Mahogany question

I have a question that I hope doesn't sound stupid. Is mahogany is safe to use as the wood in a food chopping block?
I want to make someone a chopping block, and I have a slew loud of mahogany on hand, so if I can use it, I will.
thanks for any help.
dan
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Dan posts:

Mahogany is an open-grained wood. It's not hard to fill, but fillers don't last well in such uses. It is also a bit soft for cutting board and chopping block use.

This from a guy who made a very good living playing a DIY writer who didn't know how to DIY anything much. His "Coffee, tea or milk" routine in the '60s was funny. after that, it was sagging eyelid time.
Charlie Self
"Men willingly believe what they wish." Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico
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On 06 Sep 2003 12:50:16 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) pixelated:

Alas, they got whisky in trade. Which is worse?
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Larry Jaques responds:

Depends on the person, I'd guess, but a lot of the Indian problem with booze stems from classic reasons that have nothing to do with race. Yes, some people are stuck with a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism, but I've never seen any scientific evidence that ties that predisposition to Indians...or any other racial group. Lots of anecdotal evidence, of course.
And I'd be willing to bet that the Indians had their own form of booze. Every society I've ever heard of has. In fact, "tiswin" is a name that comes to mind. It's a Hopi or Navajo beer. Possible problems that are reported originally came from different strengths of the two mixtures. God knows, reading some of what was put in "Injun whiskey" made my stomach roil, so that may also have been part of it.
Charlie Self
"Men willingly believe what they wish." Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Ethanol is metabolized through the action of the enzyme ethanol dehydrogenase. Asians and Native Americans are much more likely than people of European or African ancestry to have unusually low levels of this enzyme. Anyone whose body has difficulty metabolizing ethanol will get drunker faster, and stay drunker longer.
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Charlie is right as usual. Almost every chopping block I have seen is made from a tight-grained wood such as maple. Mohagany looks great but is not suited for that. I am guessing that birch, alder and the like would be OK.
On 06 Sep 2003 10:13:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

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mahogany on hand, so if I can use it, I will.

+ + + Offhand: no, it is not safe. The more durable a wood is the less safe it will be for ingestion. The darker a wood is in color the less safe it will be for ingestion.
Likely nobody knows exactly how dangerous mahogany is, and this is because research was aimed at finding wood that was safe, not in trying to find out if fine furniture grade woods could be used for purposes nobody would put them to.
Traditional woods used for contact with food are beech, maple and such. Chopping blocks are made of hornbeam (also hawthorn?). PvR
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out
When I worked in a butcher's shop 30 years ago, all cutting blocks were made of sycamore. I doubt that has changed.
Do you have any references for your idea that dark woods are more toxic? If not, I have trouble with that also.
Mahogany is often used for salad bowls and the like, as is teak. I have not heard of any salad bowl fatalities.
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will be for ingestion. The darker a wood is in color the less safe it will be for ingestion.

because research was aimed at finding wood that was safe, not in trying to find out if fine furniture grade woods could be used for purposes nobody would put them to.

Chopping blocks are made of hornbeam (also hawthorn?).

made of sycamore. I doubt that has changed.

If not, I have trouble with that also.

not heard of any salad bowl fatalities.
+ + + Making statements on food safety is something that needs to be done with some caution. Very few woods are dangerous upon contact only (obviously these are not traded widely). Whatever dangers there are will lessen upon every layer of finish applied.
This will change if you stick a piece of wood in boiling hot food: this will help extraction of the chemical substances from the wood. Obviously the nature of these chemical substances will matter, a lot. Equally who gets to eat the food, and how often.
Cutting boards are not heated, but there is the risk of splinters getting in the food on the one hand and open cuts in the wood, offering room for accumulation of whatever. So in a cutting board or block you want a wood that contains as little potentially dangerous chemical substances on the one hand and a tendency to close any cuts as much as possible. You want a light-colored dense wood (with small pores, 'fine grain') .
As to the relationship between color and toxicity just take any book containing info on chemical substances in wood, durability and color. Any of the woods with high levels (say 30%) of "extractives" (secondary metabolites) will be pretty dark. There is not a 1:1 relationship between color and durability/toxicity (a few light-colored wood are very durable, and quite a bit more dark-colored woods are not durable) but pretty close. PvR
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