Cutting Board Types

The second most important tool for every chef or home cook – after a sharp knife – is the cutting (or chopping) board.

Its importance is frequently overlooked and usually is chosen poorly based only on looks, but you have to keep in mind the following things:

Knife maintenance

A good cutting board is very important to properly maintain your knives. Improper cutting board surface will make your knives dull much sooner. There is also an increased risk of chipping, rolling or even breaking your knife’s edge using the wrong cutting board. A properly designed cutting board will minimize the above risks and make the process much more safe and enjoyable.

Hygiene and safety

Improper cutting boards increase the risk of food cross contamination, bacteria development (like salmonella) and can lead to serious health problems (read more here )

Several scientific studies have shown the hygiene superiority of wooden cutting boards versus plastic ones.


” …use of plastic cutting boards in home kitchens is hazardous, whereas use of wooden cutting boards is not.”

Types of Cutting boards

Cutting boards come in different materials, shapes or sizes. Below are the most commonly available in the market.

  • Stone / Marble / Granite / Glass cutting boards – They may look good and be cleaned easily but it’s a BIG NO when it comes to knife maintenance and care It’s just the fastest way of dulling or destroying your precious knives. Just NO..
  • Bamboo cutting boards – Although is considered a cheap and green / environmentally friendly material, bamboo is considered a  hard material (that is made even harder by the use of large amount of glue that is needed to be made. Just keep using it as a nice serving tray.
  • Composite cutting boards – Usually made from cardboard, paper, wood fibers etc. Even though these materials are knife friendly, the resins used to bond the material together are extremely hard when dried and they will dull and damage your In addition, they will chip and flake easily after some use.
  • Plastic cutting boards – Even though they are knife friendly and easy to use because of their weight, extensive studies have shown that the scars left from the use of the knives, not only leave stains and make them difficult to clean but most importantly carry serious health issues. Recent studies have shown that the risk of development of bacteria and salmonella in plastic cutting boards is much higher than in the wooden ones (read more here).
  • Rubber cutting boards – It seems like a good alternative as they are knife friendly (of course not as much as wood) and are easy to clean. Their disadvantage is that they are usually very heavy and cannot be used as a hot pad as they can melt.
  • Wooden Cutting boards – Definitely the best choice of all the above for the following reasons:
    • The best knife-friendly surface
    • Provide the best feeling and control using your knife
    • Most hygienic surface
    • Beautiful designs available to fit any kitchen.
    • Natural material
    • Can be resurfaced even after super extensive use by sanding or planning.
    • With proper care they can last decades.

As a downside can be considered their increased weight (which is also an advantage for some cutting techniques) and their increased need for care.

Wooden cutting boards come in different woods, sizes, thicknesses and construction techniques. There are 3 main types of wooden cutting boards based on the way the wood us used and assembled:

  • The Flat (or face) grain

  • The Side grain

  • The End grain

All 3 are considered good choices, but among them there is one that that truly stands out: End grain

They are of course the rarest, most difficult and time consuming to be made (they’re made of small end grain square pieces glued together), but they are considered the best for good reasons:

  • As the wood fibers are facing upwards towards the cutting surface of the wood, when your knife touches the surface during the cut, the fibers of the wood move aside providing not only the smoothest cut but also a “self healing” effect as the fibers move back to their initial position as soon as the knife withdraws. Therefore, the knife is making much less scars on the wood, preserving its appearance, longentivity, hygiene and is much friendlier to the edge of your knife!
  • It eliminates the danger of splinters. Unlike the face or side grain, the upward facing of the fibers makes it impossible for splinters to happen.
  • Because of their construction technique and thickness, end grain cutting boards are almost impossible to warp. Of course as with all others wooden boards should be maintained properly.
  • Aesthetics is something not to be overlooked, as they offer overall pleasure in the creative process of cooking. Every handmade endgrain board has unique pattern and is a wonderful appealing piece of craftmanship for every kitchen.

The best species of woods used for cutting boards include:

  • Maple

  • Oak

  • Sweet Cherry

  • Sapele Mahogany

  • Ash

  • Acacia

  • Walnut

  • Teak

How to care a wooden cutting board

USE:  After each use, rinse with plenty of warm water and use either a soft sponge or a synthetic / natural brush with mild detergent like dish soap. When is clean, dry it with a dry towel and leave it to dry standing in one side in your dish rack or against the wall for 6 hours or completely dry before storing.

CARE:  For the longevity and safety of your board, it is suggested occasionally to apply two coats of food grade mineral oil using a brush and beeswax using a soft cloth, the second after the first dries out. This task takes no more than 5 minutes and it will care and protect your cutting board in order to keep it a lifetime. You can disinfect every now and then your cutting board with 3 ways:

Cover your board with a layer of salt and leave it overnight. Repeat on the other side. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry.

Use a mix of a 50% water and 50% vinegar and spray both sides. Rinse thoroughly with water after some time. (Note that the vinegar might leave a mild odor)

Add a tablespoon of chlorine per one liter of water and spray both board sides. Leave it for few minutes and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Do not spill over boiled water on the board.

Do not wash the cutting board in dishwasher.

Do not use strong detergents for cleaning.

Do not use aggressively serrated knives in your cutting boards as they may damage it.