QUESTION : What type of wood is safe to use for a cutting board ?

This is a everyday kitchen type wood cutting board. Last I knew just 4 types of wood were safe for such use. One type is maple. These days I see retail cutting boards are offered in ' olive wood '... not a type I'd normally find in a local lumber yard.
Also, I read somewhere that its recommended to rub mineral oil over a home made cutting board. I'm guessing that mineral oil is the drugstore variety... any insight is appreciated... thank you.
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johnny asks:

No, but many wood suppliers have it. Check www.woodfinder.com for one near you.
What 4 types of wood, or 3 other than maple? First I've heard of that. I'd say only a fool would use rosewood for a cutting board, but there are a lot more than 4 species that will work, are safe, etc.

Yeah. Pure, old fashioned mineral oil. I don't bother. There are also some food safe nut oil finishes (usually called salad bowl finishes) that you can use. Almost anything that doesn't build up a hard film and won't poison you.
Charlie Self "Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
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charlie asked...

I think he is referring to open v closed grain woods. I would prefer a good closed grain wood like maple over oak, where bacteria may be more difficult to wash away.
Joe
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On 24 Jan 2004 07:03:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@execpc.com (BIG JOE) wrote:

Many years ago I read an article in a reputable source (I have forgotten where) that reported a study done to test whether plastic cutting boards would be less likely to support bacteria growth than wooden ones. The concern was that the bacteria would be able to hide in the more porous wood.
The results proved the opposite. There was far less bacteria growth on the wooden cutting boards (I don't recall if they specified the species of wood) than on the plastic. I think they tested with various degrees of washing and even the poorly-washed wooden boards actually inhibited bacteria growth.
I think they theorized that something in the wood was inhibiting the growth, but now I don't recall what.
A quick Google search turned up these:
http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF11/1121B.html http://foodsafety.ifas.ufl.edu/HTML/il114.htm http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcuttingbd.html
It sounds like open-grain "might" be even better than closed-grain woods?
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Top Spin responds:

I'd avoid many of the exotics, as I said earlier, most particularly those like rosewood which nearly everyone is allergic to in some form or other. But I have had no problems with cutting boards made of white oak (avoid red) and walnut, both open-pored woods. Usually, I do go for hard maple, trimming with cherry when that seems desirable, and my wife is still use a cherry and hard maple strip cutting board I made over 15 years ago for most of her heavy chopping needs. No problems there.
Hickory would also probably work well, but it's such a bear to work (and sometimes to find), I haven't tried it. Elm and sweetgum would work, I believe.
Charlie Self "Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
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Top Spin wrote:

I read where wood is 'self healing' (end grain more so than edge grain) where once a plastic board gets a divot it's there forever, and the divot is a place for the food to hide.
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Here is a link comparing wood to plastic utensils.
http://www.woodworking.co.uk/Technical/Bacteria/bacteria.html

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I am fairly certain that beech ranks up close to #1 for food contact surfaces such as cutting boards, spoons, etc. It's a nice wood to work with and is very hard.
HTH
Andrew.
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I know of a crafter that makes spoons and cutting boards out of Ky. Coffee bean and poison ivy wood, Keeps them behind glass and branded with "not for human use", but they are pretty. Calls them Mother in Law boards and spoons.
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"Sweet Sawdust" wrote in message

for
Somewhere in the murky depths of human history you will find similar beginnings of modern terror tactics.
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Sweet Sawdust wrote:

Funny you should mention that. I was just today looking at an enormous poison ivy vine and thinking it might be interesting to turn it.
I'm not that crazy though.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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And popsicle sticks are usually birch. I've seen whistles made of cherry. Wine is "aged" in (white) oak barrels.
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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"Safe" for use? The answer is "most".
Some species 'hold up' better than others -- don't split, gouge, dent. etc. which makes them 'preferable' for durability reasons.
Balsa is a really Bad Idea(TM).
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Pretty nearly all of the native North American hardwoods would be safe for use in cutting boards (although not necessarily prudent, e.g. sycamore, sassafras, and basswood are too soft for that kind of use).
Of the more readily available woods:
Sugar maple (hard maple) is the classic cutting board wood. Beech is also a very good choice. Both are very hard and durable, and neither one will add any undesirable flavors or odors to the food.
Cherry and walnut make nice trim or accent strips in a maple or beech cutting board. Cherry is a bit soft, and both cherry and walnut are a bit expensive, to be used for an entire cutting board.
White oak is quite hard also, but will tend to flavor the food a bit (although the flavor is not necessarily objectionable).
Hickory is likewise very hard, but has a somewhat bitter flavor, which may be undesirable.
Red oak, although hard enough, would be a poor choice, because it smells like cat urine when it gets wet. Probably won't taste any better than it smells.
Soft maple is a bit too soft for cutting board use, but that mainly affects how long the board will last before it needs to be resurfaced. Hard maple is a better choice, but soft maple is usable.
Poplar is definitely too soft. Plus, it gets fuzzy, swells, and warps when it gets wet. Poor choice.
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