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I should have paid more attention but after regular washing of top surface, my half-inch-thick board is rocking like a cradle.

Not practical flipped over as it has a counter lip.

Tried keeping backside moist over 24hrs but no noticeable affect.

Wet grass and sunshine here:http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=573448 doesn't sound very practical.

Any indoor solutions?

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I assume the board is solid wood, and not bamboo? Have you tried weights on the sides overnight? –  unicron Jan 10 '13 at 19:20
    
no grass that's not dog soiled from neighbors nor any decent sunshine for above method. no dishwasher for steaming. will try pot steaming and weights –  Pat Sommer Jan 12 '13 at 5:50
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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Not much you can do about a warped wooden cutting board to be honest apart from either chuck it out or live with its warpedness! I do sympathise, I have a warped one too!

In future (I'm going to heed my own advice) use food grade wood oil on the wooden cutting board, this goes a long way to stopping it from warping, protecting the surface and making it easy to clean.

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It might not be worth the work and the steam method won't always work but you can always sand it flat. I totally agree about oiling your cutting board though. I re-oil mine whenever they stop looking wet. –  Sobachatina Jan 10 '13 at 21:45
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@Sobachatina You can certainly sand minor and small warping, but the thinner ones can warp quite a lot - beyond any sanding redemption! Prevention is better than cure they say, far better off oiling it from the beginning! –  spiceyokooko Jan 11 '13 at 0:48
    
I always use food-grade mineral oil from the pharmacy for this, and oil monthly. It's the same stuff that kitchen supply companies try to sell you for 10x the price. –  Andrew Mao Jan 11 '13 at 1:19
    
I love the mineral oil idea. I use linseed oil, but put my meat board through the dishwasher, and the dishwasher stinks fishy afterwards. Will try to find mineral oil. –  rumtscho Jan 11 '13 at 13:12
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Impractical? I think the wet grass + sun idea sounds fantastic!

I see two options here-

  • Wood is shaped with the application of moisture and heat. Run it through some steam in the dishwasher and while it is still piping hot clamp it tightly between rigid boards to dry. This method works with all kind of wood shaping but you should know that there is always the risk that the stress will cause the board to crack while it dries.

    For descriptions of this technique google "wood steam bending". Most results will describe using a specialized steaming chamber rather than a dishwasher but the technique is the same.

  • The other method is mechanical: use a belt sander or planer to remove the convex material. Less risk but more work.

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Chances are good that the wood was not properly seasoned before it was turned into a cutting board. The 2nd option is probably more realistic. –  baka Jan 10 '13 at 22:39
    
guilty as charged. next time I'll know better. –  Pat Sommer Jan 12 '13 at 5:47
    
good info above but after a couple pot steams and weighting, improvement not noticeable, rats. An ounce of prevention... –  Pat Sommer Jan 14 '13 at 16:05
    
That is a shame. Sorry to hear it. –  Sobachatina Jan 14 '13 at 16:19
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I had the same problem with a new board. Once warped, I saturated it on both sides with mineral oil, convex side was facing my counter, placed wax paper over that to give a semi-porous barrier, then plastic wrap on the top, and layered books on it. Then left it on a flat surface and it amazingly flattened out. I now store it completely flat and it has been fine.

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Find a friend who has a wood shop, and have them plane it down. If you love the board, it's about the only way I personally can think of to getting it perfectly flat again.

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I had one that was warped pretty bad. It eventually righted itself by laying it 'flat' with the convex side up over a pot after soaking/washing it thoroughly, this allowed it to dry more evenly with air flowing underneath and it knew what to do.

  • I did not use direct heat, but it was there for a couple days next to the other 3 burners
  • I did not use any weights
  • I did not steam
  • the pot was completely empty the whole time, with nothing in it but cycling air.
  • The board did not cover the pot completely, allowing air to circulate around it.
  • I repeated this process a couple times to get it ~96.2% back to it's original 'flatness'

If you have electric burners (coils) (probably easier/safer than gas for this purpose) then there are many less than safe, supervision required, ways to accelerate the process mine went through. Of course you could also rig something in the oven. Note that accelerating the process could also cause it to warp more. Clearly this phenomenon was not well documented, but I wanted to let people know it's possible.

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What do you mean "flat over a pot". Did you put weights on the board and turn on heat under a pot full of water so that the board was steamed? Or did you just weight a wet board? Or did you use no weights at all? I can imagine that you struck a method which works, but your explanation makes it hard to understand what it was that you did. –  rumtscho May 16 '13 at 7:58
    
@rumtscho Updated, thanks for pointing out its weakness to begin with, hope it's a good reference now! Lemme know what you think! –  NOTjust -- user4304 May 16 '13 at 14:47
    
Continued use of this cutting board, and experimentation, I believe I have identified that the convex side should be facing up (the top side that is), I have updated my answer appropriately. –  NOTjust -- user4304 May 31 '13 at 17:17
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I have accidentally warped many of my own cutting boards. I put the cutting board over a steaming pot, with the bent out part sticking in towards the pot. It reheats the board and the board starts warping in the opposite direction. I take it off when it's straight. Works every time.

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