9 Best Types of Wood for Cutting Boards


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No kitchen is complete without a cutting board. We tend to develop personal preferences regarding this essential kitchen accessory. The result is that we end up using a cutting board made of different materials.

Out of all the cutting board materials available, wood can be an excellent choice for several reasons. If you need to cut food, you need a cutting board. However, a wooden cutting board comes directly in contact with your food and knives. This aspect of cutting boards makes it essential to consider some crucial factors while selecting a cutting board.

Important Things to Consider In A Cutting Board

Cutting board with knife and chopped parsley
Cutting board with knife and chopped parsley (Image: StockSnap)

Nowadays, you can get a huge variety of cutting boards of different colors and finishes. You can find aisle upon aisle of cutting boards in a big supermarket. The internet abounds with options as well. So, how do you choose a good one? A light or heavy one? What type of wood is best? Should if have feet on it? You would do well to consider these factors to find a suitable cutting board for your requirements:

Dimensional Aspects

Cutting boards come in various sizes. However, unless you have space constraints, the rule of thumb is, the bigger, the better. Ensure that you get an additional inch of the board on both sides of the knife.

Regarding thickness, the only thing to keep in mind is that they should be 1½ inches to 2 inches in thickness. That way, your cutting board will be less likely to warp, take in moisture less readily, and will sit firmly on your countertop.

Hardness Factor

The two significant types of wood that we find are hardwood and softwood. Softwoods include evergreens like hickory, pine, and cedar. Examples of hardwoods are cherry, maple, and teak. Hardwoods make the best cutting boards.

Wood Grain

Technically speaking, when we talk about wood grain, we refer to the direction of the wood fibers. Close-grained wood has tightly-packed fibers with tight pores, whereas open grain wood has larger pores. Close-grained wood makes good cutting boards because it does not readily absorb water. Hence, there is less accumulation of bacteria, mold, or stains with cutting boards made of close-grained wood.

Toxic Levels

Some types of wood can cause allergies due to small amounts of toxins they may contain. Hence, it’s a good idea to use cutting boards made from fruitwood or wood from nuts like cherry, maple, or walnut.

Additional Features

Once the essential requirements are met, look for a few additional features that you might find useful – for example, holes for hanging and handles. If you work with a lot of raw meat or juicy fruit or vegetables, cutting boards with “juice grooves” may appeal to you. Then, you may prefer a cutting board with feet. So, look out for some extra features.

Best Types of Wood To Make Cutting Boards

Maple

Maple cutting board
Maple cutting board (Image: Jameson Fink)

Hard maple or sugar maple are two similar types of hardwood that make good cutting boards. Because of its close-grained structure, this wood offers excellent durability and resistance to bacteria. It is adequately hard to provide a suitable surface for cutting. The light, neutral color of maple blends in with most kitchen décors.

Ash

Ash wood
Ashwood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Although ring-porous, white ash makes suitable cutting boards due to its light tone and toughness. Therefore, you will find that a cutting board of ash wood stands up well to the wear and tear that daily kitchen use entails. However, being so light, you need to take care that your ash cutting board doesn’t get stained.

Acacia

Acacia wood
Acacia wood (Image: MSphotos)

You may not find acacia used for cutting boards as much as other types of wood like maple or walnut. Nevertheless, Acacia grows fast and exhibits the durability and versatility required for cutting boards. It is also one of the cheaper varieties of wood. It comes in a wide range of colors and shades, but can be darkened to a suitable tone.

Cherry Wood

Cherry Wood
Cherry Wood (Image: CG Masters)

Here is another close-grained hardwood that makes good cutting boards. The reddish-brown color of cherry wood darkens with age and imparts a classic look to your kitchen. You will find cherry wood cutting boards easy to maintain, and they will go easy on your knives as well. Cherry is well-known for its durability.

Walnut

Walnut wood
Walnut wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

You will find walnut used in a lot of furniture, countertops, and kitchen accessories. Being a dark hardwood with a unique chocolate-brown shade, it makes a natural choice for cutting boards. Walnut is neither too soft nor too hard, providing a cutting surface that won’t dull the blades of your knives.

Teak

Teak wood
Teak wood (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Teak’s timeless quality and aesthetics make it the preferred choice for use in so many woodworking projects. An added advantage of this hardwood is that it produces natural water-resistant oils. The tight grain makes for easy maintenance, and you could consider teak as the most hygienic choice for a cutting board.

Bamboo

Bamboo cutting board
Bamboo cutting board (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Although technically bamboo comes under the category of grass rather than wood, it exhibits all the properties of wood. It is sufficiently hard and has less tendency to absorb water, making for easy maintenance. Bamboo grows fast, which meets sustainability requirements. The downside of bamboo cutting boards is that your knives could take a beating if you do a lot of slicing.

Pecan

Pecan tree
Pecan tree (Image: James St. John)

Pecan wood is more durable than maple, being a harder wood. Hence, it has less likelihood of getting damaged. However, the grain is not as closed as pecan, so it is prone to water seepage; therefore, if a pecan cutting board needs to be cleaned and dried out after each use to prevent the accumulation of mildew and bacteria.

Beech

Beech cutting board
Beech cutting board (Image: David B. Gleason)

This wood makes an excellent all-round material for making cutting boards. Like maple, beech too has a certain level of porosity. It has a medium hardness and quite durable in the long run. You will find beech more affordable than some other varieties of wood used for cutting boards.

Conclusion

Are you passionate about your kitchenware and serious about the way you process food in your kitchen? If so, (and most of us are), you’ll be particular about the type of cutting board you use.

However, it would be best if you looking for certain things when you select a cutting board for yourself. A huge deciding factor is the type of wood. Here we discussed what to look for in a cutting board. We also touched upon the best types of wood for cutting boards. Now, you can order a cutting board for your kitchen with renewed confidence.

 

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