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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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