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Best Solid Wood Cutting Boards

Have you ever felt like an outsider?  Here you are speaking the same language as everyone else, but no one seems to understand you.  Every time I cross paths with someone who gets me, it makes me feel appreciative.  In 2014, through correspondence on my website I met a person who thought and talked exactly like me.  It was surreal because at times it seemed as though I was writing to myself.  That person’s name is Michael Gal, and he owns a business making solid wood cutting boards.  I own his one-piece cutting board, and in this post, you will learn why I love Urthware cutting boards so much and recommend them to you.

Best Solid Wood Cutting Boards. A photo of a one-piece cutting board by Urthware.

Cutting boards to avoid

Before I tell you about the board I like, let me give you a brief overview of cutting boards to avoid.

Plastic boards

In my opinion, plastic cutting boards are the worst. 

First, you can ingest harmful particles of plastic together with the food that you cut on the board. 

Second, triclosan, the chemical which many manufacturers use on plastic boards, can stick to the food and get inside your digestive system, too. 

Third, the cuts on plastic can be rather deep and comfy for bacteria which are happy to grow and multiply in moisture left in the cuts. 

Epicurean cutting boards

Another type of a cutting board I am not a fan of is Epicurean.  Even though their boards are slightly better than plastic ones, the manufacturing process and material are not ideal. 

To clarify, Epicurean boards are not solid wood cutting boards.  Rather, they are layers of paper stuck together.  

We own their board but are not using it any longer – it has many scratches ideal for bacteria.

Bamboo boards

Since bamboo is grass rather than wood, it must be turned into thin strips that are joined with glue.  Hence, a bamboo board is not a one-piece cutting board. 

From my experience, it is not always easy for manufacturers to give answers about the glue they use in their products.  In many cases, they do not know themselves because their manufacturing location is overseas.  Besides, it seems like you must rely on the word of the manufacturer that their bamboo is organically grown.

Additionally, the two types of oil finish on bamboo cutting boards I have seen so far are mineral oil or an undisclosed oil blend.  The reason I do not like mineral oil is that it is made of a non-renewable resource – petroleum.  That is to say, it is the same petroleum that fuels car engines.  Hence, it may be contaminated with carcinogenic PAHs which may leach into food.

On the other hand, bamboo is the least expensive alternative.  Plus, it is an easily renewable resource because it grows quickly.  

You can learn more about plastic, bamboo, and Epicurean boards in my Guide to Safe Cutting Boards

What constitutes a safe cutting board

As I kept trying various boards in my kitchen, my criteria for a safe board grew into a three-point list:

  • First, a safe board must have an absolutely non-toxic finish, i.e. a finish you can eat.
  • Second, it must be made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified solid hardwood.
  • Third, the one-piece cutting board must be affordable.

What makes solid wood cutting boards better than others

As you already know, glue contributes to toxicity of a cutting board.  It is vital in joining the board elements to make them look as one entity.  With a board made of solid wood, this problem disappears and brings you one step closer to a healthier choice.

Why not every one-piece cutting board is safe

To begin with, many so-called solid wood cutting boards are made of thin strips of wood glued together.  Often, manufacturers either do not know what glue they are using or do not want to talk about it.  But glue may contain toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde. 

In addition, the finish on most wood boards is mineral oil or some unknown oil blend.  Again, the makers do not know what the blend consists of, because they source it from somewhere else.  So, when undisclosed ingredients of glues and oil blends come in contact with my organic food, I am not a happy chef, to say the least.

Therefore, I am excited to tell you that I have found a safe cutting board that checks every box.  That is to say, it is made of FSC certified solid hardwood, has non-toxic finish, and is affordable.

The best maker of solid wood cutting boards

In fact, it took me almost six months of hard work to bring this one-piece cutting board to you.  I had researched the market inside out and up and down.  As a result, I can tell you with confidence that the boards by Urthware are the best the market has to offer.

As I have stated above, I had a pleasant encounter with the owner of Urthware Michael Gal, the maker of great solid wood cutting boards.  It seemed that we had a lot in common regarding what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.

