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American Ash and Oak for cutting boards ??

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Forum topic by roer posted 1420 days ago 4577 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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roer

48 posts in 1837 days


1420 days ago

Hi

Are American Ash and American Oak good wood for making cutting boards ?? It seems that they are very seldomly used for this purpose. Maple seems to be the preferred choice, but I have a lot of Ash and Oak I would like to use.


8 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

9943 posts in 2353 days


#1 posted 1420 days ago

The porous nature of oak has a tendency to trap and hold debris. This can make it unattractive for cutting boards- especially end grain type.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3272 posts in 1792 days


#2 posted 1420 days ago

Greetings,

Actually, the best woods for cutting boards are Maple, Walnut, Purpleheart, and any wood that does not have a big open grain and porous…... Like Lew said, oak and ash are so much alike in nature, they’re not good.
I have not used, but have heard about others that have used Bloodwood, but some people have a reaction to the wooddust. Some may also have a reaction to Walnut….it depends on the person, and especially someone with allergies…..... Not good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

688 posts in 1556 days


#3 posted 1420 days ago

I would think it necessary to carefully consider using ash as well, as it is quite lightweight; you could end up making one larger than typical, making it much easier to swing at you with by a wife that didn’t appreciate your having bought a new table saw without talking with her about it first. I still have lumps.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1884 days


#4 posted 1420 days ago

I might use ash, but would not consider oak. As lew said, it is too porus, but if used as a cutting board, it will splinter as you cut into it. Use a tighter grain wood. I prefer hard maple. Our island is a buther block used for cutting all the time. It works great. That’s why the real butcher blocks you buy are generally maple.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2603 posts in 1648 days


#5 posted 1420 days ago

I know a lot of people use purpleheart for cutting boards. With that being said, it is my personal preference to stay away from it, as I feel it is too hard, leading to dulling your knives faster.

The two things I feel are both important in the wood you choose for a cutting board (assuming it’s actually going to be cut on) are:
1. The grain structure of the wood. Is it more open grained, or a tighter grain? You want a tighter grain wood as it’s less prone to trap food particles. Think of it as a tighter ‘weave”.
2. Hardness of the wood, quantified on the Janka Scale. Woods such as maple (hard, preferably, but soft will also work), walnut, cherry, mahogany, etc. are not only tighter grained woods, thus fulfilling the 1st requirement, but they also have “good” numbers on the Janka Scale. They’re not too soft, but they’re not too hard either, so they’re not going to dull your knives like some of the exotics will that some people use. If you look at somebody that makes cutting boards for a living, such as BoardSMITH, he keeps all his woods within the Janka Hardness of 850-1600. He uses the woods I listed above.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Gofor's profile

Gofor

470 posts in 2385 days


#6 posted 1420 days ago

White oak is fine for cutting boards. The tannic acid kills bacteria and the capillaries in the wood are halted, stopping absorbtion. Red oak, however, has continuous capillaries and is not good for a cutting board. Most cutting/chopping boards of white oak are of the long grain variety, not end grain. If you go to a pig-pickin’ or hog barbeque in the south, you will find most of the meat is chopped up on white oak, long grained boards.

Go

-- Go http://ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=730

View rbterhune's profile

rbterhune

171 posts in 1819 days


#7 posted 1408 days ago

Avoid both for bacteria reasons.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#8 posted 1408 days ago

For a more complete understanding of bacteria on cutting boards, may I suggest this article?

In summation, both plastic and wooden cutting boards carry bacteria. Wood is better than plastic. Don’t forget to bleach the cutting board after each use/cleaning.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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