Cherry Cutting Boards
When it comes to cutting boards, the quality of the wood used is truly the name of the game. This is why cherry is one of our three main materials. The color, the natural lustre, the durability, and the versatility are all characteristics we take into account when selecting our materials and cherry ticks all of these boxes and more.
But, what makes cherry better than the countless other cutting board materials out there? To answer this, let’s take a look at the various qualities that cherry wood possesses and determine exactly why cherry wood earns a top-spot in our book without fail.
What Qualities Make Cherry Wood Stand out?
Cherry wood is a smooth-grained wood that comes from the American black cherry fruit tree. It is often referred to as one of the best furniture and woodworking woods on the market because of its graceful aging and versatility.
It is also a highly popular wood for eco-conscious buyers. In fact, according to Kinsey Hardwood Flooring, “Cherry is grown in FSC-certified forests throughout the United States, so you can choose it as an eco-friendly hardwood flooring option with a clear conscience.”
Cherry wood comes in a variety of pink, blonde, red, and dark red colors depending on the age and processing of the particular wood pieces. This is why old cherry furniture is far darker than new cherry furniture and also one of its best qualities. Cherry is a deciduous wood with a thin and straight grain that is composed of sapwood on the outer edges of the log and heartwood closer to the center.
On top of being one of the most visually appealing woods, cherry wood is also versatile and durable in nature. This means that it can be used for all kinds of projects and withstand the test of time. For cutting boards specifically, this means that years of daily usage are possible without needing to buy another board.
Furthermore, cherry wood is highly adequate when it comes to resisting shock loads and it’s fine pore structure makes it a very structurally sound and long-lasting material for any and all woodworking projects.
What are the Most Common Uses for Cherry Wood?
By far, the most common uses for cherry wood are furniture, flooring, and construction. However, cherry wood is also used for countless other things across the world. Cherry wood can be used for jewelry pieces and high fashion items as its color is incredibly rich and beautiful naturally.
Another common use for cherry wood is with custom cars. A lot of car dashboards that you see in luxury and custom cars are made of cherry as it compliments nearly every interior color imaginable.
Cherry wood is also highly common when it comes to kitchen items such as bowls, plates, utensils, and cutting boards as well. Because of its durability and structure, cherry wood is perfect for holding food without absorbing odors or food particles like other less fine-pored individuals might. This paired with its own beautifully fragrant cherry aroma makes it ideal for all food-related wood products off the bat.
The main reason that cherry is used quite often for building, flooring, and furniture is because it is long-lasting, easy to work with, and has a beautiful color that many people admire and want to see within their homes. While other woods may warp or lose their color over time, cherry only becomes more and more rich in color and is not as easily affected by water as other porous hardwood options on the market tend to be.
Cherry Wood’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Although cherry wood is one of the most beloved hardwoods on the market, even the best things in life aren’t perfect. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of every strength and flaw that comes along with cherry wood in order to give an unbiased review of this material for anyone potentially looking to purchase a cherry cutting board but unsure of its quality or durability.
Hopefully, this will assist you in determining whether or not a cherry cutting board is right for you and will help you to see exactly why we chose this material for our cutting boards as well.
The Strengths of Cherry Wood
There are many strengths to cherry wood and to break it down to only five is rather limiting. However, these five are some of the most common reasons individuals opt for cherry wood over other hardwoods and all of them are also important to note when it comes to cutting boards specifically as well.
- Structurally Sound
One of the most effective aspects of cherry wood specifically is its durability and strength. Because of cherry wood’s uniform and straight grain texture, it can withstand shock loads and it is also quite resistant to rot and decay. On top of this, cherry wood is not particularly porous meaning that it won’t retain any of the liquids that can lead to bacteria forming in the grains of your wood cutting board. This is something that many cheap wood cutting boards fall victim to and it can be particularly dangerous when it comes to cutting chicken or pork that is already well known for getting people sick if not handled correctly.
