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.


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  1. Christine Wieland says:

    I’m new here :) just put butcher block counters in my kitchen, made this recipe (so much fun!) and am thrilled with the results!!! Thank you so much for sharing. My question is, how often do you use this on the counters? Weekly, bimonthly? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Christine! Welcome! I tend to use the board butter more for things like wood spoons, bowls and antiques. For my butcher block I use mineral oil which I applied once a month for the first little while, but now apply less now that the counter is several years old and conditioned. You can read allll about how to maintain butcher block counters here. You can see when your counters are in desperate need of oil because they’ll get light looking and water won’t bead off at all. ~ karen!

  2. Deb says:


    Hopefully you see this. Are you supposed to use light OR heavy mineral oil or does it matter? Both available at drugstores. Thank you

  3. Nancy Letman says:

    love the commentary and the recipe, thank you.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. Tracey says:

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

  7. Richard Birney-Smith says:

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

  8. 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!!

  9. 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! :)

  10. 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.

  11. 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 !!

  12. 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.


  13. Karen says:

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

  14. 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?

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Leena says:

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

  18. 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.

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