oak for cutting board? - Page 3 - Router Forums
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post #21 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 06:48 PM
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A mid west university did a study years ago when wood was being replaced in commercial facilities with plastic. They found that wood has natural bactericide properties which of course plastic does not. Another thing they found is that oak is one of the woods that is highest in this property because of it's high tannin content. Tannin is part of what keeps wine from spoiling and leather from rotting (hence the term tanned leather). Other woods like birch and maple may be as hard or harder and very closed grain but they aren't nearly as high in tannin content so there may be a trade off between porosity and natural germicidal properties.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #22 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 07:27 PM
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Checked the link- certain woods are acidic in nature, tannic acid, I recall. Anti-bacterial in fact but the government knows better....I think.
Missed CC's post.

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post #23 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 07:42 PM
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Tannin in wood(tannin is found in nearly every family of plant) is one reason I believe that wood is better for a cutting boards. The Oaks aren't the only woods to have Tannin(though it super high in Oaks as stated), so for the over all debate on plastic verse wood debate I agree, tannin is one thing to check off on the wood pros list for cutting boards.

If we ask what are the best woods for cutting Board White Oak isn't top of the list. I do believe for me a White Oak cutting board is still better than plastic though. Using Mineral oil and then keeping it clean would be even more important than some other woods. And White Oak is definitely the choice over Red Oak for a cutting board no question, but End grain red oak is going to even work, just not the best choice.

Wood won't hold bacteria long enough to do us damage no matter the wood or tannin levels(although it does get into the pores and live for awhile).

UC-Davis Food Safety Laboratory: Cutting Board Research

Exotics are the only woods I do no recommend for cutting boards from a safety standpoint unless they are very specific exotics. If you aren't sure of the exact species don't use them. And yes I have made cutting boards using exotics, even one using woods I wouldn't use myself, the client is the boss after all, but I sold it as an art piece.


I am not arguing White Oak can't be used for a cutting board, just that it isn't the best choice.
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post #24 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 11:17 PM
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Interesting article DT. The fact is that wooden cutting boards have been used for who knows how many centuries without there being any significant link to illness from the use of them. Like so many things these days I think some bureaucrat somewhere came up with the idea that they weren't safe and that plastic would be better without doing the proper testing to make sure, and it turns out they were wrong.

As far as woods which are appropriate there some woods which can be toxic such as yew for example. It is near or at the top of the list. However, an article I read suggested that used in a cutting board the risk is quite low, that toxicity would be more likely in the form of an allergic reaction which is extremely hard to predict and fairly rare. The most common and most dangerous form of toxicity is in the inhalation of dust particles instead.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #25 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 02:21 AM
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Charles; you remember that huge kerfuffle in Vancouver's Chinatown a couple or three decades ago, over the Chinese grocers hanging BBQ'd duck in the their shop windows? The Health Inspectors were freaking out because the meat wasn't being refrigerated.
Funny; the Chinese have been hanging their BBQ'd duck like that for at least a couple of thousand years. At least a hundred of them in Vamcouver. Common sense prevailed, as I recall.
Nobody was being forced to buy it in any case.
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post #26 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJack View Post
Mineral Oil will keep the wood from drying out, and won't get rancid like a vegetable oil.
I heard that for years, vegetable oil will get rancid. But from what I'd seen it didn't. So contacted a food nutrition professor at the local university. He said it will only go rancid if it is heated, to a high temperature, as in cooking.

So, I took him at his word and have used it on a number of projects, and no issues with it going rancid at all. One of my sons left a rake on the ground, and I didn't find it until about a year later, covered in leaves. and the ha ndle had totally rotted away. Got another, it wound up on the ground too. But this one started putting on a coat of vegetable oil every couple of weeks or so. Wound up on the ground again, and again, and again. And no rot at all. Dunno how it would be on a cutting board tho.

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post #27 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 09:58 AM
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One of the ingredients of the food service acceptable oils for cutting boards is mainly mineral oil like you would buy from the drugstore. I think there may have been some beeswax in one or two added to the oil. I thought I'd try cooking oil for honing compound once. Turned out to not be a good idea, it got sticky as it dried. I think it might do the same thing on a cutting board.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #28 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 10:39 AM
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Mineral oil is a lovely product to work with...it dries almost overnight. Vegetable oil; not so much.
I've tried both the 'Light' and 'Heavy' forms of the Mineral oil and I prefer the Light, hands down.
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post #29 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 01:01 PM
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Vegetable oil will go rancid, mineral oil won't unless it has some additives that will take it south. We use pure mineral oil on all the cutting boards we make and have for several years. We just get the stuff in the drug section at Walmart but we make sure it's pure. Then we add beeswax to the final coat and let it soak in overnight. They have never come out sticky, not even close.

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post #30 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealCom View Post
I use mineral oil from the drug store for all of my cutting boards made of all types of woods. Works great.

Ralph
The grocery store I frequent carries it.

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