Cherry wood is also a very versatile wood as it can be used for many things from furniture and woodworking projects all the way to kitchen utensils and paper. Because cherry wood has such a distinct texture, it is quite malleable and it also is not porous and has a natural lustre perfect for woodworking and furniture specifically. This is also what makes it perfect for wood cutting boards as it is easy to cut into the perfect shape for a cutting board, handles shock loads and cuts well, and does not absorb the liquids from cutting meats or vegetables like other woods might.
- Ages Well
Another quality of cherry wood that makes it ideal for all kinds of wood projects and products is the fact that it ages very well. Not only does cherry wood have a fine grain that is not porous making it far more impervious to liquids but it also handles shock damage well. Cherry wood is perfect for those looking to have a long-lasting material that is also naturally beautiful and darkens over time. As the wood ages, it actually becomes even stronger and more rich in color and texture. This makes it perfect for furniture specifically as it won’t become vulnerable to its environment over time but will actually become even more sturdy and naturally stunning.
Although this may not be something that everyone particularly cares about when buying a wood cutting board, it is definitely a perk to this already wonderful wood material. According to How Stuff Works, “the U.S. demand for wood products is growing at twice the rate of the population. In 2008, this translated into 10.7 billion board feet of U.S.-produced hardwood lumber. And that's just the hardwoods.”
In fact, the New York Times stated, “ the North Carolina Forestry Association’s statistics show that the average American uses over a ton of wood each year, equivalent to roughly 43 cubic feet of lumber, 681 pounds of paper — or, perhaps most pointedly, a single tree measuring 100 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter.”
However, when it comes to cherry wood, it is not only harvested effectively and sustainably but it is also a fast growing tree meaning that it can be produced at a faster rate which also means less water usage per tree. This makes it a highly effective wood for all projects as it is considered one of the five most sustainable woods out there.
Lastly, one of the best things about cherry wood is how cost effective it truly is. Because of its texture, durability, aging process, sustainability, and the ease in which it can be produced, it is truly one of the most cost-effective woods for any material needs you may have including, of course, cutting boards.
As the old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’. With this being said, while cherry cutting boards may be more expensive than other cutting boards out there, they are sure to last far longer and be a safer board to use as well when it comes to the highly common problem of bacterial growth on cutting boards.
In our article, ‘Why Should You Consider Choosing a More Expensive Cutting Board?’, we discuss the many reasons why our cutting board materials are the most cost effective on the market. From safety and durability to sustainability and versatility, cherry wood cutting boards are truly one of the most cost-effective on the market.
Now that you know the numerous pros associated with cherry wood, let’s take a closer look at some of the areas in which it falls short. Because we take our material decision process very seriously, you can be sure that we know every pro and con to all the woods we work with and are not afraid to share them with you to help you make your decision in the most informed way possible.
The Weaknesses of Cherry Wood
Just as even the great Achilles had a weakness, cherry wood in all its glory is not immune to flaws. With this being said, below are the most common complaints individuals have with cherry wood to show you exactly how seriously we take our material picking process and how we unequivocally chose cherry wood to be one of the main materials we work with nonetheless.
- Color Darkens Over Time
Although some people may not care about this particular ‘pitfall’ regarding cherry wood, it is still important to mention in case it actually does matter to some. Because of the way in which cherry wood ages, it darkens over time. This means what may start as a light pink or bright red will eventually turn to a dark rich red similar to a mahogany or black cherry. If this matters to you, it may be best to opt for our walnut or maple wood cutting boards instead.
- Sapwood is Less Durable
Although the heart of your cherry wood is durable and will strengthen over time, the sapwood part of the trunk is often relatively malleable and not as sturdy. This can lead to deeper scores in the board during cutting. Fortunately, our cutting boards are aged appropriately before delivery so you won’t have to deal with this problem specifically.
- Low Stiffness Level
In conjunction with durability, cherry wood has a relatively low stiffness level. This means that fresher wood is a bit more malleable in nature and easier to make deep cuts in with your chef’s knife. However, a quality wood cutting board company knows to age the wood appropriately before use which is why we always ensure that our cherry wood is durable before sending it out to our clients.
