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Cutting Boards


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Today I took delivery of a Heiemon hinoki wood cutting board.  There is little information in English I can find on the care of hinoki wood.  Some Western sources say to oil an hinoki cutting board but that seems contraindicated.  I also worry about washing the board with detergent, since it would absorb the taste.

 

Rinsed the board thoroughly, dried it, and stored it on edge while awaiting information or enlightenment.

 

I will note that for the last year or two I've had an hinoki soap dish in the bathroom.  Everything -- metal, plastic -- mildews in the shower.  But not hinoki wood.  It looks as if I could eat from it.

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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I have several wood cutting boards of different types of wood - bamboo - and a chunk of olive wood.

 

I clean them all with coarse salt and half a lemon - then just wipe with a slightly dampened cloth.  

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"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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I recently got rid of an Epicurean a few years old.  It was black, and I started noticing small black particles when I minced garlic, shallots, onions, etc.  It was enough to be noticeable, and I saw the board itself was very scuffed up from knife marks.  I was in the Container Store and I picked up one of these:

http://www.containerstore.com/s/eco-smart-cutting-board/d?productId=10029494&q=cutting%20board

 

I got the brown one. It's polypropylene with flax husks mixed in to make it (a little) greener.  Much softer material and nicer to the knife.  No warping yet, which was the best thing about the Epicurean (it stayed dead flat since I bought it). 

 

Anyway, it's a fine utilitarian cutting board, but after reviewing this thread and seeing the Boardsmiths, I want one!

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1 hour ago, jim loellbach said:

I recently got rid of an Epicurean a few years old.  It was black, and I started noticing small black particles when I minced garlic, shallots, onions, etc.  It was enough to be noticeable, and I saw the board itself was very scuffed up from knife marks.  I was in the Container Store and I picked up one of these:

http://www.containerstore.com/s/eco-smart-cutting-board/d?productId=10029494&q=cutting%20board

 

I got the brown one. It's polypropylene with flax husks mixed in to make it (a little) greener.  Much softer material and nicer to the knife.  No warping yet, which was the best thing about the Epicurean (it stayed dead flat since I bought it). 

 

Anyway, it's a fine utilitarian cutting board, but after reviewing this thread and seeing the Boardsmiths, I want one!

Looked at the link. I like those. I have one Rubbermaid one that's a plastic/resin of some sort, and I do like that I can put it in the dishwasher. I have two bamboo boards which live on my countertop, along with a granite slab that doubles as a rest for hot pans. The plastic one comes out to cover the sink when I'm canning or working up vegetables, and I have a bigger one of the same material that serves as a bread board. And a little one in the shape of a pig that I treasure because my father made it for me.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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What kind of cutting boards do you all use with cleavers? I've never owned a cleaver before, so made the rookie mistake of simply using my normal polycarbonate "meat" board the other night and literally shattered it in one blow. There's no way I'm going to use the thing on the custom-built end grain maple board I use for non-meat ingredients. Is there an inexpensive option?

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I use a decent sized laminated bamboo cutting board like the one pictured below from Ikea APTITLIG $12.99 USD but actually use the thin DRÄLLA  boards also Ikea pictured below $1.99 USD for a two pack (also Ikea) atop it. I like these for a couple of reasons-

1. Laminated Bamboo cutting boards seem hard on knives, at least in my experience, perhaps due to silicon content inherent in grasses?

2. It is a whole lot easier to sanitize these than any kind of wood block & at that price its easy peasy to have 6 or 8 around - they wear well & as they start to get a bit careworn we just take them to Venezia and leave them behind in the rental apartment we use there most years.

3. The flexibility of the thin boards is also a nice feature to have.

4. The red/green colours are helpful to remind one which boards require hardcore sanitizing & which don't.

 

 

aptitlig-butcher-block__0193879_PE349444

dralla-bendable-chopping-board-green__01

Obligatory disclaimer - no financial interest just a satisfied user of these products blah blah blah.

 

 

Edited by Jon Savage
clarity (log)
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Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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17 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

What kind of cutting boards do you all use with cleavers? I've never owned a cleaver before, so made the rookie mistake of simply using by normal polycarbonate "meat" board the other night and literally shattered it in one blow. There's no way I'm going to use the thing on the custom-built end grain maple board I use for non-meat ingredients. Is there an inexpensive option?

