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5 Woods Best for Cutting Boards

Updated: Jan 20

Watch my video to see the full conversation about the 5 woods best for cutting or scroll below to see the cliff note version.

Why Wood Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards. Pro chefs love them, because they're:

  • impact resistant

  • don't dull knives as quickly

  • cheaper than marble

  • safer than plastic

Things to Consider

When considering which wood to use for a cutting board you have to think about:

  • Hardness

  • Porosity

  • Toxicity

of that wood before you decide to use it for making a cutting board.


Hardness is measured by the Janka hardness rating. When using the Janka hardness rating,

you want to use woods that are 1,000 + on the Janka Hardness Scale. And those woods are going to be the most durable. They're not going to ding as easy, and you're not going to see cut marks.

All this means you're not going to have to worry about them starting to look weathered as quick as other wood.


The Porosity of a wood is whether it's an open grain wood or closed terrain, wood.

Open grain wood means that you're going to be able to see the pores of the wood when

you're looking at the end grain. These have a tendency to absorb liquids and moisture, which could turn into mold, and bacteria.

Closed grain woods are the ones that are going to be safe to use for a cutting board.


Toxicity is something that can happen to wood. It can seep into your food. And so there are very specific woods that no matter what, you never ever, ever want to use them on a cutting board.

Woods to Avoid

  • Pine

  • Birch

  • Western red cedar

  • Mahogany

  • Rosewood

  • Purpleheart

The Top Five Woods to Use When Making a Cutting Board

We're going to go over these from the hardest down to the softest. All of these are

still going to be 1,000 + on the Janka Hardness Scale.


Technically bamboo isn't even a tree. If you didn't realize it, bamboo is actually a grass.

It is:

  • Janka Rating - 4,000 lbf (pound-force)

  • Porosity - Not applicable since it is a grass

  • Can dull your knives pretty fast

  • Color - Yellowish/Greenish

  • Durability - High

  • Hard to work with because it is so hard

Hard Maple

  • Janka Rating - 1,450 lbf

  • Prososity - Fine to Medium

  • Can dull your knives quicker than other woods

  • Color - White to off-white, but can lean toward reddish or golden hues

  • Durability - High

  • Easy to work with


  • Janka Rating - 1,300 lbf

  • Prososity - Fine to Medium

  • Doesn't dull knives as fast

  • Color - Pale Cream, can have a pinkish or brown hue

  • Durability - High

  • Easy to work with


  • Janka Rating - 1,150 lbf

  • Prososity - Fine to Medium

  • Doesn't dull knives as fast

  • Color - Pinkish brown to golden brown

  • Durability - High

  • Easy to work with


  • Janka Rating - 1,010 lbf

  • Prososity - Fine to medium, closer to medium

  • Doesn't dull knives as fast

  • Color - Pale Brown to Chocolate Brown, with lines of grays, purples and reds

  • Durability - High

  • Easy to work with

Other Woods

Now, of course, if you look on that Janka scale, you're gonna see there's a lot of woods on there that are still above 1000. And you're gonna say, hey, Michelle, why is it that I can't use those for cutting boards.

These other woods are either toxic to food or have an open-grain which lends itself to moisture and bacteria.

How to Care for Your Cutting Board

Check out my blog, How to Care for a Wood Charcuterie or Cutting Board.

Check out my cutting boards

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