Best Wood To Use For Cutting Boards

Finished cutting board wood.

The cutting or chopping board is one of the most sought-after items in the kitchen. It serves as a versatile tool for food preparation, serving, and other rigorous kitchen work. With these roles alone, creating a cutting board is a challenge in woodworking, and so is meeting the demand and requirements for a quality wood that suits the standards. 

The questions that this article aims to answer are: 

1) What makes a great wood for cutting boards? 

2) What are the standards that make it a great material as a chopping block? 

Top 5 Best Wood That Most Suitable To Make Cutting Boards

And with these standards, here is the top 5 most recommended wood for creating cutting boards 

 1) Maple 

This has a combination of soft and hard textures, which is acknowledged as the perfect combination for a cutting board. Hard maple is rated 1.450 lbf and is the commercial standard for most cutting board makers more so than teak, walnut, or beech since maple is more resistant to scratch and impact. This type of wood is also ‘knife-friendly’. 

Maple is solid, closed-grained wood with the smallest pores out of other wood types listed here. This type of wood makes it an optimal choice since it is antibacterial, stain-resistant, and does not absorb much moisture. But stains are unavoidable in cooking, and when the maple wood gets stained, it doesn’t hide these because of its color. The color of maple wood can be off-white to amber-yellow. 

Maple-based cutting boards cost from $20 to $150. Upon drying, maple contracts more often than the walnut and teak, so monthly to bi-monthly conditioning is advised.

2) Beech

Antibacterial and solid close-grained wood whose hardness scales that of 1,300 lbf. Other than hard maple wood, beech is known to be second to the most scratch-resistant and knife-friendly for making cutting boards. Its tight pores are almost as effective as maple in keeping off bacteria and more so than walnut and teak. 

Its color comes in an attractive array from cream to pink and brown, although stains become more conspicuous than in other types of wood. In addition to this, it contracts faster than the three types mentioned and is advised to apply maintenance monthly. At its quality, it’s surprisingly cheap, price ranging from $15 to $100. 

3) Bamboo

If you’re vying to be more environment-friendly, bamboo is an excellent choice for you. In actuality, it is grass which is much more renewable, sustainable, contains silica and does not need pesticides and artificial or chemical fertilizers to grow, since its quite a common material and grows in just about everywhere. 

Bamboo matures in only 3-6 years, and it is 1,380 lbf hard, even stronger than most wood. It is water- and scratch-resistant, though more likely to dull knives.

Bamboo has fine grains and light-colored, making them elegant food servers. Were it not for its flaw, when using a bamboo cutting board, it would be suggestible not to use your best knife.

4) Teak

The Youtube channel, American Test Kitchen, actually prefers cutting board made of teak, and this reason lies in maintenance. The teak’s hardness is on the scale of 1,070 lbf and certainly strong against pressure from slicing and pounding. It is a solid, closed-grained wood that thrives in the tropics. It is astoundingly more expensive than others, price ranging from $25-$100 and contains silica, which has a high possibility of dulling knives. 

In comparison to other types of wood, teak contracts less, so conditioning is less frequent–quarterly or twice a year is sufficient. Teak wood has larger pores, therefore, more susceptible to moisture, bacteria, and stains, though with its saturated color orange-brown to dark brown, stains are not quite so visible.

5) Walnut

In this list, walnut is considered the softest though still one of the best wood to work with when making cutting boards. Walnut is less likely to dull knives but is quicker to get scratches and depressions in comparison to others since its hardness is at 1,010 lbf. It gives more resistance to moisture and bacteria than teak because of the size of its pores. 

When drying, walnut wood contracts less, so maintenance is monitored quarterly. It has a dark brown color that hides stains and has a quality look that stands out in the kitchen, ranging from $20 to $200. 

Here are the factors and standards that woodworkers look into for creating a quality cutting board. 


Wood Standards That Will Make A Perfect Cutting Board

Along with different kinds of wood that are already identified as a suitable material to work with making a chopping board, here are specific features that your material must meet to make a durable and reliable kitchen tool.

