Add some contrast to your kitchen
🦚 Rustic brick design
The Iowa is made from pieces of American black walnut rotated on their end grain and arranged in a brick-style pattern. The wood is selected from different trees of the same species so that the brick pattern looks completely random. A deep roundover on the top and side edges adds a soft touch to the design, and makes the board very pleasant to handle.
🔪 Knives that stay sharp
You can think of a piece of wood as like a pack of microscopic straws all going in the same direction. These straws are what the tree uses to suck nutrients from the ground. Most commercial cutting boards have the wood arranged in what is called a face grain orientation, where the straws go from one side of the cutting board to the other.
Face grain cutting boards are significantly better than plastic boards in every way. However, running a knife against face grain is not ideal because the face grain makes the surface extremely hard and the knife will want to slide around when cutting. Also, pushing a knife against that hard surface will make it go dull much faster.
In contrast, the wood in the Iowa is arranged in an end grain orientation, where the straws go from the bottom of the cutting board to the top. An end grain surface has no grain direction, since it’s just a bunch of straw heads packed tightly together. When a knife is used on an end grain surface, it will penetrate between the straws very slightly, which makes the cutting experience a lot more pleasant. The extra grip from this interaction prevents the knife from sliding around, and because the surface gives way a little, the knife won’t become dull so quickly.
❤️🩹 Scratches that heal themselves
Maybe the most fascinating thing about end grain cutting boards is that most scratches on the surface will automatically heal themselves within a day or two. If you’ve been using a commercial face grain cutting board, you’ll know that after a while, the board becomes scarred with scratches. But this almost never happens with end grain cutting boards.
This healing happens because when the knife goes in between the straws, it separates them temporarily, but the tight packing of the straws will pull them back together. Imagine putting your finger through the bristles of a paint brush. Once you take your finger out, the bristles will go back to their original positions.
🦠 Naturally antimicrobic
I admit, I used to think plastic cutting surfaces were more hygienic than wood. But I was completely wrong, and now I use only wooden cutting boards.
In a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin, scientists tested bacteria known to produce food poisoning: Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. The study showed that three minutes after contaminating a wooden cutting board, 99.9% of the bacteria had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic. Bacterial numbers actually increased on plastic cutting boards held overnight at room temperature, but the scientists couldn’t recover any bacteria from the wooden surfaces.
In another German study, bacteria were placed on cutting boards made from seven different species of wood and from plastic. All the wooden boards consistently outperformed the plastic.
Basically, wooden cutting boards kill bacteria. Wood absorbs water, which bacteria need to grow. Wood also contains antimicrobial compounds that are part of the tree’s immune system. A wooden cutting board will add an extra line of defense to your kitchen.
While it may seem like plastic is non-porous and can’t absorb liquids, the surface eventually becomes scarred with scratches. This rough surface is exceptionally difficult to clean, even with bleach or by running through the dishwasher. Wood, in contrast, has an ability to halt the growth of and kill bacteria. Both new and used wooden cutting boards maintain this ability equally well.
🍯 Edible linseed oil finish
Wooden cutting boards need an oil-based finish to make them durable against water damage. Without a finish, the wood fibers would swell and shrink continuously with every wash, and that would eventually cause the cutting board to warp and wear down.
Almost every commercial wooden cutting board is finished with mineral oil, which is a petroleum-derived product. Saturating the wood fibers with it helps prevent water damage, but one of the problems with mineral oil is that it never cures. Once applied, the wood remains oily to the touch, which makes for an unpleasant tactile feel. And because it never cures, the mineral oil also washes out quickly, which means that it has to be reapplied as often as every month to ensure the durability of the wood.
Instead of mineral oil, the Iowa is finished with pure linseed oil, an edible oil obtained by pressing flax seeds. Linseed oil is a drying oil, which means it turns into a solid form when exposed to the oxygen in the air. This makes the cutting board dry and smooth to the touch, like a piece of polished marble. But it also drastically increases the durability of the finish, so that it needs to be reapplied only once every few years.
The linseed oil product used to finish the Iowa is also mixed with natural beeswax, another solid edible material that greatly increases water protection.
♻️ 100% renewable and biodegradable
What happens to your cheap plastic cutting board after it gets all beat up and you throw it away? It goes to the landfill, where it sits there for at least 450 years.
Wooden cutting boards are made completely from trees, a 100% renewable resource powered by the sun. With proper care, a wooden cutting board should last you a lifetime. But when that lifetime is up, the wood will completely biodegrade in soil and water within only a few weeks, a cycle that has been happening naturally for millions of years.
🇺🇸 Handmade in Washington state, USA
Every material that contributed to the creation of the Iowa is made or grown in the USA.
The wood used is all domestic, grown and milled in northeast USA, mainly from upstate New York and Pennsylvania. The glue that holds the Iowa together is made in Columbus, Ohio. The linseed oil and beeswax finish is made in the USA. And the cutting board itself is transformed from raw wooden planks into the final product in my garage just outside Seattle, Washington. Even the packaging and shipping box are made here in the USA.
• Dimensions: 14" × 11.5" × 1.5"
• Weight: 5 lb
• Handles: Rounded fingerholds on both ends
• Wood species: Black walnut (100%)
• Finish: Pure linseed oil and beeswax (1 coat of Tried & True Danish Oil and 3 coats of Tried & True Original Finish)
• Glue: Titebond III (Waterproof, non-toxic, and FDA approved for food contact)
The Iowa ships worldwide. Shipping costs to:
• USA and Canada: $10
• Europe: $40
• Rest of the world: $70
If you live in the Seattle area, we can also arrange an in-person pickup if you prefer. Just reply to your email receipt and I’ll refund you the shipping fee.
I want one! What’s next?
When you place an order, I’ll start working on your cutting board immediately. It will be very similar to the one in the pictures above, but not exactly the same. The dimensions will be the same, the selection of wood species will be the same, the handle styles will be the same, and the major pattern features will be the same. But there’s an element of randomness in the wood selection that makes each board unique. I will send you photos as your cutting board starts taking shape, and you’ll have the option to see another design if you don’t like the first one. If you’re still unsatisfied with these designs, you’ll get a full refund — no questions asked.
You should expect your cutting board to ship within 4 weeks from your order date. And it will be an honor for me to have one of my cutting boards in your kitchen.
📅 Your cutting board will ship within 4 weeks. 🌎 Ships worldwide.
Dimensions14" × 11.5" × 1.5"
Wood speciesBlack Walnut
- 📅 Your cutting board will ship within 4 weeks. 🌎 Ships worldwide.
- Dimensions14" × 11.5" × 1.5"
- Weight5 lb
- Wood speciesBlack Walnut