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Best wood for cutting board ao/sg knifes

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AT5760

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I think the consensus is end-grain wood. Preferably wood with a low silica content - not teal. Hard maple, walnut, and cherry are popular.
 

CiderBear

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I asked Jon about this a while back. He believes that even with end-grain wood, you should pick something with a Janka hardness below 1500 or so. I find end grain walnut a bit too soft for my taste, and maple is just ugly and stains quickly. I've been very happy with my custom end-grain sapele board
 
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Nemo

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I asked Jon about this a while back. He believes that even with end-grain wood, you should pick something with a Janka hardness below 1500 or so. I find end grain walnut a bit too soft for my taste, and maple is just ugly and stains quickly. I've been very happy with my custom end-grain sapele board
Softer is kinder on edges but the board will show more score marks more quickly and will probably have a shorter life.

I use an end grain board of a beautiful West Australian hardwood called jarrah. It has a Janka rating of 8.5 KN (around 1900 lbs). It is pretty kind to edges. I have seen boards of much softer woods (Tas Blackwood is Janka 6/ 1300) and much harder woods (ironbark is 14/ 3150).

Get a board made by someone who knows how to do it properly out of a wood that you like the look of.
 

Paraffin

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I use Hinoki boards (relatively soft, edge grain cypress) for vegetables with my good knives:

https://www.cuttingboard.com/hinoki/

On the positive side, they're easy on the knives, easy to touch up any marks by sanding, and very lightweight for carrying over to the sink for washing. They dry fast too. On the negative side, they might be prone to warping over time, but it can be minimized by making sure you wet both sides when washing. They also stain fairly easily. But they're so inexpensive compared to thick, high-end hardwood end grain boards, that it doesn't cost that much to replace. I'm still using a small and larger Hinoki board I bought 2 years ago. Just make sure you cut at no more than a 45 degree angle to the edge grain, because the wood is so soft that a sharp knife will tend to stick in the wood if you get close to the grain direction.

For raw protein I use a rubber "Hi Soft" board to keep it separate from the veg product. It's easier to sanitize for something like raw chicken. Like Hinokik it's also fairly gentle on the knives compared to hardwood. It's a common board type for sushi chefs. Easy to wash, but heavier to carry over to the sink than Hinoki boards.
 

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I also use a rubber board (Ueda) for meat. Goes in the dishwasher. Easy clean.
 

HRC_64

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Buy a good local wood and keep whatever it is used smooth.
Maple is great if you live in US/Canada, but its not globaly available tree.

Teak is full of sand (silica) and other woods can by allergenic (eg, acacia)
Bamboo is a grass and typically is cut thin and is full of glue joints (ie, hard plastic)

Edge grain is fine, but it scars faster than end-grain (so no bread knives)
NB, with he 50% off price of edge grain you can buy a sandpaper assortment
and a nice bottle of mineral oil and take better care of it...still save money.

End grain is caddilac or heirloom quality but typicall needs to be 60-70mm thick,
so the thing is a monster and not always fun to put in the sink.

Don't overlook rubber (no plastic) as some people have aluded to above,
especially for protein boards (sushi, etc included).

And consider separate boards for specific tasks like bread,
where your "bread" sword might destroy any board in short order.

Lastly, measure your sink and find a board that fits in it for cleaning.

Portability of the board and board height off the counter should not
be overlooked as factors which will impact practical usage patterns.
 

Nick112

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Hi any of the brands of hi soft boards that seem more popular than other?
 

ojisan

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On the positive side, they're easy on the knives, easy to touch up any marks by sanding, and very lightweight for carrying over to the sink for washing. They dry fast too.
I also love my hiniki board it's soft and feeling good but I need to mention that a hinoki board can make edges dull faster than plastic cutting boards. I still cannot believe this in my gut feeling, but a research showed that.

Neko-Yanagi and Kaya would be the best materials for cutting boards if they are available. Icho is another good option.
 

Spadazzo88

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I asked Jon about this a while back. He believes that even with end-grain wood, you should pick something with a Janka hardness below 1500 or so. I find end grain walnut a bit too soft for my taste, and maple is just ugly and stains quickly. I've been very happy with my custom end-grain sapele board
Can I see the sapele board? I think that purple color is great! Is it resistant vs scratches?
 

CiderBear

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Can I see the sapele board? I think that purple color is great! Is it resistant vs scratches?
Of course! It's actually not purple, more like a reddish brown. The other wood is zebra wood which is a wee bit higher on the Janka scale. I find mine quite scratch resistant, definitely much more compared to my endgrain walnut boards. However it seems to dry out faster, so I need to remember to keep sanding, applying wax, and oiling it more.

My Gengetsu, Watanabe and Toyama do dig into it if I'm pushing hard so I think the wood is still soft enough for these carbon knives. No microchipping yet either.

It took me way too long to decide on a cutting board, tbh. I don't think many woodmaking hobbyists are knife enthusiasts, so they make these people cutting boards on Etsy using crazy hard woods like bubinga, purpleheart, padauk and tigerwood. There really isn't much information on if end grain boards made from high Janka woods are safe for delicate Japanese knives either, so I'm glad I asked Jon before ordering. I hope this helps!


