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stephen129

End grain chopping boards

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I'm looking for an end grain chopping board to buy that doesn't cost the earth to be kinder to my Japanese knives (mostly in aogami super).

 

I think my limit is about £65.

 

Has anyone got any recommendations. The ones I find seem crazy expensive and the reasonable ones are harder wood (or the wood isn't even stated).

 

I'm based in England

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6 hours ago, stephen129 said:

I'm looking for an end grain chopping board to buy that doesn't cost the earth to be kinder to my Japanese knives (mostly in aogami super).

 

I think my limit is about £65.

 

Has anyone got any recommendations. The ones I find seem crazy expensive and the reasonable ones are harder wood (or the wood isn't even stated).

 

I'm based in England

 

I have a Boos walnut end grain block that I like a lot.  I have used it with Japanese knives.  Perchance you have seen pictures of it here.  But if I may I would dissuade you from end grain for your purpose.  (For one thing end grain costs a lot.)  Consider hinoki, the traditional Japanese cutting board material.

 

Two of my cutting boards are hinoki.  The less expensive hinoki board warped.  It would probably again be OK had I a carpenter to plane it down.  I don't.

 

My other hinoki board has never warped.  It is made by Ambai and designed by Makoto Koizumi.  Koizumi's objects are eminently functional works of art.  The board does not warp because it is inlaid with cherry.  I purchased the board here:

 

https://shop.nalatanalata.com/products/tosaita-cutting-board-medium

 

 

Nalata/Nalata ships internationally but almost certainly Ambai has a dealer in England.  The price is $60.00, thus within your budget.

 

I was even more fond of Koizumi after I saw a picture of his studio and the same tools from Luxembourg that are living in my living room.

 

 

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10 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I have a Boos walnut end grain block that I like a lot.  I have used it with Japanese knives.  Perchance you have seen pictures of it here.  But if I may I would dissuade you from end grain for your purpose.  (For one thing end grain costs a lot.)  Consider hinoki, the traditional Japanese cutting board material.

 

Two of my cutting boards are hinoki.  The less expensive hinoki board warped.  It would probably again be OK had I a carpenter to plane it down.  I don't.

 

My other hinoki board has never warped.  It is made by Ambai and designed by Makoto Koizumi.  Koizumi's objects are eminently functional works of art.  The board does not warp because it is inlaid with cherry.  I purchased the board here:

 

https://shop.nalatanalata.com/products/tosaita-cutting-board-medium

 

 

Nalata/Nalata ships internationally but almost certainly Ambai has a dealer in England.  The price is $60.00, thus within your budget.

 

I was even more fond of Koizumi after I saw a picture of his studio and the same tools from Luxembourg that are living in my living room.

 

 

 

Wow that website has beautiful things for sale.

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Also, one does not oil a hinoki board.  They are wet with water before use; and rinsed and dried afterward.

 

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Posted (edited)

Hinoki boards aren't good all-arounders because the wood is fussy to care for. Most quality end grain boards will cost you. If you want something that will be gentle on your steel while being easy to care for and sanitize, look into Hi Soft boards. I end up using them more than my end grain boards out of convenience, but they're also gentler on edges than wood is. Hi Soft boards aren't pretty to look at, but they're one of the best cutting surfaces available.


Edited by btbyrd (log)

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@btbyrddo 'elastomer' boards meet the Hi Soft criteria ? 

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Elastomer/rubber boards are harder on your edge than the polyvinyl acetate in Hi Soft boards, but they are more durable and can stand up longer without needing to be resurfaced. They're both good choices, but Hi Soft is the softest and most forgiving on your edge. Neither are dishwasher safe, so in a home environment where you're not going to be really hammering on your board it makes sense to opt for the softer material. Both are going to be way better than cheap plastic boards that people might be used to.

I have an end grain butcher block, but I cut on Hi Softs literally all the time because it's (1) softer and (2) easier to clean. While end grain cutting boards are nice and all, they're mostly expensive art objects. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have knives that are arguably more "expensive art object" than utilitarian cutting device. But sometimes niceness gets in the way of functionality, and I think that end grain boards are one of those times. Or at least they can often be. To be sufficiently robust, end grain boards need to be over an inch thick, and that kind of weight adds up quick. It's not pleasant to move even medium sized end-grain boards to and from the sink. Maybe I'm just a hater, but I think I'd rather stick with my super soft synthetic boards for actual cutting and save my nice wooden boards as serving boards for cheese, charcuterie, and roast meats. 

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I love my end-grain maple board (made by the Boardsmith in US, so probably impractical for the OP). I've been using it happily every day for over ten years, but have to report that it doesn't completely live up to its promise of being gentle on edges. It's gentler than edge-grain and face-grain boards, and gentler than those terrible bamboo boards, and of course gentler than all the boards made out of stuff that boards should never be made from. But my sharpest and most fragile Japanese knives have much better edge retention when I use crappy poly boards. I don't enjoy cutting on these boards. But in practice they let me hold onto that fresh-off-the-stones feeling for about twice as long.

 

I don't have much experience with hard rubber boards, like sani-tuff. I suspect these may be the overall best for performance, although they're kind of ugly and don't smell great. 

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