Can I use exotic woods for cutting boards?
While building cutting boards from multiple exotic species, including purpleheart, bloodwood, padauk, and teak, I noticed that after I had ripped all the strips to width, some had an oily residue seeping out. Will this affect my glue joints? Are these woods safe choices for use with food?
— Julian Hernandez, San Antonio, Texas
As you discovered, Julian, many exotic wood species contain oil even when dry. Before gluing the joints together (using a water-resistant wood glue), you need to clean them, as shown above. Not doing so could cause those joints to come apart later. And, although the oils are not harmful, regular cleaning of cutting boards after each use will prevent any issues.
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