Just like me, he became concerned about chemicals when he had his kids.  In addition to introducing organic food and safer soap, he replaced his nonstick and plastic cookware with glass, carbon steel, and cast iron pots and pans.  

When he did his research into cutting boards, he discovered the same as I had.  That is to say, manufacturers did not disclose the materials used in making their products.  Moreover, Michael’s research confirmed my findings that wooden boards used either formaldehyde leaching glues or had “mystery coatings,” mainly mineral oil.  As a consequence, he decided to make cutting boards from his home shop for himself and his family, who later encouraged him to start selling them.

Michael answered all my questions and sent me his one-piece cutting board for testing.  Thus, I have been using Urthware products since 2014, and they are undoubtedly my favorite.   

Why Urthware are the best solid wood cutting boards

So, let’s talk about Urthware cutting boards that Michael Gal makes by hand, and why I like them so much.

When I first saw his product, I could tell that the person who made it truly cared about people.  

First, the board was smooth and had natural rubber “feet” that kept it from sliding on the countertop.  Michael used high-grade no-rust stainless-steel screws to affix them to the surface.  Second, the one-inch thickness of the board made it very sturdy.  Third, there were indentations on the two shorter sides for an easy grip.  In short, every detail was made with precision and thoughtfulness.   

Urthware board finish

Let’s talk about the finish on the Urthware one-piece cutting board.  There is no mineral oil or undisclosed ingredients here.  In fact, Michael makes his own blend to finish his solid wood cutting boards.  The finish has only two ingredients – edible organic coconut oil, beeswax made by bees, and carnauba wax.  For vegans, he has an option of carnauba wax, which is a food-grade wax. The USDA National Organic Program allows it for use on organic food.   

When I first got the board, it had a nice shine to it, which has worn out, of course.  To protect your cutting board, you should re-apply the finish regularly. 

Urthware board wood

Michael does everything possible to eliminate your exposure to questionable chemicals.  Thus, the organic solid wood boards consist of one piece of wood, which eliminates the need for glue.  Pretty much nobody does that because it is very challenging to make a one-piece board that would be of a generous size and won’t warp.  But Michael knows how and cares enough to do it.  So, his one-piece cutting board can go up to 10” by 24”, which is a generous size for most uses.  For example, I have a 9” by 14” size, which is perfect for me – enough room to work on and not too bulky to wash and maintain.

Further, Michael uses maple for his products, which is 100% Canadian sourced from within approximately 100 miles of his facility only.  Being a hard wood, maple makes the boards less prone to deep cuts.  Also, maple is a closed grain wood, which makes it less likely to have bacteria contamination.  Plus, every board comes with detailed instructions on how to take care of it.

The lumber certification and quality

I found it interesting that for their solid wood cutting boards, Urthware prefers to use trees that had to be felled, or fell because of powerlines, storms and so on.  In other words, they try to obtain lumber that has the least impact on the environment.  Therefore, sometimes the lumber that is better for the environment does not have an FSC certification. 

Additionally, I respect the company’s strict attitude to wasting wood.  To clarify, they do not waste materials because of the wood natural flaws and imperfections.  It tells me that they take the environment and the beautiful natural resource, the forest, very seriously.

Conclusion about solid wood cutting boards

In conclusion, I highly recommend an Urthware one-piece cutting board available for purchase on the company’s website

First, it has no glue or mineral oil.  Second, it is long-lasting, and is comfortable to use.  Third, it is thick and sturdy, and is not slippery.  Above all, it is made of solid wood, which is rather rare. 

To compare, Virginia Boys Kitchens are the US product and come in a variety of different sizes. Like most cutting boards, they do not consist of one piece of wood, so there is glue in them. That means that it is possible that the cutting board can fall apart.  Besides, the Virginia Boys Kitchen cutting boards are much thinner than the Urthware cutting boards and do not look so luxurious either.

