the wood from felling their own garden trees.

It’s always such a shame when a garden tree needs to come down but sometimes it’s necessary. It makes us really happy when we’re asked if it’s possible to save some of this beautiful wood – to make some memorable boards, instead of hauling it away or cutting it up for firewood. Seasoning your own timber to the point where it can be crafted takes time but it’s a great thing to do if you’re able to.

Wonderful Organic Material

At Woodland Soul we only use locally sourced, certified sustainable and kiln dried English timbers. All the timbers will have undergone meticulous drying to carefully reduce the moisture content. Wood is a wonderful organic material and almost half the weight of freshly sawn wood is water. The process of air drying the timber depends on its thickness. For each inch of thickness the timber is dried for one year, plus one additional year. It is then kiln dried to reduce the moisture content to at least 12% and cleanse the wood.

Turning Your Logs Into Lumber

When your tree is being felled you’ll need to cut your logs into planks at the same time. This can be done using a mobile sawmill. There are many different sawing methods and techniques to turn logs into lumber including plain sawing, live sawing, cant sawing, grade sawing, and quarter sawing. Today plain sawn is the most popular way of cutting logs as it is simple, fast, and can be used for most species of tree.

Plain sawn, also referred to as flat sawn or “through-and-through” yields the most useable wood with the least amount of waste. It gives waney-edges (with the bark left on) and distinctive patterns on the face of the board. The boards are cut in parallel, one after another, right through the pith of the log. The parallel cut through the log results in a face with ripples, large graphic ovals and U-shaped patterns, also referred to as “the cathedral effect.”

Seasoning Your Green Timber

Now it’s time to to season your timber. You’ll need to stack the green (unseasoned) timber and dry it over a period of at least two years depending on the girth of the original tree.

  • Air Drying

The traditional air drying method involves stacking the individual boards carefully, separated at precise intervals by softwood sticks; sealing the ends of the boards to slow down moisture loss; shading them from direct sun and rain; and leaving them otherwise exposed to the weather. You’ll then need to stack your timber somewhere that will offer further protection from extreme weather but still allow drying winds to flow between the boards. This could be in a professional storage facility or under cover in your garden.

At a professional timber yard, once the wood is stacked, they will periodically monitor the rate of drying – either with an electronic meter or by weighing a test board – until the wood reaches equilibrium moisture content (EMC). This is the point when the timber is as dry as it’s going to get out in the open air. It’s when the level of moisture in the wood goes up and down with the relative humidity of the air around it. You’ll need to air dry your timber to this point too.

  • Kiln Drying

To reach the lower moisture levels for cabinet and furniture makers the timber is then kiln dried. This will bring down the moisture level to ambient interior levels to prevent any further cracking and warping. It will also kill any bugs and insects. Both conditioning and kiln drying can take several weeks after the air drying is complete. If you can you should to do the same with your timber. Alternatively you can move the wood indoors to acclimatize gently, though it won’t be quite as effective as it isn’t such a controlled environment and won’t cleanse the wood.

A few years on from felling your tree and after all this loving care and attention, you will now have wood full of character and colour ready to be crafted into memorable boards and more!

If you’d like to commission a handmade board with your choice of edge, type of wood, selected dimensions and finish we’d love to hear from you. Contact Rachel directly via hello@woodlandsoul.co.uk

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