Choosing a chopping board

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Joined Aug 4, 2014
Hi guys,

Recently you guys helped me to pick my first knife, now it comes to the chopping board part. I really don't like using plastic one because I don't think it's very clean with all the gaps on the board. Therefore, I want a wooden one, any recommendations? Any online website that I can get it from? Much appreciate it :)

Frank 
 
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Joined Aug 14, 2012
I've always enjoyed my Boos block. Whats the layout like in your kitchen? Do you see yourself storing your board in a cabinet when its not in use? Or would it have its own spot on the counter? If ita stored on the counter, id get the largest butcher block you can find. Again, John Boos is a pretty common brand. Alternatively, I saw recently at a restaurant supply shop near my place (in san diego), they had very large blocks for a very reasonable price, I think the brand was Winco, but I cant remember exactly, and I wouldnt be able to vouch for their quality.
 
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Joined Aug 20, 2012
My personal feelings on the subject is to always buy the best you can afford. Over time, I have used everything from cheap $10 boards from Ikea, to midgrade bamboo boards, to a high quality John Boos board.  I never cut meat, raw or otherwise, on a wood board.  Instead, I always use a plastic board for that task, just to be on the safe side.

Our last board was a Winco which we still have and use as a backup.  They are commonly available where commercial kitchen supplies are sold.  I think they are of very good quality, but they are all edge grain, meaning long strips of wood running sideways on the board.  The look is different from an end grain board in that end grain is many different smaller pieces which, when glued together, gives you more of a checkerboard appearance.  We wanted that look for our kitchen so the last board we ended up with was a John Boos.  They have about the nicest appearing end grain boards, unless you go custom.  When we were shopping for a new board last year, I got a quote from a woodworker for a custom end grain board and the price was off the charts.  I would have sure loved to have it, but then I could have never in good conscience taken a knife to it. 

My understanding is that end grain orientation is easier on your knives.  The jury is still out on that subject as far as I am concerned.  We have all of our kitchen knives professionally sharpened regularly so I can't really say that an end grain board has saved my knives or not, but at least it looks nice. 

So, get whatever you like in a shape and size that is workable for your environment.  We treat ours with clear food grade mineral oil that we get from a kitchen supply store.  I like to treat any board with mineral oil on a regular basis.  It protects the wood, and for me, a well treated board "feels" better to work with.

If you are looking for a good quality board for not a lot of money, I'd buy a Winco again without hesitation.  You can find a big, heavy, substantial board for $50 and if something happens to it, you aren't out a lot of money.  If you don't mind spending a little more money on a quality piece, John Boos builds some very nice products.  We went with maple wood, but if I had to do it all over again, I think we would have maybe chosen cherry or walnut, both of which are a little darker wood.  If money were no object, I would own one of each.  If you want a cheaper "beater" type board, I'd go with a well built bamboo.  We have a GreenLite bamboo board at our bar that I use for cutting citrus for cocktails and such and I love it. 
 
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Joined Jul 13, 2012
My big board is from "Catskill Craftsmen" and it's a nice, large end grain board that I got for < $50.  It's small pieces and no fancy pattern, but it's there for a purpose and it serves it well.  I wipe it after protein, onion, garlic, etc. prep, then dry and wash it with cheap vodka.  When it starts to feel dry in spots I mineral oil it well.  We've treated each other well since it arrived so I have to complaints.
 

nicko

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We have some nice reviews from ChefTalk members here:
[product="26868"]The Board Smith Maple 2 X12 X18  [/product][product="26696"]Catskill Craftsmen Super Slab With Finger Grooves  [/product][product="10436"]John Boos 24 By 18 By 2 1 4 Inch Reversible Maple Cutting Board  [/product][product="27091"]John Boos Blended Maple 25 Wide Kitchen Counter Top 1 1 2 Thick 30 X 25 Oil Finish  [/product]
 
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Joined Aug 4, 2014
I have gone through three of the John Boos 20 x 15 x 2.25 chopping blocks
[product="27484"]John Boos Reversible End Grain Maple Chopping Block 20 By 15 By 2 25 Inch  [/product]
 and each one has shown cracks. My concern was whether or not the cracks would extend (i.e. worsen). The John Boos company has very good customer service and they were great at addressing my concerns. Although the crack problem has not resolved, despite thorough oiling with mineral oil, the board is sturdy. 
 
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BoardSmith  BoardSmith BoardSmith BoardSmith BoardSmith BoardSmith BoardSmith BoardSmith 

Lately I've seen too many negative reviews on Boos boards at this forum.
 
