What wood is best for you

Wood selection has always been the most important part of selecting a good cutting board. Classical cutting boards have normally been made of out dense woods, such as maple, walnut or cherry vs porous woods such as red oak.  Choosing the right wood for how it is going to be used, will help keep your cutting board keepsake protected for life.

Wood alone can't protect your board from abuse and neglect.  All wood cutting boards usually require regular maintenance with mineral oil or beeswax to keep the wood from cracking and warping. Additionally, we do not recommend putting any of our boards in the dishwasher, or letting it soak in water for a long period of time. This will lead to splitting and damage to the wood.

This list is meant to inform, but is not exhaustive.  There is a lot of information out there on the different woods, how they are grown and harvested.  The list is in alphabetical order starting with Bamboo and ending with Walnut.

Bamboo has a hardness of 1180 on the Janka hardness scale.

Bamboo-Carb-Nat-VertOne main reason bamboo cutting boards have gained popularity in recent years is because they are almost maintenance free due to the hard density of the wood. Bamboo resists retaining water and as a result, will not warp or crack as easily as normal wood. That said, it’s not recommended to put a bamboo board (let alone any cutting board) in a dishwasher due to the extreme heat. Only thicker, plastic cutting boards are considered safe for dishwashers since they generally won’t crack or warp.

As a naturally light wood with a fine grain, many chefs love the natural look of bamboo and the modern elegance that it conveys. Many designer kitchens now sport large bamboo cutting boards as the grain can be uniform and homogenous, leading to a chic and tasteful look for a stylish kitchen.

Plus, without having to worry about wood scarring, your bamboo board should continue to look smooth and sleek for a long time. In addition, due to the resistance to absorbing water, bamboo is less likely to crack and split like regular wood boards. Bamboo also resists staining, which is often an issue with meats and acidic plants such as tomatoes.

Properly sourced, bamboo is a highly renewable resource. Most people don’t know that bamboo is technically a grass instead of tree, which is appropriate due to the fact that it’s one of the fastest growing plants on earth. In fact, a normal bamboo shoot can become fully mature within three to six years before it is cut for harvest. On the other hand, maple trees can take over 30 years to fully mature and can live to over 150 years.

Different pieces of Bamboo Engrave differently. Sometimes the bamboo burns dark and provides a great dark contrast. Other pieces are harder, therefore, don't engrave with a dark contrast. Still readable, but just doesn't have the obvious burn. Since Bamboo is technically a grass, each blade can burn differently.

European Steamed Beech has a hardness of 1450 on the Janka hardness scale.

beech-600x400Beech is an unknown workhorse in the cutting board world. We know this because we have put beech to the test for many years in our kitchen. So very few cutting board companies offer this strong and durable wood as a cutting board, and we are often at a loss as to why that is. We have put our beech boards through the wringer, setting them in water too long, and not maintaining them as they should be maintained. We absolutely love our beech boards, and while the wood isn't as exotic as walnut or mahogany, you won't be disappointed in the durability of our beech boards.

Beech coloring is typically a pale cream color, sometimes with a pink or brown hue. Veneer tends to be slightly darker colored, as slicing the veneer usually requires the wood to be prepared with steam, which gives the wood a more golden tone. Flat sawn surfaces tend to be very plain, while quarter sawn surfaces exhibit a silvery fleck pattern. The wood is typically steamed as part of the drying process, which helps produce a even / uniform color.

Beech is an important and widely-used hardwood in Europe. Its hardness, wear-resistance, strength, and excellent capabilities—coupled with its low price—make this hardwood a mainstay for many European woodworkers. Depending on soil conditions, European Beech can grow to very large sizes, and wide, long lumber is commonly available for use.

Beech engraves with a beautiful, dark brown contrast to the pink-brown board. Even though it is a hard wood, it does burn a smooth, deep engraving.

Cherry has a hardness of 950 on the Janka hardness scale.

cherry-600x400Cherry heartwood varies from rich red to reddish-brown. The sapwood is white. It has a fine, straight grain with narrow brown pith flecks and small gum pockets. It has a smooth texture.

