You've just received your brand-new Cover Board but are shocked to see it's warped or "cupping" - it might even rock back and forth like a rocking chair on your countertop. Is the board broken? Was it poorly made? Nope!
First off, let's take a look at why this is happening. All of the wood used by woodworkers to create products like our Cover Board has been kiln dried. That means that the moisture content has been greatly reduced making the wood more consistent and easier to work with. Our vendors flatten every Cover Board before it leaves their shop using planers and large sanding machines. That means a particular Cover Board is perfectly flat, but only at the specific moisture content as when it was finished. Cupping occurs because the moisture content on one side is different than the other, causing the drier side to shrink and contract thus pulling the wood into a curve. This is the same thing that happens when you set a kitchen sponge on the counter and one side dries out before the other - it cups.
Sometimes this happens when transporting the Cover Boards from our facility in Kansas to a part of the country with a different humidity level, especially during changing seasons when the weather can vary wildly across the country. The Cover Boards are so large that even a small amount of cupping can be easily detected when it's placed on a flat surface.
Now the important part. How can this be fixed? The good news is it's super easy...
Just turn it over! – turn your cupped board over so the convex side is facing up (so it is resting on the 4 corners and the middle of the board is raised off of your counter) and leave it there until it is flat. It sounds too simple to work, but there is a lot of science behind this super simple method!
Exposing the damp side of the board to air evens out the moisture content allowing your board to flatten back out. While this method may take a few days in severe cases, it remains the gentlest, most permanent way to flatten a warped cutting board.
Once the board has acclimated to your environment and flattened out, we recommend thoroughly and evenly oiling your Cover Board following the care instructions found here.
Cover Boards and all wooden cutting boards are organic, natural products that need some basic, regular maintenance. With a little TLC your Cover Board will last for many, many years!