Cutting Boards range in materials as well as thicknesses, and it can be hard to decide what the best Cutting Board is to Purchase. Explore the Best Thick Cutting Board Ideas and Picks as we learn more about what to consider before buying your kitchen necessities.
What are the Best Woods for Cutting Boards?
The best cutting boards are end grain and edge grain cutting boards. End grain means that the ends of the lumber are cut off the plank and placed vertically, then laminated together to create a cutting surface.
This creates the most durable surface, and the multi-direction of the grain edges keeps the knife edge from being caught and directed by the wood fibers. The edge grain also keeps the wood from being deeply scored with cutting. This surface is a little more absorbent than Edge Graina and requires more upkeep and mineral oil.
Edge grain cutting boards are wood pieces that are put on their sides, the narrow part of the lumber plank, and laminated together. This means that the long fibers of the wood are your cutting surface, and this is the most moisture-resistant kind of cutting board. The long fibers also keep the edge of the knife moving smoothly and are more resistant to scoring deeply with cuts.
All wood cutting boards require a little maintenance, the need to be well cleaned, and sealed with food-safe mineral oil treatments. Depending on the amount of use on the board, this maintenance can need to be done bi-weekly to monthly to keep your wood in the best shape possible.
One thought to consider, as we will talk about other choices than wood further along, but many of these woods have natural anti-microbial properties. What that means is that they are naturally antibacterial, without having to add additional chemicals.
There simply is no absolute best single choice for a cutting board of wood. There are many choices available that will make adequate choices, and there will be some that are best for you and your kitchen needs.
Maple is a dense hardwood that has a closed grain. Closed grain hardwoods mean that liquids won’t absorb into the wood as you are using the cutting board. A dense wood means that tight graining keeps liquids from absorbing into the wood and is less abrasive on your knife edge. Maple is the lightest colored wood naturally.
This very light wood is a good choice for cutting boards. It is not the hardest wood but has a lovely pale coloration that is appealing in decor cutting boards or charcuterie boards. Yellow Birch, which is commonly used, is harder than Black Walnut.
This beautiful hardwood is not as widely known currently for its extreme hardness and durability. This is because it is being distributed more widely now than in the past. Acacia is one of the hardest hardwoods, surpassing Maple, Walnut, and even Teak.
It is also extremely weather-resistant and insect resistant and can be used outside in the same way that teak can be. Acacia comes in dark heartwood coloration and blonde sapwood.
Known for its ability to resist rot in outdoor weather, teak is a hardwood that is known for being an exotic tropical species. Teak has been the standard when building products that need to be water and weather-resistant, such as yachts and outdoor furniture. As a cutting surface, it is probably more expensive than other wood choices, although it will last a lifetime when cared for properly.
Black Walnut is an excellent hardwood to use for cutting boards. The wood is dense and tight-grained, making it an ideal wood for kitchen use.
This hardwood is one of the best for beautiful-looking cutting boards that will last a lifetime as it rarely cracks and is easy to resurface. The natural color of black walnut is the darkest wood that you can find without stain, and this can be a consideration when choosing your wood.
Technically not a hardwood, Bamboo is, after all, a plant; the woody fibers from this plant create a great cutting surface for a more affordable price. Bamboo does have a drawback as it is tough on knife edges and can wear your knife down quickly due to its tough texture. Bamboo is very light in coloration as well.
As a dense hardwood, Cherry is one of the better woods to use as a cutting board. While it is not as hard as maple, it is still one of the best hardwoods. Cherry colors with a beautiful red tinge to the wood, and although you should never stain a cutting board, oiling the wood will create a distinctive reddish-looking wood.
Decorative cutting boards have become extremely popular, and there are many boards that are available with mixed hardwoods. These may be cut and laminated together to create patterns like stripes, checkerboards,s or blocks.
Often these are also the style of boards offered for personalization. Although there is nothing wrong with using these types of boards, they are often considered more of a decoration than a tool as the engraving and personalization really make the owner of the board reluctant to score or damage them with use.
What is the Best Thickness for a Cutting Board?
The number one thing to consider when buying a cutting board is mobility. If you are purchasing a cutting board table, you will have to make plans on how you will clean the board. A stationary cutting board or a cutting board table will have to be cleaned and sanitized in place.
Stationary cutting board tables can be secured in place, such as on their own table or on a kitchen island, or even be on wheels to be moved around the kitchen. These types of tables are still considered stationary because you cannot lift them and wash them in the sink.
