Using Pine For Cutting Board – An why I recommend it

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When we talk about wood for cutting boards, Pine is not the most common wood to be mentioned. Most people prefer to use hardwoods like maple or walnut, but what if you don’t have access to those types of woods and just want to make an affordable and usable cutting board that works. Can you use pine for a cutting board?

Pine can be used for cutting boards. The best way to make a cutting board with pine is to use the end grain for the cutting surface to minimize cutting marks and to increase strength. Pine is a good and cheap alternative to use as wood for a cutting board, but it will be inferior in performance compared to hardwoods like maple, walnut, and teak.

Around the web in forums and other places where people talk about wood for cutting boards, many people claim that pine should not be used at all for cutting boards. I strongly disagree with that sentiment.

Pine can be a great and cheap wood for cutting boards, you just have to know the pros and cons before you make it so you know what you are sacrificing and gaining. When this article is finished, you will know if making a pine cutting board is for you, or if you want to go with one of the more conventional woods for cutting boards.

Here is a great video by “From The Wood”, he made a beautiful pine cutting board.

Pine For Cutting Board | General Overview

Pine is a softwood. Softwoods are less frequently used for cutting boards because of the characteristics of the wood. Softwoods are generally softer than hardwood, and since cutting boards need to be hard to avoid cutting streaks we prefer to use the harder woods for cutting boards.

Softwoods like pine also produce sap which protects the tree from insect infestation and freezing in the cold winter months. This sap, especially if not seasoned properly, may stay in the wood for a long time and taint the taste of anything being cut on the cutting board. However, there are ways to minimize sap and resin tainting the food which I will explain further down in the article.

The two points above are our main concerns when using pine for cutting boards. The softness and the tainting of the food with resin. Both of these problems can be reduced and worked around.

In Europe, Pine cutting boards are actually fairly normal. In Europe, pine is used for cutting boards that are intended for cutting bread. Since the bread has so little moisture content, the bread will not contaminate the cutting board and there will be little risk of bacteria forming.

Pine wood also has a unique look to it, cutting boards made from pine will look beautiful and a lot different from the ones made from hardwood. In my opinion, the pine cutting board is worth making just for the decorative beauty, but it will also be a useful addition to the kitchen if you cut a lot of bread and dry foods.

Pros and Cons Of Using Pine For Cutting Board

Pros Of Using Pine For Cutting Board

  • Cheap Wood
  • Widely Available
  • Unique Pattern
  • Pre-Processed Wood
  • Smells Good
  • Can be used for dry foods

Cons Of Using Pine for Cutting Board

  • Resinous (sap)
  • Soft
  • Frequent Maintanance
  • Soaks finish like a sponge
  • Light (can be a pro if you like light cutting board)
  • Bad for cutting meat
  • Bad for cutting anything that will stain it
  • Knife marks develop quickly
  • Bacteria can develop
  • Might give of a pine taste to the food

As you can see, there are many reasons not to use pine for a cutting board. And there are definitely more suitable woods out there that we could use. But that does not mean that pine should never be used for cutting boards.

If you need a cutting board that is cheap, that you can make to practice your woodworking, that you have to do minimum processing with and that will be used to cut dry food, then pine is a great option.

Pine is Cheap, Widely Available and Comes In Pre-Processed Boards

Pine can usually be obtained fairly cheaply. In fact, pine is one of the cheapest woods on the market because it is harvested in and processed in large commercial quantities. This makes pine a great wood for practicing your woodworking skill. You do not have to be afraid of doing expensive mistakes. If you make a mistake, get a new piece of pine board, and try again.

Pine is widely available across the world and the US. As I said before, pine has been for cutting boards in Europe for cutting boards for a long time, this is because of the sheer amount of pine growing there. Pine is available as wood almost anywhere you go in the world, the reason for this is that Pine is one of the most used woods in construction and is produced in masses.

This mass production of pine results in pre-cut, pre-planed, and generally pre-processed pine boards in all sizes and shapes anywhere you go. At any home center, you will find pine boards that fit the dimensions for the cutting board you are making.

