Best Solid Wood Cutting Boards
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What associations do you have when you hear the word “art”? Music, literature, theater, paintings, sculptures … With life experience comes understanding that art reveals itself in many forms and places. For instance, I own a cutting board which is truly a piece of art! I literally have not seen anything like it before. It is a one-piece cutting board made by Treeboard in Maryland, USA. Stay with me to find out why I consider Treeboard solid wood cutting boards safe and love them so much.
I follow a rigid process when I research products.
Since 2012, when I had my son, my focus has shifted to health and environmental issues. Therefore, I examine product ingredients from the perspective of their safety to human health and the planet.
Research takes a lot of time and other resources. Hence, instead of doing your own research looking for a safe product, you can take advantage of my findings. I have created several e-books, including diaper and baby wipes rating lists, and offer consultations on healthy living. I have also established and run a Savvy Consumer Circle of like-minded people sharing their passion for non-toxic living.
To deem a product safe, I follow a multistep process that involves a lot of reading and research. I start with surveying the whole industry to get an idea of how it operates. Then, I contact manufacturers and ask them questions regardless of what their websites say. Sometimes, one-on-one conversations reveal details that the website does not mention.
Many times, however, I face relentlessness and even hostility on the part of manufacturers to build any communication whatsoever. In those cases, their responses are general, evasive, and lack respect for their customers.
Therefore, I appreciate business owners who are willing to share details of their manufacturing processes with me and even welcome my input. This is exactly what I got from my conversation with the founder of Treeboard, whose one-piece cutting board I own.
Before I tell you more about their solid wood cutting boards, let’s go over the cutting boards to avoid.
I avoid plastic, Epicurean, and bamboo cutting boards.
To begin with, 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, plastic boards may contain triclosan which can stick to the food and get inside your digestive system, too. Third, plastic allows for deep cuts, which, together with moisture, are the perfect environment for bacteria growth and multiplication.
Then, there are Epicurean cutting boards. Even though they are slightly better than plastic ones, the manufacturing process and materials are far from ideal. To clarify, rather than being solid wood cutting boards, Epicurean boards are layers of paper stuck together. Actually, we own such a board but are not using it any longer – it has many scratches in which bacteria can grow.
As for bamboo, it is not wood at all. It is grass that must be turned into thin strips that are joined with glue. Plus, I do not like the surface finish most bamboo boards use (more on glue and finish later). Besides, there is no way to know for sure if it is organically grown. Hence, bamboo does not seem to be a good material for a one-piece cutting board. 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.
I consider solid wood cutting boards the best choice.
Believe me, my kitchen has seen quite a few cutting boards in the past decade. As a result, my ideal criteria for a safe cutting board have grown into a four-point list:
- First, it must be a one-piece cutting board.
- Second, it must have a non-toxic finish that we could actually eat.
- Third, the wood should be harvested sustainably.
- Fourth, the non-toxic cutting board must be relatively affordable.
A one-piece cutting board does not need glue.
The main reason I consider single-piece cutting boards potentially the safest natural cutting boards is the absence of glue. Indeed, conventional wooden cutting boards are made of thin strips of wood. Hence, glue is vital to make them look as if they were made of one piece of wood.
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. Since solid wood cutting boards do not have this problem, they bring you one step closer to a healthier choice.
Plus, if it is a solid piece of wood, there is no risk that your cutting board will fall apart. It will last you forever.
Another step to a healthier choice of a safe cutting board is the right wood finish.
Beware of the wood finish properties.
So far, I have mostly seen two types of oil finish on cutting board wood. They are mineral oil or a blend of undisclosed ingredients. Often, the makers do not know what the blend consists of because they source it from somewhere else. So, when these undisclosed ingredients come in contact with my organic food, I am not a happy chef.
As for mineral oil, I do not like it because 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 have contaminants such as carcinogenic PAHs which may leach into food.
Therefore, I’m glad to tell you that there exists a mineral oil free cutting board that is safe and affordable.
Introducing Treeboard as the best maker of solid wood cutting boards.
If you have been following me for a while, you may know that my favorite one-piece cutting board used to be Urthware. This Canadian company made non-toxic cutting boards that checked all the boxes: single piece, safe finish, and sustainably harvested wood. Unfortunately, they are no longer in business. So, I had to find another non-toxic cutting board option.
I did extensive research but to no avail. Just as I was about to give up, one of the Savvy Consumer Circle members suggested that I look at Treeboard. I am very grateful for this circle because I get to learn about new companies and products. As a result of my investigation, I am confident that Treeboard products are the best the market has to offer. And the shipping for US orders is free!
