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Thread: Exotic woods for end grain boards?

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Exotic woods for end grain boards?


    I know that the most popular woods for end grain cutting boards are walnut, maple, and cherry. I'm looking to buy a good end grain cutting board, and love the color on some exotic woods, but have heard that they are too hard for thin Japanese knives.

    So specifically, I'm looking at Padauk, Purpleheart and Bloodwood. I have heard all of them are tough on knives but especially Bloodwood. So would it be okay to use these in an end grain board or is it best to stick to the others? Thanks!

  2. #2
    pkjames's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    a rule of thumb is the density of the timber should not exceed 0.8g/cm3, somewhere between 0.6 to 0.8 is the range. Padauk should be good, purple heart I think is too hard. Not familiar with bloodwood.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I'd second James advice.... and avoid bloodwood. Bloodwood is pretty dense. It has a tendency to dull woodworking tools when working it. the grain rays can also be really inconsistent. That is a dangerous combination for a cutting board. You want wood that has consistent, tight end grain and not too great a density.

    Much as the color may appeal, also keep in mind - colors in some woods will change with exposure to other oils or UV etc. Purpleheart loses its color, cherry darkens etc.

    check wood-database if you want to compare hardness/density of different materials.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Upstate NY
    Some woods are very toxic. As a woodworker, there are some woods that I just won't work with because the dust is an irritant or downright dangerous.

    As a rule of thumb, boards should be made from woods with edible fruit, nuts or sap. Grain structure is also important; coarse grain, open pore woods aren't used for cutting boards. Toxicity and grain structure are the reasons that cherry, walnut and maple are commonly used. There are plenty of other woods that fit this criteria, but they're not on your list above.

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