A mobile cutting board will have to be lifted into or to a sink. Will your sink hold the board, or will you have to bring the board to the sink but only next to the sink. Our kitchens don’t always have the biggest sinks, and certain items won’t fit inside them, so this is the next important step in thinking about cutting board size.
Another consideration should be the weight of the cutting board. If you cannot lift it, or if it’s unwieldy, then it will be a struggle to move the board to your cutting surface or to the sink for cleaning. I know I tend not to want to lift and maneuver my largest cutting boards and often reach for my smaller boards when I don’t feel like hefting the board around the kitchen.
Cutting boards do come in varying thicknesses, from less than one inch to up to a foot thick.
What Materials Should Be Avoided when Purchasing a Cutting Board?
Oak and Ash Wood
These two types are porous woods, and although they are not the only porous wood that is used for cutting boards, they are beautiful and can be used mistakenly for beautiful Charcuterie boards.
No wood that is porous should be used as it can absorb meat juices, and even cleaning products, eventually warping the wood and breaking the board. Porous wood is a bacteria breeding ground as well, and once the wood has absorbed juices and even oils from foods, it can impart that onto other foods, contaminating them as well.
Pine is a very inexpensive wood and could easily make functional cutting boards. However, pine is not only a softwood that would score easily; it also contains resin that could impart flavor into your foods. When considering cutting boards, Pine should be avoided.
Plastic cutting boards are still considered a must-have in many kitchens, but there is a good reason why you should consider not having plastic in your kitchen. Plastic is thought to be the correct cutting board for raw meats and chicken because it can be sanitized without damage to the board. Plastic won’t hold on to any cleaning agents and can be bleached if necessary.
That thinking is correct, but what is often not mentioned is how easily plastic scores. Not only can these score marks damage your knife blade, but those score marks can hold on to bacteria and foster mold growth because the deeper parts of the score marks cannot be easily cleaned or dried.
Glass cutting boards are a product of the past; although they are still available for purchase, they should be left on the shelves in the store. Glass cutting boards are not good for use at all. The glass is damaging to the knife blade, easily chips, and is loud to cut on. There is no reason to have one of these in use in your kitchen.
Marble is a great tool for use in candy making. The cold surface is wonderful to roll out cookie and pastry doughs, and the surface can make beautiful chocolate creations easier to shape. However, because it’s porous and cannot be easily resurfaced, Marble is not a good cutting board surface. Marble stains easily as well and is damaging to knife blades.
Best Choices for Thick Cutting Boards
FANICHI Extra Large & Thick Acacia Wood Cutting Board: 16 x 12 x 1.5 Inch Reversible Multipurpose with Juice Groove, Cracker Holder & Inner Handles
This inch and a half board is a good thickness for an Acacia cutting board. Acacia wood is very water resistant and knife edge friendly. The lost cost for this extra large sixteen-inch board means that you could purchase a couple to have in your kitchen.
The inner cut handles are designed so that you can use your fingertips to pick up the cutting board instead of trying to prise up the board from the countertop. The juice groove is excellent for cutting juicy veggies like tomatoes and cooked meats, and the well for crackers also makes a nice area to hold your chopped items out of the way if you are cutting multiple items at once.
The edge grain of the wood is laminated together to create a tough cutting board that will last for a long time properly cared for, and the coloration of the wood is heartgrain to give you the naturally dark coloration of the wood.
Hard Maple End Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board
Amish built, this cutting board can be custom sized for you. From thicknesses of one and a quarter to up to four and a half inches, to board sizes of eight by twelve up to two feet by two feet, and beyond, you can find the perfect sized cutting board for your kitchen.
This board features Maple wood, with a softly colored grain, one that blends colorwise into the wood tones of the board, but features hardwood maple that will last you for years to come.
This end grain cutting board is mostly squared off except for a slightly rounded edge, giving less of a rounded appearance than most hardwood cutting boards. The end grain use of boards means that your knife edges will stay sharp and the board is less likely to absorb excess liquids.
Gasdalen Homewares Butcher Block Style Cutting Board, Walnut Maple & Cherry
This beautiful striped fifteen by ten-inch block features stripes of Cherry, Black Walnut, and Maple woods. This US handmade cutting board shows each type of wood off beautifully with distinctive colors and styling. This board is detailed enough that you might be reluctant to use it for cutting, as it would also be a lovely display board or tray.
However, the woods are tight-grained and hard and will serve you well as a long-lasting cutting board. Although this board does not feature the inset handles or the juice groove, it does come with optional feet that you can place on the board to steady any rocking that the board may do if there is a little unevenness to the wood.
