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Is oak suitable for a cutting board?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 294 days ago 1079 views 2 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Purrmaster

774 posts in 691 days


294 days ago

I was checking on cutting boards for sale on line. And I noticed there were several made of oak.

My understanding is that you don’t want to use a porous wood like oak on cutting boards. The reason being that bacteria and ick can get into the pores.

On the other hand I’ve never heard of anyone dying from using an oak board.

The only woods I’ve read that are suitable for cutting boards are walnut, purpleheart, cherry, and maple. Especially maple.

But come on, that can’t be it. I think I could even make a case for softer woods being used like alder, on the theory that those woods would be easier on knives.

Also, I made a cutting board of purpleheart and every time it gets wet it smells like moldy cheese. But it’s tough stuff.


9 replies so far

View Loco's profile

Loco

210 posts in 347 days


#1 posted 294 days ago

Oak is fine. Let’s get rid of some mythology.
http://www.rodale.com/cutting-boards-and-bacteria
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/09/01/the-dirty-truth-about-cutting-boards.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/10/health/wooden-cutting-boards-found-safer-than-plastic.html

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View mtenterprises's profile

mtenterprises

815 posts in 1291 days


#2 posted 294 days ago

Oak has the greatest amount of tanic acid which kills germs.
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

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Purrmaster

774 posts in 691 days


#3 posted 294 days ago

Really? Wow, I had no idea. I had read that maple is supposed to have antimicrobial properties so I’ve tended towards maple.

If oak is ok I’m assuming that woods like ash and hickory would also be okay?

Thanks.

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1317 posts in 365 days


#4 posted 294 days ago

Oak makes a great butcher block as well. I made a countertop butcher block for our kitchen 22 years ago and despite all the use and abuse, it still looks and functions great.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

616 posts in 771 days


#5 posted 294 days ago

Thanks for the articles Loco. Very interesting reading and they debunk all the myths that are posted above.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

1592 posts in 748 days


#6 posted 294 days ago

It’s not the bacteria as stated. It’s the fact that you get food in there and you can’t clean the pores out. Then the food goes bad and smells bad. I don’t use it for that, and because frankly I don’t really care for oak very much.

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1001 posts in 884 days


#7 posted 293 days ago

I would avoid making an end grain cutting board out of oak. It’s like a bundle of straws. I tried making a flute once out of oak and it actually leaked air.

jmartel,
It has already been proven that a used any-kind-of-plastic cutting board holds more stuff than a wood board and is pretty much impossible to clean. The inevitable cuts hold all kinds of stuff.

I’ll dispell another myth right here and now. A properly maintained wood cutting board will not hold food that goes bad and starts to stink. I have boards over 30 years old as examples. :) If a wood board stinks, you aren’t cleaning it properly. NO chemicals. Just salt and a tiny bit of water or lemon juice. Heck, cut a lemon in half, put some salt on the board, and scrub the salt into it using the lemon.

Any tight grained wood can be used for a cutting board.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a poly board I used for a quick chop or dice. I much prefer my wood boards though. Right now they are all kinda big (like 2 ft square and inch and a half thick) so the wife doesn’t like to heft them around. I might cut one down…

View vipond33's profile

vipond33

1405 posts in 1096 days


#8 posted 293 days ago

White oak is fine, hell they make wine and whiskey barrels out of it, so it sure doesn’t allow any moisture migration.
Red oak’s another story. You can blow smoke through 12” of the stuff.
One is a closed cell structure, the other is wide open.
gene

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 691 days


#9 posted 293 days ago

Interesting information. Thank you very much. I should have specified that I was indeed thinking of white oak, not red oak. I was thinking of throwing one together out of Oregon white oak since it’s a local wood (or at least the name implies so). I like the color contrasts.

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