Wood cutting boards: what to choose? Best wood for cutting board

Why are wooden cutting boards so popular? The answer is quite simple: they are longer-lasting, safer for your knives, more attractive and trendy, furthermore, they have multiple uses! Even a sliced loaf of bread can look that much better on a wooden board. A large board placed over the sink can also serve as additional counter space when you’re cooking and run out of room to put ingredients or tools. Leaning up against a wall, a beautiful wooden board also just looks pretty nice. No matter how often or rarely you cook, you're likely to own a cutting board. It's a kitchen major tool you can't live without! You can use it for everything from slicing cheese to cutting raw meat or chopping onions. But although most of us know that owning a cutting board is a must, deciding between types of materials can be difficult enough. Let's talk about the best wooden cutting boards.

What is important in a good cutting board

A good wooden cutting board can last for years as your primary cutting surface, even with heavy use. But if you spend money on a bad one, you'll curse yourself every time you chop an onion on it. A good wood for a cutting board has a lot of features you should know about.

The grain

Three different grains are present in each piece of wood. The pattern that can be found along the main length of the board is known as the face grain. The edge grain runs along the board’s narrow side, while the end grain runs along the board’s short side. Generally speaking, end grain cutting boards tend to be the strongest and most popular. Cutting boards that are made of the end grain tend to resist marks and cuts especially well. Edge grain boards are the next strongest option, while the face grain is the weakest of the three.


The thicker your wood cutting board is, the better. Thick cutting boards won’t split or warp over time. They are also heavier, which prevents slipping and sliding on the kitchen counter. When choosing a wood cutting board, search for a model that is at least two inches thick. You should be able to apply plenty of pressure on the board without it becoming marked easily.

The weight

Just like the thickness, the heavier the cutting board is, the better it will be. Heavy cutting boards are especially stable and durable. However, if you are looking for a cutting board that is portable and easy to store, the extra weight may be a burden.


Choose closed-grain woods (pores invisible to the naked eye) to keep liquid or bacteria from entering the cutting surface and cause mold growth, wood warping, or stains. The smaller, the better. Open-grained woods (pores visible) such as oak and ash are a poor choice because they soak up moisture like a sponge and quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.


Stick to woods that produce edible fruits, nuts, leaves, or sap; these are considered to be food-safe. Exotic woods like Purpleheart, while attractive, should be avoided as they often contain toxins that may leach out of the wood and into food placed on the cutting surface.


Some wooden cutting boards tend to attract stains rather easily and can be difficult to clean. This issue can be solved by searching for a cutting board with a special coating. This will help to protect the natural wood while also making your board easier to clean.

Hardwood vs Softwood

In most cases, both hardwoods and softwoods serve the same purposes. Softwoods contain more glucomannans than hardwoods and there’s more xylan in hardwoods than in softwood. Also, hardwoods are generally far more resistant to decay than softwoods when used for exterior work. Meanwhile, solid hardwood joinery is expensive compared to softwood and most hardwood doors, for instance, now consist of a thin veneer bonded to MDF, a softwood product. Making use of a softwood cutting board is perfect because it saves your knife from damage and dulling.

Butcher block and common cutting boards: what the difference

It’s not just the board’s function that determines if it’s a butcher block or cutting board. One big detail between the two is the type of grain. End grain is for butcher block boards. They are at least 1.5” thick and have a surface area of at least 12” x 12”, big enough for cuts of meat. They’re also identifiable by their checkerboard pattern. Edge grain boards are often the choice for home cutting boards. They are made by strips of hardwood rather than blocks and are thinner than end grain. With this type of board, you are cutting through fibers, which can have an effect on your knives in the long run but can still be a good economical choice of cutting board.

Best wood for cutting board

Does it really matter which cutting board you buy, or can you pick whichever you think is the cutest? Sure! Wood toxicity can take the form of irritation, sensitization, and even poisoning. Only because of that it is extremely important! Therefore be very careful while choosing wood for your cutting board! Of the thousands of tree species in our natural world, only some of them are routinely used to make cutting boards and butcher blocks. But why are maple, walnut, oak,  and bamboo such as popular woods and pine or cedar are not? As it turns out, there are several stark differences between most popular woods for cutting boards that should be taken into account before choosing which to buy. What is the best material for cutting boards?

Bamboo cutting boards

Bamboo has always been known to have many advantages over traditional woods. Good wooden cutting boards should be in every home.  And in the last few years, bamboo has become one of the most popular materials for cutting boards due to its many benefits.  And now it is a major seller with home chefs and here are the top five benefits of choosing bamboo for cutting boards. Bamboo is a low maintenance wood. Having a dense wood is important, as it keeps out water, where bacteria can grow and live. However, even with high-quality wood, cutting boards usually require regular maintenance with mineral oil. It will help you to keep cutting board from cracking and warping. Bamboo is dense enough to resist knife scarring and naturally resists water penetration to prevent bacteria from forming. It’s recommended that you use proper methods to clean your bamboo cutting board You can read more here. Properly sourced, bamboo is a highly renewable resource. Most people don’t know that bamboo is technically a grass instead of a tree. Which is appropriate due to the fact that it’s one of the fastest-growing plants on earth. Bamboo іѕ grоwn without uѕіng реѕtісіdеѕ оr chemical fеrtіlіzеrѕ. Bаmbоо fiber іѕ 100% biodegradable.

