Tell me about your wooden cutting boards

jasdipJune 2, 2011

I referred a woodworker to a friend of mine who is re-doing her kitchen. He's doing the kitchen, and they like his work so he's doing other work for them.

Last summer I was asking if he could make me a cutting board. We never did get around to getting it done. When he has some spare time after the kitchen etc he'll make my cutting board for me if I reimburse him for the wood.

Obviously a hard wood so maple etc will be what it's made of.

What are the approximate sizes of yours, and the thickness?

Would 1 1/2" be the norm I'm wondering? I want something solid for sure.

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johnliu_gw

Mine is end grain maple, 1.5'' thick, 18'' x 24'' size, added rubber feet on the bottom to lift it off the counter, allows a plate to be tucked under the lip. Apply mineral oil occasionally. These are only about $50 at a restaurant supply store. If you're having one made, look into decorative patterns (combining light and dark wood in stripes or a checkerboard, etc). I chose end grain so that I could use a cleaver on it, otherwise edge grain would be okay.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:07AM
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hawk307

Jasdip:

I think 1 1/2 inches is an overkill but I do not know how you will be using it.

I make my own, mostly from butcher block tops.

The one I use now is about 10 years old and is only one half inch thick.

I have a problem with my wrists , so I cut the far edge on an angle.
That way I do not have to turn the board much to clean of the cut vegetables. etc.

It is 10 inches wide and the long edge is 11 and one half.

I use the edge to smash hard bread and other things but I do not use it flat or it would probably break in half.

I made a smaller one also. It is 6 1/2 X 7 1/2.

Gave all the heavier boards away.

LOU

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:12AM
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sooz

I have a hard rock maple cutting board that my shop teacher-friend made for me before he retired. It's a bit on the heavy side, but gosh is it a beauty to work on! It's 23" by 24" and 1 1/2 " thick. I rubbed it with walnut oil.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:31AM
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chase_gw

I had a piece of my counter top removed and replaced with a maple cutting board. Probably better to refer to it as a butcher block 'cause it's 2 1/2 inches thick and approx 2' X 4'.

I love it !

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 6:57AM
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dcarch7

I made my own using stainless steel bolts to tie the maple wood together, because I couldn't find water-proof food grade glue.

I made it so that the board is reversible. One side is for meat.

dcarch

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:07AM
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ann_t

You can find cutting boards of all sizes and thickness. Just depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for just one board that is functional as well as one that you will leave out on your counter, than you probably want a board that is at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.

I use solid maple boards rather than laminated boards.

Ann

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:13AM
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foodonastump

dcarch - Titebond II and III are both suitable. III is probably better. Both are FDA approved for indirect food contact.

jasdip - I agree with John; go for a nice pattern. Linked is a video on how to make a cutting board; the guy uses maple and purple heart.

Here is a link that might be useful: cutting board

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:38AM
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publickman

The ones I use most are bamboo, and they are quite thin, less than 1/2", I think. I have them in a variety of sizes (they all fit in one upper drawer in the lower cabinets), but I also have two small bamboo cheese boards that Gina gave me, and I use them frequently as well. They are much thicker and more attractive than the utilitarian ones. I also have one large maple board, but it does not fit inside my drawers, and so I store it on top of the fridge - not ideal. In Venice, my house there had a slot for storing the chopping board, and it could be pulled out and used as extra counter space.

Think about how you will store it before you have one made. I got my Venice board at the hardware store.

Lars

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:52AM
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dedtired

One of my wood cutting boards was made by my son in a high school Shop class. He must have done a good job because 21 years later, it's still working fine. I use a plastic one for meat.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:21PM
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triciae

FOAS, thanks for the link. That's a wonderful site. My DS loves wood working. He takes after his maternal grandfather & great grandfather. My granddfather worked for Union Pacific building those fancy private railroad cars back in the day. I've forwarded the link to my DS along with a hint for a special present for Mom!

