built-in cutting boards

lisa_aJuly 29, 2009

Does anyone do built-in cutting boards, the kind that slides out at the top of lower cabinets, anymore? We use ours frequently so it seemed a given that we'd do this again but I can't seem to find this feature in updated kitchens in mags or IRL. Is this passe?

We also use the plastic kind (so easy to slide into the DW for washing and sanitizing) but the built-in board is perfect for sliding pizzas out of the oven on, cutting bread and rolls on, and other uses. It's also about the perfect size to cover our island cooktop when we need extra counter space (and yes, we make sure the burners are off and cool before we do this). Another reason I like it is that it's the perfect prep height for me. We do plan to reduce the height of our island to 34" or 35" (or somewhere between the two) so that might not be as critical. And truth be told, the built-in board doesn't give me a huge amount of prep space since I never pull it out more than half way when I use it in place.

We could always keep our current board, store it in a cabinet and forgo having a built-in board. I know this is a minor detail but I'd love to hear your thoughts. TIA!

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I am soooo interested to see what the GW folks will say. I'm meeting with the cabinet guy tomorrow, and I really want to use our huge (1929) cutting board in the island, and to make sure we have at least one more next to the range. I'll stay tuned!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:04PM
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Rev-a-shelf has an aftermarket insert for a cutting board/knife drawer combo that might work for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: rev a shelf

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:09PM
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Here's ours. Built in and nice and sturdy. DD loves it for good working height. We like it better than our old slot one. Made it 18" to match drawer bank, could have been any width...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:25PM
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forgot to say it's a thick butcherblock

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:26PM
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That looks incredible. But... How do you clean it? I always feel like they get dirty and messy and bring crumbs back into the cabinet, don't they?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:40PM
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faleash, that's cool! But I have the same question about cleaning as skoo. How easy is it to remove and stick in the sink to wash down with hot, soapy water? Or would that ruin the drawer slide mechanism?

Dang, your cabs are gorgeous! And so much more in keeping with your style than your old GO cabs.

Thanks, rubyfig, that's a slick set-up. I'll have to check into that further.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 4:02PM
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Fori is not pleased

The old fashioned ones came all the way out, Skoo, so you could wash them in the sink. I wanted one too, but decided I needed more drawer space and could use the baking counter for height-appropriate work (yeah I'm short).

My last one was kind of clever--it shared a drawer front with the drawer on which it rested. It did look like the drawer's face was split (which it technically was) but it was really incredibly awesomely stable.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 4:04PM
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I considered one, and then realized that it wouldn't work for me. It would sit lower than I would want, but most importantly I know too much stuff would fall off of it onto the floor. I'm just too used to the countertop.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 4:07PM
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Of course I never had one as wonderfully sturdy looking as Faleash's...I always found them rattly and a hazard for someone running into them. Plus, all it takes is one time of someone carelessly shoving it in while it has peanut butter and jelly or pizza sauce on it, or even just crumbs, and it's all inside the cabinet in a space too narrow/shallow to clean out. I had to try to clean around one that was 30+ years old when we moved into our old house. It's a wonder it would still slide in and out, as the slot was so narrowed with yucky buildup.

Where I really wish I'd put one is at my desk. My husband's old desk has one that I often utilize as extra surface...More than I realized. It would allow me to have the laptop on the desk and be able to turn to another work area instead of reaching over to the side of the computer.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 4:14PM
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"Where I really wish I'd put one is at my desk. My husband's old desk has one that I often utilize as extra surface...More than I realized. It would allow me to have the laptop on the desk and be able to turn to another work area instead of reaching over to the side of the computer."

My old desk - a spectacular quartersawn oak, solid wood (no plywood, no MDF) desk from the '40s or '50s (best guess based on style and stain color) that I bought for $70 at a garage sale - has those on either side of the kneehole. They are fantastic and sure come in handy when I overflow the desk top and need more surface for papers and books. If I don't watch out, I end up almost barricading myself in. I bought new bookshelves and cabinets a few years ago and someone asked me if I was going to replace the desk, too. No way!! I love this desk! It needs refinishing but that won't happen until I have a lull in my work load, and thank goodness, that hasn't happened.