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Joined Jul 5, 2014
The New Jende Boards I love it and it blows away my old boardsmith love the look and the price they gave me on it 
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Hi Frank,

I understand you wanting to have a wood cutting board, and Boardsmith boards are well worth the money, probably the best quality out there.

I tend to think of them (wood boards) as supermodels...

Yes they are highly desireable, BUT they require a lot of maintainance, care, and attention.

The biggest thing for me, as a professional cook, is sanitation.  A wood board obviously can't go in the dishwasher, so it must be wiped down/scraped down to remove debris, then wiped down with bleach, quats, or the like, then wiped off, and allowed to air dry.  Don't buy into any hype about wood "self sanitizing", wood is a bunch of hollow fibers held together by lignin. When these hollow fibers eventually plug up with oils, food debris, natural salts and minerals, there is no "sanitizing effect".

So, the pro's:

-Very good looks!

-Easy on knife blades

-Heavy and solid, won't squirm around on your counter.

-Easy to plane or sand down when it becomes scarred.

Con's

-Difficult to sanitize, or better said, requires more effort to sanitize than a nylon one.

-Requires regular oiling, albeit with a cheap and easy to get mineral oil (any drugstore, sold as a constipation aid/ baby skin care)

-Bad things happen if the board sits in water for any length of time.....

Nylon board Pro's:

-Easy to sanitize--toss it in the dishwasher and you're done.

-Cheap like borscht

-Easy to plane down when it gets scarred

Nylon board con's

-Cheap like borscht, and looks like it too

-Thinner boards warp fairly quickly, although anything over 5/8" is pretty stable

-Melts easy if anything hot touches it.   d.a.m.h.i.k.t. ......

Sani-tuff boards

Pro's

-kinda looks like wood

-easy to sanitize, toss it in the d/washer

Con's

-expensive compared to nylon.

-chips fairly easy

My conclusion?

Solid wood boards are great for "dry" stuff like bread, and there's no real need to sanitize if you only use it for this purpose. For the occasional carving of a roast, it's worth the effort of cleaning, sanitizing, and oiling.

Keep a couple of (dishwasher size) nylon boards handy for boning out chickens or breaking down meat, maybe one reserved for onions and garlic too.

Hope this helps
 
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Joined May 25, 2020
I understand that wood cutting boards are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. This study shows that bacteria left on the surface of wood will be dead within 24 hours due to the fibers and tannins.

I personally have found that boards with rounded edges are easier to lift/move and are less likely to split. This one is my personal favorite and is guaranteed not to warp: Professional Chef Cutting Boards
 

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phatch

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I understand that wood cutting boards are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. This study shows that bacteria left on the surface of wood will be dead within 24 hours due to the fibers and tannins.

Well, no. It does inhibit growth but it is not self sterilizing. And it's not enough to matter. You'll still get sick if you don't wash it. The is hype and a bad practice and should be ignored. In fact health inspectors will fail a commercial kitchen inspection for wood cutting boards because they can't be sterilized.

Yes, wood has some benefits, but not the one so often presented.
 
5,466
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Look, wood is basically fibres held together with lignin, a natural " wood glue". Wood will absorb moisture through capillary action , BUT

BUT not for long. Since the cutting board is a food prep surface, it is "introduced" to fats, oils, minerals, salts and just plain 'ol food debris ( aka crud). So, after a few cylces of food prep and washing (AND sanitizing, yes?) the wood loses its magical/ mystical properties.

Get a nylon cutting board, or several, and toss them in the dishwasher for the easiest and best sanitation, and leave the magic and mystical for the fiction writers.....
 
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Joined Dec 29, 2019
Look, wood is basically fibres held together with lignin, a natural " wood glue". Wood will absorb moisture through capillary action , BUT

BUT not for long. Since the cutting board is a food prep surface, it is "introduced" to fats, oils, minerals, salts and just plain 'ol food debris ( aka crud). So, after a few cylces of food prep and washing (AND sanitizing, yes?) the wood loses its magical/ mystical properties.

Get a nylon cutting board, or several, and toss them in the dishwasher for the easiest and best sanitation, and leave the magic and mystical for the fiction writers.....
theres wood and theres wood, maple butcher block doesn't soak up much of anything but its very expensive in commercial grade.
Most kitchens I worked in had stainless surfaces so nylon board was the way to go.
I'll be swapping my butcher top table for a heavy guage stainless table with backsplash I saved when I retired, I'll be buying a nylon board for that.
 
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