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advice on woods for chopping boards

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radicalwood

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Ok Guys what woods do you recommend for chopping boards and which finishes if any.
Never been sure what I can use :oops: , and as I have finally found a plan I really want to make :lol: , wood selection has risen its head :? .

the plans come free every 2 weeks from the woodworkers journal e-zene a good read with 2 plans every issue (pdf), been getting it for over 2 years now with out any span or problems :lol: :lol: :lol: .

not sure if a link is allowed but one of the mods will delete it not.

http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/ezine ... tissue.cfm
 

Scrit

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Sycamore was traditionally used for countertops and butchers blocks in the North of England whilst beech was used in the South. Maple is another, if more expensive, option. Basically you need a fine-grained, non-tainting timber which will withstand cutting and all of the above are suitable.

The finish needs to be something which you can ingest and doesn't taint. Treated properly a board will need to be continuously oiled and scraped throughout its life, so something found in the kitchen such as walnut oil or olive oil will do the job, just be aware of the problems with nut oils (nut allergy). My maple chopping board has survived more than 25 years being oiled with olive oil and regularly scraped but the oil has never gone rancid.

Scrit
 

CHJ

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radicalwood, Regarding finish for chopping board, the basic constituent of one leading brand of "Food Safe Finish" oil is Light Liquid Paraffin BP1998. The standard grade sold over the chemist counter is a little thicker and takes longer to soak in.

Personally I would be careful with edible nut oils, one because of allergies and two, chances of it going rancid, walnut in particular can be prone to this.

My experience has been with using Sycamore and Beech, in general I would say that Sycamore is softer and marks more readily.
 

Scrit

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CHJ":27ujlq0p said:
Personally I would be careful with edible nut oils, one because of allergies and two, chances of it going rancid, walnut in particular can be prone to this.
Yes, I maybe didn't emphasise the nut allergy problem sufficiently. The paraffin is an interesting one, though. My own personal experience of using (in the main) olive oil is that it won't go rancid on a board that is used regularly. This comment has come up every time I've ever posted about using olive oil, but there are two points to note: a cook who is used to using a solid wood board will give it a light scrape both sides once or twice a week using the edge of a cooking knife and that same cook will generally have access to olive oil in the kitchen, so maintainance will probably be more regular. I was shown this trick by someone in France, who incidentally recommended olive wood boards (nice, but hard to find here in the UK) and believe me, 25 years and never any problems with rancid oil with my own or other boards I've made.

Scrit
 

radicalwood

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Thanks guys,

I had not thought of Sycamore, I have a couple of planks sat in the house at the mo. Looks like I now have a use for them :) .

Cheers

Neil
 

Alf

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A board that's used regularly will likely get a scrub in water and doesn't need any finish at all. My folks have a "few" (not collectors - users!) including a 40+ year old one, and none have ever been finished and they're just fine. Save your olive oil for your dressing, IMO. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Gill

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I agree with Alf. My maple edge laminated board has been in use several times daily for more than 5 years and has only ever known soap and water. It's still in good condition.

As I understand it, there are bactericidal qualities in some woods such as beech and maple which make them particularly suitable for use as chopping boards. But I'm not a biologist, so don't quote me :).

Gill
 

dedee

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I too have never used a finish on a chopping board. I reckon mine to be only 18 years old. Not sure of the wood type - it was shop bought, arn't they usually rubberwood?
Used just about every day and washed or wiped clean.

The carving board of couse gets a regular soaking of oil/grease/fat from what is being carved, again only every washed.

Andy
 

Scrit

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The better ones used to be beech or maple, mainly because sycamore seems to be a forgotten timber these days

Scrit
 

engineer one

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interesting, some time ago the EU tried to ban wooden copping boards on the grounds of hygiene. they thought plastic was the way to go. wonder which lobby group got to them.
however after some complaints, a research facility in germany was put to the task of testing wood and plastic.

strangely they found that plastic boards are not as hygienic, and often the odds and sods left after preparing food, were not washed away from the grooves cut in. however the wooden boards had a built in bacteria which helped reduce the dangers. so unfortunately for the EU, they had to endorse wood.(shame :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: )

i think beech is the way to go if you have to buy, and frankly strips not solid seems to make more sense for stability.

paul :wink:
 

ikd

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Apparently, 99% or germs are killed within 3 minutes of contact with bear wood such as Beech and Maple. This was a study carried out by a university in America. Non natural products like plastic etc had more bacteria after they were disinfected :shock: according to the same study.
 

engineer one

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in W.H.Smiths today, and looked through traditional Woodworking, don't buy it these days.

However the latest issue has a 5 page article about safe woods for food and child uses.

seems there are 4 woods the HSE says no to in relation to food use,
Douglas Fir/redwood. greenheart/ and a couple of others.
anyway for anyone looking to do this for production i suggest it is worth considering for info.

paul :wink:
 

orangetlh

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My dad used to work for a butchers when he was at school and at the end of every day they would clean the blocks with soap and water and rub coarse sea salt into them. He always used to do that at home as well, i cant remember the reason for it, wether it kills bacterior or just preserves the wood.
 

Scrit

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Salt has antiseptic qualities. A traditional way to deal with infected sinuses is to inhale lukewarm saline solution and flush out the sinuses. It works, too!

Scrit
 

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