cutting board

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Forum topic by americanwoodworker posted 08-11-2012 03:50 AM 1546 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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185 posts in 2369 days

08-11-2012 03:50 AM

Okay, Okay, fine. I see cutting boards is a must so I am going to give it a try. One question first though. I know most must use scraps but I don’t have any. Do you think I should buy 2nds, 3rds or lesser to save money? Or should I buy the good stuff? And what woods should I stay away from for food safe reasons?

What do you recommend?

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

7 replies so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10094 posts in 4047 days

#1 posted 08-11-2012 04:29 AM

It all depends on how you define ”Scraps”... LOL


-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2831 days

#2 posted 08-11-2012 05:21 AM

My first cutting boards the local lumber mill has 18-36” cuts of most of the wood types they carry. It cost a little more to buy it this way but a 9×31x1.25” piece of maple, a matching of cherry and a 6×15x1.25” piece of purpleheart cost me about 30.00 out the door with tax. That let me make 4 8×14 cutting boards that came out nice and fairly affordable. Up side was all 3 pieces were pre-planed and jointed so I just had to cut, plane the cut surfaces and glue.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3097 days

#3 posted 08-11-2012 06:48 AM

And what woods should I stay away from for food safe reasons?

If you Google the subject you will find that most scholars will tell you to completely stay away from any cutting board made of wood. Since wood is naturally porous, the tiny fibers and grooves can harbor bacteria. That’s why stores will only sell plastic or acrylic. But if your a true wood-alcoholic, you will over look this small detail…..............

-- mike...............

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Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2767 days

#4 posted 08-11-2012 07:11 AM

Face or edge grain cutting boards may suffer from this problem I don’t know, but end grain cutting boards are very bacteria resistant. The wood sucks away any moisture so quickly the bacteria have no means of reproducing and die off as well.

I’ve used maple, cherry, purple heart and walnut in end grain cutting boards with great success.

I don’t know if it’s possible for someone with a nut allergy to get anything from walnut wood, but I also know those nut allergies are nothing to mess with so if you know someone or have someone in the family with one, you may wish to avoid walnut.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View bruc101's profile


1200 posts in 3537 days

#5 posted 08-11-2012 11:58 AM

My two oldest employees are 86 going on 87 and have been with us for at least 60 years. They’ve always eaten what they wanted, cooked the way they wanted and never used anything but wood cutting boards..and do what they want in the shop. I’m sure as heck not going to bother them.

They’re making cutting boards & bread boards for all their grand kids right now and using Cherry & Maple and sealing with Mineral Oil.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10094 posts in 4047 days

#6 posted 08-11-2012 04:43 PM

But, would you ever use Walnut in a cutting board?

Walnut being poisonous, etc.

Seems like I’ve seen it used in them…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Tdazzo's profile


56 posts in 2844 days

#7 posted 08-11-2012 11:48 PM

I think most people make cutting boards using scraps simply because it’s a good way to make use of the small off cuts from other projects without having them go to waste. It’s not because cutting boards are not worthy of good wood. You can make yours out of whatever quality of materials you can afford or feel comfortable using.

I wouldn’t suggest going out and spending a small fortune on exotic woods though, especially on your first attempt. I would say look around this site for what looks good to you and go from there. And if you’re still not sure, go with maple and cherry, or maple mahogany. You really can’t go wrong there.

And as far as what is “safe” to use, I really can’t say for certain… Thing is, wood is a natural, organic substance. No matter the species, there is someone out there somewhere who may be allergic to it. There are of course some more likely to cause reactions than others but really, it’s a cutting board. If you’re making this for yourself and you have someone in your home that is allergic to nuts, don’t use walnut (just to be on the safe side). And if you’re ever entertaining guests with food allergies, or any severe allergies for that matter, they’re going to let you know. So if thats the case use the plastic cutting boards to prepare that evenings meal. Really though, as some of the previous responses eluded to, everyone is a little too paranoid these days in regards to what’s safe or unsafe.

I WOULD stay away from the really oilly or resinous exotics though. Aside from being harder to work, they dont like glue as much and would likely fall apart after a few trips to the sink for washing. And the chance for allergens would probably be higher too.

As woodworkers we have to be responsible with our wood choices, sure; especially when you’re making things for others. But don’t let the paranoia of the Internet stand in the way of your hobby ;-).

-- "If you can't do something smart, do something right." -- Sheppard Book

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