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Nov 6, 2011 03:35 PM

Cutting Board - Mahogany vs. Maple

Are there any major differences separating these two woods as a cutting board surface? I like the look of mahogany a little better, but have seen that maple is the typical wood of choice for butcher blocks etc...

Are there any significant differences in hardness, sanitariness, easy of cleaning, long-time durability etc...?

If it matters, currently I'd be using global knives on them.

Thanks a lot.

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  1. My two bamboo boards have lasted the longest and have been very easy to maintain. Check it out.

    1. Maple is harder, mahogany is prettier. Dealer's choice.

      1. rores,

        It depends what maple and mahogany. Are you buying it from Boardsmith? Dave has a section from his own website:

        "What is the hardness rating of the woods you use? - On the Janka hardness scale maple rates 1450, the mahogany I use is 1220, black walnut is next at 1010 and black cherry is 850. But, the key here is the end grain construction which makes each very durable."

        but that is what he uses. Again, different types of maple can be fairly different. So... it really depends.

        The other way to answer your question is:

        If you use the correct type of mahogany, then you are fine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I just looked at the Janka on Bamboo and it comes in at 1380, but I've heard that bamboo is hard on knives. By extension would maple be hard on knives, or have I heard incorrectly about bamboo.

          And I guess if bamboo isn't hard, does it have any disadvantages with these two woods?

        2. I'd go for Maple. It is going to get more attractive with use and I'd hate to use mahogany that way. Bamboo is always a good choice. I have a couple of artisan woodcrafters we buy from. They use some unusual woods and make beautiful pieces using local woods. I have a gorgeous spalted maple bowl from one and another of poplar. Look around and see what you can find from locals.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Candy

            Why would you hate to use mahogany in that way?

          2. "Maple is harder, mahogany is prettier." Good definition.

            Maple is indeed harder and is the traditional choice for cutting boards. Mahogany is also a good choice. The species I use is not quite as hard and a little more porous but still a good choice. However, given the fact there are many different species of mahogany, the right one is not always easy to find. The right one requires an edible nut or fruit fronm the tree for me to use. (I do not use Genuine Mahogany. To expensive and much to soft and to hard to import in quantities large enough.)

            Bamboo is used a lot in boards made in Asia. Their major drawback is all the little pieces required and the large amount of glues and resins required to hold all the small pieces together. The Janka scale I use shows bamboo higher than what you quote although the carbonized bamboo, bamboo that has been treated to get the darker color, is indeed softer.

            Be careful of the woods that are used from the "local" makers. Some of the exotic woods they like to use,because they look pretty, contain oils that may be harmful to ones health. The same with spalted wood. The bacteria that caused the spalting is toxic to humans and depending on the manner it was dried, the bacteria may be dead or still present. Kiln drying may kill them all but air drying does not.