 
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Spadazzo88

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Of course! It's actually not purple, more like a reddish brown. The other wood is zebra wood which is a wee bit higher on the Janka scale. I find mine quite scratch resistant, definitely much more compared to my endgrain walnut boards. However it seems to dry out faster, so I need to remember to keep sanding, applying wax, and oiling it more.

My Gengetsu, Watanabe and Toyama do dig into it if I'm pushing hard so I think the wood is still soft enough for these carbon knives. No microchipping yet either.

It took me way too long to decide on a cutting board, tbh. I don't think many woodmaking hobbyists are knife enthusiasts, so they make these people cutting boards on Etsy using crazy hard woods like bubinga, purpleheart, padauk and tigerwood. There really isn't much information on if end grain boards made from high Janka woods are safe for delicate Japanese knives either, so I'm glad I asked Jon before ordering. I hope this helps!


Thanks a lot.
Watch do you think of a board made of zebra, sapele, walnut, maple as oak. Is a mix with great look :)
 

YG420

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Love my cherry woood end grain board from lone star artisans/the boardsmith
 

Fynbo

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Beech wood is also great for cutting boards, should be easy to find where you live.
Maybe check out these guys located in Denmark, they make some really cool boards.
https://træskærebræt.dk/

P.s
Oak is a widely used wood also, but my advice is to stay away from it, due to its open grain structure and high level of acid.
 
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childermass

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I‘m using a pear wood end grain board and enjoy it very much. The fine pore structure of the pear gives the board a nice smooth feel.
 

HRC_64

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Oak is a widely used wood also, but my advice is to stay away from it, due to its open grain structure and high level of acid.
North american oak and the eurpean oak species are different
IIRC i believer are best avoided in the US, but the EU species/version are OK
 
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childermass

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Does the grain structure matter if you're using an end grain board anyway?

Also @childermass that sounds really interesting. Where did you get it?
I bought the board online from a german woodworker that specializes in end grain boards.

End grain can vary quite a bit for different wood species ranging from very big pores to very fine. As far as I know only fine porous woods are suitable for end grain boards as big capillaries can act like straws and suck in juices from the produce.
The finer the pores, the denser the feel of the board. Pear has very fine pores (usually only seen under higher magnification) and also irregular pore arrangement. This makes the wood feel hard and dense while retaining the benefit of an end grain board.
Not sure how it compares to other common board woods like oak or maple, but I think performance and feel will be similar.
To be honest I mainly opted for pear because of the looks [emoji4].
IMG_3667.jpg
(I think it will need to be oiled again in the near future)
 

childermass

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childermass

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Found the link to the manufacturer: https://www.schreiner-loeffler.de/hirnholzbretter.html

On the online shop page they have a table comparing the different woods also in respect as how gentle they are on the knife and it seems like cherry and walnut are the clear winners here (you will have to scroll down a bit): https://www.schreiner-loeffler.de/gx/info/Hirnholzbretter.html
Sorry, meant to edit a mistake in my previous post but ended up quoting myself [emoji23]. I have misread the table and corrected my statement about oak.
 

Cyrilix

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Tenryo embossed hi-soft board is pretty good. It's a little heavy but I love it for knives.
 

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I like end grain as much as the next guy, but here's my take from a woodworker's perspective - it's more prone to splitting than edge grain. As water enters the grain, the wood swells, pressing the glued joints apart. The more seams, and the more end-grain, the greater the chance for splitting. I'm sure there are remedies for this the pros use, but as a hobbyist woodworker, this is where I've seen failure most often. All anecdotal of course.

Hinoki isn't oiled, but with hardwoods, I've had best luck making sure it's fully saturated with mineral oil, so water beads on the surface. This keeps the board as flat as possible, and reduces water penetration into the grain.

I've yet to try something in the hi-soft family, but my guess is something purpose-built for a sushi bar is probably going to give you a positive experience if you treat it right.
 

captaincaed

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I like Gritzer's work quite a lot. I like the article, but could wish for a more rigorous display of his results. I'd like to see a results summary like "Board A : dull after x cuts; Board B : dull after y cuts; ..." as opposed to "over or under 300." But then again, I'm a chemist so it probably says more about me than him... His comments about craftsmanship and wood selection seem to square with my experiences.
 

Paraffin

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I've yet to try something in the hi-soft family, but my guess is something purpose-built for a sushi bar is probably going to give you a positive experience if you treat it right.
I use a Hi-Soft board as our raw/soft protein board for home cooking (see message above), but I wouldn't call it a general-purpose board.

It's too soft for aggressive chopping like you might do with vegetables or more aggressive meat preparation. It works best for draw-slicing protein or other soft stuff on the board. You can restore the surface with sanding if it gets too many cut lines, but it's better just to use it for what it's designed for.

For anything more aggressive, like double Chinese cleaver chopping of pork or fish, I use a beat-up old side grain maple board. And soft edge-grain Hinoki boards for all the vegetable stuff, which is a combination of slicing and chopping.
 
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