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Wood Cutting Boards: The Topic


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I just got my first end-grain wood cutting board yesterday. Its made from mahagony and is a gorgeous reddish brown. I just oiled it for the first time this morning (have never used it yet) and when i wiped the oil around some of the reddish brown color came off on the cloth. having never had a wood cutting board before i didn't know if some of the color from the wood is supposed to rub off. does this mean it comes off in food too or after i oil it a few times wil that stop happening? its from the board smith, a very high quality board maker. (has been recommened on this site).

thanks!!

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I have both end and edge grain boards and have never had any color coming off the wood when oiling.

I'm looking to get a wood cutting board. Just wondering, do you prefer the end or edge grain and why? I'm not sure which to get.

Thanks!

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Gweixel, send Dave an email. He's good at getting back to you. You should discuss this with him first.

Cleo, end grain is better for your knives and will last longer than edge grain. Problem is end grain is generally more expensive. Not much of an issue really when you consider how long you'll use it. It's a good idea to get a board at least 1" thick to keep the board from warping.

I just got my Walnut board from the Boardsmith and love it. Wish it was bigger though. Pics are around here somewhere in another cutting board thread if ya want to check it out. Clickity

edited to add url.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

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i just got a message from dave (boardsmith maker) - he said that its probably just picking up some dust left on it from when he sanded it and that it shouldn't continue leaking color like that.

by the way, for anyone looking for a really great quality cutting board his are the best i've seen - i got mahogany and the color is gorgeous.

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  • 4 years later...

I am looking to purchase cutting boards for my catering biz. We do quite a bit of carving in front of guests so we want the boards to look nice. I am thinking of getting end grain cutting boards, perhaps out of walnut? Is that a mistake? Should I get Maple instead as I do not see chefs using walnut at all, but they look great. Does anybody have any reviews or thoughts about the boards at End Grain Cutting Board . My nephew bought a board from them and loves it, but I want to make sure its the best bet for me as well.

So If I pick walnut, will it get ruined? Is it too hard/soft?

Any recommendations would be great! Does anybody have a walnut cutting board like the ones at the site I mentioned? Please send me a message or reply as I do not want to pay so much for something without knowing if it’s a good cutting board.

Sorry if I had too many questions.. Thank you all again!

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Id consider the color rather than the 'wood' itself.

maple is lighter and might better show off your food. Walnut I think might be too dark for that. maybe thats why few chefs use them

also consider end-grain bamboo: it has an interesting pattern will last a long time and a good color to show off your food.

good luck!

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Last year I bought the large walnut end grain board from Philadelphia Butcher Block and am very happy with it. It's great looking and has stood up to regular use with very sharp knives and occasional hacking with a large vintage cleaver. I applied several coats of mineral oil the first month or so and then a combination of mineral oil and bees wax every 4-5 weeks.

The price is excellent and they'll make custom boards with most any modification you want.

Stay away from bamboo. We have one and it's rougher on our knives. I read something about it being a type of grass that's held together with lots of glue, which isn't good for knives. End grain is supposed to be the best surface for cutting boards.

For practical purposes maple, walnut and cherry should suffice, but aesthetics are subjective.

FWIW, I was seriously thinking of Boardsmith as I'm very familiar with them. The Philly board is fine for me as a home cook. If you buy a Boardsmith you'll be getting your money's worth.

Edited by Mano (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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End grain boards look really nice, but Cook's Illustrated's test a few months back demonstrated that they went to hell pretty quickly; if you're planning on replacing them fairly often, however, that wouldn't matter.

Do you have a link to the test they did? I'm interested in seeing what they tested and how. Typically, end-grain boards withstand a lot more than edge-grain. I have a large BoardSMITH board, which is end-grain, and a number of edge-grain boards. After extensive use, only the end-grain board still looks like new.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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John Boos makes the best wood cutting surfaces. My counter-tops are 4" end grain maple but they do make edge grain thinner cutting boards.-Dick

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/john-boos/cherry-edge-grain-cutting-board-p116605?src=Shopzilla&cam=Products&kw=16605

http://www.johnboos.com/categories_for?cat_id=9345

Edited by budrichard (log)
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I have not used a walnut cutting board, either end or side grain. But I will comment on the wood based an a little wood sculpture experience.

Walnut is fairly soft for a hardwood, and so wonderful for carving. For that very reason I would avoid it for a cutting board, as it will scuff/scar quicker.

But I am not concerned with presentation, as you are. The beauty of walnut, or cherry, may be a value for you that outweighs the durability of maple. Especially if you are not using the board as a base to cleaver apart squash.

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My butcher block counters are hard rock maple, supposed to be very hard and an excellent surface to extend the life of knife blades.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Walnut is fine, maple is great--probably the best, beech is fine, white oak so-so, and red oak a definite no-no. Stay away from teak, as this contains bits of silica, and as others have said, bamboo, which is he77 on knives.

Blocks comprised of 1-2" end grain squares will hold up fine--provided that they do not sit in water. Should this happen, each individual block will swell and the glue joints will stress and invariably fail. The nice thing about end gain blocks is that they don't scar easy, the fibers just close up again.

Maintainence is key to good looking cutting boards for catering. If you get a wood board, spend a few bucks on a very simple and ancient woodworking tool called a cabinet scraper. This is just a hunk of steel, about 3"x5" with perfectly square edges that have a burr rolled on them. Available from woodworker places like Lee Valley, Rockler, etc. This is the ideal tool, as you can scrape all debris and fats/moisture from the block. Very fast, very clean. Then sanitize and treat with mineral oil (available at drugstores, used as laxative in generous amounts).

If and when the baord gets heavily scarred, take it to a woodworker's shop or a highschool shop and have them run it through a thickness planer. Thi will take about 1/16" off of each surface, giving you a "new" board, albiet a bit thinner. If you're macho, you can also do this with handplanes.....

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Wow, I have to get rid of my bamboo cutting board? I really enjoy it, it looks nice, and it doesn't seem to take more of a toll on my knife than my heavier walnut end-grain board does :sad:

"-----bamboo has a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel, and a higher compressive strength than many mixtures of concrete. It even has a higher strength to weight ratio than graphite."

Imagine what it can do to knives.

dcarch

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Tensile strength isn't the same as hardness, or abrasiveness.

Tensile strength is pretty closely related to hardness, actually.

The idea that bamboo is harder than steel (even mild steel) does seem quite odd to me, actually. Bamboo is not a homogenous material - perhaps there's long strands with high tensile strength surrounded by some other structure?

Anyway I happen to have a bamboo cutting board in the kitchen and a portable Rockwell C hardness tester at work. I could do a test and post results if anyone cares.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I thought about the boardsmith as well.. just dont know anybody personally who has one...

I've had one for a few years and couldn't recommend it more highly. Mine is standard, un-fancy maple, but still quite beautiful. The Boardsmith greatly undercharges, considering the competition. I haven't seen boards as well made from similar materials at any price. His boards are much nicer than the Boos boards for quite a bit less money.

As is often the case, I can't imagine what Cooks Illustrated could be talking about. A good endgrain board is phenomenally tough. Much moreso than edgegrain or facegrain boards (I've had many in both these constructions, mostly made of maple just like my endgrain board).

With endgrain, if you're using sharp knives and decent technique, you never cut the wood fibers. The blade just slips between them. With edge and facegrain, you're always cutting the wood, producing grooves that have to be sanded out.

The only visible marks I've put in my endgrain board from my serrated bread knife, which is basically a saw. I figured out the first couple of days of owning the board that I had to be gentle with the bread knife or use it on a cheaper board. Otherwise, the surface stays pristine.

Notes from the underbelly

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