Cherry is a very popular American hardwood. It sands to a very pale pink-brown hue. Initially it is a very light brown, with occasional small knots or sap pockets. As it is exposed to light, it gradually darkens, with obvious change in the first few weeks. In months it will become a rich light brown, and in a year or two it will be a medium brown. It will probably never become the classic "dark cherry" which was caused by old fashioned finishes darkening as much as the wood. Most finishes that state “dark cherry” usually use maple or birch wood with a dark cherry finish.

Cherry is a beautiful wood, and makes for a great cutting board, but it is softer than some of the other woods we offer such as the bamboo, beech, and maple. Components made of Cherry generally consist of approximately 25% sapwood and 75% heartwood. Therefore, there will usually be a bit of sapwood in each board.

Cherry has a beautiful even grain, and is beautiful with an oiled finish. The wood is not toxic and makes for beautiful cutting boards that will only become more beautiful with time and care.

Engraved cherry wood is smooth and deep red. The contrast if cherry is much like the beech. The engraving is smooth and generally deep.

African Mahogany has a hardness of 830 - 1300 on the Janka hardness scale.

African mahogany-400x266Heartwood color is variable, ranging from a very pale pink to a deeper reddish brown, sometimes with streaks of medium to dark reddish brown. Color tends to darken with age. Quarter sawn surfaces can also exhibit a ribbon-stripe appearance (which you will see in some of our listing photos).

There is often a lot of color variation in this mahogany. There can also be a luminosity in the grain, which will provide a shimmery appearance in the grain of the wood.

Engraved African Mahogany will reveal a deep, nearly black engraving, which is beautiful with the red/purple color of the wood.

Hard Maple has a hardness of 1450 on the Janka hardness scale.

hardmapleMaple trees are common in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Since maple trees are endemic to all the major regions of the world, the presence of lumber mills specializing in maple tree lumber production are abundant.

There are two types of maple lumber – soft maple lumber and hard maple lumber. Hard Maple, which is what we use for both our boards and blocks, is the Queen bee of woods in professional kitchens. Maple is popular choice because of its durability and density. It also has an natural antimicrobial benefit to it.

Maple cutting boards are durable and strong enough to withstand daily exposure to knives in addition to looking very beautiful. The wood also ensures that not only does the board not suffer deep scratches etc., but it also protects the sharpness of the knives that are used. Hard maple can last longer than most types of lumber with a service span of 50 to 100 years.

You can't go wrong with a Maple board, especially for someone who plans on using it on a regular basis.

Sapele has a hardness of 1510 on the Janka hardness scale.

sapeleThe durability and beautiful graining of Sapele warms any kitchen through its unmatched luminosity. Get the look of Mahogany with the strength and resilience of this exotic wood.

Heartwood is a medium to dark reddish brown or purplish brown. Color tends to darken with age. Sapele is often used as an alternative to genuine mahogany, sapele shares many of that hardwood's classic features. The wood is moderately durable - more so than a true African mahogany -- similar in color, and about as strong as oak. It is almost twice as hard as genuine mahogany!

Sapele can be described as the 'cream of the crop' of African hardwoods, both because of its popularity and usefulness, and also because of its sustainability and size.

White Oak has a hardness of 1360 on the Janka hardness scale.

whiteoakWhite oak is similar in color and appearance to European oak. The sapwood of American white oak is light colored and the heartwood is light to dark brown. White oak is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than red oak.

The coloring in white oak is varied. Separate boards of white oak lumber may be dark brown, light brown, or brown with yellow-white tones. Wood sealer tend to beautifully enhance the appearance of white oak.

White oak can vary in color, texture, characteristics and properties according to the growing region.

White is a rustic wood, with a rustic appeal. If you don't like rustic, or variations in color and graining, then white oak isn't for you. We love the heavy, solid weight of white oak as well as the rustic colorings.

Engraving White oak offers a beautiful contrast, but it can have marked graining that will be revealed. The burning process of engraving will darken the wood, which allows for easy readability.

Walnut has a hardness of 1010 on the Janka hardness scale.

walnut001_lrgHeartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. Figured grain patterns such as curl, crotch, and burl are also seen.Black Walnut has a faint, mild odor. Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Black Walnut has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. It would be hard to overstate Black Walnut’s popularity among woodworkers in the United States. Its cooperative working characteristics, coupled with its rich brown coloration puts the wood in a class by itself among temperate-zone hardwoods. To cap it off, the wood also has good dimensional stability, shock resistance, and strength properties.

