This article has been updated for accuracy and availability, January 2017
I love wood cutting boards and have several scattered around my kitchen. They are things of beauty but there is a lot to learn about them.
End-grain cutting boards are the best you can buy. They are reversible and very durable. Knife blades will stay sharper longer using end-grain boards because of the way the blades meet the wood.
Flat-grain and edge-grain cutting boards are also reversible and are the best-selling boards. They are easier to manufacture than end-grain and thus less expensive. The majority of cutting boards sold are flat-grain. Use your everyday knives on a flat-grain board, and save the end-grain for your best knives.
Maple seems to be the most popular wood for cutting boards followed by cherry. All hardwoods are preferable to softwoods because they don’t warp easily.
Wood vs. plastic cutting boards is an area of controversy. It is said that bacteria can hide more easily on plastic because of the knife grooves and divots. Wood might be less resistant to bacterial build-up. Whichever one you use, always clean it with hot water and soap. For more information see this article about the research results.
Glass cutting boards are the most destructive for knives and can break. Bamboo cutting boards are 20% harder than the traditional wood cutting boards and can be tougher on knives. They also contain glue so if you buy one make sure it has formaldehyde-free glue. On the other hand, they are lightweight and easier to carry around and store.
Some sources for wood cutting boards:
J.K. Adams Co. has been making cutting boards in Vermont since 1944. They sell a wide range of cutting boards with prices ranging from $11.00 to $200.
The BoardSMITH only uses hardwoods for their cutting boards. Prices range from $90 – $600.
The Canoe Crosscut boards are made from fallen hardwood logs. The Crosscut board is a rustic board, available in maple, ash or cherry. 10” in diameter. $30.
Edward Wohl makes Bird’s Eye Maple cutting boards. They are hand-beveled and hand sanded. This smooth maple board looks too good to use but it will stand up to any blade. It’s so nice looking it can also be used as a cheese board. They come in twenty-one sizes and shapes. Prices start at $85.00.
End-grain chopping clocks are durable and easy on knives and this one is in lovely teak. It would also make a wonderful cheese board.
Proteak End-Grain Cutting Board is 18” x 2” and $149.95.
Boos has been making cutting boards for 125 years and has a wonderful reputation. They have an enormous selection.
Nils Wessell handcrafts is based in Brooklyn and does business as Brooklyn Butcher Blocks. They make walnut and cherry end-grain boards from domestic woods. 12” x 18” x 2”. $160.
Hardwood Lumber Company makes cutting boards from maple, cherry and walnut woods. They are 12” x 8” x 1” and prices start at $10.00.
Acorn Wood Products are made in Maine from assorted hardwoods. They will do custom orders.
The Carpenter’s Workshop also makes wood cutting boards in Maine. They have a Facebook profile but you’ll need to call them for specific details. They also will make custom sized boards.
Note: Apply food-safe mineral oil to your cutting board every month to prevent it from warping or cracking. A well-maintained wood cutting board will last for many years. Never soak a cutting board.