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Walnut in a cutting board?

KevinLBS's picture

I recently saw a website where a hardwood retailer was selling cutting boards as well as maple countertops. He had pictures of several styles on the web page, and many of the cutting boards were accented with different widths of walnut either in the middle, or wider walnut pieces on the edges. The primary wood was maple.

I've never seen walnut used in a cutting board. I'm thinking the large pores of walnut wouldn't be good for use in a cutting board, where food could be lodged in the pores. However, it looked really cool, and I have a bunch of shorts of maple and walnut, and I'm thinking I could whip out a few cutting boards for Christmas presents.

What do you think of walnut in a cutting board? Good? Bad? Neutral?

Thanks for your experience & opinions,

Kevin

johnhardy's picture

(post #81462, reply #1 of 9)

Don't have his name in front of me, but there's a guy in northern Ca. who makes lots of cutting boards and the like for craft fairs. My sons bought us several items, including a cutting board, years ago. He uses about 4 different kinds of woods, including walnut. The items a very beautiful and I've never had any trouble with the walnut in the boards. Of course, these are not end grain like butcher blocks.


If I had to guess, I'd say the woods were walnut, oak, cherry, and maple.


John

mrbird90's picture

(post #81462, reply #2 of 9)

Kevin, I made a cutting board from maple and walnut about 25 years ago and keep it in good shape by using mineral oil on it occassionally. I sanded it very smooth and the pores are hardly noticeable. I cut the strips 1-1/2 x 3/4 and have the 3/4" looking up as I glued the wider faces together alternating maple and walnut.  It has worn very well considering all the cutting that has taken place. Good luck

KevinLBS's picture

(post #81462, reply #3 of 9)

Hey Mel & John-

Wow! Thanks for the quick reply. I stepped away to answer the phone and when I came back, there you were!

Thanks for both of your replies. I'm grabbing my bottle of mineral oil now and heading down to the shop...

Thanks,

Kevin

Rayhilko's picture

(post #81462, reply #8 of 9)

Kevin, I used walnut in several cutting boards over the years, and have never had a problem. Most were gifts to friends & family so if something did happen, I would have heard about it by now.

hedgehogtw's picture

(post #81462, reply #4 of 9)

I have been using walnut and cherry for years, never any problem, in fact I believe any of the fruit / nut woods are safe, perhaps if Jon Arno sees this he can comment.


Also found if I heat the mineral oil in a hot water bath it absorbs better, I also buy the light mineral oil from pharmacy for oral consumption, don't really know if there other grades(industrial types) that might contain dryers.


so long from the Okanagan,gtw

jgaiennie's picture

(post #81462, reply #5 of 9)

Hedge,


You have the comments of experiened others about the pros of walnut in a cutting board, but I'd be reluctant to use any open grain wood for this purpose as food particals and bacteria may tend to find a home and place to prosper in the pores.


Then mineral spirits as a finish?  Isn't that posionous?  Peanut oil is a good food grade finish and is often used on salad bowls and the like.

strider7tk's picture

(post #81462, reply #6 of 9)

I think the thread reference was to mineral OIL, not spirits. Mineral oil is definitely not toxic; it is frequently given by pediatricians and internists as an aid in bowel movements... Now there's a topic for comment!

I agree that the previous comments do not address the possible bacteria issue; porosity may be a factor in this but it is certainly not the only, or even clearly the most important, factor. Somebody studied wood boards versus plastic and found the wood to be less conducive to bacterial growth- but they weren't sure why. Possibly tannins in the wood.

johnhardy's picture

(post #81462, reply #7 of 9)

I never use my cutting blocks to cut raw meat or chicken and always wash them thoroughly immediately after use. Never have I had a bacteria problem.


In point of fact, when I put raw meat or chicken on the grill I place the tray in the sink for washing. I don't re-use it as a tray for the cooked items. But this is getting pretty far astray from the use of walnut in a cutting block ... :)


John

hedgehogtw's picture

(post #81462, reply #9 of 9)

For several years plastic cutting boards(UHMW Polyethylene)was thought to be safer than wooden boards because of bacterial growth, then I read an article (could have been in FWW) that opinion had reversed after studies showed that the cuts in plastic boards harboured bacteria, whereas the cuts in wooden boards were self sealing and the fibres closed up when the boards were washed, the cuts in the plastic boards remained open. By the way plastic boards are a good supply of UHMW poly for jigs and slides, pick them up at junk sales and they are far more economical than new material.


I have also found that peanut oil, nut oils (walnut, hazelnut, which are expensive) can go rancid in hot weather and taste food.


I always designate one side of the board for meats and the other for veg. I always rinse my boards in bleach and water after chicken to kill salmonella bacteria, then rub them down with coarse salt once in a while.


so long from the Okanagan,gtw


P.S. dont lick your fingers when using mineral oil!