hardwood suggestions needed

OK, I'm getting ready to do my first project with hardwood. I'm starting small with a cutting board for my brother-in-law. He went to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, so I'd like to make it from black and red woods. I'll be using an end-grain design, so grain figure isn't very important.
What dense hardwoods do you suggest to get close to pure black and red and still be suitable for food use? It'll have a clear finish.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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how about this: http://www.cookwoods.com/Redheart1.htm
and: http://www.cookwoods.com/Ebony1.htm
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Steve wrote:

Honduras mahogany and African ebony would work. However - once you price the ebony - I suspect you'll switch to something else.
A lot of nogal (Peruvian walnut) is quite dark but it is fairly soft too...softer than black walnut. You can use rusty water to get white oak dark but I have no idea how deep the color goes or how it would last on a cutting board...not well, I think.
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dadiOH
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You could ebonize walnut using steel wool dissolved in vinegar. Soaks the black color in at least 1/8".

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Steve wrote:

I think I would use maple and stain the blocks before assembling. Not knowing how deep the stain would penetrate you would need to try a couple of pieces and sand as you would the cutting board after assembly to test this out.
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Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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Won't penetrate very far under noraml application circumstances. Certainly not far enough to even survive finish sanding after assembly.
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Steve wrote:

Ebony for the black wood - expect to pay $65 to $80 per board ft.
Bloodwood or redheart for the red wood.
--Yet another Steve
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Steve wrote:

Ebony is the only pure black that's reasonably available in anything but very small sizes. African Blackwood is also pure black but I've never seen it for sale in anything larger than a pen blank. Neither of them is cheap. Ebony is exceedingly hard and dense.
For a red, bloodwood is probably your best bet. None of the reds hold color forever but bloodwood does better than most. Try to find a local supplier for bloodwood if you can--the color varies and you really should pick your piece. It's not as bright as redheart but redheart turns very pale very quickly unless you put the right finish on it and anybody who knows what that finish is isn't saying.
You might do better with dye than with the natural color.
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--John
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Birch is about the best wood to use for foodstuff because supposedly it is "tasteless." But it is very light in color. The darkest wood I can think of (and still use in a cutting board) is black walnut. For the red you can try red oak. Make sure to use a dust mask while working with the walnut.
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End grain would probably do with cherry/walnut, neither of which are outrageous. Stuff the big pores in the walnut with dust/curing oil mixture to darken and keep the critters and crud from hiding from your sponge.
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Wenge is about the blackest wood you can get at a reasonable price. Ebony is outrageous. Don't know about food use though.
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1. A cutting board should not have any finish, clear or otherwise. Mineral oil or any block\bowl oil you get at the culinary store or from Boos company.
2. The only foodsafe approved wood (in commercial kitchens) is hard maple.
3. You do not want to use any porous wood. I'm not sure about bloodwood or any other exotic.
4. Some woods are toxic or can be an irritant to some people so I would (wood) be careful and find a material saftey sheet for any species you select.
5. The only black I have seen used is walnut. I suppose is is tight grained enough to be safe.
6. Do NOT put any stain of any kind, just not food safe.
7. Maybe you could just go with hard maple and make the board in the shape of the Texas tech logo, or the state of Texas or router in some design on the edge or back or something along those lines.
One big concern with varying wood types is the expansion and contraction of different species can be eough to break the glue bond. I've seen this more than once in table top slabs of varying woods. and being washed and around heat of kitchen can make things worse.
I've made an sold a few hundred cutting boards and work sufaces in my time and consider myself fairly well informed on the subject.

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Really? I though butchers' blocks were always sycamore.
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wrote:

Sycamore?? No way. It's far too soft for that.
Butcher's blocks are sugar maple, almost exclusively. (In North America, anyway.)
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I never knew that -- wooden spoons are usually made of beech, and I would have thought that would be allowed too.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

???? FDA says "(B) Hard maple or an equivalently hard, close-grained wood may be used for: (1) Cutting boards; cutting blocks; bakers' tables; and UTENSILS such as rolling pins, doughnut dowels, salad bowls, and chopsticks; and (2) Wooden paddles used in confectionery operations for pressure scraping kettles when manually preparing confections at a temperature of 110oC (230oF) or above."
There are many woods that are "equivalently hard, close grained". Bloodwood is about the same hardness as hard maple and is slightly more dense. Ebony is very dense and somewhat harder. So both would appear to qualify on "equivalently hard, close grained".

Such sheets generally refer to inhaled dust. not transfer from solid planks to food, which will be minimal.

Stain may not be, but dyes can be if you are careful in your choice.

Bloodwood shrinks a little more radially and a little less tangentially than ebony.

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--John
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rec.woodworking:

Thanks to everyone for the input. I've priced ebony, and my brother-in-law is not worth a $500 cutting board. OK, I'm exaggerating, but not much.
I'm planning to use redheart and black walnut. That should be close enough for Texas Tech work.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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