Stain on Cutting boards?

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Forum topic by 12point posted 10-01-2013 08:13 PM 39834 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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193 posts in 4380 days

10-01-2013 08:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cutting board maple cherry

Just wondering if anybody has ever used stain on a cutting board? Ive got a decent amount if maple and cherry but im wanting something dark brown to contrast with the maple. Ive for quite a bit of really pretty white oak i could use. If you were to stain some if the wood im guessing you would need to put a bar top finish/resin on it to keep it from contact from food?

12 replies so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3608 days

#1 posted 10-01-2013 08:22 PM

I wouldn’t bother. I wouldn’t want to worry about toxicity from the stain, and the cherry will darken with time anyway. If you really want to darken it up quick, leave the board out in the sun for a day or two.

-- Brian Timmons -

View bondogaposis's profile


6000 posts in 3474 days

#2 posted 10-01-2013 09:42 PM

The problem with staining a cutting board made from strips that you have to stain the entire board after final sanding and then you lose the contrast you are seeking. If you stain individual strips before glue up you will have to sand/plane most of it off in order to finish the board. My advice is to get some dark wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 3374 days

#3 posted 10-02-2013 10:52 PM


You should be able to find plenty of Black Walnut in your area and you don’t need a whole lot for a cutting board.

View jmartel's profile


9205 posts in 3273 days

#4 posted 10-02-2013 11:39 PM

Also, I wouldn’t use oak. It’s too porous of a wood. As for the finish, I stick with simple mineral oil followed by beeswax.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Jim584's profile


26 posts in 2816 days

#5 posted 10-09-2013 05:01 AM

I have always heard that walnut is toxic and not to use it in a food contact situation. Can you please explain as I am about to make a kitchen island for my sister and I would love to alternate walnut and hard maple for the countertop.

Thanks, Jim

-- Just getting started.

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1154 posts in 4188 days

#6 posted 10-24-2013 03:09 PM

Walnut is fine to use as a food contact surface. The dust can be an irritant, and it is toxic to horses, but it is commonly used on cutting boards, serving trays, bowls, plates, knife handles, etc.

As to your original question, I would not use stain on a cutting board, nor would I coat with bar top resin. The stain could be toxic and will likely fade, and the bar resin will get hacked up badly. I would use walnut for your dark wood, and finish with food grade mineral oil or butcher block oil. The will penetrate into the surface and can be easily refreshed as needed.

-- Paul Mayer,

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3168 days

#7 posted 10-25-2013 02:12 AM

leave the cutting board by a sunny window and you’d be amazed how much of a contrast will appear.

-- paxorion

View bigblockyeti's profile


7352 posts in 2843 days

#8 posted 10-25-2013 02:55 AM

I haven’t tried staining anything that would be in contact with food before, but I am running an experiment with a few different species of wood and red wine to see the results. I would also recommend against using a film building finish on a cutting board that could flake off after being cut and end up in food, even if it isn’t toxic, no one wants flakes in their food.

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

View woodenwarrior's profile


255 posts in 3317 days

#9 posted 10-25-2013 03:07 AM

I’ve heard of people using strong tea to stain/color wood. Its non-toxic and would definitely change the color…

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 2872 days

#10 posted 10-25-2013 10:36 AM

Walnut oil, almond extracts, cinnamon oil etc. Cinnamon is also has antibiotic properties. Strong espresso(without sugar and milk, stupid) Mix some cinnamon powder in warm mineral oil and have a look. Spill some vanilla extract on wifeys tablecloth and see how she likes it ;-)~ Someone once told me that food is food safe as long as it doesn’t get tossed out of a drive through window.

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View LSJ's profile


98 posts in 4475 days

#11 posted 12-22-2017 12:20 PM

Mix some food coloring in a little water.

-- I like to turn

View OldSoulArtCo's profile


13 posts in 1233 days

#12 posted 03-29-2018 10:50 PM

I have used brewed coffee to stain cutting boards and other items that would be in contact with food. H heavily brewed light roast on some hard maple will look like walnut .

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