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Is oak suitable for a cutting board?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 10-04-2013 06:42 AM 1271 views 2 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Purrmaster

842 posts in 847 days


10-04-2013 06:42 AM

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 503 days


#1 posted 10-04-2013 10:10 AM

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.

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mtenterprises

837 posts in 1447 days


#2 posted 10-04-2013 12:01 PM

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

842 posts in 847 days


#3 posted 10-04-2013 12:25 PM

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.

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mrjinx007

1831 posts in 521 days


#4 posted 10-04-2013 12:31 PM

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

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johnstoneb

816 posts in 926 days


#5 posted 10-04-2013 12:47 PM

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

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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jmartel

2818 posts in 904 days


#6 posted 10-04-2013 02:33 PM

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.

-- End grain is like a belly button. Yes, I know you have one. No, I don't want to see it.

View Charlie's profile (online now)

Charlie

1065 posts in 1040 days


#7 posted 10-04-2013 03:53 PM

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…

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vipond33

1405 posts in 1251 days


#8 posted 10-04-2013 11:24 PM

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.

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Purrmaster

842 posts in 847 days


#9 posted 10-05-2013 12:20 AM

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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