Is Pine ok to use for a cutting board? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-12-2019, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Is Pine ok to use for a cutting board?

I was thinking of making a rolling cart with a butcher block top to use in the kitchen when helping the wife cook.
Would it be a bad idea to use pine?

The top would be more "decorative" since most of the cutting would be done on an HDPE cutting board, I mainly just wanted to make sure there wouldn't be any toxicity concerns or if for some reason it's just wrong to use pine.

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post #2 of 21 Old 11-12-2019, 06:11 PM
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The simple answer is, you can use whatever you like for it. Each wood species has pros and cons for cutting board use, though.



Of course, most pine is relatively soft wood and if you do cut on it, you will likely chop it up pretty good. I can find no toxicity reports on pine sap, but if you are using pieces that have exposed resin or pitch pockets, the flavor may leech into your food, and you may find that bitter.


Generally, cutting boards are made of hardwood to withstand cutting edges. As a former baker, I can tell you that the health departments frown on most any wooden work table-tops in food prep except for hard maple. The maple is dense and does not allow easy penetration by fungal or bacterial agents. Also, it has natural anti-bacterial qualities.


But if your top is primarily aesthetic and not actually going to function as a cutting surface, you can certainly go with pine.
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-12-2019, 06:18 PM
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You could do the Pine as end grain and it will last longer. It'll have a more interesting look, as well.

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post #4 of 21 Old 11-12-2019, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Generally, cutting boards are made of hardwood to withstand cutting edges. As a former baker, I can tell you that the health departments frown on most any wooden work table-tops in food prep except for hard maple. The maple is dense and does not allow easy penetration by fungal or bacterial agents. Also, it has natural anti-bacterial qualities.
Interesting. I sold restaurant equipment and supplies in Louisiana. I don't recall that we even carried wood cutting boards. The thing evolved into color coded synthetic board for veggies, chicken, beef, etc. so there would be no cross contamination. The only thing I can think of was John Boos products for butcher blocks. Boos might have had cutting boards but I never sold a wood cutting board in three years...never had a request for one. My wife retired as director of a day care. No wood of any kind in the kitchen.
Many woods have anti-bacterial properties due to the acidity of the wood. Not just penetration but surface contamination. Still, wood splinters.

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post #5 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 02:54 AM
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Pineknot, as I said, I was a baker. There was no meat involved. One bakery I worked in was regulated by the local health department, the other by the USDA. Both took the same stance on wooden work tops: maple was acceptable. This was some 30 years ago.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 05:03 AM
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Think salmonella here guys. Pine is very porous and is very difficult to thoroughly clean properly. Can become a cesspool of bacteria, and its not like you can soak it in the sink. Pine would be good for aesthetic purposes, but for actual use; it wouldnt be durable and can be actually risky for food safety.
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 07:15 AM
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I agree, I would never use pine as a cutting board
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post #8 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mmwood_1 View Post
Pineknot, as I said, I was a baker. There was no meat involved. One bakery I worked in was regulated by the local health department, the other by the USDA. Both took the same stance on wooden work tops: maple was acceptable. This was some 30 years ago.
Got it. I'll ask my wife about her experience with health inspections at the school. She retired a little over three years ago so her experience would be fairly current; she couldn't say as the school never had wood cutting boards. Suggested I check the TN health regulations. BTW, Your bakery job was concurrent to my sales job. Wouldn't the maple tops be treated with some sort of oil as a sealer or bare wood? Curious.

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post #9 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 11:22 AM
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This one(bacteria) has come up a number of times. I was always a "plastic is better" person as well, turns out plastic can be bad too. All depends on the condition of either one, and the effort put into making sure they are clean.
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post #10 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 12:36 PM
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Pine is also a resinous wood.
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post #11 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 01:27 PM
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Since this is a decorative top, function doesn't matter a lot. As for "real cutting boards" I read someplace that the standard industrial grade maple top was safer than the UHMW plastic widely accepted. The wood in naturally anti bacterial, the plastic not at all. After the boards get cuts into them the plastic is difficult to get the gunk out of the cuts and needs to be sterilized by some other means. Real butcher blocks are always end grain up since this allows the cuts to "self close." We sometimes resurface the UHMW boards used in grocery store meat cutting areas, given how hollowed out they get, someone is likely eating UHMW on their steaks.
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post #12 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 01:34 PM
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Given the time and effort to make such a top why cheap out on a material that is not really suited for the application?