Hardness

Wood hardness is measured with the Janka Hardness Test. This specific test measures wood by its resistance to denting, marking, and wear. The measurement is in pounds-force or lbf. The requirement for this characteristic is fickle since the wood should be able to hold on its own through how much work it would endure, like scratches and dents, from cutting and chopping, but not so hard as to dull and damage knives in just a short amount of time. This makes cutting boards from softwood trees out of the game since they are most likely to disappoint in this feature alone. Choosing wood that fits this category would shorten the list considerably.

Tight Grain

Cutting boards are faced with a lot of residues from cutting different kinds of ingredients in the kitchen. Besides, it must also be resistant to moisture since it faces frequent contact with water. 

Wood must be as solid as possible to resist absorbing too much water since wood expands upon contact with moisture and contracts once it dries–this action easily wears the wood. 

Thickness

For most households, you would think that cutting boards should be light and ‘lighter is better’. But, on the contrary, when choosing cutting boards, its thickness and weight hold a significant factor in making the workload in the kitchen easier. Thick and heavier cutting boards are quite dependable since the thickness makes the cutting board more resilient to damages, and the heavier the cutting board makes it less likely to slide or slip from the counter. 

Kitchen experts suggest finding cutting boards that have at least two inches and that attains enough resistance from marks when pressure is applied.

Weight Factor

As mentioned before, along with thickness, the weight, for practical reasons, lessens the possibility of the cutting board from slipping or going out of place while slicing or chopping. Still, it should not be too heavy for lifting and storing. The weight of the board should be ideal for the customers, given that it makes it more stable and portable. 

 Ease of Cleaning and Sanitation

The cutting board is probably the most used tool where food preparations are done. It faces all kinds of ingredients, leaving stains and residues that are tough to clean. A significant factor for sanitary purposes is the type and quality of wood; the cutting board is made from; even though, a protective coating is applied upon finishing. Choosing natural wood with oily resins also protects the cutting board from moisture.

Antimicrobial

Because wooden cutting boards are not treated with chemicals that keep off bacteria, it is also leverage that most wood materials already have a natural combatant in preventing contamination. Wood naturally traps the bacteria from coming out within itself and prevents bacteria from accumulating in stains and residues. 

One type of wood that is vied for this characteristic is maple–Hard rock maple is approved by NSF or National Sanitation Foundation International and is preferred by commercial kitchens. 

Purchasing quality wood with this feature is an investment, especially when sanitation is a priority in the kitchens and better than easily scratched plastic cutting boards. 

Safe Sourcing

The best choices for wood are sourced from North America and Europe. Of course, when it comes to food, the wood materials where the cutting board is made from are also fruit-bearing trees. This alone puts the stakeholders’ minds at ease since wood that came from trees with edible parts like fruit, nuts, and syrup is less likely to contain natural toxins harmful to health.

Renewability

For mass production purposes, renewability is a huge deal. Since the maturity of trees spans from 5 years to 30 years at the minimum. 

Although trees are a renewable source, it takes a considerable amount of time to grow. Some are harvested even before its maturity. The faster a tree matures, the more renewable it is. Maple trees take 30 years to reach full maturity, and this is already considered quite speedy for quality wood. 

Color

Color gives an attractive quality to wood, and it can go from light to dark shades, which varies with the client’s preference and design or layout of the kitchen it’s going to fit into.

In addition to this, wood contains patterns that would make a stunning addition to the kitchen. The patterns are seen on wood grains or symmetrical designs customized by the woodcrafter by combining different sorts of wood.


Conclusion

This serves as a guide for what to look for in either choosing the best cutting board or getting the best wood as the material to make one. Choosing the wood to work with in making cutting boards depends on the woodworker’s ability to bring out the best in the material. For customers and clients, another factor for choosing a cutting board is their preference in style. But for a lot of these options, by following these guidelines, it is less likely that you’ll be disappointed. A cutting board is an investment; therefore, you must get your money’s worth by looking into its durability and strength, sanitation, and attractiveness. 

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