Yes Chris- I've got a laminated wood (pine most likely) round tabletop about the size of a large pizza & circa 6cm thick I got from Home Depot for I dunno maybe $10 that thing seems indestructible I've used it for oh 20 years with just a couple of hard scrubs/light sandings. There's also the more traditional Asian option for cleavers which basically involves a goodly slice of a branch or preferably tree stump. I've used cleavers using the above mentioned combo of (HDPE???) thin Ikea boards atop laminated Bamboo as well that I just posted without ill effects to the underlying wood(ish) matrix but maybe I'm more gentle with the cleaveroflove(TM) than you might be?

Edited by Jon Savage (log)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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2 hours ago, Jon Savage said:

maybe I'm more gentle with the cleaveroflove(TM) than you might be?

I don't think I was being unduly vigorous with it -- I was chopping up a chicken carcass for stock and gave it enough force to cleanly cut through the backbone in one blow, but not a whole lot more than that. The cleaver weighs quite a bit, though.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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@Chris Hennes

 

I too would suggest the "slice of tree trunk" boards used in Asia for cleaver chopping. The one I have is 16 years old and gets a lot of use. I guess most Asian type stores would have them , but I don't know your locality.. I'm not at home now, so no photograph.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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5 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

What kind of cutting boards do you all use with cleavers? I've never owned a cleaver before, so made the rookie mistake of simply using my normal polycarbonate "meat" board the other night and literally shattered it in one blow. There's no way I'm going to use the thing on the custom-built end grain maple board I use for non-meat ingredients. Is there an inexpensive option?

 

I have been using an end-grain maple block that has resisted chopping with cleavers for many years.  It weighs 16 pounds and it rests on a big sheet of the rubber drawer liner (from Costco) so it won't shift.  It is 22 x 30  4.5" thick 

56e11430086d0_ScreenShot2016-03-09at10.2

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"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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1 hour ago, andiesenji said:

I have been using an end-grain maple block that has resisted chopping with cleavers for many years.  It weighs 16 pounds and it rests on a big sheet of the rubber drawer liner (from Costco) so it won't shift.  It is 22 x 30  4.5" thick 

56e11430086d0_ScreenShot2016-03-09at10.2

 

@andiesenji Are you sure that little wood chip does not weigh a bit more than 16 pounds?  I find 16 pounds quite hard to believe.  The density of maple at the lower extreme is 39 pounds per cubic foot:

 

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wood-density-d_40.html

 

If I calculated correctly you are looking at 1.71875088 cubic feet or 67.03128432 pounds of maple at a minimum.  Admittedly my maple workbench weighs a couple times more than this.

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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I use my heavy cleaver on my bamboo cutting board - not end grain. So far so good. I love this cleaver - it is so substantial that perhaps I don't have to hit the bones so hard - not sure - but I haven't had anything split apart (other than the bones) so far.

 

I don't have a tree slab cutting board (would love one but it has to be big - I have a really hard time for some reason with small cutting boards). I guess ideally though I would love to have a really large end grain 'island' type meat cutting 'board' like I have seen at some old fashioned butcher stores. Yes, the wood is 'dented' and 'scratched' over time with the use of heavy knives and probably cleavers but that is the charm of it, isn't it? YMMV since I am more into utility and character than 'modern, clean' decorating.

 

Why exactly won't you use yours on your end grain board?  

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Ah, I understand then. But, you could make another one now - you have the experience :) - and not worry so much about it being so perfect. Pull out the first one when company comes. Or, perhaps you could get a welder to make a metal band to put around the outside so if you hit a bit too hard, at least the whole thing shouldn't fly apart. Or you could buy a cheaper wood board to use - I do think wood is your best bet.

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On March 10, 2016 at 7:45 PM, Chris Hennes said:

What kind of cutting boards do you all use with cleavers?

 

 

A cheap one. Definitely not what I use for finer cutting. Most butcher shops these days use poly boards and throw them out when they get too hacked up. If you look at the end-grain blocks used traditionally by butchers, they all had hills and valleys from the constant sanding needed to keep the surface free of grooves. I don't use my end-grain board like this—I want it to stay flat. 

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Notes from the underbelly

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Probably mentioned upthread, but I can't speak highly enough of cutting boards by The Boardsmith. All made in a workshop by one guy who's a pleasure to deal with, does great work, and has seriously researched the topic. And he undercharges. I've had a 16x22 maple end grain board of his for eight years or so, and it's nicer than new. Hasn't yet needed sanding (although I cut with a light touch and don't use my serrated bread knife on it). 

 

All his boards have rubber feet on the bottom, which is such a good idea I've applied it to my other wooden boards. The feet prevent slipping, and more importantly, keep moisture from accumulating under the board. This is the classic cause of boards warping and developing a concave surface.

Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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23 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

@andiesenji Are you sure that little wood chip does not weigh a bit more than 16 pounds?  I find 16 pounds quite hard to believe.  The density of maple at the lower extreme is 39 pounds per cubic foot:

 

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wood-density-d_40.html

 

If I calculated correctly you are looking at 1.71875088 cubic feet or 67.03128432 pounds of maple at a minimum.  Admittedly my maple workbench weighs a couple times more than this.

Sorry, that was a typo - it weighs 26 pounds.  It is not 100% solid.  There is a bowl-shaped excavation on the bottom side - I had it made that way when I first got the block so it would fit a large 2-handled mezaluna for chopping herbs and etc.  I can no longer lift it to turn it over so it stays where I put it several years ago.

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"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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On 3/11/2016 at 0:35 AM, paulraphael said:

Probably mentioned upthread, but I can't speak highly enough of cutting boards by The Boardsmith. All made in a workshop by one guy who's a pleasure to deal with, does great work, and has seriously researched the topic. And he undercharges. I've had a 16x22 maple end grain board of his for eight years or so, and it's nicer than new. Hasn't yet needed sanding (although I cut with a light touch and don't use my serrated bread knife on it). 

 

All his boards have rubber feet on the bottom, which is such a good idea I've applied it to my other wooden boards. The feet prevent slipping, and more importantly, keep moisture from accumulating under the board. This is the classic cause of boards warping and developing a concave surface.

 

I'm with you on this recommendation. I love mine. I have one place where there is a small separation. I'm not sure how it happened, since I keep the board dry of water and oiled, but it did. I have yet to contact him about it. I don't think it will propagate. It's been there for about a year, now, and hasn't gotten any worse.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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On March 11, 2016 at 11:05 AM, thock said:

I'm with you on this recommendation. I love mine. I have one place where there is a small separation. I'm not sure how it happened, since I keep the board dry of water and oiled, but it did. I have yet to contact him about it. I don't think it will propagate. It's been there for about a year, now, and hasn't gotten any worse.

 

I saw a small gap formed in a seam at the back edge of mine a couple of years ago. Dave said that can happen at the edges of any end grain board from dimensional changes in the wood, but that it's rare. He suggested just filling in with beeswax. I decided to mix some sawdust with epoxy and fill it permanently. It worked fine. I was mostly concerned with food getting in there.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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21 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

I saw a small gap formed in a seam at the back edge of mine a couple of years ago. Dave said that can happen at the edges of any end grain board from dimensional changes in the wood, but that it's rare. He suggested just filling in with beeswax. I decided to mix some sawdust with epoxy and fill it permanently. It worked fine. I was mostly concerned with food getting in there.

 

Cool! I think I'll do the epoxy thing.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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3 hours ago, dcarch said:

Don't use regular epoxy. Get penetrating epoxy. Penetrating epoxy can repair tiny cracks by capillary action.

 

dcarch 

Sounds good. We have an assortment available.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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On 3/10/2016 at 1:35 AM, paulraphael said:

Probably mentioned upthread, but I can't speak highly enough of cutting boards by The Boardsmith. All made in a workshop by one guy who's a pleasure to deal with, does great work, and has seriously researched the topic. And he undercharges. I've had a 16x22 maple end grain board of his for eight years or so, and it's nicer than new. Hasn't yet needed sanding (although I cut with a light touch and don't use my serrated bread knife on it). 

 

All his boards have rubber feet on the bottom, which is such a good idea I've applied it to my other wooden boards. The feet prevent slipping, and more importantly, keep moisture from accumulating under the board. This is the classic cause of boards warping and developing a concave surface.

 

Me too.  I've had one the same board for a number of years - perfect condition, avoiding the use of serrated knives on the board.

 

But I had mine made w/o the feet, so I can use one side for things like meat and stinkier vegetables (e.g. onions, garlic, etc.) and the other for fruits and whatever else I might need to cut.  I keep a dry side towel under the board at all times, it never gets wet under there, and I've never had a problem with warpage or any separation.  It gets oiled or beeswaxed regularly.  Gorgeous piece of equipment.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Another product plug: I really like a product called Howard's Butcher Block conditioner. I used to make my own stuff by melting together mineral oil and beeswax (or sometimes paraffin). The Howard's product lasts much longer. It's a mix of those same ingredients and also microcrystalline wax, which is much harder. With some trial and error you could probably figure out the proportions and make it yourself, but it's not expensive and is just an Amazon click away.

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Notes from the underbelly

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Just say no to poly.  (OK - I have one, only one, to butcher and clean fish on)  

 

And JoNo said something in another thread about a new Hinoki board.  Some major upgrading going on in the cutting department.

 

Kewl.

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