A cutting board is a fundamental and frequently disregarded piece of kitchenware. A cutting board should be able to handle the daily use of the sharpest tools found in the kitchen without deteriorating over time. Bamboo and wood are two of the best materials for creating cutting boards, notwithstanding the various sorts of material accessible.
The primary contrast between bamboo and wood chopping boards is their level of porosity. Bamboo is thought of as a type of grass and has slightly more holes in it, making it harder to get clean but also stronger than a wooden chopping board.
Key Factors to consider when Searching for the Perfect Wood
Are you pondering if it matters what type of wood is used on a chopping board? The answer is an absolute YES!
It may not make a difference to a cook or chef who does not care about having sharpened knives. For the chef striving towards extraordinarily thin cuts and desiring a knife that is impossibly sharp, it is imperative to choose the correct type of board. Certain varieties of cutting boards, depending on the material they are made of, can be tough on the edge of a knife, essentially wearing away the blade.
When looking for an ideal chopping board, there are several things to take into account such as toughness, absorptiveness, grain, and the amount of toxins. The board’s longevity, food safety, and proper usage will be influenced by these aspects.
Hardness is a key factor to consider. When selecting a cutting board, opt for an hardwood that is not excessively soft or extremely hard.
The Janka hardness test is used to determine the hardness of either domestic or exotic wood species. The Janka test gauges how much pressure is necessary to force a hole in a piece of wood that is the same size as its thickness. The amount of pounds of force (lbf) applied to the wood will determine how soft or hard the wood is; the lesser the lbf the softer the wood, while the greater the force the harder it will be.
Too Soft woods are prone to scratches and damages. If the board is too hard, the knife’s edges may become dull after extended usage. That is why, cutting boards should be made from woods with a Janka scale measure of 900-1500.
Here are some Janka ratings for different types of wood species:
- Red Oak: 1220.
- Hard maple: 1450.
- Hickory – 1820.
- Eucalyptus – 1400.
- Bamboo – 1,180.
- Walnut – 1010
- Cherry – 995
Wood Porosity and Grain
Hardwood trees have pores or vessels that transport sap. You can spot these pores throughout the tree. In contrast, softwoods use tracheids to transport the sap.
Getting a grasp of how the various pores alter a cutting board is advantageous. By taking this step, you can choose a board which absorbs less moisture.
Typically, there are four types of size pores – it helps to understand how they affect your board:
- Ring porous – refers to woods with large pores; e.g oak.
- Semi-ring porous.
- Diffuse porous.
- Non-porous – refers to softwoods.
Having large pores is comparable to having deep gouges and furrows on the surface of your board. These large pores trap bacteria and moisture. A few types of wood with large pores are ash, oak, hickory, and elm.
Hard wood with smaller pores is the best option for cutting boards,as opposed to other materials. Boards constructed with wood that is not as absorbent do not experience the same dilemmas as those made with highly absorbent wood.
The grain orientation of a tree is used to differentiate between the size of the pores, described as either ‘open-grained’ or ‘close-grained’. The qualities of pores in regards to how they are set out, their size, and the way they are spread out can be used to differentiate between a fine texture and a more coarse texture. The texture of the wood is determined by the direction and pattern of the grain. It can be either very smooth or quite rough.
Essentially, the grain of wood or arrangement of wood fibers is the pattern that is formed by the alignment of its cells. It talks about the look, feel, and arrangement of wood fibers.
Woods that have visible pores can be described as having open grain, which you can see without the use of any type of special tools.
In comparison, woods classified as having a “closed grain” or being “fine-grained” have very tiny vessels and pores which can only be seen when using a microscope with increased power. Maple and sycamore fall in this category. Mahogany and Walnut are medium-grained.
The grain pattern of a piece of wood could be quite significant depending on the way the carpenter has cut it. The way the board is cut dictates how it dries and how well it takes a finish.