/tricia

P.S. I also gave him a "subtle" suggestion that if he was feeling up to being challenged that's the coolest music stand I've ever seen! :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:24PM
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lindac

For most of my cutting, but for a big piece of cooked meat or a loaf of bread...or cheese, I use those plastic cheap mats. they go into the dishwasher, are cheap and often replaced and fold so you can transfer chopped foods easily.
But for carrots for a relish tray or things of that nature where I don't want to dump it into a pan, I use a pine board. It's soft and easy on your knives. I have several but the one I pull out most often is oval and was bought at an auction, well used at that time, for something like $.25
I have a Woolfe maple board for serving cheese, an oak one made by my husband when he was in 7th grade and a long baguette server made by my son when he was in 7th grade, but that's pine. I also have a couple of maple rounds that fit into a tray from back in the day when you served cheese on a board in a tray with a place around the edge for the crackers.
AND...I also have a very large teak board, tilted at one ens on a foot for carving a huge roast or a turkey....and a smaller walnut board, also tilted, for cutting smaller roasts and birds.
AND...I have a large butcher block board....huge difficult to handle, but it works for a time when I want to serve buffet through the kitchen, it covers the cook top or if I have a large party and am serving many types of cheese it goes on the diningroom or family room table. I knew someone who worked at the Maytag factory (wink) and it was to have been the top of a dishwasher.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:16PM
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hawk307

Jasdip:
If you Google " Fante's of Phila." You can get an idea of all the different Cutting Boards.

My largest is 20 inches X 60 inches X 3 inches thick.

I tend to stay away from solid one piece boards, because
sometimes they can warp.

DC:
I use epoxy to glue wood together,
even on the Bird Carvings.

LOU

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:03PM
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momj47

I only use wood cutting boards, I love them. An inch and a half is thick enough to be pretty heavy, so think if that's going to be a problem cleaning it in the sink, for example

Enjoy

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:33PM
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TobyT

I got an Epicurean cutting board at a knife skills class, and it is my favourite over all my others. (Who the heck invented glass cutting boards anyway and why on earth did I buy one?) The Epicurean boards can go in the dishwasher, which I like, and they are light, but very strong. Don't think I will ever buy any other kind.
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Epicurean

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:43PM
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bulldinkie

I go one like sooz its thicker,love it use it all the tim,e ,I keep it oiled with mineral oil.I got mine at linens and things about a year ago.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:46PM
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ann_t

Any wooden board, whether glued together laminated boards or solid, one piece boards will warp if not looked after.

If you look after a wooden board, drying it well after washing, never putting it in a dishwasher or leaving it to soak in the sink, and oiling it on a regular basis they will last for many, many years.

Also, another good reason to buy a board that is at least 1 1/2 inches thick is that over the years, you can sand it if it gets too marked up with cuts.

Ann

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:58PM
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annie1992

Ann T., that's one of the reason I love my wooden boards, they aren't harmful to my knives and if they get cut up, I just sand 'em and oil them again. I've sanded my biggest cutting board quite a few times and it's still beautiful. It's 13x24 and slides into the counter on runners so that I can pull it out and use it as extra counter space. It's maple.

I have one that Carol/Readinglady sent to Elery and I when we got married, it was made by a local artisan near her and it's simply beautiful, about 7 or 8 types of woods in different hues and it's 1 1/2 inches thick. It hangs on the wall of my kitchen simply because it's a gorgeous piece, and I've sanded and re-oiled it once already

And finally, I have my very favorite, a small board made of exotic woods like Monkey Wood and Purple Heart, Ashley brought it back from Costa Rica as a gift the year she graduated from high school. It's only 5x7, but it makes a beautiful little serving piece.

I also have two rigid plastic ones, includinhg the white one that I use specifically for chicken, and some of those flexible mats that LindaC mentioned. Somehow I keep "losing" those because they make great mats for kids playing with PlayDoh, clean up is a snap. (grin)

Annie

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have functional, unattractive, plastic boards that I put in the dishwasher daily and wood ones for when I want a larger surface for prep. I also have large, trencher wood ones for serving meats and specialty boards for serving breads and cheeses. Oiling cutting boards ranks low on my priority lists with ironing napkins ranking higher.

