Cutting Board Wood Selection

This a very important topic.  The best way to approach this is asking...Which wood is best for BOTH cutting board durability and protecting my knives?  This will fully explain how and why A BLOCK WOOD chooses to use specific wood species.
Almost any wood can be used to make a cutting board.  HOWEVER, there is a definite balance between your knives (which are often very expensive), cutting board construction, wood durability and yet doesn’t greatly increase the possibility of damage and or quick wear, tear and dullness to your knives.
Wood Hardness Rating:
Wood is rated on a “JANKA” scale which measures wood hardness.  All species of woods has a specific JANKA scale hardness number# assigned to it.  The higher the number, the harder the wood.  Balsa wood (22) is at the low end and Australian Buloke (5060) at the very high end.
Knives (Steel Hardness):
Nearly all mass produced knives are a great balance of steel hardness and edge (sharpness) retention.  These knives can be used on a variety of woods
High-end Custom, Japanese and other knives often cost several hundred dollars each and can potentially chip or break.    
End Grain Construction:
End grain cutting board construction normally provides more durability and less abrasion/wear and tear on knives. 
Unsuitable Woods
A BLOCK WOOD chooses NOT to utilize:
  • Any wood that is at or over 3000 on the JANKA hardness scale, which is potentially/likely too abrasive on knife edges. These example woods include:
    • Brazilian - Ebony/Walnut/Cherry/Teak/Redwood/Rosewood = 3692/3680/3650/3540/3190/3000
    • Lapacho = 3640
    • Tiete Chestnut = 3540
    • Tiete Rosewood = 3280
  • Pine (might impart a “resinous” taste after time)
  • Ash & Red/White Oak (too porous and may lead to difficulty in unclogging food from wood pours)

It’s all about balance, based upon your preference and decision.
Woods that are higher in their JANKA rating due provide extra weight and rigidity.  However, woods that are extremely high in the JANKA rating may result in premature abrasion and wear on your knives, specifically the high-end knives that permit highly-sharpened blades. 

End Grain cutting board construction is easier on your knife edges and are more durable.


MAPLE (Janka Rating = 1450), AMERICAN WALNUT (Janka Rating = 1010) and AMERICAN CHERRY (Janka Rating = 850) are excellent choices and provide an almost ideal balance combination of attributes.  Maple, Walnut and Cherry will:
        1) Help protect your knives
        2) Provide long lasting cutting board durability (with proper maintenance)
        3) Provide a range of usage levels from low, moderate to high/Professional level applications. 
Hard Maple lumber sapwood has a creamy white color and has a close, fine grain texture that is generally straight. 

Hard Maple is often a first choice for a cutting board since is has high strength and durability, specifically in an end grain construction.  With a Janka hardness rating of 1450, this wood is strong but yielding for your knives.

Black Walnut lumber is hard, dense, heavy, dark and often straight grained but can often be irregular. tight grained.  It resists warping and shrinks very little. The end grain is semi-porous and has very distinctive growth rings.  Colors range from a rich deep dark chocolate to tints of reds, browns and tans.

Walnut is often an excellent choice for a cutting board since is has high strength, durability and develops a lustrous patina over time.  THE Janka hardness rating of 1010 provides a great balance of strength, durability and beauty.

Black Cherry lumber heartwood varies from beautiful rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age with light exposure.  The grain naturally contains brown and black flecks and gum pockets which look like black streaks.

Cherry is an excellent choice for a cutting board since is has a Janka hardness rating of 950 resulting in a softer choice, yet still incredibly durable, for your knives and cutlery.

How A BLOCK WOOD Uses Recommended Woods In Cutting Boards
A BLOCK WOOD's Signature and Natural Beauty's - Brick, Chopping Blocks and Specialty and Unique Cutting Boards ONLY use Maple, Walnut and Cherry Woods.  Limited Edition Cutting Boards use these same woods with the addition of several Exotic Woods from South America and Africa including Bloodwood (2900), Purpleheart (1860),Sapele (1410) and Zebrawood (1575).