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Products I Like – Solid Wood Cutting Boards

solid wood cutting boards

I am so excited to share this product recommendation with you.  It took me almost 6 months of hard work to bring it to you.  I have researched the cutting board market inside out and up and down; and I can tell you with confidence that the cutting boards by Urthware are the best the market has to offer. Urthware is a small business founded by Michael Gal who makes great solid wood cutting boards by hand in his home shop.  In this post, I will review the board Michael sent to me and host a giveaway.

 

In my post “Everything You Need to Know About How to Find Safe Cutting Board,” you can read about the benefits of using solid wood cutting boards as opposed to plastic.  Unfortunately, there is so much more to it.  Most solid wood cutting boards are finished with mineral oil or some unknown oil blend (even cutting board makers typically do not know what the blend is made of because they source it from somewhere else as opposed to making it themselves).  Mineral oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum, which I do not recommend adding to your healthy food choices.  Mineral oil may be contaminated with carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and they may leach into food.

 

So after I cut out mineral oil finished solid wood cutting boards, I was left with very few options.  But then my research led me to realize that not all solid wood cutting boards are truly made of solid wood.  Again, most so-called solid wood cutting boards are made of thin strips of wood glued together.  And again, a lot of manufacturers either do not know what glue they are using or do not want to talk about it.  Glue can contain a number of toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde.  So when undisclosed glues come in very close proximity to my organic food, I’m not a happy chef, to say the least.

 

Urthware Solid Wood Cutting Boards

 

With that said, let’s talk about Urthware and why I love the solid wood cutting boards Michael Gal makes by hand.

 

First, let me tell you, when I first saw the cutting board Michael sent me (9″ by 14″, take a look at it here), I could tell that this product is made by the hands of somebody who truly cares about his customers. The cutting board is smooth, and even has paint on 4 sides; it has “feet” (made of natural rubber) to keep it from sliding on the countertop; and it has an indentation on the two shorter sides for easy gripping.  In short, every detail was made with precision and thoughtfulness.  The feet are very helpful, by the way, to prevent it from slipping, which can happen if you cut a big and firm piece of something.  The cutting board is 1 inch thick, which makes it sturdy.

 

Let’s talk about the finish on the Urthware solid wood cutting boards.  There is no mineral oil or undisclosed ingredients here.  Michael makes his own blend to finish his solid wood cutting boards, which has only two ingredients: organic walnut oil (that you can eat) and beeswax made by bees.  (Note that people who are allergic to nuts can request an organic coconut oil/beeswax blend.)

 

When I first got the cutting board, it had a nice shine to it, which wore out of course.  The finish has to be re-applied regularly.  Eventually, after many applications walnut oil will form a protective layer.

 

Michael makes his solid wood cutting boards out of maple.  Maple is a hardwood, which makes it less prone to deep cuts.  Also, maple is a closed grain wood, which makes it less prone to bacteria contamination.  (By the way, with your purchase, you will receive detailed instructions on how to take care of the boards.)

 

Michael does everything possible to eliminate your exposure to questionable chemicals.  He carries an organic line of products. The organic solid wood boards are made 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.  The one-piece solid wood cutting boards go up to a 9” by 18” size, which is a generous size for most uses.  I have a 9” by 14” size and feel that it is a perfect size – enough room to work on and not too bulky to wash and maintain.

 

For people who love very large boards, Urthware makes a 12” by 18” size and up to 1.5” deep.  With this large size, it is impossible to make it out of one piece of wood, so Michael uses some glue to put the wood pieces together.  The glue is the least toxic he was able to find, Titebond III (formaldehyde-free).  And he uses as large wood strips as possible to cut down on the amount of glue he has to use.

 

And lastly, the paint used on the sides is one of the safest currently offered on the market (see its MSDS here).  The paint is a nice touch, making the boards fun.  However, since the paint’s composition is not fully disclosed, you can request your board without the paint, as I did, to be on a safe side.

 

In conclusion, I highly recommend Urthware solid wood cutting boards.  And I am very happy to share this great finding with you (I know a lot of you asked me about a non-toxic cutting board recommendation).

 

Where to Buy Solid Wood Cutting Boards

 

You can buy Urthware solid wood cutting boards on urthware.com.

 

 

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55 thoughts on “Products I Like – 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?

  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!!

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