Hard maple cutting board

Firstly, hard maple (or Rock Maple) is one of the most widely used wood.  Maple is available, non-toxic, hard, and a very durable material that has low porosity.  If aesthetics would not factor into this, Hard Maple would probably be the “go-to” wood of choice.  However, many are drawn to the luxurious look of walnut and the rich luster of oak. A wood that is too hard will cause your cutting edge to dull quickly. Take into account that hard maple has the highest hardness index between all kinds of available wood for cutting boards.

Oak cutting board

Oak is very hard wearing and not highly resinous. They will not ooze sap from their surfaces. Such cutting boards also protect your knives and don't dull them like ceramic or glass cutting boards. Wood such as oak has a high rating when it comes to hardness, but has a very porous grain.  You should avoid woods with high porosity. The reason is simple: they are more apt to absorb liquid and food into the pores.

Cherry cutting board

A cherry cutting board, known for being durable but not too hard to the touch, is another popular wood variety. This softer texture will be helpful in protecting your knives from damage. But it may also cause more damage to the wood itself. Cherry has a nice red appearance that will make it look amazing. Many of these cutting boards have a mix of another wood to have unique designs. Moreover, cherry won’t move around on your table as you’re preparing meals. These boards should never be submerged in water or placed in a dishwasher. Just like the other wood. Provided your cherry cutting board has been crafted from end grain wood, this variety is long-lasting. If purchasing a cherry cutting board never go for anything less than two inches in thickness as they can crack. These boards will require regular oiling and washing. So you should keep up with maintenance to give it a longer life.

Walnut cutting board

Did you know that walnut cutting boards are American made? This type of wood is not only sourced from American forests in Virginia and Maine. It also hands carved in Atlanta, Georgia.  Walnut is the most expensive of the wood cutting boards. Why? Because of its gorgeous look and durable material. With a dark and rich design, it looks stunning in your kitchen! Maple, walnut, and cherry are the big three domestic hardwoods that are most popular. And probably the best choice if you want a domestic cutting board. Walnut cutting boards need some regular maintenance with oil. Otherwise, they can develop deep cracks, which make them unhygienic for preparing meals. The thick timber is heavy and won’t move around on your countertop, making it one of the safer options for cutting boards.

Types of wood grain

There are different types of wood grains depending on the way to cut and slice the wood; flat grain, straight grain, open and closed grain. Therefore, even within the same wood species, the grain types will vary depending on how it is cut and sliced.

Open grain

Woodgrain is much like the pores in the skin. Open- or coarse-grained large pores wood include butternut, pine, and oak. Stain soaks into the end grain of these types of wood more readily than the rest of it, creating a blotchy look. Western red cedar, redwood, cypress, poplar, and aspen have straight grain. White oak and beech are relatively straight, while elm can be figured. Walnut can range from straight-grained to patterned. Mahogany is usually straight-grained but can have unusual patterns such as blister, stripe, or mottle. Ash has a wide grain, sometimes with brown streaks.

Closed grain

Closed- or fine-grained wood has growth rings that are close together. They take stain well without blotching. Alder has a fairly straight grain with some variance in width. Maple, birch, and rosewood generally have a subtle, straight grain. Hickory grain ranges from straight to patterned while cherry and poplar have fine, straight grain. Pine has a straight grain and is popular for furniture and flooring.

Flat grain

The flat grain is manufactured where the annual growth rings run roughly parallel to the face of the board. As shown in the illustration, they tend to shrink across the width and cup. This will ultimately cause splitting which allows moisture and dirt to enter the wood ultimately resulting in decay. As well, if the lumber doesn’t remain stable, paints tend to peel off the surface increasing maintenance costs.

Straight grain

A straight grain describes wood grain that runs in one direction. It has very few curls or waves. A straight grain refers to wood grain that runs parallel to the axis of the tree. Woods with straight grain are much easier to work with and are generally stronger than other types of grain.

Wood cutting boards stand out as the best options for cutting boards

Do you know why? Because of their rustic charm and long-lasting quality. While some of the wood options can be a bit pricey, there’s no need to spend big just to get a high-quality wood cutting board. For a cutting board that ticks all of the boxes, bamboo is a clear choice. These cutting boards are water-resistant, affordable, durable, and stunning to look at. With a bamboo cutting board, you’re not only keeping your countertops and knives safe from damage!  you’re also getting an elegant serving platter for entertaining guests.

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