They all work fine but my overall preferences tend towards the thinner ones for storage and lifting sakes, and never any feet.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:02PM
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paulines

Here's a couple of boards that AnnT was kind enough to purchase and send to me. Actually, I had 3, gifted one, use one for prep and one for serving. Thanks again Ann!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 1:12PM
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hawk307

jasdip:
To summerize all of this, it is according to your needs,

not what someone else might think you would be happy with, because they use a specific type of cutting board.

I gave all my larger and thicker boards away, because I have no need for them.

All I need now is a smaller, thinner board, which I can use to cut a pretty good pile of vegetables.

If I was doing some butchering, I would use my 5 foot butcher block top.

I have all kinds of Exotic Wood to use for an attractive
Board.

But I am happy with what I have.

Figure out your needs and what you want,
then go from there.

Use it for making up some good meals.

LOU

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 9:29PM
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jasdip

Thanks for all your ideas and help with your boards guys!
I'm thinking I will go with the 1.5". It's going to be my primary board for cutting veggies. Probably around 24x18 as well. I like lots of space when cutting.

I don't have a dishwasher so a good scrub with soap and hot water is what I'll be doing, and drying it thoroughly.

I know of some people who don't cut onion and garlic on their wood boards, as the smell doesn't come out easily. Do you have that problem?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 8:13AM
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ann_t

I'm happy to hear that you aren't going to put your board in a dishwasher. That is a major no no for boards made of wood.

As long as you keep your board well oiled, and wash and dry it well, it should last you many years. I cut onions and garlic on my boards. If you find your board is picking up odors you can refresh by rubbing salt or baking soda over the surface of the board using the cut side of a lemon as a scrub brush. You can also wipe off your board with a weak solution of bleach. One teaspoon to a quart of water. Or use vinegar and water. Either will work.

Also, never oil with vegetable/olive oil. These oils will go rancid. Either use mineral oil, which is the most economical or a product specially designed for wooden salad bowls and cutting boards. There are a number available.

Ann

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 8:29AM
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jasdip

Morning Ann, you're up early!
Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 8:35AM
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johnliu_gw

I think it is important that a board not shift around as you are cutting. Rubber pads, or feet, which can be stick-on, help. A nonslip mat helps too. A heavy board is also less easily shifted.

It is convenient to be able to tuck the edge of a plate under the board, so that cut food can be swept onto the plate with less spilling. You might have your woodworker cut an appropriate recess into the board edge, although feet accomplish this too.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 9:43AM
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ann_t

You are welcome Jasdip.

I would never buy a board with feet. That restricts your use to one side of the board. A board is much more functional if you can use both sides.

I know that I am not the only one that uses one side of a board to cut on and the other side to serve on.

Ann

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:42AM
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johnliu_gw

But a 1.5'' x 18'' x 24'' slab of butcher block is not the ideal service platter. You have to be built like Charles Atlas. One slip, and you've knee-capped Aunt Tilly. And what do you continue prepping on, while the board is being lifted off the aged relative? If you have three of the things, it's a collection - or a lumberyard.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 9:26PM
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dcarch7

If you are not a professional, do not attempt to use a belt sander to refinish your cutting board. You can mess it up really good.

Sanding with sand paper is very time consuming requiring many steps.

Instead, I have found a wood worker's hand planer gives you vey smooth finish and better control.

You may also find wood worker's scraper very useful to get a glassy finish on wood.

dcarch

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:28PM
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annie1992

I guess I have a collection, LOL. I also clean mine with vinegar and water if I get an odor, but I cut onions and mince garlic on mine and it really doesn't seem to be a problem.

My big slide out board is really too big to be used as a service piece, but the one that Carol gave me, it's about 9x7 if you don't count the handle and as beautiful as any platter I've ever seen. The little exotic one Ashley gave me is pretty much relegated to serving or something like a cheese board, it's too small for anything else.

None of them have feet although the big one has a groove around the edge to catch drippings, especially useful when carving meat.