A pleasant phone chat with Will, the founder of Treeboard, unveiled that he had liked wood since childhood. From his father, he learned such basic carpentry skills as cutting lumber and firewood with an ax and a saw. When Will returned to his love of wood, he cut up an oak tree that had fallen near his home. He discovered that solid slabs of wood could make beautiful solid wood cutting boards.
Moreover, Will answered all my questions and sent me his one-piece cutting board for testing. As I mentioned, when I saw that non-toxic cutting board, I thought of it as a wood masterpiece.
Treeboard products are large and smooth and have a non-toxic finish.
From the very first glance at the product, you can tell that its maker truly cares about his craft.
First, the board is impeccably smooth and has silicone feet to keep it from sliding on the countertop. By the way, for this purpose silicone is the best material as it produces no VOCs or latex allergies. Second, the over one-inch thickness of the board makes it very sturdy. Third, the board is huge, which makes it comfortable to work with multiple vegetables at a time. In short, there is precision and thoughtfulness in every detail.
Of course, I wanted to make sure that the finish on the Treeboard single-piece cutting board was non-toxic. It turned out that Will uses organic flaxseed oil and organic carnauba wax. In fact, flaxseed oil is also known as linseed oil, but linseed oil may contain chemical additives for faster drying. Commonly, they use flaxseed oil in food and linseed oil – on furniture. As for carnauba wax, it is a plant-based food-grade wax that the USDA National Organic Program allows for use in organic food.
Treeboard uses hardwood for their solid wood cutting boards.
Will does everything possible to eliminate your exposure to questionable chemicals. Thus, his safe cutting boards consist of one block of wood, which eliminates the need for glue. It is challenging to make a one-piece cutting board of a generous size that won’t warp. But Will knows how to and cares enough to do it. For example, our Treeboard non-toxic cutting board is 23” by 15”, which is a lavish size for all uses. It is also 1¾ inches thick. It is large enough for a Thanksgiving turkey with room to spare!
Further, Will makes sure that his wood suppliers do not use any chemicals in the wood preparation process. To clarify, they may use chemicals in wood to prevent or kill mold or to change color. But Will is confident that the mill he works with does not use any chemicals. Instead, they dry the timber well to prevent mold and preserve the color as it is.
Predominantly, Will works with maple, but he has ash and white oak cutting blocks, too.
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. Ash is a light-colored, smooth-grained hardwood that is an attractive option for fine furniture and cutting boards. White oak is a hard and heavy wood with great wear resistance.
Treeboard takes the forest seriously.
Fascinatingly, for their solid wood cutting boards, Treeboard looks for sustainable lumber locally. Thus, they usually use naturally fallen trees, or those trimmed out of necessity, or trees cleared from new home sites. In other words, your one-piece cutting board will be made of lumber that has the least impact on the environment. In fact, the wood that Treeboard sources is certified sustainable by the Appalachian Hardwoods Manufactures Inc. (AHMI).
Additionally, I respect the company’s desire to give back to the forests that sustain their business. Specifically, they ordered 100 hardwood trees from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and have planted them around the community. On top of that, they are planning to plant a tree for every single order they receive. It tells me that they take the environment and the beautiful natural resource, the forest, very seriously.
Conclusion about the best solid wood cutting boards
In sum, when it comes to a safe cutting board, I recommend a one-piece cutting board free of mineral oil. Personally, I avoid plastic, bamboo, and Epicurean chopping boards. Alternatively, I use a Treeboard non-toxic cutting board available for purchase on the company’s website.
First, it has no glue or mineral oil. Second, it is thick, sturdy, and not slippery, and is made of sustainable solid wood. Above all, this cutting board will potentially last you forever and can become an heirloom piece.
Please visit my shop for more options of non-toxic household and skincare products, e.g., Crunchi non-toxic makeup. If you need help choosing a safe product, book a consultation with me, and I will happily assist you. Join the Savvy Consumer Circle to share your healthy living experience and get enriched with the experience of other members.
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I like the more natural wood then fake plastic to cut my food on.
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.
i particularly like the fact that he even thought about the glue and solved the toxic issue around that problem.
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.
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.
OK thanks for clarifying! I just read it!
I like the fact that they’re hand made and use no toxic components!
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!
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!!
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!!
I love that a beautiful hardwood like maple is the only component.
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?
Hi Kira, it is so much to hear from you! Yes – to be on a safe side, it is better to have two.
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!
They are nontoxic!
I like that there non toxic:)
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.
Thanks for the giveaway. I like that the maple is less prone to bacterial contamination.
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.
I love that they are organic and free of toxins!
I like that they’re made out of wood and not plastic, less likely to leach bad things into what we’re eating
So excited to hear I have a safe option! I have always been leery of the wood ones glued together!
I like that it’s natural wood to cut on
Wooden cutting boards are petridishes for bacteria. Glass cutting boards, which are made in the US, are the healthiest cutting boards.
