Board Butter!
To Nourish Your Wood Goods.

A few months ago I showed you how to quickly clean up your wooden kitchen tools with a swipe of olive oil.  At the time I promised to show you a better, (and more time consuming) way of doing it.

Now is that time.

When I say time consuming I mean this takes 5 minutes compared to the 1 minute the olive oil treatment takes. So … we’re not exactly talking about the sort of time commitment that you have to fret about.

I wrote that whole sentence based on wanting to use the word “fret”.  Just so there’s no secrets between us.

This is the first in a series of posts I’m doing that feature DIY $10 or less Christmas present ideas.  There will be several more to come over the next month all of which can easily be accessed by the fancy new button on the right side bar.  See?  That button over there to the right.

Back to the Board Butter.  This wood conditioner contains all of 2 ingredients both of which are relatively easy to get.

Beeswax and Mineral Oil.

I ordered beeswax ages ago to make candles with (which I never did) so I had that on hand, and I had Mineral Oil in the cupboard for conditioning my antique butcher block (which is now relegated to the basement), so I had that on hand.  1 lb of beeswax cost me $9 and a bottle of Mineral Oil is around the same.

I ordered my beeswax off of a candle making supply store but you can get it at craft stores, from local beekeepers and truthfully, this concoction doesn’t take a LOT of beeswax  so if you have stumps of old, 100% pure beeswax candles, you can use those.  Mineral Oil can be bought at any hardware or drug store.

As Brenda Watts (the woodworker from Cattails Studio who I pilfered this recipe off of) says … the hardest part is shaving off the beeswax.  I would like to add shoving it up your nose.  More specifically, NOT shoving it up your nose is the hardest part of making this.

It smells really good this Board Butter.

What with being made from bee vomit or spit or whatever and all.




Shave off 2 ½ ounces of Beeswax


Melt the Beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat.


Add 1 ½ cups of Mineral Oil. Heat and Stir for 5 minutes or so.


Pour into small metal containers.

I had vintage metal tobacco tins so that’s what I put mine in.

You can also use nice little metal tins like these which I found on

 Etsy but you can find similar round ones almost anywhere.






Just scoop some out with your fingers and rub it all over your wood …  that’s what she said … and leave it for an hour or even overnight.  Once it’s soaked in, buff it with a soft cloth.

The total cost of a 2 ounce tin would be around fifty cents, not including the container and makes a GREAT quick homemade gift.  Anything that smells this good will be appreciated by anyone with nostrils.

To turn this into a $10 gift, just add in a couple of wooden spoons, or a vintage rolling pin and nice tea towel and tie it all up with string.


→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←



  1. Nancy Letman says:

    love the commentary and the recipe, thank you.

  2. NinaMargo says:

    Karen, thanks for linking to this from your egg stand post! Can’t wait to try it along with some of the other gift ideas.

  3. Lisa says:

    I made this butter back in the fall, I think maybe you’d linked to it in a more recent post. Side note: I was also so proud of myself for buying a block of local beeswax at the Farmer’s Market.

    I used the butter for the first time and, It. Is. Amazing! It made my hands feel pretty great, too. The board also seems much smoother than when I just treated it with mineral oil. This was a very satisfying experience!

    • Karen says:

      Great! Glad you liked it Lisa. I loaned mine to someone and never got it back, lol. So … I’d better make some more. ~ karen!

  4. Tracey says:

    Grant timing….I almost bought some on Saturday at a craft fair….and NOW I can make it myself!
    Thanks Karen!!

  5. Richard Birney-Smith says:

    Note to musicians: It’s okay to use this on your wood but never on your frets.

  6. Lynn says:

    Karen ~

    Today is the day I am testing these wood polish recipes and I was wondering if you have
    any experience using Grapeseed Oil rather than Olive Oil or Mineral Oil? I will be
    polishing some simple wooden toys we make…
    Thanks for the help!!

  7. Kate says:

    Thank you, thank you! Not only have I been wanting something like this for my own use but I’m looking for gift ideas. This is awesome! :)

  8. Wendy says:

    I do have a old butcher block that is SO heavy (think your name is written under it), can’t believe it hasn’t fallen through my floor. I need this in pdf form as there are great responses along with yours. I want to make lip balm without the bees legs, have enough facial hair to worry about legs poking out too.

  9. Lori jones says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
    I have been looking for this for…….yeah, so long I don’t remember!
    Did you know that you can use bees wax for ur cast iron, also?? I went to the “Tenneesse Becoming an Outdoors Women” and one of the classes I took was on cooking with cast iron and they told us what you can claen it with, and one of the suggestions was beeswax. Now, just don’t ask me how cause I still have not figured it out. But I think I might , now that u said to melt it first then apply it to the wood, duh! Hahaha
    Anyways thank you!! Love you blog !!

  10. Amy Ranae says:

    Just so we are clear, beeswax is secreted from glands on the bees underbelly. Honey is bee barf, not wax.

    *full disclosure: I’m the 2007 mn honey queen.


  11. Karen says:

    LOL. Yes. I got a great little scale at Lee Valley a couple of years ago.,40733,40734&p=67996 ~ karen!

  12. robin says:

    ok, no one else asked this question, so I must be REALLY dumb…do you use a food scale to measure out 2.5 oz of shaved bees wax?

  13. Heather says:

    Karen, I made this using your amounts, but my board butter won’t set. I reheated and added more wax, and this time it set — sort of. Still really soft and oily. I am currently reheating it for the second time with again, more wax. The only thing I can think of is that the bottle of oil I bought says 100% mineral oil in the ingredients, but it does say “light mineral oil” on the label. Is that different than what I was supposed to use?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heather! It sounds like it’s probably right. The board butter is supposed to be the consistency of very soft butter. Not like hard butter. And it will be oily. The main ingredient is the mineral oil as opposed to the beeswax. I think you did it right! Try some on a piece of dry wood. It should soak in with a little bit that can be wiped off later. (leave it as long as overnight) ~ karen!

      • Heather says:

        I should have been clearer – when I say it won’t set, I mean it’s still liquid – in other words, pourable. I don’t think it’s supposed to be pourable?

        • Karen says:

          Oh dear lord. No. It definitely shouldn’t be pourable! The only thing I can think of is you’re correct in thinking you may have the wrong kind of mineral oil OR you have used too much mineral oil to beeswax (because you have “light” mineral oil). If you have enough materials, try again with a much smaller amount of mineral oil to beeswax ratio. Try not to use too much so you don’t use up all your stuff. Once you get the ratio right you can do a larger batch. Or .. you could just run out and get a bottle of regular mineral oil if you can find it tomorrow. :( ~ karen

  14. Lavada says:

    I didn’t see this mentioned and I am unfamiliar with the difficulty or not, as the case may be of shaving bee’s wax. . .couldn’t you use a grater for the bee’s wax. Of course, if you have to worry about “bee legs and crap” like Mary, it might not be a great idea. Just a thought.

    BTW – been reading you for years now. I told my sister I wanted a neighbor like you. And — shhh, keep this on the downlow, I’m willing to move all but three of my neighbors if you’d like to relocate to my neighborhood. I’m just saying. . .

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Lavada. I’ll need to bring the chickens of course and the cats and the fella and the roving band of unicorns that mill about my front lawn. If that’s O.K., I’m in. ~ karen

  15. Leena says:

    I made this. And it worked like a wonder. Thanks for the recipe.

  16. BGrigg says:

    Beeswax and mineral oil are much better than olive oil, which can go rancid on your wooden spoons and make things taste funny.

    Go ahead, ask me how I know.

  17. Lara says:

    Digging on the 10 buck gift direct button to the right! Needed it, love it, keep the good stuff coming, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Thx! I figured it’d come in handy for a lot of people. With these $10 gifts, it’s all in the packaging too. The nicer it’s packaged, the nicer it seems. ~ karen!

  18. Sue W says:

    May I please have your double boiler? Please? Its the cutest thing I ever did see.

  19. Chau says:

    Karen, I have bamboo cutting board and cooking utensils. Do you thinkthis will work on them? I have used mineral oil on the cutting board but it won’t stick/absorb. Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. I don’t know. Technically mineral oil is what you should use on bamboo. Have you tried letting the mineral oil sit over night to absorb? If you try that and it does work (you’ll probably have excess to wipe off in the morning still) this should work too. ~ karen!

  20. Evalyn says:

    Just went to the Americna Science and Surplus site – it gives you the option of viewing a photo or a hand-drawing of each item. I love it!