Pine is a great wood to choose for beginner woodworkers when making their first cutting board. You need a minimum of tools and power tools and is generally simple to work with.

Where pine lacks in performance, it makes up for in price, ease of use, and availability.

Make An End Grain Cutting Board With Pine

To optimize the qualities and performance of pine cutting boards, it is best to make the cutting board from the end grain of the wood. The reason for this is that an end-grain cutting board will be stronger and last longer than face-grains or edge grain cutting boards.

With edge-grain cutting boards the grain and wood fibers are facing the knife, the knife cuts in between the grain and fibers of the wood. The fibers will not be torn or cut over and the wood will revert back to its original shape after being cut. This makes edge-grain cutting boards stronger.

With edge-grain and face-grain cutting boards, you cut directly across the wood fibers, and when cut they will be torn apart and will not revert back to their original shape. Over time these cuts can look bad and leave a rough surface. Edge-grain and face-grain cutting boards need maintenance more frequently than end-grain.

Here is a great video on how to make an edge grain cutting board:

Finishing A Pine Cutting Board

Finishing cutting boards is a whole other article in itself, or maybe even a book. I will not go too much into detail here, but I will give you two simple options for finishing a pine cutting board.

The No Finish Method: You do not have to apply a finish to your cutting board. When you are finished with making and sanding the board, just clean it with water and soap, let it dry and it is ready to use. The only problem with leaving pine untreated is that the smell from the sap in the wood is stronger and might also transfer some of that smell to the food.

Personally, I like the smell of pine, it is 100% safe and I don’t really taste anything different in the food that has been cut on the cutting board So leaving it unfinished is totally fine. But the wood might become a little dry after frequent washes and general wear and tear.

The Mineral Oil Finish Method: Applying 3-4-5 coats of food-grade mineral oil when the cutting board is finished is the other simple method for finishing a Pine cutting board. The mineral oil will help reduce the smell of the pine wood, and will help the cutting board from drying out too quickly. I prefer to use this method when making my cutting boards.

Just get a cheap can of food-grade mineral oil on amazon (Check the image above). Apply the mineral oil liberally with a lint-free paper towel. End-grain soaks up oil like crazy. Then let it sit and dry for 6-8 hours, after drying you can clean off any oil on the surface and then repeat the process 3-5 times depending on your need.

You can treat the wood with oil anytime, if you see the wood is starting to dry out, throw on some mineral oil and you will have a properly treated cutting board at all times.

Hygiene Of Pine Cutting Board

The hygiene of wooden cutting boards has been a hot topic for a long time. Many restaurants and so-called experts claim that the use of wooden cutting boards for meats and other foods that can contain harmful bacteria should not be cut on wooden cutting boards.

The claim is that wooden cutting boards are harder to clean than plastic cutting boards and the bacteria will thrive on the surface of the wooden cutting boards. If this is the case it will be even worse for pine cutting boards since pine is such a soft wood compared to other woods that can be used for cutting boards, and the pine cutting board will have a lot of pockets and cracks where the bacteria can develop.

But this claim has not been proven true by science and is not a fact. Some studies actually conclude the opposite, that wood has anti-bacterial properties and the wood itself will help keep the cutting board clean.

I choose to only use my pine cutting boards for cutting bread. I do not use them for wet foods, not even vegetables. This is for the simple reason that the plastic cutting boards can go in the dishwasher, so the plastic boards are easier to throw in the dishwasher after cutting “dirty” foods that leave marks on the cutting board surface.

But it is up to you if you want to use the cutting board for meat or not.

If you want to read more about the Hygiene of wooden cutting boards you can check out this article, it references studies and gives a clear picture of what to consider when using wooden cutting boards


Hopefully, I have convinced you that you can 100% use pine for a cutting board. Even though it is not the “best” wood to use. Try it out, I think you will like it, the worst case is that you have a beautiful block of wood to look at.

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