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Forum topic by Roger Clark aka Rex posted 11-04-2010 06:18 PM 2561 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3638 days

11-04-2010 06:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have seen many beautiful cutting board projects posted, the designs are intricate and amazing.
The question I have is how do you select to woods used in the design. I understand that different woods have different hardness and workability issues and I was wondering how the selection of woods to be used is made.
Am I right in assuming that hardwoods and softwoods react differently to cuts produced by knives, choppers and cleavers and will wear the softer woods badly.
How do you prevent this from happening and how do you go about making wood selections.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

8 replies so far

View poopiekat's profile


4387 posts in 3938 days

#1 posted 11-04-2010 06:34 PM

Well, Roger, the cutting boards that I have made over the years were driven by the desire to use up whatever scraps were left over, especially the dark exotic woods too expensive to discard. I don’t think I’d have the heart to cut into a bloodwood plank just to make an expendable, sacrificial item such as a cutting board!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 3713 days

#2 posted 11-04-2010 06:57 PM

Definitely hard woods and stay away from open grained wood like Oak, tighter the grain the better. I pick based on desired color, what I can afford, what I have left over and what else I can use the board for. Just like everyone, trying to squeeze the most out of every piece of wood I buy. But all things being equal, I’d pick on color first.

Hardness of the wood obviously has something to do with the ability to take a knife cut. But maybe more important is the construction; long grain, edge grain or end grain. End grain will hold up the best to knives but uses up more wood to make.

Think of a pile of toothpicks.
- Stand the pile points up and run a knife across it. the knife blade will go between the toothpicks and not actually cut them. This is like an end grain board.
- Now lay the pile on its side and run a knife across it. You will be cutting the toothpicks into pieces. This is like edge/long grain boards.

That said….it also depends on how “hard” it is used.

Hope that helps some.

Take care,


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View Rustic's profile


3254 posts in 3800 days

#3 posted 11-04-2010 06:58 PM

I use maple and walnut in mine I have made one with maple and mahogany as well. For durability I suggest an end grain cutting board . From what I hear the end grain cutting boards are “self healing” the wood fibers separate when you cut. Then they close back up. Hope this helps

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View shopdog's profile


578 posts in 3689 days

#4 posted 11-04-2010 06:58 PM


You should only use hardwoods for a cutting board.
I also have a lot of dark hardwood (Ipe) scraps. I like a contrast, so maple is a good choice.
I agree with poopiekat…cutting boards are a good project for scraps…I don’t buy wood specifically to make them. I look at what I have on hand.

-- Steve--

View zzzzdoc's profile


550 posts in 3207 days

#5 posted 11-04-2010 07:55 PM

How is cherry as a butcher block top?

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4026 days

#6 posted 11-04-2010 10:34 PM

zzzzdoc, Cherry makes a nice cutter and butcher block top. There have been some posted here but I can’t find them. If you want to see some commercial ones just google Boos cherry butcher block and be ready for sticker shock.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3638 days

#7 posted 11-05-2010 08:24 PM

Thank you guys for the info. I will have to start a hardwood scrap pile so it seems before I can look at this again.
Thanks for your input.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View shopdog's profile


578 posts in 3689 days

#8 posted 11-05-2010 09:17 PM

Wait a minute…
I’m sorry if I helped dissuade you from making cutting boards because you don’t have any hardwood scraps.
If you have a little disposable cash, go out and get a few board feet of maple and walnut…and make a few cutting boards.
Another possibility is to go to a local cabinetmaker’s shop (if there are any in your neighborhood), and see if they have any hardwood scraps.
Looking forward to seeing your new cutting boards in the projects section.

-- Steve--

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