- More Expensive Than Other Materials
Because cherry wood is super effective and has a natural lustre and beauty to it, cherry wood is of a bit higher demand than other woods out there. This means that a bespoke cherry wood cutting board is sure to be more expensive than a cutting board from your local retail shop.
However, the one thing to keep in mind when considering this con is that cherry wood does last longer meaning it may cost more upfront to purchase but its lifespan makes it a cost-effective buy.
- Requires More Care
Lastly, cherry wood does require more care than a plastic cutting board or even a cheap cutting board from a retail store as it doesn’t have the outrageous amounts of lacquer on it or plastic material making it dishwasher-safe. However, if you know how to properly maintain and clean your wood cutting board, it is sure to outlast these other options without fail making it a more viable option in the long run.
All in all, the strengths definitely outweigh the weaknesses when it comes to cherry wood but it is still just as important as ever to pay close attention to every flaw that a material has before choosing to use it for products.
This is why, before we chose cherry wood for our cutting boards, we found both its strengths and weaknesses, debated their impact on cutting boards specifically, and finally came to the conclusion that cherry is most certainly one of the best woods for the job.
But, to better understand how we came to this conclusion, let’s analyze why these qualities are beneficial when it comes to cutting boards specifically below.
How do These Qualities Make for a High-Class Cutting Board?
Despite the few flaws cherry wood has, it is overall one of the most cost-effective and high-quality wood materials currently on the market. Not only is it durable and strong but it is also versatile and is used for countless things from furniture and woodworking projects all the way to guitars and kitchen utensils.
But, you may still be asking yourself how these qualities make for a good cutting board specifically. So, let’s take a closer look at what really matters when it comes to cutting boards specifically and what makes a great cutting board to begin with.
Essentially, a cutting board relies on five specific elements: durability, how it responds to liquids, shock absorbance, cost-effectiveness, and ease of care.
A quality wood cutting board will be able to withstand years of use and won’t warp or crack even if it is dropped occasionally by accident. This is why most chefs will often tell individuals to avoid buying wood cutting boards from big retailers such as WalMart as they are sure to become damaged over time and their absorbent wood materials will also absorb liquids and expand because of it warping the wood, leading to bacterial growth, and cracking the boards over time.
Secondly, a great cutting board will also be able to have wet foods such as meats or vegetables sit on it without it absorbing these liquids and becoming a bacterial growth center. Although you should never put your wood cutting board in the dishwasher, a bit of water or liquid here and there should not affect your board. This is where woods such as cherry come into play as they do not absorb liquids easily and their fine grain makes them less susceptible to water damage over time.
In conjunction with durability, your wood cutting board should be able to handle being cut on every single day and occasionally dropped. Your run-of-the-mill cutting boards usually end up with massive groove marks in the board from being cut on and will likely crack and break after a single drop but, with cherry wood, its shock load absorbance level paired with its strong and fine grain makes it perfect to avoid these common cutting board pitfalls. It also only becomes even more hard and durable over time making it very long-lasting in nature.
Considering the fact that we’ve discussed the cost-effective nature of cherry wood above, the fact that it is a tad bit more expensive than other wood cutting boards out there actually makes sense and still makes it more cost-effective based on its lifespan alone. Because cherry wood is durable and strong, it lasts far longer than other woods out there and this means that you will only spend this price once in the time you would regularly spend a slightly lesser price two or three times over.
Lastly, cherry wood is not very absorbent and can be easily cleaned down between uses making it a relatively easy wood to care for. Although it may not be as easy to care for as a plastic cutting board, the lifespan of this wood and the safety of the wood continues to make it one of the best materials for cutting boards guaranteed.
All in all, cherry wood is one of the best options for cutting boards out there and that is why we continue to opt for it time and time again. We want the very best for our clients and this is why we don’t just choose woods but rather evaluate them and determine why and why not they are the best choices for the job. For more information regarding wood cutting board care, check out our in-depth article on ways to naturally clean a wood cutting board today!