For some reason I've never had a problem with my boards sliding about while I'm using them. Maybe I'm not as fast with a knife or maybe I'm a wuss and am just not strong enough to push it around, but it's never been a problem.

Annie

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:29PM
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johnliu_gw

I imagine a thickness planer would do the trick too, and no skill required. If you know someone with a woodshop, might ask if s/he will do it.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:04PM
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annie1992

Hmmmm. Dad was a furniture builder and had a mechanical planer for finishing, but I never considered putting a cutting board through it. I did use the router a couple of times to make the grooved edge for drippings.

I also never used a belt sander or the orbital sander either, it just didn't seem that hard to take a block of wood and a square of sandpaper, and go over the board. The same sanding block and some finer grit sandpaper, maybe a third time with fine grit to finish off, a wipe with a damp cloth to get the film and then oil. It's never taken me more than several minutes, without any electricity or machinery at all...

The problem I could see with a belt sander is keeping the board in one place to sand it, unless you have a table with a vise.

Annie

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:23PM
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dcarch7

Annie, I should have said a heavily used cutting/chopping board will have a dig in the middle (concave). To flatten it again with sand paper will take a long time.

A belt sander can take out a large chunck of wood very quickly if you don't hold it right.

A mechanical planer would be a perfect tool to use.

You are very good. A great idea to to use a router to create a gutter on the cutting board.

dcarch

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:41PM
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lindac

A butcher's block, which has seen heavy use with a cleaver and whole sides of beef and pork may have a concave center, and periodically has to be sent away to be planed. Butcher's blocks are usually about 2 feet thick of laminated end grain maple, held together with bolts. My across the street neighbor bought one for her kitchen many years ago.....and as of the past 25 years or more it has never gotten a dip in the center, but then they don't use it for whole sides of beef....more for whacking up a chicken or 2. also butcher shops frequently scrape down the board to remove fat and meat bits. In the past 20 years or more, regulations require that butchers using a block treat it with a germicide regularly.
I, like Annie use a piece of sand paper to smooth out cuts in a board when it needs it. A belt sander requires a light touch...I suppose I could have used the finish sander, but that seems like a big deal when a few minutes with garnet paper will do just fine.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:57AM
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ann_t

If the whole surface of the board is marked up a palm sander will also do a quick job of refinishing the surface.

I must admit thought, I think the cut marks just add character to a beautiful board.

Ann

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:12AM
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bulldinkie

Oh I finally got a nice one I bought in a kitchen store.Love it.Its about 2'x2'Its about 2" think,keep them oiled with mineral oil.Also where you put it affects it I put mine on the counter above my diswasher,the heat & moisture heated up my granite,it cracked,I bought a new one.I have mine beside my sink,easy cleanup,I have a few smaller like 18"w 2"thick with handle.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 7:48AM
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maxmom96

I notice the thread title asks about wooden boards, but I'd like some feedback from those of you who may have bamboo boards and how you like them after you've worked on them for a while.

Pros or cons?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 10:13AM
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dcarch7

I suppose you can consider bamboo a wood, even bamboo is botanically a grass.

I love bamboo. It's one of the most renewable natural resources. It is the fastest growing plant on earth. You can in fact watch some varieties grow. It can grow almost 40 inches per day!!!

Imagine cutting bamboo shoots on a bamboo board to make stir fry.

Bamboo fiber is stronger than steel and is extremely tough, it makes a great material for flooring, but you will have to be selective if you want bamboo for a cutting board.

Unless you have a good cutting habit, mostly slicing and not chopping, and a very good knife, such as a good Japanese knife hardened to above Rockwell 64, your typical good knife (mostly Rockwell 56 to 58 hardness) will be dulled in no time.

I would not mind having one for special cutting use.

dcarch

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 10:54AM
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ann_t

Regardless of the style or wood of your cutting board eventually they will all show cut marks. Some people choose boards for just function and others for both function and beauty.

Bamboo boards need to be maintained the same as any other wood. They should be oiled on a regular basis. Mineral oil is easy to obtain, sold in most drug stores and in many grocery stores and isn't expensive. I also use a beeswax oil paste on all my boards. Never use vegetable oils because they will eventually go rancid.