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.
Irina, do you put your cutting board in the dishwasher?
No, that will ruin wooden cutting boards. I wash them by hand.
Somehow, I knew you were going to say that! 🙂
Hi did you research bamboo boards from cutting boards.com? They have some impressive claims.
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!
What about the Epicurean cutting boards? http://www.amazon.com/Series-Cutting-Boards-Epicurean-Natural/dp/B004TJMPRE/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1412785803&sr=1-1&keywords=epicurean+cutting+board
It says they are made of recycled materials, compressed with a “food-safe resin.” Hmmmmm….. would love to know your insight on those.
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.
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?
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.
What did u do then.
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.”
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!
Just ordered an Urthware cutting board and wanted to say thank you for sharing all your research!
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!
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?
Hi, Nancy! I think the best way would be to talk to the company directly. Thanks. ~Irina
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!
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!
Thank you for sharing this exciting news with us, Dorothy! ~Irina
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?
Hi Adianez: glass is the most inert material so as long as it does not have lead, it should be fine. Let me know if you hear from them. Thanks! ~Irina
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!
What do you think about Epicurean cutting board? Thay claim they are safe, but it reminds me alot of mason boards – which are toxic.
Hi Cris: Epicurean boards are made from wood resin meaning that wood fibers are glued together. I prefer solid wood cutting boards instead. ~Irina
What cooking utensils do you use or recommend?
Hi Sheree: I recommend wooden utensils versus bamboo such as these ones. What do you like to use? There will be more information in my upcoming Get Rid Of Kitchen Toxins in 7 Days ebook. ~Irina
What about bamboo wood cutting boards? Aren’t those acceptable?
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
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.
Hi, Christina: there is no gap on my boards. You might want to contact Urthware about this. ~Irina
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!
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!!
Thank you so much for sharing, Janet! I am very glad. Have a fabulous Sunday! ~Irina
I saw that Urthware has wooden utensils for cooking. Would those be as safe as the cutting boards?
Yes, they are! I need to update the post. thank you for asking, Liz. ~Irina
Is it safe to cut raw meat on wooden cutting boards since they can only be hand washed?
We keep a separate wooden board for raw meat and fish. ~Irina
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?
Hi, Mike: Have you contacted Urthware about the delay? Yes, Virginia Boys is second best. Not as luxurious as Urthware but should be safe. ~Irina
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.
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
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!
Hi, Haley: you should contact them and verify what exactly they use to finish their boards. ~Irina
Urthware is not shipping out any more orders for a long time. Whats the next best choice?
Thank you for letting me know. Julia. ~Irina
Have you reviewed Fabslabs?
I haven’t but they are in Australia. I try to stay local if possible. Do you live in Australia? ~Irina
Thanks so much for what you do, Irina! I am only starting out on learning about non-toxic living, and though it feels overwhelming at times, your site has been such an invaluable resource.
For wood boards, I wanted to share another one I came across – School House walnut cutting board.
I reached out to them regarding their materials and they said: “The Walnut Cutting Board is made of a single, solid piece of walnut – no adhesives. It is finished with natural beeswax and sunflower oil, so it’s non-toxic and food safe with zero VOCs.”
We thank you, Cindy, for your kind comment and your research!
We thank you for your kind comment and research, Cindy!
Hi! So happy I found this, Unfortunately Treeboard is out of stock but I found this company and I wondered what you thought about their cutting boards. I was looking at the wide plank cutting boards based on what you wrote but I’m still not sure. In terms of what they finish it with, they give you a choice, one of the choices being fractionated coconut oil (MCT) , or mineral oil, or salad bowl finish (cross linking oil). I thought based on your post the coconut oil would be best, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are.
Hello, Michelle! We thank you for your suggestion and will consider looking into it. If you would like a private consultation, Irina will be happy to help you with your question: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/services/
Hi! Thanks for all your research! I’m new to your site and information. What is your next best budget friendly recommendation. We have 4 plastic cutting boards that I’d love to replace ASAP but simply cannot afford these.
Have you heard of this shop as well, sounds like another good wood option?
Hi Mitch! Thank you for your suggestion! We will look into it!
Have you looked at Lynn and Liana Designs. They are accented with stoneware and beautiful. Not sure what eco-friendly epoxy is and if it’s safe but I thought it was worth a look.
“These pieces are made from high quality Canadian maple and an Eco-friendly epoxy to create a one-of-a-kind piece of serve ware for your home. This cheese board is perfect for serving a group of 2-4 people.”
Hello, Teresa! We thank you for your suggestion and will consider looking into it. In the meantime, if you would like a private consultation, Irina will be happy to help you with your question: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/services/