I pulled out a pair of wooden candlesticks from the cabinet this morning, and wound up cleaning and oiling all my stained wood pieces. A big dough bowl, a square salad bowl, an amazingly shaped and grained salad bowl with two serving size bowls to match, a huge and gorgeous carved acacia wood bowl that's just damned art, two pairs of wooden candlesticks (there are more. I stopped myself from doing all of them), two small staved teak bowls, two staved paddle handled breadboards, an oak paddle handled breadboard, the Dansk carving board, a woven splint bowl from the 70s, a wooden brandy snifter-shaped ...I have no idea what the purpose is, but it's pretty, and two small sandwich boards. Oh, and my laminated teak tray.
The thing with oiling wood is that dry wood swells when it gets wet. Part of oiling it is to seal the pores so water doesn't get in and make the wood swell and crack. But if the wood's dry and you use too much oil, it still swells and can crack. The trick is to slather the oil on, wipe it down a *little* bit, so it's not dripping, and let it set for about an hour. Then go back and wipe it down again, removing the excess oil, leaving just a thin sheen of oil. Then depending how dry it was, after another hour or two, or the next day, polish it dry, and it should be fine for several months. All my pieces look so gorgeous now!
I still have to do my unstained raw cutting boards. I use mineral oil on everything. I made the mistake of using vegetable oil, and my raw wood mortar and pestle is still dark and ooky looking. I sanded it for *years* to finally get down to where the wood wasn't gummy and tacky from the veg oil. So, mineral oil only.
For cutting boards I have used bleach, sparingly, and I've sanded out dimples from the meat hammer--which I no longer use. The dimples look cool, though. "Mess with me and I'll do the same to you! Ha!"--and water rings. But what I do now is sprinkle coarse sea salt on the surface and scrub with a cut half of a lemon. It bleaches and disinfects, and is totally food safe. Once it's clean, you rinse it and pat it dry, then let it set for at least an hour to evaporate any water, and then rub it down with mineral oil. I like to use my fingers--the oil seems to penetrate the pores of the wood better from the warmth and texture of my fingertips (or palm, depending on the size of the board) than with a paper towel or other applicator. Anyway, I do both surfaces and the edges and then leave the board either leaning against the backsplash or upright in a dish drainer for an hour or two, then go back and wipe off any excess, and if the piece is small enough to fit in the sink, a quick dose of dish soap and water, rinse well, pat dry, let air dry so all surfaces have air, and you're good to go.
Ironically? OH does 99% of the cooking, and he uses plastic cutting boards. I insist on having my wooden ones (that I used when *I* ruled the kitchen) out where I can see them. I think they're pretty.
I...may have a thing for wood. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. Well, yeah, that kind of wood, too.