walnut cutting boards ...deadly? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-30-2008, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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walnut cutting boards ...deadly?

Ok so a fellow woodworker and I were discussing various cutting board materials, and he said that he never uses walnut due to allegies some people might have to walnut. I know that some people are allergic to various tree nuts, but should I not make cutting boards out of walnut if I am selling them to unknown buyers? Can anyone shed any light light on the tpoic of using walnut in cutting boards and how likely it is to cause an allergic reaction in people who use these boards.
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-30-2008, 09:42 PM
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Not sure about the toxicity of the wood, but in an article in this month's American Woodworker magazing, an author uses walnut oil to finish cheese/bread cutting boards. Walnut seems awfully pourous for use as a cutting board.
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-30-2008, 10:04 PM
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There is an old wives tale about Walnut being toxic. At least I think it is an old wives take because I have never been able to find anything legitimate that states that there is any problem.

It may stem from the fact that walnut trees put off some type of chemical that inhibits other plants from growing near a walnut tree. This is documented. I have found nothing documented about harm to humans.

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post #4 of 13 Old 11-30-2008, 10:14 PM
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-30-2008, 11:28 PM
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I made a cutting board once back in highschool and I believe I used either birch or oak I dont remember it been so ong ago. Then I soaked it in vegetable oil for bout 2 days, then took it out hung it up to drain of the excess in a drip pan. didnt seem to turn out to bad.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-01-2008, 12:30 AM
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cutting boards

I owned a restaurant once. The health dept. made me remove all my oak butcher block cutting boards and equipment fronts and replace them with 304 stainless. Anyway their gripe was that germs stay in the knife grooves and wood pores, even after washing etc. I was not happy but it did make sense. I remodeled my kitchen (at home) and used the corian sink and cook top cut outs for cutting boards. They would look real nice as an (cutting surface) insert to a walnut or... frame.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-01-2008, 02:03 AM
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-01-2008, 06:47 AM
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I saw nothing in this story where it mentioned humans. Did I miss it?

It is essentially the same story as


CityNews: Black Walnut Toxic??

where again I saw no mention of humans other than the opening sentence.

George
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-01-2008, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
It may stem from the fact that walnut trees put off some type of chemical that inhibits other plants from growing near a walnut tree.
That would be juglone Juglone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Pretty cool defense I think. EDIT: I did not open the link in the previous posts about juglone, just started typing, but yea anyway.

But lets not get all excited about it poisoning people. It is in the leaves/roots and stems. Black cherry is more poisonous than walnut (I know it is not the topic of discussion, but here is a link anyway) Poisonous Plants: Prunus serotina

A guy could drag up all kinds of information on woods toxicity. Toxic Woods List . Walnut is on that list (as an irritant)...but so are alot of other woods. I personally have a slight allergic reaction to walnut, ironic it is probably my favorite wood. If I am milling a bunch of it and am constantly covered in the sawmill dust I break out (pimples).

Yes it is very toxic to horses. Just a small amount of shavings in their bedding can kill them. Every horse owner knows that.

I really don't think you are going to make someone sick using walnut in a cutting board, but...a couple things. One it is not a very hard wood, while very pretty maybe not my first choice for a work surface. And 2 you don't know how they are going to maintain their board. As was mentioned sort of by Fox any wood is not really as food safe as other material (even though we have been using it forever) An improperly used/cleaned/stored board is a breeding ground for illnesses much worse than the wood could ever cause.

Last edited by Daren; 12-01-2008 at 08:59 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-01-2008, 09:24 AM
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Daren,

For what it's worth, I've been using my walnut and maple butcher block table for a couple of years and have never noticed anything. As for whether or not to sell to "unknown buyers" I'd say if they have nut allergies it's on them to be wary of "nut-based" products, not the seller. I'm no lawyer, but I think you'd be safe on that one.
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-05-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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To answer your question, sapman, walnut cutting boards are not deadly. However, the porous nature of the wood should make one cautious of food preparation on a walnut surface. Hard rock maple is the only wood approved for commercial food preparation by the FDA. And if the US Govt. says it, it HAS to be true.
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-22-2009, 08:46 AM
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[QUOTE= I personally have a slight allergic reaction to walnut, ironic it is probably my favorite wood. If I am milling a bunch of it and am constantly covered in the sawmill dust I break out (pimples).
[/QUOTE]

Am I ever glad to see this post. I thought I was going through puberty again! I did a lot of work with walnut recently and had an outbreak of pimples. Puberty at 69? There were some good things about it (if I remember correctly) but, pimples weren't one of them.

Gene
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post #13 of 13 Old 08-22-2009, 10:23 AM
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Its the Nut oil that creates allergies not the wood. Sure some people react to things but if you try to create a butcher block that will offend nobody then it wont be organic. Oh and Butcher blocks however scratched they are harbour less bacteria than plastic chopping blocks. The old butcher working with sawdust on the floor, hacking meat on a tree stump got it right.
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