For more options of non-toxic household and skincare products, please visit my shop.  If you need help choosing a safe product, feel free to book a consultation with me, and I will happily assist you.

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67 thoughts on “Best Solid Wood Cutting Boards”

  1. I love that these cutting boards are made out of maple and that it helps make them less prone to bacteria contamination and I love that he adds the feet to the bottom to deter slipping while using the board.

  2. i particularly like the fact that he even thought about the glue and solved the toxic issue around that problem.

  3. I would love to win one of these boards. I love that you did the research and know that it’s safe, untreated wood instead of the toxic plastic to cut our fruits and vegetables. Thanks for the Giveaway! I shared it with my friends too.

    1. Hi Susan, thank you so much for your kind words! I wanted to make sure that we are on the same page. The giveaway is a $10 coupon on a $50+ purchase for 5 people, not the entire board.

  4. Wow, these look like great boards! I am transitioning to a plastic-free kitchen and trying out different natural cutting boards. I would love to buy a couple of these!

  5. Thank you for doing all of this hard work for me!!! I became so frustrated looking for a truly safe cutting board that I gave up! Now I have an option!

    And… what I like best about them is that they are completely stress-free for me! No weird glues, no yucky oils, nothing to worry about!!

    1. And… what I like best about them is that they are completely stress-free for me! No weird glues, no yucky oils, nothing to worry about!!

  6. I typically keep my meats and vegetables on different cutting boards, marking them so I never cut vegetables on my meat board. I’m curious if you need to do that with wood and therefore would recommend 2 – one for meats and one for vegetables?

  7. I love that he’s using a safe finishing oil – I recently replaced my plastic boards with wood, but got so frustrated trying to research the proper way to maintain the boards. I gave up!

  8. Nice find. I’ve been thinking of replacing ours as they split so soon after we got them. I’m sure bacteria is hiding in there.

  9. So grateful that you have done all this research. It is frustrating that manufactures that are allowed to make products with proven toxins in them.

  10. Wooden cutting boards are petridishes for bacteria. Glass cutting boards, which are made in the US, are the healthiest cutting boards.

    1. Interesting. This is not what I read. Could you provide more information? I agree about glass. The problem with glass boards though is that you have to sharpen your knives almost daily.

    1. Hi Eldra! I don’t think I researched these particular cutting boards but generally I do not like bamboo boards. First, they are made with thin pieces of wood glued together; second, most bamboo come from China where growing practices are questionable; and lastly they are finished with mineral oil, which is a petroleum product. Please let me know what you find out. Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa, those food-safe resins are not transparent at all. Nobody will ever tell you what chemicals they have. I did not get any satisfying answers and decided to avoid glues all together in my food. I sent Epicurean a message and, if they respond, I will update this comment. Thank you, Melissa!

      10/16/14: I just received a reply from the company. The resin is made with phenol formaldehyde. Phenol formaldehyde is less toxic than urea formaldehyde. However, it is still formaldehyde – not ideal. By the way, wood has natural formaldehyde and with pressed wood you get more of it. You can read my post about formaldehyde here.

  11. Hi- I purchased an Urthware cutting board after reading your review. (Thanks!) I did notice that I after I washed it, (by hand with a damp cloth) that the cutting surface was really rough. Did you notice this? Does it go away after use / oiling?
    Thanks!
    Tamara

    1. Hi Tamara! Maybe not as smooth but I would not say “really rough.” Not for me, anyway. And yes, with oiling it goes away. I really enjoy Urthware cutting boards. No complaints.

  12. I checked out his shop and it looks good but I am not sure about the milk paint. Why put milk paint on it at all? The MSDS says that in case of ingestion to get medical aid immediately: i.e. “If swallowed, call a physician immediately. Remove stomach contents by gastric suction or induce vomiting only as directed by medical personnel.”

    1. Hi Inna: that’s the exact question I had. While the milk paint is one of the safest offered on the market and it is located only on the sides on the board where the contact to the food is minimum, it is still something we do not have a lot of clarity about. The MSDS does not fully disclose the paint’s composition. I have two boards by Urthware: one has the paint and the other does not. I requested the second board without the paint as I felt it is not necessary. You can do the same and I am sure your request will be honored. Thank you for your comment!