As a cutting board, walnut is a hard and durable wood as well as a favorite among the American Hardwoods. Its deep brown color is a favorite among people who enjoy the richness of dark woods. Engraving can vary depending the darkness of the walnut. A really dark piece of walnut can make reading any engraving more difficult because there isn't a big contrast when the wood is burned during the engraving process. We don't recommend Walnut for designs with small fonts such as a recipe board.

Business to Business

This last summer, we have been very busy with a new arm of our business, B2B.  We were contacted by the folks at DR Horton, the national home builder, to create designs and engrave our boards for their awards at their National Awards Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. To say the least, we were awe struck at the fact that they asked us to do this for them.  For us, it was a big honor, and a real stepping stone into this aspect of the market.  We came up with a simple "western" design that incorporated their theme of "The Great Horton Expedition."  We were happy with the results, and DR Horton was as well!ImageImageImageImage

We Got Featured!

So we recently were featured in two different places this week. Look at the bottom of the post for links to see where we're featured! We got featured in the Wedding Gift ideas section of 'Etsy Finds' a daily Etsy Newsletter.

We also got featured in an Etsy Blog post about business ideas for financial success.  Our section of the blog post was specifically dedicated to maximizing your profit margins.

4 Lessons for Financial Success


Etsy Finds Newsletter


Growing and Changing

Moving Day It has been longer than we would have liked to update our blog, but so many changes have been taking place the last few months, the largest of which has been relocating from the back bedroom of my home into our own office and workshop within the mill that we have been working with the last year.  It has been a great working relationship, and now that we are on the same property, it makes working that much easier. Image


Direct Check Out

After we got a bit more settled in to our new place, Etsy came out with their direct check out program.  Customers no longer have to go through PayPal to make their purchases unless they choose to.  We signed up for this direct check out option even though it meant not getting paid until the item shipped.  Once we set up direct check out, within a week or so, our sales nearly tripled!  We were overjoyed as well as overwhelmed.  What was a barely manageable amount of orders with the two of us and one laser, was now becoming unmanageable.  We had to consider other options.

Growing the Business

We chose to invest into another laser to double our production.  We were very lucky to find the the same type of laser we currently use  sitting in a warehouse in Colorado having never been used.  Epilog sent it ASAP and we had it within 3 business days.  It was a blessing that it came when it did because we were drowning in orders for Mother's Day.  We decided to name each laser....



Looking Ahead

Sales have maintained and we are expanding in directions we have wanted to go.  We are very busy and now are looking to take on a part-time worker to help with the boxing and shipping of our items.  We have come to the realization that we are no longer the small home based business we started out as, and it is time to have some help.

All in all, the last two months there have been a lot of changes, all good, but challenging at times.  Each challenge brings opportunity to learn and grow to become the company we want to be become.

Milestones this week ...

Wow, what a week it's been!  A lot of great things have happened for us, and we want to thank all of our fans and customers.  Here's a brief recap:

  • We hit 200 fans on our Facebook Page, Thank you for all the "Likes"!
  • We got our 500th positive review on Etsy! Thank you for everyone who took the time to leave feedback!
  • We had our busiest sales day since the Christmas season.  Over 30 orders in one day, wow!
  • We also had our busiest week as people choose us for wedding gifts and wedding shower gifts.  That is an incredible honor!
  • We reached our 2500th sale this week!  Thank you to each and every one of our customers!

We're looking to institute a "Design of the Week" feature, to showcase some of the great designs we get every week!  Stay tuned for details!

Thank you everyone!

Tony & Belinda


Corporate Gifts - a new take on giving to your employees

In December we were contacted by a Hospital in Arkansas to make 50 small cutting boards with their logo.  They wanted to give them as gifts to their volunteers for their service.  Although we were swamped with holiday orders, we opted to find time to do this custom order.  In addition to it being for a good cause, it was also a way for us to look at how to expand our buisness into different markets.  We would like to expand more this year into a Corporate Gifts market and give companies an alternative to the standard trophies, plaques, etc... .  These cutting boards are 9" x 12" White Oak Cutting Boards with a handle. Take a look at how they turned out.... [slideshow]

Perfect Realtor Gifts for Holidays and Closings

We recently completed a job for a Realtor in Austin, Texas.  She ordered 30 - 9 x 12 Hickory Boards.  On the front side (cutting side) we engraved her logo in the lower corner, and on the back side, we did all the boards with our "Alphabet" design, which has the family name (or couple name).  We thought they turned out amazing, and made great gifts for Ashley to give to her clients!
If you, or a Realtor you know are interested in giving our cutting boards as gifts for the holidays or for closings, please contact us at engravemylife@gmail.com.  We do discounts for bulk orders, and once we have your design into our system, we can keep the cost low.

