I have a friend who has asked me to build her a cutting board section
for her kitchen island counter top. She wants it to have contracting
dark wood highlights. The primary wood would be hard maple, with full
length strips of the darker wood in the middle and near the sides. The
overall size would be about 30" x 42".
I have some cherry that I am considering for the contrast wood. Cherry
seems to meet the requirements for non-toxicity, closed grain and
contrasting color, but I am a bit concerned that the cherry is a little
softer than the hard maple. Maybe too soft? Comments?
Does anyone have any suggestions for other woods that would be suitable
as a contrast to the lighter maple?
I went through the same research recently. If you cut out all the dark
colored woods with open grain you aren't left with much except cherry.
It's the only dark wood I completely trust. Cherry has reasonable
hardness at 950 and there are several types of maple to choose from.
You may want to consider soft maple. Soft red maple has a hardness
rating identical to cherry. But my guess is that most soft maple is
silver maple with a hardness rating of 700. At least it appears to me
to be the far more common tree. There are also two common types of hard
maple. Sugar maple has a hardness rating of 1450 while black maple has
a hardness rating of 1180, which is a pretty good match. I don't know
which is more common or which you are likely to get from a supplier. My
decision was to not worry about it and use the cherry and hard maple
My thanks to Tim and Hax for your responses. I'm reassured that the
maple/cherry combo will be a workable solution. It also has the magic
of the cherry being on-hand. After I get the final dimensions and get
a look at the counter configuration, I'll decide on the rods. Good
I have a board that was given to me by a friend for a bunch of scrap
padauk I gave him This one is maple and padauk with a
padauk breadboard on the end.
Way way to nice for cutting. Used only for non food contact, because of
the look and not sure about the padauk for food. But it has the contrast
you were asjking about
You do not state whether the person is going to use this cutting board for
dry (bread) or wet (meat) applications. If dry, then you may have more
I made some bread boards recently and wanted the visual contrast which your
friend is desiring. I used hard maple with narrow strips of black walnut.
Looks great when oiled. My dimensions are about 14 x 22 which is small
enough to not have to worry about differential movement. The board was
initially a glued assembly with open ends. I did get some cracks at the
ends and so converted this to have bread board end pieces which solved the
A closer match of hardness would be hard maple and hickory which can be
white or brown depending on which part of the tree the board originated.
This is a large size. Another detail to consider is relative
expansion/contraction with moisture. I believe hard maple and hickory are
closer in their relative dimensional changes with respect to moisture, than
cherry. If I am reading the charts correctly, cherry has less movement than
maple or hickory. Black walnut seems to be in between cherry and maple,
closer to cherry.
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