It is recommended to use closed-grain boards as best practice. They not only have smaller pores but also possess a smooth texture. Open-grain materials have wide pores that allow liquid and food particles to flow through. Ultimately, these large pores trap bacteria, mold, and stains. The large pores can be likened to deep marks or gashes in the surface of the board.
Woods that absorb liquids warp and deform with time. The reason for this is that when the wood takes in and emits moisture, it exerts various small changes in its shape. It is not advised to use boards crafted from ash, hickory, oak, and elm to chop food upon since they contain considerable amount of pores.
Wood with small perforations make the superior cutting boards.
Wood can cause irritation, hypersensitivity, or food poisoning. Some woods are food safe – others are toxic.
It is impossible to make a mistake by choosing boards crafted from trees known for producing things that are edible, such as sap, leaves, or fruit. Good examples here include walnut, maple, and cherry.
Exotic woods are not recommended for kitchen use. A lot of rare types of wood may contain toxins that could make your food unsafe to eat. Rosewood is a type of hardwood with harmful qualities. Wood boards constructed from Rosewood can discharge oils into your meals. Some people are allergic to these oils.
Also, choose boards made using non-toxic components. Make sure that any adhesive, lubricants, and coatings used to seal the board are all harmless.
Our wooden cutting boards are put together with TiteBond 3 Food-grade glue, which is protected from water, safe to use with food, and without any harmful solvents.
Let’s now investigate the distinctions between bamboo and several varieties of hardwood.
Bamboo Cutting Boards: Pros and Cons
When it comes to kitchen tools that are both practical and environmentally friendly, bamboo cutting boards are the ideal choice. Beside their environmental-friendliness, bamboo cutting boards are tough and can guard your knives from any wear and tear. Bamboo is not a recommended material for knife making in the long run, as its silica content can differ between different brands.
The main pros and cons of a bamboo cutting board are listed below:
- Eco-friendly: Since bamboo is considered a grass and not actually wood, it is a fast-growing and very renewable source of material. Eco-friendly products like bamboo put less stress on the natural world.
- Durable: Bamboo cutting boards are decently durable and can withstand very sharp knives for extended use.
- Won’t harm knives as much as glass: The porous consistency of bamboo makes it ideal for protecting your sharp and expensive knives. Bamboo cutting boards will not harm or wear down your knives.
- Won’t warp, most likely: There is a very small chance of your bamboo cutting board warping due to excess moisture. Limited warping is especially true if you use oil and proper care techniques.
- Not very expensive: Bamboo cutting boards are fairly inexpensive to produce, so they are not very expensive for the consumer.
- Look and feel organic: Bamboo provides the clean and organic look that many chefs are looking for. The color of bamboo is pretty uniform and is usually a light brown. However, you can dye its porous consistency.
- Can become unsanitary: The porous consistency of the bamboo material can absorb bacteria and become unsanitary if not taken care of. Proper sanitation and care techniques need to be used consistently with bamboo cutting boards to avoid bacteria’s build-up.
- High silica content: Bamboo can harm knives more than wood cutting boards because of the mineral silica present in the bamboo. This mineral slowly wears down knives and their edges faster than wood cutting boards.
- “Fuzzy” splinters in food: Since bamboo is known as grass and not wood, it tends to get broken down into “fuzzy” splinters more quickly than wood cutting boards. These fragments can get transferred into food and be dangerous or painful.
Wood Cutting Boards: Pros and Cons
Wood cutting boards are a staple in most kitchens. Chefs and cooks enjoy them due to their utility and the simplicity of caring for them. Are you looking for a cutting board that has a natural appearance, doesn’t damage your knives significantly, and is easy to maintain? In that situation, it may be a good idea to explore the various types of wooden cutting boards available.
- Many different choices: Wood cutting boards come in all shapes and sizes. The main difference in wood and bamboo cutting boards’ composition is that wood cutting boards can generally be bought without glued composition. In contrast, almost all bamboo cutting boards have glue as part of the laminating process.
- Durable: Most wood cutting boards have high pound-force ratings that can take a beating and still not damage knives.
