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Customer Review

245 of 298 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Why of Wood Oils, January 11, 2008
This review is from: John Boos MYSB Mystery Butcher Block Oil, 16 ounces (Kitchen)
The only things really wrong with this are the suggestion that wood oils are a mystery and the price of this item. The oil is certainly fine stuff if you don't mind the price. Both Joyce Chen Bamboo Wood Oil, 8 Ounces and Snow River Wood Oil are a lower priced when you consider that they are available with free super saver shipping. Wood and bamboo oils are simply food grade mineral oils. You should use a wood oil in your kitchen instead of vegetable oil because mineral oil does not break down or become rancid. Wood oil gives sheen and water and stain resistance to wood items such as butcher block, cutting boards, pizza peels and wooden salad bowls. You can use wood oil to darken and restore the appearance of faded wooden knife handles or dried out wood cutting boards. Wood oil is a must have for any kitchen with wood items.

I actually use mineral oil laxative on my wood kitchen items ($2 for 16 oz. at many drug stores) which is the same thing. Clearly the laxative bottle is less than aesthetically pleasing and is embarassing to leave around the kitchen. My wife keeps hiding the bottle in fact. But No it won't have a laxative effect if you use it on your cutting boards or knife handles.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 21, 2008 1:51:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2008 1:52:23 PM PST
J. Bothwell says:
MOST block oils are just food grade mineral oil. The cheapest version of this, as you stated, is laxative mineral oil from the pharmacy. I can't comment on any others but Boos oil contains mineral, linseed, and tung oil. The latter two are drying oils which cure to a harder state to form a cross-linked polymer. From my experience this oil seals much better and lasts much longer than anything else I've used. It does impart a deeper yellow color than mineral oil though.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 5:54:05 PM PDT
aat says:
Did you really have to write the EXACT same comment for every possible wood oil product out there?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2010 1:01:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 13, 2010 1:17:17 PM PST
KV Trout says:
Why not post it all over? It's good information! I'm glad he/she is letting people know that plain old mineral oil will work about as good at a much lower price.
I've been using plain old mineral oil on my wood and it works fine. AS good as "butcher block oil"? I cannot say but if it works, it works, and mineral oil works.

Many butcher block oils seem to be able to get away with hiding the ingredients. I don't think this is a coincidence that they do this; I think if people see that it's mostly mineral oil they won't need to buy the expensive butcher block oil. While the added ingredients *may* make their oil better, I can attest that mineral oil by itself seems to work fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 6:47:10 PM PST
Leslie C. says:
I agree with the other post about the Boos oil being better. I've tried the mineral oil (medicinal) and it is sooo tacky and sticky. It seems to just sit on the surface. I highly recommend the warmed Boos for wood blocks. I have a very expensive Boos board and I wouldn't use anything else on it now. I am happy to pay Amazon's price rather than buying all the oils and mixing it myself! I think it's wrong to post misleading information about a product. Mineral oil isnt "just as good." If you are going to go to the expense of buying a good butcher block, why not shell out $14-$15 more a year to take care of it?

Posted on Mar 10, 2011 11:03:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2011 11:04:24 PM PST
J. R. says:
The viscosity of (safe) mineral oils varies widely. You certainly can use drugstore mineral oil, but most mineral oils marketed as laxatives are thick and are only slowly absorbed when applied to wood/bamboo. Mineral oil specifically marketed for wood products is usually quite thin, easy to apply, quickly absorbed, and not "greasy." But if you want to coat something more coarse/porous like rough wood or a cork bowl or plate, you might prefer the more viscous "laxative" mineral oil.

However, I prefer to use this on my cork products instead of laxative oil: Howard BBC012 Butcher Block Conditioner Food Grade Mineral Oil and Natural Waxes, 12-Ounces

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2012 7:53:11 PM PST
Nightingale says:
Tung oil can be toxic and people have been known to become ill after hand-rubbing tung oil onto wood furniture -- they mistakenly thought "hand-rubbing" meant rubbing it in with the bare hands and absorbed large amounts of it through the skin.

That having been said, I would not want even the smallest amount of tung oil on a cutting board that is used to prepare food. I really don't see how this is allowed by the FDA -- I guess they don't regulate things that are applied to food-preparation surfaces.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2012 7:03:07 PM PST
jptrader says:
i don't know about this stuff but looked up tung oil as I heard it was recommended for butcher blocks...

from wiki:
As the source of tung oil is a nut, people with nut allergies often report adverse reactions to contact with (or even the odour of) tung oil. Reactions can be severe in some cases. While tung oil has been used for many centuries as a finish for kitchen items such as wooden bowls and cutting boards, some individuals must avoid its use.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2012 6:59:47 PM PST
Nightingale says:
Although Wikipedia is widely used it is not, on it's own, the final word on any topic. If you want to get to the bottom of an issue, Wikipedia might be a good place to start -- using the references listed to get more information from a more direct source. Having said that, a google search on "edible tung oil" provides another link to a Wikipedia article on "Vegetable fats and oils"

In that article, tung oil is listed as specifically "non-edible" :

"Vegetable fats and oils may or may not be edible. Examples of inedible vegetable fats and oils include processed linseed oil, tung oil, and castor oil used in lubricants, paints, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other industrial applications."

The fact that Tung oil comes from a nut (actually more accurately it is a seed) does not mean that it is edible or safe to be used on a surface on which food is prepared. The seed of the apricot (inside the pit) is a natural source of cyanide, which is most certainly not edible. So, whether a person is allergic to nuts or not, tung oil is most certainly not edible.

That's why I don't believe tung oil should be used on cutting boards used to prepare food.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 10:32:47 AM PDT
cake lover says:
Fascinating stuff about the tung oil, everyone. But Boos oil does NOT contain tung oil. It contains mineral, linseed, and orange oils. See the manufacturer's website at

Boos oil works great. Been using it for 10+ years on the same board, which still looks like new. As long as you are OK with a slightly orange-colored board, and the linseed oil smell while the oil is wet (like paint-by-numbers paints you used when you were a kid), use it. It is worth 2x the price of plain mineral oil because it protects the board much longer than plain mineral oil.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 5:27:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 5:30:16 PM PDT
Nightingale says:
Couldn't get your link to work. However, the product specifications listed above (by the seller) state that this product is composed of "mineral oil, linseed oil, tung oil". If you have a better link, I'd love to see it -- I couldn't find anything about the precise composition of "John Boos Mystery Oil Butcher Block Oil" on their web site:
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