Doing More

I have had a particular soft spot for animals.  Anyone who visits my home knows this within moments of walking in the door.  With four cats roaming the house, and a few neighbor cats that come for regular daily visits (and treats), you can't help but notice I am a lover of the furballs.  Starting out a business not only meant a sense of personal freedom and expression, but also being able to give back in a way I never thought I could.  For me, giving goes beyond just writing a check to an organization and taking the tax deduction.  I have been trying to think of a way that I can use my products to help raise money for groups and organizations that do so much to raise awareness and provide homes for animals in need. I was reading a blog the other day: http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/ and was amazed at what this women has been able to do in order to help animals.  She has done so because she believes that helping animals is the reason she is on this Earth.  She is simply doing what her gut tells her, acting on her belief, and taking a stand for what she knows it right. I feel the same way, and because of that, I need to make my business, my company, become something more.  I need to believe that while I am engraving a beautiful cutting board, or etching a piece of glass, that my time and effort can also go to those in need.

I am considering a new line of "charity" boards and products.  I would love to be able to take animal rescue logos and engrave them onto a cutting board, etc..., but I am thinking the trademark red tape would make it a headache, if not just impossible.  I am thinking the next best thing is to come up with my own designs that will raise money for organizations, and having something like 30-40% of the sale going to a specific group.  Maybe change the group weekly or monthly?

Right now, the idea is a work in progress, but it is something I am passionate about and know is the right thing for me and for my company to be involved in.


The First Post - About Us

This is the first post of TaylorCrafts Engraving.  "We" consist of two people; Belinda Crafts and Tony Taylor.  Two unemployed high school friends that decided to open up a small business together, me as the owner and CEO, he as the graphic designer (he has since gone back to school to pursue a degree in Graphic Design).  Two years ago we started to sand blast stones, making yard markers and memorials.  We found very little success this route, spending a lot of time dealing with application problems and equipment malfunctions.  Our frustrations led us to not give up, but to look for alternatives.  We came into laser engraving after reading about the different applications it has, as well as the different materials that can be used to engrave.  Another application that we are just starting to play with is the vector cutting application.  This opens a whole new creative possibility for us. Most laser companies filter towards the corporate awards and trophy market, but we have never been drawn to that work, at least not as most engraving is done in those areas.  Nothing against those that do find satisfaction in that market, as it is needed, but we are both creative people, and seek to express that creativity in ways that go beyond placing a brass plate on a rosewood plaque.  We are always thinking of how else can we take what we have and use it in a unique way.

Right now our success has been in two markets, cutting boards and humidors.  Weird combination I know.  Humidor engraving came about with my husband, whose boss was leaving and wanted a humidor engraved with specific graphics relating to the work they did.  We came up with a design, and asked to be given the opportunity to buy and engrave a humidor.  Voila, we had a small humidor engraving business.  Since then, we have had a small share of military purchases, but the vast majority of our buyers have been brides buying a wedding gift for their soon to-be husband.  I love some of the expressions that are conceived on the boxes, knowing that they will be a part of their lives for years to come.

Engraved cutting boards came to be while doing some Christmas shopping at Ikea. I came across some inexpensive wood cutting boards and thought to engrave images in them and give them as Christmas gifts.  It worked, and everyone liked them.  Tony, who previously worked in the construction industry, had contacts with wood workers and contacted a mill that he has previously worked with.  He asked them to make a few different cutting boards out of different woods.  This was the beginning for this aspect of our business.  I opened the Etsy store in December, but didn't actually list anything for sale until June.  Since then, our cutting boards have been hot sellers.  I expect more sells with our new designs and the upcoming holidays.

Thank you for visiting our blog, and please stop by our Etsy store and see what we have to offer.  We can take most any idea and make it happen.

Belinda Crafts

TaylorCrafts Engraving