I bought a new 1.5 inch wooden chopping board around a month ago. I have been trying to take good care of it: I never submerse it, clean it with a cloth, applied mineral oil when I bought it.

However it still has some slight warping. Is this normal no matter what you do? The warping is very minimal, only around 1mm, but it still makes it rock when on the convex side

Is that normal and should I be doing more/less to keep it in perfect condition?

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  • 4
    One trick I learned working in kitchens is to take a damp washcloth and lay it out flat under the cutting board and press the board down on it. This will help keep the board from slipping and also help stop rocking and spinning due to curvature.
    – JimmyJames
    Apr 27, 2021 at 18:21
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    And if you do this on the concave side (for not too long), it might eventually even lead to warping back. Apr 27, 2021 at 18:24

4 Answers 4


Wood is always working. Even if you plane a board and leave it in a room overnight, it might warp. There's really no way you can avoid that in principle after a piece has been finished. (Now, this particular board should do a bit better than sawn wood, since it is glued, although it does not seem as if special care has been taken to orient the growth directions alternatingly, which is what you should do in such a case. An even better solution would be to put orthogonal strips onto the end-grain with a tongue and groove.)

Anyway, that's likely not really bad in your situation. Since the wood is always working, it doesn't have to stay that way: maybe it's just wet now and will warp back in a couple of hours or days. In my experience, you can sometimes speed up things by trying to dry the piece evenly (for example, by leaving it in some dry place with a gap underneath to let the air through), re-wetting it on one side, and letting it dry again. And when you have a board for some time, you'll know how it reacts.

The oiling is a good idea for the surface but does not help very much with warping. What does help is to keep moisture always even: when you wash or wipe the board: do so on both sides. When you dry it: keep moisture and temperature the same on both sides (e.g., avoid standing it up next to your oven or something like that). That means you can submerse it (and should even do so, to wash it) -- just don't let it stand in water, and wash it from all sides equally. Avoid drying in an oven or other drastic temperature changes.

One thing you really want to watch out for, though, is splitting between the individual strips, which can happen due to the stress of repeated warping. In that case, there's little left you can do (save shortening the board). A split is not technically problematic (the whole thing will still be stable), but the groove can collect nasty stuff (still OK for cutting bread, though). Quality boards, specifically made for kitchen use, will be less prone to this, though.

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    My brain got tied in a knot over "plane a board", I usually see those words in a different order "board a plane". Thought maybe you were talking about differences in air pressure warping your cutting board - which I guess is probably a thing, but how many people take their cutting boards with them on a flight? Apr 27, 2021 at 19:08
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    Planing a board uses a plane (a carpenter's tool for cutting the surface of a board) to make it flat.
    – NomadMaker
    Apr 27, 2021 at 20:49
  • Yup, carpentry, not air pressure :D This particular piece will be quite hard for hand planing, but in case you know someone with a thickness planing machine, go for it. Apr 28, 2021 at 10:06
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    I use a card scraper to flatten and smooth my cutting boards, it even works on plastic ones. Whenever I try to hand plane a wood cutting board it eventually catches on the grain somewhere and gouges the wood.
    – Netduke
    May 3, 2021 at 18:59

Wood is a natural material and it "works". This warping means that the wood was not properly aged before the board was made, and as it continued drying out in your kitchen, different parts dried to a different volume due to its internal structure. This kind of warping should slow its progress and even stop with age, if you don't expose the wood to rapid changes in humidity (steam is especially bad).

1 mm is relatively easy to sand out, especially on something as small as a cutting board. If you do it, you will prevent the annoying rocking.

  • 1
    1 mm on both sides of a beech board, if you want to get back a flat surface, can actually be much more annoying than one thinks... especially if it likely warps back again. Apr 27, 2021 at 10:45
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    @phipsgabler It will be sufficient to sand the bottom only, there is no rocking from the warped top, and it will get concave with use anyway. I was even going to suggest to simply flip the board, but this kind of board usually has a draining channel on top. I don't expect to see warping back, in my experience a wooden glued board is much more likely to continue warping in the same direction, and that warping to reduce with age. For perfect results, the board can be left undisturbed to age for a year or two and then planed/sanded, but not many people would want to do that.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 27, 2021 at 10:59
  • True that. I was probably too much in perfectionist carpentry mode. Apr 27, 2021 at 18:25

Buy good quality boards (I believe end grain chopping boards are meant to warp less). If you wet one side (eg washing the board), wet the other equally. Stand the board on its edge to dry. These three things have mostly stopped mine from warping.

If they do warp, my normal approach is to get both sides pretty wet, put the board on a flat surface, put something very flat that doesn't bend (and isn't wood) on top and covers the entire area, then put the heaviest thing you can find on top of that, and leave it overnight.

  • 1
    That's really interesting to hear the solution is not keeping water away as much as possible, but keeping it even
    – Tom
    Apr 28, 2021 at 10:54

For me the issues of wood-warping are most frequent concerning wooden doors. Even when they never get wet, the temperature changes of the air is enough to make a previously "well-installed" door stop before it enters the door frame.

Wood warping happens when the moisture content of different sections the wood changes unevenly, like when one part of the wood dries faster than another. Yes, more often then not there is a moisture percentage in your household wooden appliances, either from the start or from absorbing it from the air.

Since you have no control of the moisture content of your cutting board, I would recommend you simply warp it back to its original state, via placing it on a flat surface and placing some weights evenly among the warped edges.

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