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Beech cutting boards

jsorealty's picture

I recently acquired a sizable quantity of 6/4 Beech in long pieces about 2-4" wide.  I make end-grain cutting boards out of Maple, Cherry and Walnut.  I was planning on making end-grain cutting boards out of the Beech.  In all my searches I have yet to see anyone making cutting boards out of Beech. 


Does anyone know of any reason why NOT to make cutting boards from Beech?


Jon Sommer

Willy's picture

(post #113548, reply #1 of 15)

We use a cutting board made from beech with alternating pieces of walnut. Looks good and works fine for us.

jsorealty's picture

(post #113548, reply #3 of 15)

Willy:  Thanks for the reply.  I was concerned about wood movement, particularly relative to other woods.  I have a ton of walnut, and will try some with the Beech.  Thanks again!


Jon

SgianDubh's picture

(post #113548, reply #2 of 15)

Jon, my guess is that you are American because European beech is a standard material for making cutting boards here in Europe, as are the various maples. Slainte.

jsorealty's picture

(post #113548, reply #4 of 15)

Yes, I am in Colorado.  Almost everyone uses Hard Maple (Acer saccarum) here for quality cutting boards....


Thanks

Scrit's picture

(post #113548, reply #5 of 15)

I have a pair of beech cutting boards in my kitchen, the oldest of which is 30 years old. As Richard says they work well and don't taint.


Scrit

forestgirl's picture

(post #113548, reply #6 of 15)

"In all my searches I have yet to see anyone making cutting boards out of Beech."  Probably because it's not a glory wood -- you know, lacks the wow-power of walnut, maple, the exotics.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

Scrit's picture

(post #113548, reply #7 of 15)

Maybe, but being a light coloured non-oily timber it won't taint your food, unlike, say iroko. But then again I always though cutting blocks were for cooking and not show.


Scrit


Edited 5/14/2007 3:35 am by Scrit

forestgirl's picture

(post #113548, reply #8 of 15)

Scrit, I wasn't trying to be a snob.  My thought was, a search of cutting boards on the internet, for instance, may not yield hits on beech boards because people who are making them to sell in such a venue would be pushing "striking" woods such as walnut, maple, and some of the exotics.  I've sold these in a retail situation (not mine -- before I was woodworking, and was running a retail store) and the fancy woods are easier to pitch to people. 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

jimbell's picture

(post #113548, reply #9 of 15)

American Beech moves a lot when it is kiln dried. Yuck! Therefore, people assume it moves a lot when you use it, and is, therefore, no good. Wrong--it moves a moderate amount in use. And wrong--it is one of the underappreciated woods in the cutting board world. Do not follow the sheep. Enjoy.

philip's picture

(post #113548, reply #12 of 15)

Say , Jimmy, Beech is good stuff even if it is American Beech (;).But what has kiln drying got to do with its stability? If it is not properly kiln dried according to the appropriate schedule, or if it is over or under dried it will move just the same as if it were over or under seasoned.....
Actually it is interesting to note that both American Beech and Japanese Beech are said to have moderate movement in service once dry, whilst European Beech moves around a lot in service/once dry-it is unstable in other words.
Nonetheless, Beech is a versatile timber and widely used-some folk even make planes from it (;)Philip Marcou


Edited 5/14/2007 5:14 am by philip

Philip Marcou
Scrit's picture

(post #113548, reply #10 of 15)

I didn't think you were being a snob at all. It's just another one of those things where the purchaser often seems to have absolutely no idea of how things work and ends up buying stuff which is not really fit for purpose - just like the people who insist on having their painted kitchen doors made from solid oak. What's that all about? Give me performance over looks any day


Scrit


Edited 5/14/2007 3:39 am by Scrit

philip's picture

(post #113548, reply #11 of 15)

Scrit, as a matter of interest: are you saying that Iroko is oily and not good for chopping boards? Lataxe also has said something about Iroko having a fishy smell and being oily-none of these things have been my experience. I am beginning to wander if we are talking of the same timber-or if you gentlemen are receiving your supplies via fishing/smugglers boats/shipwrecks etc.
Incidentally I have made a number of chopping boards with Iroko "offcuts"- everyone is still alive and using them. Even a couple of Kiwis right here.

Philip Marcou

Philip Marcou
Scrit's picture

(post #113548, reply #14 of 15)

I've always been concerned about exotics and tropicals tainting food. Maybe the iroko I've had has previously seen service in Hull Fish Dock (iroko being a good piling timber), but it certainly has a "peppery" scent to me when I machine it and I've taken precautions to avoid any possibility of that being transferred to food I'm preparing by simply avoiding the timber in cutting boards. I stick with beech, sycamore and maple - all traditional timbers for the task. Maybe your problem is you've had a few too many of Lofthouses's famous confectionaries and can't "taste" the stuff when machining it. ;-)


Scrit


Edited 5/14/2007 5:54 pm by Scrit

VTAndy_'s picture

(post #113548, reply #13 of 15)

I'm not sure whether this is helpful to you, but my understanding is that maple (or other close-grained woods) are recommended for use in cutting boards for restaurants or other kitchens subject to FDA standards.
At home I have a nice set of beech bread boards that I got in Austria.
Cheers,
Andy

douglas2cats's picture

(post #113548, reply #15 of 15)

I had some leftover beech from another project years ago and used it to make some small cutting boards for gifts. I also glued it up with 2 1/4" strips of walnut running through it. They're still in use and holding up well. Beech is pretty nice to work with except for a tiny bit of brittleness that can make for a bit of tearout if you dont back up cuts/drilling. Didn't have any tearout problems with handplanes.

If you build it he will come.

If you build it he will come.