You can also sand your board occasionally to remove cut marks.

You can find really inexpensive bamboo boards in most Asian markets.

Ann

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 11:06AM
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ann_t

I forgot to add, that there are a number of websites on Bamboo boards that promote the idea that Bamboo is easier on knives and will not dull a knife as quickly as other woods.

Why to Buy

Aside from being an ecologically responsible choice, because bamboo cutting boards are not made of the precious wood timber that wooden boards are made from, there are many other reasons to purchase a bamboo cutting board. These reasons include:

The color doesn't fade on a bamboo cutting board.
Bamboo is sixteen percent harder than Maple wood.
Bamboo is also one-third stronger than Oak, another popular choice of regular wood cutting boards.
Bamboo wood doesn't dull expensive knives as quickly as the regular wooden cutting boards or the plastic ones.

I don't know if this is true or not. There is a lot of self-serving information on the web. You can pretty much find someone who will agree with you regardless of your stance on any subject.

Ann

Here is a link that might be useful: Bamboo cutting boards

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 11:17AM
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dcarch7

I am trying very hard to come up with the logic on how a very delicate knife edge is safer on a surface that's much harder than wood.

Bamboo is very much water proof. Minimum care is required.

They use bamboo to make rafts.

For those of you who have bamboo spatulas know they are indestructable.

dcarch

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 1:54PM
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ann_t

Like I mentioned, you can find all kinds of misinformation on the web. Including instructions on oiling Bamboo boards.

Ann

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 2:35PM
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jasdip

I have a bamboo one. I read originally that they are supposed to be gentler on your knives. It sure is hard though..... and loud when I cut on it. I don't use cleaver-type knives and cut normally, with a rocking slicing motion.

I did oil it the first time, with mineral oil. It doesn't seem to pick up the onion and garlic smells, but I do use my plastic boards for those. A rinse under very hot water cleans it really well, and dry thoroughly with my tea towel.

I'm weird, I like "saving" good boards. I cut smelly stuff on my plastic ones because I don't want my bamboo one to get stinky. I'll just have to use it more often, and my good wooden one when I get it, and not save them.

Oh, I also won 3 plastic non-slip Henckel cutting boards in a draw that our restaurant supply store was hosting over Christmas. Yippeee!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 3:11PM
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publickman

I like for the bamboo ones to be very thin, from 1/4" to 1/2". This makes it very easy to store them and also to move them.

I got a koa chopping board on Maui at an art gallery when I was there, and I love the wood, but it is too expensive for me to use it. Loves2cook4six sent me a gorgeous one that her husband made also, and I use it more as a trivet on the dining table. I don't put anything hot on it, but it does protect my teak dining table from scratches and water damage.

Lars

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:47PM
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nancedar

My DH had made exquisite maple with inlaid walnut cutting boards. Just a few. He got pretty discouraged when his middle daughter (40-ish), the not real smart one, complained that the one he made for her fell apart and said she'd never use a wooden board again. Getting some more info she said she just put it in the dishwasher with the rest of her dishes and knives and it fell apart after the drying cycle was finished.

Sadly looking at her ruined Henckels' and the glass cutting board she now uses, we decided to just give her consumables like restaurant gift cards.

Nancy

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:38PM
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jolj

Why do people use a dry cycle, it is a waste of money.
I love wooden products for the kitchen.
ann_t
There is misinformation on precious wood timber on the net, too.
I use farmed tree as most woodworkers do now.
I have some dead wild cherry tree on my farm too.
Farmed trees is no different than egg,milk & meat or vegetables that are farmed.
I use plastic cutting boards for meats.
I have color coded ones too.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:47AM
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ann_t

Jolj, Yes, there is lots of misinformation out there.

Cherry makes beautiful cutting boards. So does apple wood.

