What wood is safe for cutting boards? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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What wood is safe for cutting boards?

Hello! New to the forum. I am a novice woodworker and would like to start making small cutting boards. I usually buy the plastic wrapped woos at Menards..is this safe for cutting boards? Does all treated wood have a greenish tint? Sorry, I said I was a novice...I don't know much I make a beeswax and Jojoba oil finish for wood toys. Would that work to finish my cutting boards with or do most people just use the cutting board oil?. I was hoping for a natural product. Thanks so much! Oh and also, I want to use Maple and Poplar. Are these good choices? Thanks!
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 02:22 AM
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You can apply olive oil (organic cold press) on cutting board for to finish.. I don't know maple.. The poplar is soft wood.. It is a bad choice.. You have to use hard wood for cutting board.. For example beech wood.. If you didn't find hard wood you can use pine wood..
Good luck for your cutting board project..

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post #3 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 04:51 AM
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About 25 years ago, I bought a strip board and varnished it with several coats.
Use for cutting the joint and also as a pastry board.
Still fine and I used it yesterday for carving the chicken we had for lunch.
looks like pine to me.
Posh cutting boards made from blocks look nice but this board has been fine for me.
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 07:24 AM
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I think hard maple is the most popular cutting board wood. It is hard so knives don't mess it up too badly and it's tight grained so it doesn't absorb food odors. The easiest finish is pure mineral oil, usually available at pharmacies. There are recipes that mix wax with the mineral oil, but the oil itself is usually fine.
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mocphatvn View Post
Does all treated wood have a greenish tint?
no, it doesn't. on the East Coast of the U.S., we have what is called "YellaWood".
it is construction grade SYP treated with a clear preservative with a yellowish tint.
after the sticker has been removed from the end, it is hard to tell it is treated wood.
(sold primarily through Home Depot).
rule of thumb: never use construction grade lumber for eating and kitchen utensils.

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post #6 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 08:34 AM
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Welcome to the forum! Add your first name to your signature line so we'll know what to call you and it will show in each post. Add your location, as well.

We do like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready. What sort of woodworking are you planning or doing in addition to the cutting boards?

We've made about 75 cutting boards primarily with Walnut, Maple, and Cherry for end grain boards. For face/edge grain I use Maple with an occasional Walnut or Cherry stripe or inlay. The cutting board finish we use is store brand mineral oil followed by a final coat that has Beeswax blended in (our own mixture, no need to pay a premium for someone's marketing).

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post #7 of 25 Old 05-18-2020, 09:31 AM
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Sugar (hard) maple would be my choice, finished with mineral oil (from pharmacy) and Titebond II or Titebond III glue for assembly if needed.

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post #8 of 25 Old 05-19-2020, 08:14 AM
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I've made several boards with cherry, maple, walnut. I prefer the look of maple, but love the smell of walnut. Other hard woods I have used are wenge, padauk,bubinga, jatoba, purpleheart...

I buy boos oil from amazon to treat it. Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year. Can't remember where I heard that but I still do it.
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-19-2020, 11:25 AM
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I agree 100% with John above:

* Treated lumber can look like ordinary lumber. Treated lumber is not always green. If you are not sure, do not use it.
* Do not use construction lumber for food safe projects like cutting boards, spoons, etc.

The most popular woods for cutting boards are probably maple, cherry, and walnut. Hard maple is common, especially for end grain cutting boards.

Avoid softwoods like pine, because they are too soft, and the resins can impart flavors to your food. Avoid open grain woods with pores that can trap food and bacteria, like red oak.

Some woods can trigger allergic reactions. Exotic hardwoods may do it. I have seen discussions about nut-bearing trees and nut allergies. Cross-allergies between nuts and the related woods in finished products seem to be rare, but do your own research.

Some woods are considered mildly toxic, such as purpleheart. I have seen people use them in cutting boards anyway. I wouldn't.

This article and chart are overly detailed. The focus is more on sawdust allergies from woodworking. They do mention several woods that can cause nausea or worse:
https://www.wood-database.com/wood-a...-and-toxicity/
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-21-2020, 07:19 PM
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Great timing. I'm shocked Oak is bad. I've got a bunch left over, and was going to do an end-grand board from the scraps.
Highly dissappointed though. :(
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post #11 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 01:25 AM
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There was actually a post on here a while back about treated wood. On the West coast of the states our treated wood has small linear lines throughout it. Where as elsewhere treated wood is coloured differently or has no distinctive qualities at all. Generally best to stay away from lumber such as two by fours and two by sixes as even if they're not treated or sprayed they're normally pine, spruce or fir anyhow. The overwhelming majority of cutting boards that I've made have been maple walnut and/or cherry. the best woods are tight grained (No large pores) hardwoods. You can still use other woods but I'd suggest not using them for meat products as bacteria can get caught in said pores and fester. As far as finishes go I'm a big fan of mineral oil and beeswax, that's what I've always used and what I always intend to use. You can buy it premixed or you can get big jugs of mineral oil and bags of beeswax and mix it yourself. Good stuff.


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post #12 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
Great timing. I'm shocked Oak is bad. I've got a bunch left over, and was going to do an end-grand board from the scraps.
Highly dissappointed though. :(
I have heard of a parlor trick with red oak where you can put your mouth on one end of an oak board, and blow bubbles through it like a kid with a straw. (Or suck liquids through it the other direction, also like a straw.)

I never tried it myself.

I am not a fan of red oak. It was the cheapest hardwood you could find in the 1970s and 1980s and I burned out on it.

Having said that, I just finished my first red oak project in a long time, a special request from my spouse, to match something she already had from the 1970s or 1980s, of course.
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post #13 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 07:53 PM
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Wow, that's pretty bad. Might have to give that a shot with the white oak I've got.
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post #14 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
Wow, that's pretty bad. Might have to give that a shot with the white oak I've got.
I am not sure if you mean "try the parlor trick" or "make the cutting board with white oak anyway."

If you mean the parlor trick, I think that it works only with red oak, not white oak. Here is a 30 second video for you:

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post #15 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 08:54 PM
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I actually meant the 'trick'.
But is this red oak specific? And white oak is ok for boards?
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post #16 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
I actually meant the 'trick'.
But is this red oak specific? And white oak is ok for boards?
As far as I know, the trick works with red oak, not white oak.

I do NOT recommend any kind of oak for cutting boards, so sorry. White oak and red oak are great choices for many woodworking projects, but not cutting boards. It appears that you have some white oak and want to make a cutting board from it, but it is not a good choice.

One of the best woods for cutting boards is hard maple, which is also known as sugar maple and also called rock maple. It is the same tree that produces maple syrup. Use that.
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post #17 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 10:39 PM
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Roger that. 100%. Sadly.
So, I'll use the scrap white oak for small projects, and for added "flavor" on the smoker.
Thanks fellas!
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post #18 of 25 Old 05-22-2020, 10:47 PM
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I'm not big on hard maple for home use but I have made a few hard maple end grain boards for others. I like the look of walnut but my favorite boards to use are soft maple or cherry. My knife dulls noticeably faster on hard maple.
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post #19 of 25 Old 05-23-2020, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
Great timing. I'm shocked Oak is bad. I've got a bunch left over, and was going to do an end-grand board from the scraps.
Highly dissappointed though. :(

Oak is fine... do it.




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post #20 of 25 Old 05-23-2020, 06:12 AM
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I've seen boards made with all sorts of wood, personally I only use maple. I know end grain boards look nice but I would not use one for meat
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