- Little silica compared to bamboo: Wood cutting boards tend not to have much silica in their materials. Bamboo has a lot of silica in the material. This can dull and damage the edge of your knives over some time using them.
- More fashionable: Wood cutting boards come with whole pieces of wood or blocked out laminates. These wood cutting boards come in different colors and patterns that can be beautiful and more unique and organic looking than bamboo cutting boards.
- Less porosity: Wood tends to be a little less porous than bamboo, although some wood types are not. Less porous material for a cutting board is an idea for limiting the growth of bacteria and mold on the cutting surface.
- Can become unsanitary: The porous consistency of some wood cutting boards can absorb bacteria and become unsanitary if not taken care of. Proper sanitation and care techniques need to be used consistently with some wood cutting boards and less with others. Make sure to read the information about the best wood to use as a cutting board below.
- Toxicity in some wood: The rule of thumb is to use wood from edible nut and fruit trees as a cutting board. The problem is that this information is difficult to figure out. Some websites listed in this article can help you, but if you are unsure, stick with the woods, you know, to be safe.
The Lifespan of Bamboo vs. Wood Cutting Boards
If you decide to put effort into selecting a cutting board and managing its upkeep, it is essential that you understand how long it should last. You might spend a lot of resources without having knowledge of how much longevity wooden chopping boards have.
A cutting board typically remains usable for five to ten years if it is looked after properly. It is absolutely essential to be mindful of the type of material and how often you should lubricate it with oil so as to make the bamboo and wooden cutting boards last for a long time.
Manufacturers construct bamboo cutting boards by connecting them with adhesive and a chemical compound known as formaldehyde, which is then layered on top. Due to the way they are made, these cutting boards endure more wear and tear than single boards crafted from wood.
Wood cutting boards tend to be more durable than bamboo cutting boards. Wood does not last as long if it is made up of laminated pieces. Cutting boards with laminates won’t last as long as solid wood cutting boards.
Sanitation of Wood and Bamboo Cutting Boards
There is a prejudice associated with wood and bamboo cutting boards because of the presence of holes in the wood’s grain. If you analyze bamboo and wood, bamboo typically has more pores, making it an unsafe choice for a cutting board.
Wood and bamboo cutting boards can have small openings in them that can send water and bacteria into them, leading to the development of potentially dangerous mold. It may be surprising, but wooden and bamboo cutting boards may be more hygienic than plastic cutting boards.
In conclusion, how clean a wood or bamboo cutting board is depends on how often it is maintained and cleaned with proper care. In terms of cleanliness, bamboo and wood cutting boards are almost the same.
Safety Precautions with Wood and Bamboo Cutting Boards
No matter what type of cutting board you ultimately select for your kitchen prep work, whether it’s a wooden or bamboo one, you need to keep in mind to take a few extra safety steps depending on the material.
Precautions to take when using wood and bamboo cutting boards are often very similar. Suggestions and precautions for different kinds of cutting boards could be utilized interchangeably. This is particularly valid for cutting boards made of wood with a tough and porous grain.
Here is an overview contrasting bamboo and hardwood cutting boards.
We believe that hardwood cutting boards are better than bamboo cutting boards. Bamboo is an excellent material since it is environmentally friendly, renewable, and strong; however, cutting boards assembled from bamboo are not very easy on knives. If you’re looking to pinch some pennies, a bamboo board is a great option; however, if you’d rather spend a bit extra, a top-notch hardwood board that requires regular maintenance is the better option. If you don’t care about keeping your knives sharp or prolonging their life, you might want to consider using bamboo.
For a cutting board that is gentle on your knives, has a beautiful, graceful look and matches with the rest of your kitchen’s wood utensils and decor, go with a finely crafted, woodenboard. No matter your choice, you can’t make a bad decision if you opt for Maple wood or Walnut wood.
High-quality, handmade wooden chopping boards are the ideal selection if you are willing to spend more money to add a touch of elegance to your cooking area.