~Ann

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 7:17AM
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jolj

I would love some apple wood.
I hoping to find a orchard that is removing old wood to replant, so I can recycle some of that beautiful wood.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 7:07PM
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flamtech

Might be of relevance to this topic, but apparently wood actually kills bacteria. A team of scientists was originally trying to study how to disinfect wood cutting boards to make them as safe to use as plastic, and found out they had trouble collecting any of their salmonella and e coli samples from any the 6 or 7 different wooden cutting boards after about 3 minutes. The plastic ones, they could. On the wood ones, bacteria just wouldn't grow.

Journal Paper here: http://www.treenshop.com/Treenshop/ArticlesPages/SafetyOfCuttingBoards_Article/CliverArticle.pdf

Easy to read layman's version of findings here: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm

So basically, plastic is good cause you can stick it in dishwasher, but as it gets scarred up from cutting it will be harder to disinfect of bacteria it's holding on to and multiplying, unless you are using a santizing wash in the dishwasher. Wood is heavier, and prone to warpage, and can't be thrown in dishwasher, but apparently if you can just wash it down with soap and water every so often and it kills its own bacteria, it's perhaps less maintenance, especially if you don't have or aren't using a dishwasher?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 3:50PM
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anne3267

Mine is a bamboo wood cutting board. I have 6 wood cutting boards totally. 5 wooden and 1 plastic. I use the plastic one when I cook for my mother-in-law. Just kidding. This site gives a good overview: www.woodcuttingboardsguide.com
The best wood cutting board that I have is the end grain board. Try it. Maybe start with the cheapest one to see how it goes before you spend too much money.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 7:49PM
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artsyshell

Laminated boards are nice as you can get nice pattern etc in your wood. My son made me a beautiful one in woodworking, Only problem with laminate is, that if they aren't conditioned regularly, then can split or separate where they were joined. I love the boards made out of solid wood (one piece).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:21PM
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publickman

I ordered a new PD cutting board from Amazon yesterday. I decided that I needed it because my largest one is only 13x9" and is not really large enough for rolling out pie dough, and the PD board is 24x18" and had circles etched to indicate pie crust sizes, plus it has ruler marks etched on one end for handy measuring. I also like that it is acacia wood. Some stores have already discontinued her products, and so I wanted to get one while I still could.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 5:30PM
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sooz

(sigh) I'm still in love with my cutting board!
Smiles,
Sooz

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 1:41AM
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bulldinkie

I bought a big one at bed,bath,beyond,its about 24x24 about 2"thick,love it use it all the time,i oil it regularly with a product from chef catalogue.I think bees wax is it .looks good.I bought daughter and both daughternlaws one for Christmas last year.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 10:01PM
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gnancy

Right now, it's 24 x 30! And, attached to my cabinets.

I need some advice about cutting board size. I have a section of countertop that is maple butcher block, 24 x 30 and about 1ý thick. It must be 60 years old! I'm redoing my kitchen in about a month and there's no place to reuse it.

I told my kitchen lady that I wanted to save it to have a cutting board(s) cut from it. The only thing is, I'm having trouble deciding what size(s). I'm afraid it'll be too heavy if I make it something like 18 x 24; I don't want to leave it out or make it so heavy that I'll think it's inconvenient to take out.

So, what's the perfect (biggest) size for me? (I just had the idea that I can ask them to make an oval hole in one end to use as a handle.)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:49AM
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dcarch7

This is my cutting board strategy:

1. Main cutting board - 12" x 20", 1 1/2" thick will not be too heavy. Don't cut a hole for handle, it makes the effective usable cutting area much smaller. Have finger groves cut on the two edges so that you can flip the board to use both sides, one clean side, and one dirty side.

