Juliekcmo- Boos Questions

localeaterAugust 11, 2012

Just saw your countertop and post in another thread and didn't want to hijack but have some questions.

Yours looks great and you said you do all prep on it. That is my intent for my island which we are doing, like yours,in oiled finish from Boos.

Is your countertop end grain, edge grain, or plank? I thought I might have to do end grain in order to use for all prep, but like the look of edge and plank better and yours doesn't look like end grain.

Is chopping lots of stinky garlic or onions ever a problem due to lingering odors or do you just clean with vinegar or baking soda to neutralize?

What about raw meat and fish? Is that OK, how do you handle?

I really appreciate your guidance, thanks so much.

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ginny20

local, Julie doesn't seem to be answering, and your post is slipping downward, so I thought I'd give you what info I could. I have a Boos butcherblock built into my counter. I think it's end grain, if end grain is the regular kind. It came unseasoned, I guess you'd call it; I had to put mineral oil on it, and I continue to oil it regularly. So I believe that Julie's and yours have a different finish. But I can tell you that I cut raw meat and fish on mine, sometimes on wax paper but not always, and I just wash the wood with a soapy sponge, often followed by a wet paper towel to rinse some of the soap off. I chop a lot of onions, shallots, garlic, and there is sometimes a little residual odor, but not much and it goes away. (Never thought of vinegar and baking soda.) I understand that I am opening myself up to the germ police, and I'm undoubtedly not following any proper procedures, but we don't seem to get sick despite my best efforts. Doesn't wood have built-in antibacterial properties?

Sorry I couldn't answer all your questions, but this will bump the post and maybe Julie will see it.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 4:26PM
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beekeeperswife

I found this info on Boos website about your questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: boos

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 4:54PM
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juliekcmo

Hi Local,

Thanks for the questions.

I agree with Ginny's info.

Ours is the Regular butcher block.

It is Boos Hard Rock Maple, with the oiled finish. It came factory impregnated with 3 coats of the Boos oil. The fabricator then oiled the edge where the sink cutout was done, and the curve was cut for the side of the island with the seating. Then 2 additional coats were applied. When it was new I oiled about every 6 weeks. Now I do about twice a year. I use the Boos Mystery Oil.

I do everything on it. Cut veggies, cut up meat, roll out pie crust, use the mixer, make Thanksgiving dinner. I mostly use dish soap and wash with warm soapy water, and then dry with a dish towel. Things like garlic I sometimes rub with a cut lemon, or use lemon juice or vinegar and baking soda.

For raw meat I really just use hot soapy water. Hard rock maple is NSF approved as a kitchen surface. I have heard that you can get 2 spray bottles, one with hydrogen peroxide, and one with vinegar, and spray one on top of the other and then allow to air dry. Supposedly the mixture will react and disinfect using food safe ingredients.

I have had berries or red wine cause some staining that came out with a scrub of lemon juice and baking soda. About like formica in its stain-ability.

I try to not leave wet things just sitting on it for a long time, which is why we have the prep sink with the sideboard. This is handy for thawing meat or
seafood. I also will dry the area around the sink after washing, as the info on GW when I was in my planning stages was that discoloration can happen if the water is sitting on the wood for a long time.

I think it is great, and was a very good value as compared to granite or stone. It is warm to the touch, and feels nice to sit at the counter to read the paper or work at a laptop.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 6:00PM
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localeater

Thanks to all of you, for your answers. This site is full of caring, knowledgeable folks.
Since we started planning our kitchen redo I have said I wanted the island to have a walnut butcherblock top. It is nice to hear that I will be able to use my butcherblock as I intended. I feel like our kitchen plan is progressing, and had a case of the nerves that I might have to alter that original goal. But no, all is good- walnut perimeter cabinets, painted island with walnut top-yay. Now to find a countertop I love that doesnt look cold, or formal, or fussy.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Alex House

Since we started planning our kitchen redo I have said I wanted the island to have a walnut butcherblock top. It is nice to hear that I will be able to use my butcherblock as I intended.

It appears to me that you've jumped to a conclusion. You may still be right, but I'm not so sure. Juliekcmo's counter is made of Rock Maple. Rock Maple is a wood with a very closed cell structure. Walnut has more open pores. This translates into Walnut having more places for food born bacteria to breed, especially if the wood is penetrated by a knife.

My point is this - just because Julie cuts into her Hard Rock Maple butcherboard countertop doesn't necessarily mean that all is well with a Walnut butcherboard countertop.

I've worked with both Rock Maple and Walnut, but not for cutting boards, and I saw the different cell structure of the wood play out in terms of finishing and even appearance.

I know that Walnut is used in many cutting boards, but my impression is that it is not the optimal wood species to use.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 7:13PM
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localeater

Thank you for your concern and consideration. I still think I will be OK as we eat very little meat and I would never have the stomach to put it on my counter. What will be cut on the wood is just bread, herbs, veg, fruit and cheese. As long as I can remove the chlorophlyll from the herbs, and can sand out bread knife knicks, I shall be happy.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Alex House

I still think I will be OK as we eat very little meat and I would never have the stomach to put it on my counter. What will be cut on the wood is just bread, herbs, veg, fruit and cheese.

Odds are in your favor that everything will be OK, but that's not because of meat versus non-meat being cut on the counter, because both are organic matter and the knife cut into the wood results in bacterial growth. The problem with Walnut is its cell structure is more open than Rock Maple, which translates into the wood being slightly more porous and the fibers don't close up as tightly as with Rock Maple. IOW, with tight fibers, the meat or cheese or fruit residue is expelled from between the fibers when the downward pressure of the knife is removed but with a looser cell structure, more residue remains between the fibers.

The reason that you're likely to still be OK is that we're talking hygiene on the margin here, so your odds of developing an unhygienic surface increase when you use walnut compared to rock maple, but odds are not certainties.

can sand out bread knife knicks,

Walnut dust toxicity.

The issue above plays out with all woods. The best way to maximize tighter wood fibers is to order and END GRAIN cut, which looks like this:

All of the wood fibers are now vertical, meaning that your knife blade slices in between the fibers rather than cutting through the fibers. Imagine the straw on the end of a tightly wound broom. Which does less damage, a knife cutting down between all of the vertically aligned straw or a knife cutting across the straw?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:23PM
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ginny20

local, you've probably done this search, but in case you haven't seen it, here's an old link about people with walnut cutting boards.

Here is a link that might be useful: anyone have walnut?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:37PM
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aliris19

It's funny about cutting directly on wood surfaces ... I always thought this was a terrific idea and what I wanted, only then my parents had a section of their countertop done in butcherblock -- and I find I always pull out a cutting board to cut on it. Just old habits perhaps? Or maybe they'd dissolve if it were my countertop and I used it everyday. But it contributed to my deciding not to get one after hankering after it for so long! Funny...

Breezy has a walnut countertop though not butcherblock (end grains), I don't think.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Alex House

Breezy has a walnut countertop though not butcherblock (end grains), I don't think.

I've seen some beautiful walnut countertops, but I haven't heard of these beauties being used as cutting surfaces. Are they?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 12:03AM
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leela4

You've probably also seen this one; another old thread about someone who really uses their walnut island:

Here is a link that might be useful: walnut island

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 12:10AM
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localeater

All the additional information and links have been helpful in confirming my intention to order an end grain walnut butcher block countertop for my island.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:27AM
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