I used to be super sloppy with my tools and let the clay crust up on them, forget them in water. And they got ruined quickly. They dried out and cracked and split. These are the absolute cheapest tools you can get at Michaels'.
Now I quickly wipe them off after throwing and put them upright in a little organizer. They dry out beautiful and I don't have to do anything to them. These are the same cheap tools. I haven't ruined any tools in a good long while. I'm even starting to let myself get better quality brushes and thinking about some really nice ribs because I know I won't ruin them in a week.
Re: cutting boards: I have three bamboo cutting boards. I didn't like how dry and flaky they were getting so I melted some olive oil with a tiny bit of beeswax and once a month or so I heat it up and rub it all over them. Fabulous. And nothing harmful in beeswax or olive oil so if we ingest some, no problem.
I never have. Just wipe them off when done. Don't leave them sitting in water for days. A cheap wood rib is good for 500-1000lbs of clay. The supper expensive custom exotic wood ribs I can not speak for.
I agree. You should apply kiln wash using a very thing coat. The shelf will suck the moisture right out of the wash making it go on thickly if you don't thin it down. Then you'll get flakes inside your glaze ware.