Wood for Cutting Boards... Are there woods to avoid when making them?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Tim_CPWD posted 01-02-2015 10:15 AM 1356 views 2 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tim_CPWD 's profile


365 posts in 1214 days

01-02-2015 10:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question toxic wood

I see a lot of different cutting boards on this site. Many of which are very beautiful. I also see that they are made from many different types of wood. I know through experience working with some exotic woods the sawdust can be very irritating to my eyes and sinuses. Cocobolo for example, I love the wood but the sawdust makes my eyes water and bothers my sinuses. Not to say that you couldn’t eat off it but it makes me wonder. Are there specific woods you should not use because they are toxic? If so could someone provide a list?

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca.

7 replies so far

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1305 days

#1 posted 01-02-2015 11:15 AM

I am unaware of any hardwood that would be toxic in its finished state even with typical mineral oil finish put on a cutting board. I’d be more concerned with their irritant/allergy potential while working with it and some wood dusts have been associated with a higher risk of certain type of nasal cancers.. Also some types of wood have splinters that can really fester. The wood database is pretty helpful. I’m lucky to not have allergies or irritation to any wood species that I’ve worked with. Knock on wood.

There are some woods that would not hold up as a cutting board like red oak – too porous. Maple beech etc. Work really well. Exotic hardwoods are so darned expensive but can provide nice accent. And if you have a bunch of cutoffs of cool stuff then I envy you!

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View JeremyT21's profile


60 posts in 1435 days

#2 posted 01-02-2015 11:49 AM

Most people stick to hardwoods, but lately I’ve see quite a few very nice looking pine boards. I guess it all depends how paranoid you are. I stick to Walnut,Cherry,Maple, and Purple Heart.


View mmax's profile


179 posts in 3424 days

#3 posted 01-02-2015 11:51 AM

A good source is as follows:

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

View kdc68's profile


2649 posts in 2246 days

#4 posted 01-02-2015 02:25 PM

Another source

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View dustyoldman's profile


22 posts in 1214 days

#5 posted 01-02-2015 06:28 PM

The only one [hard wood I try to not use much of is Black walnut to some it can be either an irritant or an allergen .The finish I use is butcher block oil with good results

View Mykos's profile


103 posts in 1763 days

#6 posted 01-02-2015 07:49 PM

I’ve never seen a cutting board made of it, but Yew wood is toxic not just an allergen. I wouldn’t use it for food surfaces if I had some.

View PhillipRCW's profile


463 posts in 1233 days

#7 posted 01-05-2015 03:07 PM

Has anyone ever used cottonwood for a cutting board? I have some gorgeous 2” thick slabs that I’ve wanted to make some boards with, but I’ve never seen it used before.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics