How To Seal A Cutting Board -Choosing The Best Sealants For Your Cutting Boards

Knowing how to seal a cutting board is essential to prolong its lifespan. Sealing your cutting board protects it from moisture loss/gain- possibly leading to cracking or warping.

It also protects your board from microorganisms- which cause food contamination and spoilage.

There are different sealants, and choosing the perfect finish for your cutting board improves its utility and aesthetics. This article will give you insights into the types of adhesives available and how to seal your cutting board.

General Finishes For Sealing Wood-burning Projects

Wood burning is becoming increasingly popular with furniture, whittling, signs, artwork, and kitchenware. Wood burning helps get the most out of your projects.

Finishes increase the durability and outlook of your work. Here are some finishes for sealing wood-burning projects:

Spar Urethane

Spar Urethane is a tough, durable, and water-resistant finish. UV protection makes it ideal for outdoor wood/ furniture and signs.

To apply;

  • Use a light coat over the surface and let it dry for 3-4 hours.
  • Lightly sand the wood and reapply coat, then leave to dry for 3-4 hours.
  • Repeat the process.
  • Ensure the project dries for at least 24 hours after the last coat before taking it outdoors. This finish gives a yellow tint to the wood. Spar Urethane also has a pungent smell, so ensure it is in a well-ventilated room during application.


Polycrylic is one of the best finishes for sealing wood. It ranges from matte to glossy finishes. Polycrylic provides a tough (plastic-like) and water-resistant finish.

It works best for indoor items. However, it is not food-safe, so not recommended for kitchenware.

Like Spar Urethane, polyacrylic must be coated in layers with drying time between each coat. An upside is that it has no strong odor and doesn’t tint wood yellow.


Polyurethane is a durable, water-resistant option for wood-burning projects. It comes in two forms: water-based and oil-based.

It is ideal for furniture and other wood pieces that require frequent handling.

The water-based polyurethane has less odor and lower drying time. However, it melts in the heat, which is unsuitable for kitchenware.

Apply each coat (3 coats) within 3-4 hours of drying, and sand wood after each layer for easy application.


Resin provides a better glossy, professional, and thicker coat than finishes. It protects the wood against moisture and scratches and makes it more durable. Polishes are ideal for wooden materials that undergo regular use.

Before applying resin, remove residues like grease, oil, or wax from the wooden surface. Resins adhere to rough surfaces better, so wood should not be smoothly sanded.

Furniture Wax

Furniture Wax provides a smooth matte finish to furniture. The Furniture wax is less durable than other finishes.

There are better choices for outdoor furniture- it offers no protection from UV rays. Reapply furniture wax occasionally to ensure the wood piece’s longevity, especially for furniture in regular use.

Danish oil

Danish oil is a thin and varnish mixture that can shield wood against stains and chemical deterioration.

The Danish oil gives the wood a rich, glossy polish, enhancing its inherent beauty. It provides more protection compared to a simple oil coat.

To apply:

  • Sand the wood surface to a smooth feel.
  • Apply a thin coat of oil over the surface using a lint-free cloth or brush. Apply more oil to places that have absorbed it.
  • Let the oil soak the wood for about 20 minutes, then wipe off excesses.
  • Allow the oil to dry for up to 24 hours before applying another coating layer. However, Danish oils are unsafe for kitchenware because of their poor heat resistance.

Clear Spray Paint

Spray paint cans

Spray paint cans

Clear spray paint finish ranges from a lackluster to a glossy texture. It is easy to apply and does not give off a yellow hue on the wood. However, it doesn’t provide UV protection.

When applying, start spraying before the project and end after the project to avoid paint pooling. It is crucial to ensure each coat dries before applying another.

Wood Deck Sealer

This type of finish is used mainly for outdoor projects because it is waterproof and offers UV protection. Wood deck sealer ranges from matte to glossy finish. It is essential to reseal woodwork yearly for long-lasting protection.

Spar Varnish

Carpenter spraying varnish on the table

Carpenter spraying varnish on the table

Spar varnish, just like the wood deck sealer, is used mainly for outdoor projects. It protects wood surfaces from wear and tear, moisture, and UV deterioration.

To apply, clean the surface of dust or grease, then brush or spray the varnish layer by layer. Like other varnishes, allow each coat to dry before applying another.

Types Of Wood Sealant Oils

Wood sealant oils serve as beautiful, water-repellent finishes. They are deep-penetrating and replace the wood’s inherent oils.

Below are some types of wood sealants oils:

Linseed Oil

The Linseed oil

The Linseed oil

Linseed oil is one of the best choices for wood sealant. Linseed oil is highly waterproof and gives off a glossy finish. This quality makes it a good choice for cutting boards that will undergo frequent washing.

  • Tung Oil

Tung oil is a drying oil that is waterproof and preserves wood. Tung oil, once cured, can be used on cutting boards because it is food safe.

  • Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a non-toxic, food-safe wood sealant. When applied, the oil seeps into the wood’s pores to create a layer shielding the board from liquids. The coat also prevents germs from thriving.

  • Walnut Oil

Similar to mineral oil, walnut oil is antibacterial and waterproof. Keeping the quality of the cutting board requires constant reapplication.

  • Beeswax

Beeswax can be used to seal cutting boards. It produces a velvety finish, pleasant smell and keeps bacteria and moisture away.

Final Thoughts

Sealing a cutting board increases its longevity and aesthetics. In choosing a sealant, go with what works best for your woodburning project.