This is The Best Wood for Making a Cutting Board, and how to choose the wood that will make your cutting boards stand out. I’ll show you some tips, and then surprise you at the end by revealing the absolute best wood for making a cutting board. Enjoy.
The Best Wood For Making a Cutting Board
The search for the best wood that you could possibly use for a cutting board is a little tricky. It’s one of those things where unless you have at least a little bit of an idea of where you want to go, it’s kind of hard to get there.
The problem with the best is that it’s very subjective. What you really want when you ask that question is to know the best wood in a given situation, or wood that performs well as a cutting board.
For this answer, there are several more, and I’ll show you all of them coming up in the post. There are best types of words from several different sources, some interesting wood that you can add to your mix, and a surprising source that I’ll show you at the end.
Especially if you plan on making and selling cutting boards, this post is for you. Once you know the best types of wood, and the best sources of wood, you’ll be able to make the right decision for your particular style of cutting boards.
Wood From the Hardware Store
Most woodworkers find their wood from a hardware store, especially in the beginning. Before you know about all of the wonderful exotic wood species that you can find in a hardwood store, the hardware store tends to be the place to go.
This is not terrible, because at most hardware stores there is at least a few different types of wood that you can purchase, and in most cases they are good for cutting boards. If you go to the hardware store, you can definitely find something that will work.
Cutting boards have to stand up to wear and tear, and a surface that constantly meets with the edge of a knife. In that sense, harder species of wood perform better than really soft species of wood.
If you’re at the hardware store, look for Oak, Maple, and Poplar. All of these types of wood are hard enough to make a cutting board, yet still easy to machine and mill. They can come in different looks, and you can even combine them.
I’ve made many excellent cutting boards from scraps of Oak, and pieces of Maple that I purchased from the hardware store. Look for pieces that are clear, and free of defects. Then, glue them up into an excellent cutting board.
Exotic Wood Species to Try
The second logical step when you’re looking for the best type of wood that you can get to make into a cutting board is the hardwood store. This is where you start to find more exotic wood species than you find in the local hardware store.
For beginning woodworkers, walking into the hardwood store is an absolute renaissance. It’s an explosion of information and ideas, and almost the equivalent of being shown fire for the first time.
Once you see the sheer volume and beauty of wood that’s available in this world, you’ll wonder why everyone in the world isn’t a woodworker.
When it comes to cutting boards however, you need to make sure that the piece of wood you choose is not only beautiful, but it’s also safe. There are some types of wood that are excessively oily, or have other problems that are not good for cutting boards.
For example, types of wood that splinter very easily, or are brittle, are not a good choice in general. These little crumbs can chip off of the wood, and end up in your food, and then end up in your stomach.
One of the best things you can do in the hardwood store is talk to somebody that makes cutting boards, or continue your research into exotic wood for cutting boards and then go find the species that they mention.
Personally, I’ve had good experiences with Mahogany, Spanish Cedar, Bubinga, and East Indian Rosewood. I’ve used these types of wood on everything from the main body of the board all the way down to accent lines.
There are far more exotic types of wood for your cutting board then just these, and you’ll just have to do a little research to make sure they’re appropriate. For a nice place to start, the four I mentioned are very good.
The Scrap Bin at Your Local Wood Store
Another place that you can find wood, and also wood for a really good price is the scrap bin at your local wood store. This is the same store you would go to in the previous section, and many times you can find a great piece for a great price.
Follow the same guidelines when selecting wood for your cutting board, and don’t use anything that isn’t right for the project. However, the scrap bin can introduce you to new types of wood at a very reasonable price.
Depending on the type of cutting boards that you’re making, you may be able to find everything that you need in one of the scrap bins. If that’s the case, buy as much as you can because it’s the same wood, it’s just less expensive.
See Also: How to Make Unique Cutting Boards
Finding Free Sources of Wood
There is also a good opportunity out there to find free sources of wood. This is some of the absolute best wood that you could make into a cutting board, especially if you are planning on selling that cutting board.
There are a lot of different places that you can get free wood from, and they include online market places that deal in secondhand items, wood from old furniture pieces, and even some discarded wood items you encounter.
The safest places at least as far as the condition of the wood goes is looking for free wood online, and harvesting wood from discarded furniture pieces. You can find pieces of furniture on bulk trash pick up day, and it can be a source of free wood.
It’s also a good idea to regularly go through secondhand websites online, and look for what people are giving away for free. There of been several times that I’ve seen piles of wood being given away to anyone who will simply come and pick them up.
See Also: Make and Sell Cutting Boards
Using Your Own Scraps
Another great source for free pieces of wood for your cutting board project is using the scraps that you create from your other woodworking projects. When you use scraps, it’s literally free wood because you already paid for it.
The primary project is where the expense lies. Anything that falls off of that primary project, that you don’t throw away, is free. Once you use it to make another project, especially one you might sell, you’ve turned some of that into profit.
Even if you don’t sell your woodworking projects that you make from those scraps, you basically produced a free project for yourself. Most hobbies cost money all the time, but any time you can give yourself a free project, you’re getting ahead.
What Makes Wood the Best for a Cutting Board
Cutting boards are a perfect project to make from the scrap that falls off of your other primary projects. For this reason, unless cutting boards are the only thing you make, you can actually make quite a few of them just by harvesting your scraps and using them wisely.
If you take all of these scrap wood cutting boards and sell them, you can turn some of that drop into more tools and materials for your shop. Also, you can sell the story of those pieces of wood when you sell the cutting board.
For example, let’s say that you are a cabinet maker, and you now sell a bunch of walnut cutting boards from the scraps of the cabinets. That’s a pretty cool story for a cutting board that’s usually not made out of something so interesting.
What if you make instruments? It would be pretty neat to say that some of the maple strips in your cutting boards were destined to be violin ribs at one point. People like stories, and if your cutting boards have a story they’ll sell better. That’t marketing 101.
Especially if you don’t make cutting boards as your primary project, look for ways to save those scraps and it can literally be the best wood you’ll ever use. It’s free, easy to work with, and might even bring a little bit of money into your shop.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know several different ways to find the best word for making the cutting board, head out into your shop and take action. Look at that scrap pile of yours that’s been building up forever, and pick out some good pieces.
You could actually get a really big double win from your cutting board project if you have a scrap pile that’s out of control. At the same time you make all these awesome cutting boards, you can clean out your scraps and get part of your shop back.
The cleanliness is morale boosting, and having less random scraps means you have a better chance of finding something useful in that pile. If this sounds like you, it’s probably a good idea to clean that scrap pile and make some cutting boards at the same time.
If you have any questions about finding the best wood that you can use to make your own cutting boards, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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