Best Wood for a Cutting Board?
Shopping for cutting boards, huh? Okay, let's skip the introductions and just get the point--the literature on cutting boards seems to rival that of Shakespeare, every popstar ever, and all religions combined.
Teak: It's hot and popular. You'll frequently hear how great it is--it retains its oil meaning it require less upkeep and is less prone to expanding/contracting. It is dense and has a tight grain, which keeps it looking nice. I say it is a little too hard for a knife. Lastly, it is my opinion that teak is kind of ugly.
Maple: It's the industry standard and for good reason. It is durable, but you'll need to keep it up. It's also dense, which gives it a great heavy feel. Admittedly, this isn't our most popular product, likely in part because it is just so available. One advantage is that it seems to match virtually any kitchen, but as a draw back, you'll notice a beet stain pretty quickly.
Cherry: I wouldn't get cherry except for the coloration alone. Too soft, in my opinion. Granted, we are slitting hairs (or should I say wood fibers?) but I definitely notice it wears faster. Your home chef probably won't notice it, but Mighty Quinn's BBQ certainly has seen how quickly it wears when you're chopping meat on it for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Walnut: I call it a happy medium between Cherry and Maple--it's the "Goldilocks." Very nice on your knife, and it takes a stain well since it is so dark to begin with. Walnut is probably the single most popular wood for us. Part of the appeal is its chic look. I consider this an added benefit more than anything though.
Oak: No. It's terrible. Yeah, we offer it, in part because we kept getting requests and some people just really really wanted it. We aim to please! So why do I opt out on Oak? It is ridiculously porous, and might as well be a pile of straws sucking up water. This means it bows exceptionally easily, despite it being a harder wood.
Beech: My personal favorite, as it is the Maple of Europe. It's an industry standard, it is dense, often underappreciated, and only gets more pretty with age. It slowly becomes a deep dull red. The grain is also really tight, meaning you won't have to worry as much about it soaking up water like Oak.