2. The remaining wood can be made into cheese boards.

3. Get a plastic cutting board, cut to 11" x 15". You can slip a store grocery plastic bag over the board, so when you have to cut pork or chicken, you just throw the bag away after cutting, no need to sanitize the board each time. The main cutting board should not be used for meat and germ-my foods. Wood is difficult to sanitize, plastic board can go in the dish washer.

dcarch

This post was edited by dcarch on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 9:26

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:20AM
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colleenoz

dcarch, the CSIRO here has done studies which indicate wood is self-sanitising. A good scrub will do for wood- in tests they did, the swabs from the wooden boards had far less germs than the plastic boards. This is because the cuts in plastic boards harbor germs while the cuts in wooden boards tend to be self-healing and so not a home for germs.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 2:07PM
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sleevendog

I was relieved when those studies were done and published a few years ago. I use wood only. A 20x24 and 20x36 2inch butcher block. Meat i prep outside no mater the weather on a designated grooved wood block on a large sheet pan and cleaned outside.
Once or twice a year we take a belt-sander to all of them, then a fine sanding with a random orbit. So sweet when fresh and looking brand new! Just takes about an hour.
The meat board just lives outside under the deck eaves with the sheet pan, a restaurant biggie that does not fit in my oven anyway. Both get a scrub and dry in the sun. Boards get oiled regularly.
I'll use newspaper and parchment sometimes to help clean-up, (we make our own dog food so it gets messy even outside), but a good system for us to keep meat prep out on the deck.
My NY kitchen is small and we often are prepping together on opposite counters so it is nice to have two big butcher block boards.
I do have a dozen odd ones given as gifts over the years and rarely use them...a composite one from Epicurian that does dishwash fine but weird with all the cut marks. We just prefer the natural wood.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:03PM
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dcarch7

"----CSIRO here has done studies which indicate wood is self-sanitising---"

I am familiar with that report, but I am still keeping an open mind.

We all know wood goes rotten if not protected soon. That's why wood is used to grow mushrooms. There is very limited ability for wood to sanitize, it seems to me.

And the report says, "---Some wooden boards have been reported to exhibit antibacterial properties. After a short period of time, fewer bacteria have been recovered from these boards than from identically treated plastic ones.--"

"Some" means not all. "Short period of time"? what does that mean in a kitchen environment?

There is also, "Experts disagree on whether wood or plastic cutting boards are the most sanitary. Most governmental agencies in the United States recommend plastic, while other experts say scarred, rutted plastic cutting boards can harbor just as much bacteria as wood."

Try this: use a woodworker's scraper and scrape your wood cutting board after you clean it and you will see a lot of stuff that have not been cleaned away.

A plastic cutting board in a dish washer is a very clean cutting board.

Don't ever wash your wood cutting board in a dishwasher.

dcarch

This post was edited by dcarch on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 17:40

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 5:03PM
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dcarch7

I forgot, one more though about wood cutting board sanitizing quality.

Assuming there are compounds in the wood which kills germs, after using the board twice a day, washed 365 days in a year, whatever effective compounds there are in the thin layer of surface wood will be long gone.

I am not sure how old the cutting board was which they have tested.

dcarch

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:05PM
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ann_t

People have been using wood cutting boards for ever. Love vintage cutting/bread boards. I prefer wood boards. Others prefer plastic. Individual taste. Something for everyone.

~Ann

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:25PM
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bulldinkie

You need to watch where you place it.I put mine where dishwasher was below it.I have about 2" of granite counter top under it but the warmth from dishwasher must have made itcrack.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 5:37PM
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dcarch7

Posted by ann_t "People have been using wood cutting boards for ever. Love vintage cutting/bread boards. I prefer wood boards. Others prefer plastic. Individual taste. Something for everyone.
~Ann"

I also like wood cutting boards. They are less likely to do damage to knives. I only use plastic for cutting pork or chicken.

I sanitize my wood boards with a germicidal UV light once in a while.

dcarch

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 5:48PM
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johnliu_gw

You know that alcohol based hand sanitizer stuff in a pump bottle? I keep a bottle of it by my 18" x 24" wood cutting board. After cutting chicken, I wipe the board down with hot water and dishwashing soap, then just water; toss the sponge in the microwave; smear a few pumps of the alcohol stuff over the board; then wipe it off a minute later with the steaming sponge. Seems to work . . . I guess a dilute bleach solution in a spray bottle would work better, but this is handy too. I've never subsequently tasted the sanitizer stuff in food.

This post was edited by johnliu on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 21:17

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:09PM
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