  13. Buying a Christmas gift for someone who wants to hold the board in the store- what would be your backup option? Looking at Proteak, John Boos, etc. I never thought cutting boards would be so tricky!

  14. I am looking for a safe wood cutting board and happened to read your review (Thanks!). I like All Natural Serious, but the largest one is 18”X9″. Is it possible to get a wider one? Also do they offer coupon for the holiday season?

      1. I received an Urthware Black Friday sale announcement yesterday that started running yesterday. It says:
        Discounted $25 shipping to the USA & Canada!!
        Spend $125 CAD (about $95 USD) and receive a discounted shipping rate. This is a significant savings off of actual shipping costs!
        Or
        Free Urthware Organic Cutting Board Wax + discount shipping
        When you purchase $160 CAD (approx. $120 USD) worth of products from Urthware receive our discounted shipping PLUS a FREE Urthware cutting board wax!

  15. Hi
    What are your thoughts on glass cutting boards?
    Other than dulling your knives, it sounds like the safest and requiring the least maintenance. I recently bought one but haven’t tried it because I’m having a hard time getting a response on whether it may have lead.
    What do you think?

  16. Adianez Alfonso

    Hi! The retailer responded saying none of their glass cutting boards contain lead. I did find another board at another store (same retailer) and the label said that the board was compliant with California’s prop 65 with regards to lead and cadmium, and since it did not specify it had lead in it, I bought that one. I didn’t want to disclose the name of the retailer in case you didn’t feel it was appropriate. Thanks for your help!

  17. What do you think about Epicurean cutting board? Thay claim they are safe, but it reminds me alot of mason boards – which are toxic.

    1. They are certainly better than plastic. However, I am not a huge fan of them because of undisclosed bamboo processing practices. As you know, bamboo is not a tree and technically is grass. ~Irina

  18. Hi,

    I just received my urthware boards and wanted to ask you a question. The rubber feet on my board all bow out from the board so that only the center is touching the wood. Are your boards also like this? All the feet on my board have a 1/4 inch or more gap between the feet and wood it self.

    Thank you!

  19. Hi Christina,

    I can’t tell you how great it is that you did all the leg work for me on this one! I just placed my order and I am very excited to receive my cutting boards! Thank you!

  20. Thank you so very much for your sound research. I spent months trying to find a safe, nontoxic cutting board, but was only left with much frustration and no leads. I’m thrilled to have come across your article and will be purchasing a couple of these cutting boards. I’ve already chosen which ones I’d like. I should have looked through your site before, as I’d already subscribed to your newsletter at least a few months ago!! Lol 🙂
    In the future, I’ll definitely look through your site for research and product recommendations. Thanks again!!

  21. mike frandsen

    I ordered an urthware cutting board five weeks ago and it hasn’t arrived. What are the other best options? Is Virginia Boys Kitchens the second best?

      1. they are running a month behind. plus it takes longer coming from canada. i ordered a virginia boys one in the meantime. is it safe to cut meat on a wood cutting board? if my wife insists on plastic, what are the safest plastic ones? amazon recommends oxo but there isn’t one word about the toxicity of it. thanks.

        1. Hi, Mike, please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the Savvy Consumer Circle. It should be safe, safer than plastic because plastic is more prone to harbor bacteria. I recommend having a separate wooden board for raw meat and fish though. ~Irina

  22. Hi, Irina!
    I would love to get an Urthware cutting board, but being a military family we are getting ready to move again and the shipping time for Urthware is 5-7 weeks, and we might not have a secure address to get it shipped to. In the meantime, I do not want to wait in purchasing a healthier, non-toxic option. I will be buying Urthware when we are completely moved! I found this website and wanted your thoughts on the board. I think it is safe, as it is one solid piece. The wax and oil used is vegan, but it does not state that it is organic. Is it a deal-breaker? Thank you so much!

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