Wood for commercial pizza peel

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Forum topic by trsnider posted 08-13-2019 03:19 PM 473 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 2490 days

08-13-2019 03:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: heat restaurant pizza peel oak walnut

I have a chance to make a pizza peel that will be used in a restaurants wood fired oven. The peel, including handle, will be 5’ long overall. The peel paddle will be 9” wide and 14” long. I was going to use red oak. I like the looks of walnut better but I’m not sure that it matters in this case. Is there any (domestic) wood that would be better suited for this task?

16 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile


6471 posts in 2745 days

#1 posted 08-13-2019 03:25 PM

I have aversion to using red oak for any food projects. It’s just to darn porous. You’ve got all sorts of options, maple, hickory, white oak are the first that come to mind. I’m sure others will add more to the list.

View Aj2's profile


2429 posts in 2278 days

#2 posted 08-13-2019 04:33 PM

Red oak would be my last choice.
Soft maple would be my first.
Remember it’s a tool not a art project.

-- Aj

View LesB's profile


2169 posts in 3923 days

#3 posted 08-13-2019 04:41 PM

I have to concur about not using any wood with an open grain like red oak, mahogany, or walnut for handling food. It would be better with white oak, maple, birch, and Beech a good one not mentioned yet.

-- Les B, Oregon

View ibewjon's profile


905 posts in 3273 days

#4 posted 08-13-2019 05:09 PM

Hard maple.

View pottz's profile


5970 posts in 1464 days

#5 posted 08-13-2019 05:35 PM

Hard maple.

- ibewjon


-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1757 posts in 1974 days

#6 posted 08-13-2019 05:49 PM

Hard maple.
- ibewjon
- pottz

Have made several over years. Any maple but softest (silver) maple works well. Silver maple dents too easily if edge is hit of counter. Be sure to use wood with straight grain. Any knots or imperfections become weak points and break easily when abused. Use type III waterproof glue. Restaurant will be required to sanitize the board with water/bleach or Peroxide cleaners.

I use BLO/beeswax for 1st coat of finish as it makes them more durable due oil seals some of the grain better. Then use regular mineral oil/wax to re-coat.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View bruc101's profile


1361 posts in 4022 days

#7 posted 08-13-2019 06:23 PM

I think you can put that theory of not using red oak for cutting boards to rest. We’ve been making cutting boards out of red oak for 40 years, never had anyone to get sick or die from using a red oak cutting board. We’ve made 100’s if not several 1000 boards out of red oak, and yellow pine.

Our best selling board is out of yellow pine with the red oak running a close second to it. My wife inherited a large red oak cutting board from my mom, she inherited from her mom. It was made for my great grand mom many many years ago and my wife uses it everyday, and she would chop a hand off if anyone tried to steal it from her.

As a matter of fact, I’m getting ready to order 75 more feet of 5/4 red oak to start filling Thanksgiving and Christmas orders with.

Google red oak cutting boards and you’ll see many more people using the wood also.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View DrDirt's profile


4592 posts in 4222 days

#8 posted 08-13-2019 06:33 PM

close pored wood… so Maple, Walnut, Cherry.
NOT – Oak or Ash.

you want something that only needs refreshing with mineral oil but doesn’t have big open pores like Oak.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View bigblockyeti's profile


5894 posts in 2200 days

#9 posted 08-13-2019 06:58 PM

Here’s a couple pictures of one I made my mom for Christmas 15’ from ash (the handle of ~30”) which was chosen for strength, walnut, cherry & maple. The overall width is 14” which has worked out well.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View bruc101's profile


1361 posts in 4022 days

#10 posted 08-13-2019 07:44 PM

Two of our best selling boards. I’ve got to make 4 dozen of the red oak and 1 dozen of the yellow pine for one of our dealer’s Thanksgiving and Christmas orders. This has been her standard order of theses 2 boards for 8 years.

So far: No known sicknesses or deaths, and her customers love them.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View ibewjon's profile


905 posts in 3273 days

#11 posted 08-13-2019 07:53 PM

But are those going into service at a health department inspected kitchen?

View bruc101's profile


1361 posts in 4022 days

#12 posted 08-13-2019 08:12 PM

But are those going into service at a health department inspected kitchen?

- ibewjon

We’ve got 2 large yellow pine boards in a popular mom and pop restaurant near us. They’ve been using the boards for about 10 years, so I suppose they passed inspection. Where you live, or anyone else lives, I have no clue.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View dscheidt's profile


7 posts in 100 days

#13 posted 08-17-2019 02:24 AM

The commercial peel I’ve got is made of aspen (I think); lots of others are made of pine or other softwood. Remember, they’re a tool used in an harsh environment. They don’t last terribly long in commercial kitchens1, so an expensive wood is just an expense. They’re also long, and making them heavier than necessary causes operator fatigue. For a home use one, they’ll probably last decades.

[1] Most jurisdictions require that they be sanitized by immersion in sanitizing solution and air drying…..

View trsnider's profile


148 posts in 2490 days

#14 posted 08-18-2019 02:58 PM

Thanks for all the input. dsheidt—Comment about weight is a good point I hadn’t considered that. If my potential customer pulls the trigger I’ll consider that. Maybe I’ll make one for him out of pine 1st so he can get some feedback for me and then make another from a different kind of wood. Red oak may be a bit hefty after awhile.

View Mario's profile


185 posts in 3876 days

#15 posted 08-18-2019 03:13 PM

Your best bet will always be soft maple, I have made a lot of pizza peels and plates, maple is good looking, clean and will not shed any strange odors or flavors to food stuff, finish it off with grape seed oil, avoid resinous pine, walnut, or any aromatic wood, good luck

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