TeakHaus End Grain Carving Board w/Hand Grip + Juice Canal
This twenty by fourteen cutting block is a full two and a half inches thick. Made from exotic teak wood, this cutting board is going to last a lifetime. Teak is an exotic wood grown tropically on plantations for use in applications that need to be weather resistant. Teak is a lovely coloration, and a dark-looking wood naturally. This board features the inset handles and juice grove that are marks of a good quality cutting board.
The handles enable you to lift the board without sticking out and catching food if you are lifting the board to transfer your cut items into a pan or bowl. The juice groove is excellent for catching liquids when slicing meats but also juicy vegetables and fruits. The end grain cutting surface is well known for its ability to self-heal from knife cuts as well as being naturally antibacterial.
Large Walnut Endgrain Cutting Board
This deep dark Black Walnut board is stunning in design. The end grain wood pieces make a subtle checkerboard pattern that is made mostly with heartgrain wood. This means that the natural wood is darker than the rest of the tree and has a tighter grain. End grain is well known for its tight grain so it is water resistant and knife edge gentle. You can customize this board with feet and both handle and juice grooves.
Sizing and price are also dependant upon your needs as a customer and can be decided on a purchase. This board is a lifelong tool, and cost should be considered when purchasing, realizing that this tool may cost a bit more in the beginning but cost savings over time and not having to replace the board in the future should be a part of the thought process.
Answer: Typically, a thicker cutting board will be of better quality than a thin cutting board. Warping is also a factor to be considered when purchasing a new cutting board. Thicker cutting boards will be an investment as the purchase price will almost always be more than when buying a thinner board, but be aware that a thick cutting board can be resurfaced multiple times throughout its lifetime to create a tool that will last for many years.
Answer: Look for a cutting board that is between one and a half to two inches in thickness. This signifies the quality of a product that won’t warp and is less likely to crack, although cracking can occur when the board is kept in a dry environment and is not maintained with oil regularly. Think of your cutting board as an investment that you plan on having for a very long time.
Answer: The most widely available shape for a cutting board is a rectangle. Sizing can vary, though, and be almost any size. In general, the best cutting board is one that will be an all-purpose cutting board, one that will fit a variety of needs. Look for a cutting board that is at least 12 inches wide and 14 inches in length.
This size should be large enough to cut a whole chicken, long enough to cut stalks of celery, and wide enough to hold a large cabbage to be cut. The board should also be sized so that it stores easily in the spot you plan on keeping your cutting boards in your kitchen.
Answer: Bamboo is a cheap, fast-growing, renewable resource. However, there are drawbacks to using this material. It is harsh on your knife edge, splinters and warps easily, and can become fuzzy with time, which then becomes an environment for bacterial growth. The seams in the boards can also open with too much moisture and cause issues with bacterial growth as well.
Answer: Butcher block and cutting boards have become interchangeable names. Butcher block is really the term used for a thick piece of wood, something that is used for chopping meats. Cutting board is then the term that is best used for any board that is thinner than six inches. So really, you can use a butcher block for a cutting board, but maybe not a cutting board for chopping meat.
Typically we don’t do much meat chopping anymore, so finding a really thick chopping block is rare, and the terms can loosely be used to mean the same type of cutting surface. Mostly, Butcher Block is what a lot of home stores call a wood-type countertop. A cutting board is a versatile block that is used for cutting, dicing, slicing, and chopping.
Your best purchasing decision is to buy a wooden cutting board. Quality is a priority when purchasing a board that you will want to last for a long time. The best cutting boards are edge grain or end grain boards, but you can still find good wooden cutting boards that aren’t as expensive as top-quality boards. I also believe that having several cutting boards is optimal in consideration of creating a well-stocked kitchen.
Cutting boards should be several sizes, from large to small in size, for various uses. I have a step-down process for cutting boards. When they become too damaged to continue using, I relegate them into my craft room for various duties.
This is, of course, for cheaper boards that I won’t spend the time on resurfacing. My preference is to buy a very good quality cutting board, one that will serve as decorative use, especially if it will sit out on the countertop a majority of the time, but also have a few additional boards that are your workhorses in the kitchen.
With consideration of adding additional specialty use boards along the way. Your personal choices may vary, but a cheese board, charcuterie board, breadboard are also items that may work well with your entertaining options.
My suggestion is to buy a cutting board that is no more than two and a half inches in thickness. The weight of the board will keep you from hefting around the kitchen if it is any thicker than that, and a clean cutting board is the most important surface in the kitchen.
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