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Wood for Cutting Board?

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Forum topic by esmthin posted 05-19-2015 04:10 AM 886 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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esmthin

77 posts in 649 days


05-19-2015 04:10 AM

My mom would like me to make a cutting board for her. I am wondering what wood I could use. I have quite a bit of poplar available, but would that be suitable? I know you have to use a wood with tight grain, which would those be?

-- Ethan, https://instagram.com/ethan_woodworker/


17 replies so far

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Andre

1023 posts in 1274 days


#1 posted 05-19-2015 04:35 AM

Poplar not best choice, Maple, Cherry and Walnut recommended.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#2 posted 05-19-2015 04:38 AM

Negative ghost rider. Poplar is pretty soft.

Edit : what he said.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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esmthin

77 posts in 649 days


#3 posted 05-19-2015 04:48 AM



Poplar not best choice, Maple, Cherry and Walnut recommended.

- rad457

Thanks!

-- Ethan, https://instagram.com/ethan_woodworker/

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1561 days


#4 posted 05-19-2015 09:10 AM

Hard maple is usually the go to wood for cutting boards. Tight grain, tough, takes mineral oil nicely. I read somewhere that it’s suspected that maple has some natural anti-microbial properties.

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bannerpond1

397 posts in 1366 days


#5 posted 05-19-2015 10:47 AM

rad 457 has it right. Walnut, cherry, and maple are really good choices. With the three colors, you have literally unlimited design options.

Don’t even think about wasting your time and wood by edge gluing some boards together and calling it a “cutting board.” You can find a tutorial on line to make end grain cutting boards which are much more practical and infinitely more attractive. It’s like a Persian rug compared to a striped outdoor carpet.

I save all my hardwood strips and once in a while make a board with the cut-offs. You will find it gives you a lot of fun to make the end grain boards and the highest compliment you’ll receive is someone’s saying they can’t bear to cut on it.

-- --Dale Page

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Bill7255

354 posts in 1753 days


#6 posted 05-19-2015 11:36 AM

Another good wood is Purpleheart. Very nice contrast with maple, but too dark for walnut. Also agree end grain is the way to go.

-- Bill R

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conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#7 posted 05-19-2015 12:27 PM

If you can get a hold of Brazilian Cherry is great, about 3 times harder then Hard Maple
Here is the chart
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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bondogaposis

4037 posts in 1819 days


#8 posted 05-19-2015 12:54 PM

In my opinion poplar is too soft, I also avoid ring porous hardwoods like oak and ash, for cutting boards. Walnut, cherry, maple, and a myriad of exotics work wonderfully for CBs.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View esmthin's profile

esmthin

77 posts in 649 days


#9 posted 05-19-2015 02:16 PM



Hard maple is usually the go to wood for cutting boards. Tight grain, tough, takes mineral oil nicely. I read somewhere that it s suspected that maple has some natural anti-microbial properties.

- Purrmaster


rad 457 has it right. Walnut, cherry, and maple are really good choices. With the three colors, you have literally unlimited design options.

Don t even think about wasting your time and wood by edge gluing some boards together and calling it a “cutting board.” You can find a tutorial on line to make end grain cutting boards which are much more practical and infinitely more attractive. It s like a Persian rug compared to a striped outdoor carpet.

I save all my hardwood strips and once in a while make a board with the cut-offs. You will find it gives you a lot of fun to make the end grain boards and the highest compliment you ll receive is someone s saying they can t bear to cut on it.

- bannerpond1

Thanks for the advice!

-- Ethan, https://instagram.com/ethan_woodworker/

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#10 posted 05-19-2015 02:21 PM

Ethan, don’t get intimidated about edge-grain cutting boards. In my opinion edge grain and face grain boards work just as well, using good hardwoods, and last a good while. Also, I believe they often look better.

View MattB43's profile

MattB43

12 posts in 919 days


#11 posted 05-19-2015 03:07 PM



Ethan, don t get intimidated about edge-grain cutting boards. In my opinion edge grain and face grain boards work just as well, using good hardwoods, and last a good while. Also, I believe they often look better.

- Yonak

Agree with this – I prefer edge grain boards, I think they look better, and they work fine.
http://imgur.com/a/L2osV

Maple and walnut are my go-to, sometimes cherry and purpleheart mixed in for color.

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Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#12 posted 05-19-2015 04:44 PM



Ethan, don t get intimidated about edge-grain cutting boards….

- Yonak

Sorry .. I mean, don’t get intimidated about end-grain cutting boards.

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3364 days


#13 posted 05-19-2015 05:44 PM

Maple, walnut and cherry are my go-to woods although lately I’ve been throwing in some ash. When I get a wild hair I have also used mahogany.

MWC can give you plenty of design options. I’d stay away from oak and for sure stay away from popular.

Watch a few YouTube videos about end-grain boards and you’ll see how easy a basic board can be.

Just my two cents.
Betsy

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

832 posts in 690 days


#14 posted 05-19-2015 06:08 PM

Aesthetics aside, end grain is considered to be more ‘self healing’.
Think of it like holding a fistful of straws where the straws represent the wood fibers. The knife will slip between the straws as you cut and then they will close back up. With side grain, the knife will actually sever the wood fibers and once severed, they will eventually start to lift.

Both methods can give you beautiful patterns so for a board that is purely decorative or has another intended non-knife use (i.e. ‘cheese’ board, ‘serving’ board, etc.), go with what you want.

Woods with open grain (Oak, Ash, etc.) leave places for bacteria to thrive unless the board is kept sanitary. medium grain woods (Walnut) and closed grain woods (Cherry, maple) provide the best physical protection, but they can still harbor bacteria if not kept clean.
Mineral oil is probably one of the best finishes for cutting boards since it will fill open wood pores, is somewhat anti-bacterial, and is inexpensive.

Keep a mind to your glue. mixing end and cross grain glue lines can cause failure points due to different expansion ratios when the wood gets wet.

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Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#15 posted 05-19-2015 08:22 PM

There is lots of misinterpreted and misleading information about cutting boards. As I understand the research, one of the advantages of wooden boards over plastic boards is that the wooden boards tend to draw bacteria down below the surface of the board so it is not likely to attach to food items later put on the surface while the board is still wet. When the board is allowed to dry out the trapped bacteria just dies and becomes innocuous.

If I have reviewed bad research or I am misunderstanding the findings I would love to know about it as I thought I had my mind wrapped around this popular and controversial subject fairly well.

As far as knives cutting the long grain fibers, causing them to fuzz the board, I have not noticed this in any of my edge-grain boards, of which I have made quite a few but, honestly, I have not kept track of the condition of many of them, only the ones we own or I have given to family and friends.

All this said, I would not use a very open-grained wood, such as oak, because it would take longer to dry out.

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