But back on topic.

We haven't had the yucky buildup you describe, rhome (I have to add - ewwwwwww!), which is surprising because my family is not neat nor careful. I once caught one of my kids putting a peanut butter smeared knife back in the drawer! He did it during an absent-minded moment but those happen often enough that I always have to think about this sort of occurrence. I wonder, though, that if we don't have a built-in cutting board if they'll just cut on the counter instead, ruining my good knives.

Let's see, how many years before they move out...? ;-)

Fori, I think your set-up is what our cabinet makers are suggesting. I'll have to look at the plans again. What did you store in the drawer below it?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 7:17PM
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Confessing, we have two pull out cutting boards. They slide out to wash in the sink. There isn't any gunk. That said, we kept our 70s cabinets when we did our 'update'. Here is one. The other one may show up in our kitchen update photos in the album link below.

I don't really use them much anymore. I use cutting boards on top of the counters BUT if you have countertops that stain or etch easily, it's not a bad option. Our granite is 5 years old, we've never resealed it and it's in constant use. My MIL has a lemon tree so we use a lot of lemons. Bianco Romano has been virtually trouble free.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our old house album

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 7:48PM
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Fori, I'm doing the same thing. Short people must think alike. Lowered marble baking counter (note huge, just 25x25), and we were thinking of just getting a butcher block cutting board to put on the marble while it wasn't in use to use as a lowered chopping station (and protect the surface from etching, etc.).

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 7:51PM
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Fori is not pleased

Awesome cabinets, Golddust! That's the kind of breadboard I grew up with--ours would be a little floppy if it were pulled out very far.

But my recently-demolished one, since it rested on the drawer (I guess) was very sturdy. I never cut on it and just used it when I needed extra counter and remembered it. I kept knives and cutting boards in the drawer beneath it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 8:05PM
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Sorry for delayed response... it's 107 degrees here so DD and I just had to go have mani/pedis in the lovely air-conditioned place up the road. Trying to type this without messing up my nails LOL! My cutting board does have little quick release to remove it but we always just wipe it clean well while it's open, then give it a few minutes to dry before closing it. Haven't had any probs. As it's frameless cabinetry, in the off chance that crumbs would get slid in, they would drop to the drawer below... not into no man's land like our old pull out board with the slot. But, it hasn't happened and we use it all the time.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 8:06PM
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Yes, mine are wobbly if you pull them out too far. LOL! I think my cabinets are 1971 era. They are cherry and still have those really bad handles. That said, we made new ones but have to refinish the doors before we can use the ones we cast.

There is always something her needing to be done. We'll never sell because of this reason. :+)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:04PM
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I have about 10 square feet of usable counter space in my current kitchen, so I use mine all the time! In the kitchen I'm planning, I'll have about 28 square feet of counter space and I'm still planning on putting in a pull out cutting board.

I mostly use mine for cutting pizzas and bread, I don't cut meat on it. For this (and other messy stuff)I usually place another cutting board on top that I can throw in the dishwasher. I may or may not need to use the pull-out cutting boards as much in the new kitchen, but I have a hard time imagining life without one.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:48PM
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I grew up in an apartment in the Bronx which was built in the late 1940's and the kitchen was small. They had a pull out board and it was used for EVERYTHING. I don't ever remember problems with it.

I just put in soapstone in my kitchen and don't want to put the big chopping board back because it will cover up some of the veining. I don't think I can get a slide in chopping board in my island.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 7:01AM
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I have the pull-out kind in our circa 1999 cabinets. I hardly use it, but I'm a germ-a-phobe and prefer the kind I can stick in the dishwasher. I do not, however, think they are necessarily outdated. To me, if you use it and it's functional, you can make it work.

That said, and not to hijack the OP's thread, but I'm considering painting my cabinets, and when I saw this question on here, I began to think - what the heck do I do with that thing? Do I paint the face of it white too? or leave it? It's currently stained in similar tone as the maple cabinets (honey brown).

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 10:31AM
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Fori is not pleased

Sister, just paint it wherever it's stained (where ever it shows when put away).

I'm kinda germaphobic and never used it for anything cuttingboardy--it was just a spare work area for me. Maybe if it was new and didn't come with a used kitchen? Heh heh. Why don't you polyurethane yours so it'll wipe clean and just treat it like a non-cutting surface that can be wiped down with anything you want?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 11:33AM
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Thanks, everyone! I haven't made a decision yet but at least I have more information to help me get there. One more question, though.

fori, I think our cabinet makers are suggesting what you used to have. I was going to ask if you noticed crumbs and such falling into the drawer below but then I read you didn't use it for "anything cuttingboardy" (love that term). Any ideas how much of an issue this might be for us? We use it for cutting bread in place and haul it out for other prep (never meat). TIA!

faleash, ugh, that heat!! I'm so glad to see it going but I wish it would hurry up. We haven't turned off our AC for 10 days (soooo unusual for our area). I'm dreading the bill.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 1:55PM
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Great thread! Our cabinet guys said they'd incorporate our old 1930 giant cutting board (that sits sideways next to the tray slot cupboard---isn't it amazing that some of these ideas were around way back then??) into our island. Then they suggested another cutting board inside a drawer-looking front that would also include a knife drawer underneath. I was intrigued. They said it looks like a regular drawer, but has a flip-down front but and has those two items. They're doing one in a super-expensive home up the hill, so I'm going to go see it next week. I'll take a photo and try to include it (I haven't done this before with photos).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 5:20PM
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That's an interesting design, donnakay. I hope you do post a photo.

We are going with a built-in cutting board in the remodel. We use our current one so much that I can't see us going without one. My family are creatures of habits, you see. They still grumble when they forget where I moved items in the kitchen *5* years ago. Can you imagine how messed up they will be after the remodel?! LOL

Our cutting board will be the top 1/4 to 1/3 of a split drawer front. The cutting board will have a shallow front and handle. The drawer below will be a bit shallower than usual but after looking at what we'd store in it, it will work just fine. The knife drawer will stay where it is - to the right of the cutting board.

We're keeping our current cutting board and storing it in the tray slot area above our ovens. We made sure to ask the cabinet maker for an extra tall slot for this and the pizza stone.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:02PM
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We've had a pull out cutting board in both of our houses that we've lived in, until this remodel. I used to love them for an extra prep area or to set extra dishes when we had a BBQ. Sometimes the lower height was just easier on my back - being the semi vertically challenged person that I am...;-). Generally if I did use it as a true "cutting board" per se, I'd put another board on top of it, but always kept it clean and oiled.

Our new cabinets are a full overlay, making it a bit tougher to add one in and we just didn't seem to feel the need with all of the counter space we got.

I love faleash's pullout - it blends so smoothly with the rest of the cabinets. If we had gone to custom cabinets, I would have wanted one.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:20PM
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I've had them put in my last 2 kitchens, and have 2 in our current kitchen as well. I would not have a kitchen without them. Mine are the old fashioned kind that you can pull all the way out. Great for cleaning, and they are nice on both sides, so you can turn it over. They also have a groove that prevents any liquid from flowing back into the drawer. I like them next to the oven so I can set dishes there right out of the oven. And since I'm only 5' tall, the one in my baking center gives me a better height where I do my mixing. Hy SIL has one of the newer kind with the full extension drawer guides. Hers sticks when you pull it out, and at 10" wide is too narrow. The two I have now are 18" and 24".

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 2:20PM
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We had our cabinet maker put in 3 slide in cutting boards. We use all of them. Our cabinets are white but we did not paint the cutting boards. These pictures are not close-ups but you can kind of see the natural wood cutting boards.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 4:35PM
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Thanks, socalusa, joyce and wascolette.

Good point about the width, joyce. Ours will be 22" or so so it's plenty big enough.

wascolette, lovely kitchen! I was going to guess you were a Washington state resident ("was" part of your screen name) but then I spotted palm trees and Spanish tile roof in the photos in your slide show. Guess not!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 5:24PM
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