Cutting board- teak or bamboo, or other wood?

I got a teak cutting board yesterday. I am using bamboo at the moment.

Any opinion on the pros and cons of each? Or does it really matter? Are there other wooden material I should consider?

Thanks!

I have bamboo, maple, and a mix (antique board). I seldom use the bamboo anymore as I feel that the others are easier on my knives. May not make a difference but it just seems that way and feels better.

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I agree with you. Bamboo seems pretty hard on the knives.

Additional question for everyone: Oil or no oil? I didn’t oil my bamboo board and performed no maintenance. Its getting a little moldy. Its said oiling prevent absorption of moisture. I was thinking about danish oil that I already have but want to hear if its really effective. Thoughts?

Hi sck,

both bamboo and teak contain silicates which make them less acceptable as cutting boards–not as bad as glass or ceramics, but in the wrong direction for sure. Soft woods and plastics are hard to keep clean. End grain hard woods like maple take the prize–but overkill for me. I’ve got three different sizes: the smaller two are hardwood–the big one is poly plastic with the consistency and appearance of wax. I often use them together.

All unfinished woods need to be oiled to prevent them from drying out, cracking, and just not looking very good. Bamboo isn’t wood, and it’s treated. IMO, it does not need to be oiled.

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I have heard that both teak and bamboo can be too hard for knives. However, you should give them a try and see. They may not be that bad especially for most home cooks. I also heard people suggest pine wood and hinoki wood are too soft, and that the perfect cutting board should only be made out of maple, cherry and walnut and nothing else. I think that is a little too absolute.

I would use them and let your experience speak for their abilities. They are not glass and marble stone.

Thanks drrayeye.

What kind of treatment does bamboo get? Are you referring to Boric + Borax or something else?

I look into wood hardness more and it seems like the answer is a bit more complicated:

Different types of bamboo definitely is, on average, harder than wood like maple. Teak is not as hard as bamboo. But it depends on what type of teak it is. Mine says plantation teak, so I assume its the type of teak that they grow with much fertilizer and is less dense than old growth teak. This assumption comes from an observation that I made previously working with plantation grown redwood and pinewood. They are a little bit like foam, much less dense compared to old growth ones.

Since its only $10 (Madeira brand), and I don’t have truly expensive knives, I am inclined to give the teak a try.

Hi sck,

Bamboo is impregnated with a resin, or it will rot. I treat it like it has been varnished–keep it clean and dry.

Ray

Good analysis, sck,

I love teak, and have many pieces of teak furniture in my home, including a newer “plantation” tray. I see your point.

I almost feel that teak is too beautiful to be used as a cutting board, and the silicate issue still remains, but, like Chem, I wouldn’t rule it out.

Ray

I love my Boos (maple) board, but certainly there are other woods that are fine for cutting boards. However, IMO bamboo isn’t one of them. My husband bought me a bamboo board as a gift once and I returned it after one use. I absolutely hated the feel of the cutting surface. YMMV, but I would definitely look at maple boards before anything else.

I use maple cutting boards and clean them with mild soap and vinegar. A couple of times each year and wipe them down with generic mineral oil.

Indeed the teak looks pretty good (after 1 layer of food safe danish oil treatment):

I also never oil my bamboo. I only use it for when I smoke meat because of it’s size. As for the maple end grain board I use Howard cutting board oil. Seems to work well.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold