cutting board advice

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by alexane, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. alexane

    alexane

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    Hi

    I currently own a bamboo board (home use) and I'm thinking of getting a better one and the suggestion I've seen are about wooden ones (to preserve the knife edge).

    I found the following ones but I have no idea about woods so can anyone please tell me a few things about the woods used in the following

    wear-resistant ash wood

    hard-wearing acacia wood

    spruce wood has undergone a special heat treatment procedure

    grained wood from the Japanese cypress

    Ginko tree

    I have listed them by price order and they are of different sizes but my main question is if some of them are in an avoid category for any reason and if some wood is considered better than the other.

    Thank you

    Alex

    Edit: some links were not working, now they are fixed
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  2. eiron

    eiron

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    Hi Alex,

    Edge grain wood (all of your examples) is much, much better for your knife edges than your bamboo board. (Bamboo uses lots of hard epoxies to hold everything together.) Harder woods are going to wear your edges faster than softer woods, & something like Teak (not in your list) is going to wear your edges even faster due to the high silica content in the wood.

    Any of these woods should be safe from a food-use perspective. (You're not going to be chewing on the boards or grinding them up.)

    Basically, pick one you like & go with it. I recently got a 300mm x 450mm x 50mm maple board for its traditional wood choice & love using it, but it's end grain construction is not as attractive as edge grain boards.
     
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  3. salparadise

    salparadise

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    End grain is preferred over edge grain, and usually more expensive. The open or end of the fiber is more yielding to the blade, then closes behind the cut. I found a nice 16 x 18 x 2" end grain board at Bed Bath & Beyond for $49 (with 20 percent coupon) made by Snow River. I've only had it a few weeks so can't attest to durability, but so far I love it. The packaging does not mention end grain but it definitely is. It's less expensive than comparable items I found online, and the only end grain board I've seen in a mainstream retail store. There were about 10 there to choose from and I picked one with a mixture of dark and light woods. If you sign up for emails online you will get a 20% coupon immediately. It will need oiling so pick up a bottle of mineral oil at the same time.

     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
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  4. the boardsmith

    the boardsmith

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    Ash is a little hard and heavy but still a good tight grained wood for cutting boards. 

    Acacia is okay to use but normally the wood is full of voids which will be filled with a filler.

    Heat treated (?) spruce; a very soft wood and the treatment they describe is what happens when wood is put through the kiln process used to dry commercially available woods.

    Hinoki is hard to come by in the USA but is the wood used in Japan for sushi boards.

    As stated above, woods like teak have a high silica content which makes them harder on good edges, red or white cedar are poor choices because they contain chemicals to repel insects, spalted wood has a bacteria that is converting the wood to mush and is harmful to humans unless kiln dried, some of the exotic have chemicals which are harmful to humans and the list goes on.  Choose a wood that follows the general rule of thumb - from a tree with edible fruit, nuts or sap.

    DON'T use vegetable oil!  Use a quality mineral oil instead to treat your board.  Vegetable oils will turn rancid over time as the fats oxidize.  Mineral oil contains no fats and will not turn rancid.

    Stick with a good end grain board.  They will last longer and be a better buy in the long run.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  5. alexane

    alexane

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    I saw an end grain board in the shop I mentioned Acacia End Grain Cutting and Chopping Board but the size is not very big.

    I assume the visual is kind of common with end grain boards but there are probably fakes too.

    This is an example of the Teak board that everyone has suggested to avoid, Teak Chopping and Cutting Board   , looks like an end grain but I suppose it doesn't make a difference

    I found locally this one cutting board   made from oak.

    It is not an end grain but how do you rate oak as a wood?
    Does this mean that a Hinoki board is considered a good board?

    For example I found Hinoki Cutting Board

    I'm also not clear on the maintenance, do all the wooden boards need oiling?

    Does this mean that I should not use any soap on them like I do for my bamboo board (I use it only for vegetables)

    Alex
     
  6. the boardsmith

    the boardsmith

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    Acacia is okay to use.  As stated prior, Teak has a high silica content which can be hard on good edges.  Also, Teak contains oils which need to be washed from the glued surface so the glue will adhere properly.  If the surface isn't prepared well, the joints may fail prematurely.  Two other point; both manufacturers use smaller pieces in their boards which means more glue joints and some of the glues used can be tough on good edges.  Along with the smaller pieces, the manufacturer uses flat sawn, rift sawn and quarter sawn pieces.  Each will shrink differently and may pull away from an adjoining piece for a premature failure. 

    If I am correct, and I may not be, Hinoki is used because it plentiful in Japan which is why it has been used for so long.  It is a member of the cedar family so it is more tolerant of exposure to water than other woods.

    Oak is a poor choice for end grain and a moderate choice for edge or face grain boards.  Oak has an open grain pattern which can make it hard to clean and sanitize properly.  Mainly it is used because it is cheap and plentiful.

    I assume the OP is in Europe.  If so, strongly consider beech for a cutting board.  From what I have seen and read it is widely used in Europe for cutting boards and is a good wood for that purpose.

    Cleaning and sanitizing is easy.  Simply wash with warm water and a good dish washing detergent after use.  Dry thoroughly.  To oil, use mineral oil, called paraffin oil in Europe, apply to a dry and clean surface, allow to soak in then buff of with a clean cloth or paper towel.  There is no need for a complicated oiling schedule.  Simply apply the oil when the area used most looks lighter in color than the surrounding area.
     
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