Cutting board has slits... is this a problem?

Hi, I recently bought a wooden cutting board in a local market in Thailand. The board is basically a round slice of a tree. Once I got home and unpacked it I realised that the wood has dozens of small radial slits. The market was not touristic at all so I believe they actually use them like this, the lady who sold it to me said it could last 10 years. But I wonder... inevitably food will lodge there and that's a health concern. Now I've just coated it with coconut oil but that's not enough to seal the slits.

I like the board.

So my question is: should this be a concern? And if so, is there any way to solve it (even though it's now seasoned with oil)?

Thanks, Nuno

  • Posted by: nununo
  • August 29, 2012
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healthierkitchen December 20, 2012
That's great! I was going to suggest using what has been going around the internet as "wood Butter." bon appetit jsut posted a little blurb about it and many bloggers have recipes. Hardlikearmour mentioned she's done it on another hotline thread.
nununo August 31, 2012
PhillipBrandon, somehow I had skipped over your answer. Only now I read it. Those antibacterial properties in wood may explain why they use it without any problem. That puts things in a new perspective. I'll research a little more and I'll send a couple of emails to some people in Thailand I know there.

lloreen,if it is a no go for food prep, actually regardless of using it for food prep, a cheese is a great idea! I'll definitely do that.

Once again, thank you all!
nununo December 20, 2012
Meanwhile i filled all the cracks with bee wax and now all is fine ;)
lloreen August 31, 2012
All wooden cutting boards end up with small slits from where the knife hits. This is why I use only special designated plastic for cutting chicken or meat and then clean it really thoroughly with soap and a bleach cleaner.
I really don't see a problem using this for cutting veggies so long as you clean it after each use. Clearly there a lot of people in Thailand who use them and are still alive and kicking. If you are too nervous about it, though, how about using it as a cheese board for parties? You can clean it by sprinkling on coarse salt, then lemon and scrub. Also a mixture of vinegar and water for everyday cleaning.
nununo August 31, 2012
I'll definitely not throw it away. But I think I won't be cutting food on it. Unless I manage to get rid of the slits.

Voted the Best Reply!

PhillipBrandon August 30, 2012
Please don't throw it out, that would be ridiculous. They look like very, very small fissures. If you're terribly afraid of food lodging there, just be careful how you use it. I understand why some people might be uncomfortable with slinging raw meat over this, but why would you object to using it for cutting vegetables or bread?

I firmly believe that aversion to wooden cutting boards is unsubstantiated. A study ten years ago at the University of Wisconsin Madison showed that wooden cutting boards were demonstrably less dangerous than plastic ones, "Three minutes after (intentionally) contaminating a board...99.9 percent of the bacteria on wooden boards had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic." (

If wooden cutting surfaces were half as dangerous as some members of my family claim, the human race would surely have died out shortly after the advent of the knife.
boulangere August 30, 2012
I agree with PhillipBrandon. Don't toss it out! If you're afraid to use it even to slice bread, it will make a lovely serving platform. Besides, it has a wonderful story behind it.
nununo August 30, 2012
I don't know what kind of wood it is. The seller didn't speak a single word of English. I just know that there were two kinds (one was around $6 and the other around 9$) and I got the more expensive one which she said would last for 10 years.
ChefJune August 30, 2012
I wonder what kind of wood it is.
nununo August 30, 2012
Thank you for your answers. As I thought, it is not good. I don't think sandpaper would do it from what I see. I'll try to soak it as pierino suggested before tossing it, but until I try it, I'll avoid using it. It's sad.
susan G. August 30, 2012
How about using sandpaper to buff down the ridges?
pierino August 29, 2012
Well, I'm not a doctor but I look like one, and I'm getting paid to tell you that....

Personally I happen to like Chinese iron wood boards. The advice I would offer would be to soak it in the sink over night and then rub it down with an appropriate cutting board oil. You'll be surprised that some of those cracks will actually close up. But then I am a risk taker and these boards are kind to your knives if not maybe your GI.
boulangere August 29, 2012
I use tree rounds like this to display cakes/wedding cakes.
usuba D. August 29, 2012
Food particles will collect in any cracks or slits in the wood, which translates into bacteria or worst pathogens forming. You can try to fill with an epoxy or wood filler, though the oil probably will not allow it to bone to the wood properly. I would not use this cutting board for preparing food, due to food safety. It could end up as a trivet.
Lizthechef August 29, 2012
Toss it! Married to a doc, you do not want to hear his lecture about bacteria.
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