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Forum topic by indplswoodworking posted 07-31-2014 10:56 AM 1690 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View indplswoodworking's profile


325 posts in 2533 days

07-31-2014 10:56 AM

This is my 3 or 4 question in the forum and it is amazing how many talented and knowledgeable individuals belong to lumber-jocks.

My question is about the potential hazards of exotic wood in cutting boards. Aside from the obvious Maple and Cherry does anyone know wood you should not use in a cutting board?

We spend so much time and money using food safe glues and finishing does anyone know of woods that would be dangerous to come into contact with your food?

Just common sense would tell you Maple , Cherry , and Poplar are pretty safe , all domestic. But what about the Heart woods and things like Pauduk and other woods?

This is a board I through together with scraps and it got me thinking:


Gary from Indianapolis


8 replies so far

View ellen35's profile


2739 posts in 3672 days

#1 posted 07-31-2014 11:36 AM

As long as you are not eating your board, you should be fine.
Seriously, most of the exotic woods are OK… inhaling dust of any kind is not healthy but using the wood for a cutting board should be fine.
I’ll be curious to see what others think.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View TravisH's profile


641 posts in 2175 days

#2 posted 07-31-2014 12:02 PM

The risk in my eyes is for you while making the board and not with the use of the board.

Most woods are fine from what it would appear as not a lot any appreciable amount of any given wood will ever make its way onto the food item. A properly seasoned cutting board almost eliminates any risk of foods items leaching anything unless we are talking about sitting for a really long time in contact with the board. I would have little fear using any board based on the toxicity issues of the wood.

A well constructed end grain board is one of those items that will last a long time. With a lot of use a bread board not as long in my experience, if used in the same manner. I think those boards are fine for most people’s cooking habits and wouldn’t be worried about it either but the long grain fibers get sliced easier and have an increased tendency to make their way onto food items.

View Bill7255's profile


428 posts in 2525 days

#3 posted 07-31-2014 12:27 PM

This question has appeared many times without a definitive answer. I use the wood database ( to look up a lot of the exotic woods. They also have a toxic chart there. I have seen Padauk used in commercial cutting boards although I wood avoid this wood in general. It may be fine for face grain boards, but due to large pores it would not be a good choice for end grain boards. Walnut is another wood that is used a lot in both face grain cutting boards and end grain cutting boards. So the question comes up about nut allergy. Walnut wood does contain a very small amount of the allergic chemical, but I have not seen any reports of this being a problem. The transfer would be very minute however if I had a nut allergy I wouldn’t want to test this theory. I did see a post from a doctor who stated it was very unlikely for a reaction. As he stated it aspirin in small doses is good, but too much is bad. Bottom line is some people may be sensitive to any specific wood so there will always be some risk.

-- Bill R

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2286 days

#4 posted 07-31-2014 01:56 PM

Just common sense would tell you Maple , Cherry , and Poplar are pretty safe…

From a toxicity standpoint, yes poplar is pretty safe. From a durability standpoint, probably not so much.

Walnut is another wood that is used a lot in both face grain cutting boards and end grain cutting boards….

I agree that walnut is a good wood to use.

-- paxorion

View Joshua Oehler's profile

Joshua Oehler

169 posts in 1931 days

#5 posted 07-31-2014 02:03 PM

I have read that Purpleheart, Jatoba & Pauduk are all safe to use and are great for end grain cutting boards.I have made several with those woods myself. Most people do use Walnut, the only bad thing I have heard is that it is slightly possible that it could effect someone with a severe nut allergy.

-- - "But old news can change, as memories float downstream. So don't judge me by my failures, only by my dreams"

View LiveEdge's profile


598 posts in 1860 days

#6 posted 07-31-2014 05:02 PM

I am an allergist and I can confirm that using the wood that one has a tree nut allergy to is NOT an issue.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5000 posts in 2549 days

#7 posted 08-02-2014 03:26 AM

I am an allergist and I can confirm that using the wood that one has a tree nut allergy to is NOT an issue.

- LiveEdge

Thanks for posting that. That piece of miss-information has spread wide and far and will probably remain so for years.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View robscastle's profile


5633 posts in 2444 days

#8 posted 08-08-2014 07:52 AM

The only timber I am aware of is oleander, and unless you ate lots of it as ellen25 said there should be no problem.

-- Regards Rob

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