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post #13 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 02:01 PM
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I think that based on what you say you want to do with it, it would be fine for your project. You have indicated that you would not be sawing on or gouging he wood; that it would only serve as the underlayment for a proper UHMW board. With that in mind, you could easily seal a pine top quite well that, as long as it isn't breached, would reject any stray juices that could infiltrate the fibers. Simply wipe it clean.

I agree with everyone that if you were going to actually use the board as a cutting surface, a soft, open grain wood would not be preferable. But our grandparents and before most all used wooden boards, and rarely ever killed the family with dinner.

I have an absolutely gorgeous 26" x 60" butcher block center island of maple and walnut that you couldn't force me cut on, even if you held a gun to my head! It is purely decorative. I keep it well oiled and always use a plastic board (the little thin ones) on top. The thin cutting boards are cheap enough that I replace them rather frequently.

I vote go for it if that's your material of choice and/ or your budget.

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post #14 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlrez View Post
Would it be a bad idea to use pine?


It is not a bad idea.. It is a good idea.. Don't use high density polyethylene .. because it is not natural.. It is produced by petrochemical.. It is carcinogens.. Don't trust petro industry..

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post #15 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 02:32 PM
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The key word in this discussion is "most"


The top would be more "decorative" since most of the cutting would be done on an HDPE cutting board,

You can't always control what happens to things by other people, we had the "niece from h3ll" and her son stay with us for 6 months and believe me some people never learn to respect anybody or anything.

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Last edited by FrankC; 11-13-2019 at 02:37 PM.
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post #16 of 21 Old 11-13-2019, 02:47 PM
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This is my pine cutting board.. I guess it is 33 or 35 years old. I made it than pine wood. Woodfinish is than cold press %100 organic OLIVE OIL.. (no riviera no industry fabric olive oil) Because cold press organic olive oil is antibacterial.. Belive me.. it is so healthy.. I use it since 35 years. I never be sick.(SALMONELLA ... etc. ) We are so healthy.. Because pine wood is natural and olive oil is natural..

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Last edited by faith michel; 11-13-2019 at 03:05 PM.
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post #17 of 21 Old 11-14-2019, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
Given the time and effort to make such a top why cheap out on a material that is not really suited for the application?
@FrankC
  1. Limited budget
  2. For the experience - never made a cutting board before, let alone an endgrain cutting board
I get your point about not really being able to control what other people do. This would be something I would mainly be using myself. Eventually I'd like my kids to start helping too but I'll do my best to *train* them on how it should be used. Mainly my goal is to take the mess of meal prep and isolating it to a mobile cart with features like a trash can underneath that can be used for quick, easy clean up of food waste, storage for knives, clean up supplies, foil/plastic wrap dispenser, etc, and a spice drawer. The cabinet's counter height is kind of low for me and often times the area where the food prep is done has stuff from the kids already on it so I have to clean up their stuff, then clean up after the prep work so we can serve the food from the same counter.

@faith michel - Thanks so much for sharing your input and experience!

@Shop_Rat - Thanks, Shop_Rat. That was my thinking too!

@larry - Thanks! I would eventually like to make one with a legit maple cutting board top but for now I'll have to make he best with my limited budget.

@DrRobert - Being a resinous wood, is that a bad thing? I ask because I don't know. Thanks for the info!

@difalkner - Thanks for your input!

@mmwood_1 - Thanks! I feel like you understand my intent behind it. A baker, huh? Like breads or more like cakes?

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Last edited by carlrez; 11-14-2019 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Combining multiple comments into 1 (or at least trying to)
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post #18 of 21 Old 11-14-2019, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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***combined this with an earlier post***

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Last edited by carlrez; 11-14-2019 at 04:09 PM. Reason: combined this with an earlier post
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post #19 of 21 Old 11-14-2019, 09:11 PM
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Go for it, it's wood, if you don't like it you can make a top from a different wood. Wood is safe, arguably more safe than plastic, but not durable for kitchens that make 100 meals an hour and toss everything into a big commercial dishwasher. The Japanese use soft cedar for cutting boards. People have been cutting food on wood since people started cutting food. That nonsense about wood harboring bacteria is Dupont propaganda. Plastic also harbors bacteria.
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post #20 of 21 Old 11-15-2019, 03:49 PM
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Pizza peels (paddles) are made traditionally from pine. So it is OK for food contact. But I agree with others, too soft.

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