When searching for the perfect end grain cutting board you may be overwhelmed by the cutting board wood choices and have no idea which is the best wood for a cutting board.

For an end grain cutting board you will want to choose a hardwood, with a hardness somewhere between 800 and 2000 on the Janka Chart.  This Janka Chart pdf lists many of the different woods you can choose for your end grain cutting board and where they rank on the Janka scale.

You want to make sure and choose a wood that is hard enough to stand up to your knives, but soft enough not to damage them.  It is also important to choose a wood with a tight grain so that bacteria and moisture cannot easily seep in to the wood.  Below you will find a list of the best wood for cutting boards as well as a brief description of each.

After you have read up on the best and worst woods for an end grain cutting board, be sure to check out the Cutting Board Plans page or head over to the main page to see our list of recommended cutting boards for purchase.

Cherry Cutting Board WoodCherry Cutting Board Wood

Cherry wood is a great choice for cutting boards and as such you will see it included in a large number of end grain cutting boards.  A cherry cutting board will be moderately hard with a fine, tight grain.  The reddish brown color makes a cherry cutting board a very aesthetic addition to your kitchen.

Maple Cutting Board Wood

Maple Cutting Board Wood

Maple wood is a hard, strong and heavy wood with a tight closed grain.  Along with cherry, this is the other most popular choice for wood cutting boards.  Maple is often combined with cherry to create a striped or patterned cutting board that make for beautiful board.

Mahogany Cutting Board Wood

Mahogany Cutting Board Wood

Mahogany is another popular wood to use.  A mahogany cutting board will be moderately hard with a decent weight to it.  The grains of a mahogany cutting board will be a tight, fine interlocking grain.  Mahogany’s blood reddish brown color and tight grains make it an excellent wood for cutting boards.

Black Walnut Cutting Board Wood

Black Walnut Cutting Board Wood

Another common wood choice for cutting board material is black walnut.  A darker wood, black walnut is often combined with cherry or maple to produce a two tone board.  Walnut is on the lower end of the hardness scale, and does not have as tight of a grain structure as some of the other woods listed above.  However, it is a good choice of wood and is one of the most popular.

Purple Heart Cutting Board WoodPurple Heart Cutting Board Wood

Purple Heart is often the choice for cutting board wood when the person wants to inlay a contrasting and visually striking wood into the cutting board.  The wood of a purple heart cutting board will be very hard and moderately tight grain structure.   Purple Heart is used almost exclusively as an accent wood in addition to one of the woods listed above.

Which cutting board wood not to use

There are a couple woods that are often used in cutting boards which are either cheaper than the woods listed above or used because they are a attractive color.  However, these woods are either too soft or have an open grain.  Cutting board woods such as Ash and Oak should be avoided as they have wide open grains capable of trapping moisture and bacteria.  Bamboo is also a popular choice for cutting boards purchased in department stores.  While bamboo makes for an acceptable cutting board wood, it is very hard and could shorten the lives of your knives.

For more information on cutting board wood check out The Wood Database!