  21. qtpuh2tme says:

    LUV having easy-peasy ideas like this one! Thanks! ~:0)

  22. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great!! I have a ton of beeswax I bought at a yard sale for real cheap..My vintage rolling pins are looking a tad dry so this should work well for them..I wrote that sentence just so I could use the word TAD..It’s such a cute little word isnt it?? TAD..

  23. Patty Stone Ramirez says:

    This would be great for polishing my mahogany sideboard and dining table. Great idea!

  24. Dawna Jones says:

    Karen what a great gift idea! I love this one,and who wouldn’t love a gift like that!

  25. Laura says:

    Once again, you turn normal mundane living into something to look forward to & feel proud of! Time to gather the wooden utensils. I was saving my bees vomit to make eye/lip/eyebrow cream, but there is plenty to go around.

  26. Diana says:

    Hi Karen,
    I`ve got a great wooden table. Do you think it could work with it too???

  27. cred says:

    Mmmm! this sounds good. I still have a tin of beeswax wood conditioner that I bought for my butcherblock counter to use up before I can make my own- but that stuff is the same, it’s smells so good. I rub it into my hands when I’m done buffing (mine is food grade so it’s safe for skin)

    The $10 diy gift idea is great and I love that button- cute & convenient!

  28. Cindy Marlow says:

    This is a great idea but the best idea is your new button linking to ALL the ideas (I wrote this sentence specifically so I could use the word ‘idea’ numerous times).

    You are making the holidays too easy!

    SIDEBAR…unfortunately, those of us who took your Christmas pledge won’t be able to incorporate all your ideas which are coming in over the next month because we will be all done with our holiday shenanigans.

  29. Mary Kay says:

    Hi Karen, Is this ok to use on your cutting boards too? I have a fairly large board and have used mineral oil but was wondering if this might be better?

  30. sherri says:

    could you give a bit more information on the mineral oil, please!! more specifically if they are carcinogenic and toxic when used with food preparation.

    • Karen says:

      Sherri – No. They’re fine. Just use Food Grade Mineral Oil. To tell you the truth, all instructions say to make sure you use “Food Grade Mineral Oil”, but I’ve never seen anything BUT Food Grade Mineral Oil for sale. I’m sure they sell the other stuff somewhere, just not anywhere I shop apparently. ~ karen!

    • Brenda Watts says:

      I have made this using sunflower oil in place of the mineral oil if that causes you concern…..there will be folks who say that it will go rancid, however I have never heard of that happening EVER and I have used lots of it.
      If I was just making some for my own use or to give to friends and that is what I had in the cupboard I would use it in a heartbeat.
      Great post K..don’t you just love how wonderful everything feels and SMELLS.

  31. Laura Bee says:

    A butcher block in the basement is usually a tip off that there’s a killer in the house.

  32. Bonnie says:

    So, to confirm, we will be hand-buffing wood? Hmmm…..

  33. mimiindublin says:

    Magic! A beautiful, useful and handmade gift: that’s the perfect Christmas gift.
    I love how your button is exactly opposite the part of your post that tell us about it!

  34. Mary says:

    Okay, since you asked, I’ll share my recipe.
    I buy my beeswax from the source, but I have to filter it since it’s full of little bees legs and crap. I melt it over a double boiler and then strain through panty hose. Next, I pour it into an ice cube tray and let harden. Then I have all these neat little ice cube shapes of beautiful beeswax. When I need to make “board butter” (I make boards so I need this stuff), I just take one little cube of beeswax and add 4 “cubes” of mineral oil (measured in the ice cube tray). That way, I have a wax that is 1/5 beeswax and 4/5 mineral oil. I melt that together over a double boiler, pour into a container(s) and there you have it. Want lip balm? Substiture coconut oil for the mineral oil and you’ll have the best lipbalm (cuticle cream, cracked heal cream) on the planet.

  35. Simon says:

    I recently discovered a fellow in England who has made a life carving spoons from wood that he has collected himself. Fascinating fellow. He has a shop in London and carves spoons 8 hours a day.

    I will make this butter for my spoons. Thank you

  36. Nikki F. says:

    For interesting tins and containers you can also try American Science & Surplus. I love their descriptions too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *