What Size of Butcher Block?

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by ilovecookie, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. ilovecookie

    ilovecookie

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    I want to purchase a standalone butcher block (with four legs) for my new kitchen, for daily chopping / slicing, and (less frequent) dough kneading / rolling. The quote I got for the Monarch butcher block made by MMB (Michigan Maple Block) is quite reasonable.

    I have trouble deciding what size to get. Could you please help me out? The butcher block is available in three thicknesses: 12", 14", and 16". Their working height is all the same (34"). The sizes available in each thickness are as follows:

    12" Thick:
    18″ x 18″, 18″ x 24″, 24″ x 24″, 24″ x 30″, 30″ x 30″

    14" Thick:
    18″ x 24″, 20″ x 20″, 24″ x 24″, 24″ x 30″, 30″ x 30″

    16" Thick:
    18″ x 24″, 24″ x 24″, 24″ x 30″, 24″ x 36″, 30″ x 30″, 30″ x 36″, 30″ x 40″, 30″ x 60″

    I "think" I have enough space for any of the size listed above, but I don't think I need to get the largest one available (30" x 60"). I am leaning towards the 16" thick one, 24" x 30" or 24" x 36", but don't know if it will look huge in real life, or if it will be totally an overkill for a household of two adults plus two potential kids.

    I'd like to hear your opinion. Thank you very much!

    [​IMG]  
     
  2. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    Nice choice I would do the same. It'll be very big though, a centerpiece in the kitchen. A 24x24 butcher block is still a good size to prep on especially if you have it close to a counter. The 24x36 would be luxurious to work on though.
     
  3. duckfat

    duckfat

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    They are all mighty sweet but the 16" thick blocks are the ones MMB has been making since like 1880. I'd really love to have room for one at home.
     
  4. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    ..another place to spend my $$$'s.....    Worthy.
     
  5. the boardsmith

    the boardsmith

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    The general advice is to purchase the largest you can afford and have room for.  It will be a long term purchase and the last thing you want is to regret not buying a larger one in the future.
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Reqires extensive cleanin and sanitizing after each use.
     
  7. ilovecookie

    ilovecookie

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    Thank you for your response!

    Now I am leaning towards 16" thick, 24" x 36", 30" x 30", 30" x 36", or 30" x 40". I will re-measure the kitchen and see exactly how large I could go. My initial thought was the same as The BoardSMITH's -- the larger, the better.

    I also wonder if a square block is more attractive than a rectangular one. If so, my decision will be much easier (30" x 30" vs. 24" x 24").

    RE: "Requires extensive cleaning and sanitizing after each use."

    I do have a dedicated wooden cutting board for raw meat.

    I kind of understand that the block won't be as easy to clean as a regular cutting board, as it cannot be moved into the sink. But I don't know exactly how much cleaning work will be involved.

    I imagine that after each light use, wiping it with a damp, soapy cloth will be sufficient? Maybe wipe it again with half a lemon to get rid of odors (if any)?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  8. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Rubbing my cutting board with a thick paste of baking soda seems to remove all odors.
     
  9. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    I use a mix of vinegar and water to clean and sanitize, warm water and a sponge when necessary. I've also known some people to spray the board with vinegar and water then heavily salt the surface with kosher salt. Oil regularly with mineral oil, and once in a while slather with bees wax. The beeswax makes all the difference.
     
  10. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  11. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    That looks like an end grain block to me... but that would be the superior of the 2 in my opinion anyways. Cutting on end grain is a true delight especially with a very sharp knife the wood get softer as you use it and more impregnated with the mineral oil and beeswax. That's why I'd say oil it a lot at first then once its been broken in you can oil it less.
    I don't think you get all that into a board this size./img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  12. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    ...and yes, that's edged grain.  And yes, enough for several lifetimes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To you a very happy THX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif
     
  13. duckfat

    duckfat

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    "I kind of understand that the block won't be as easy to clean as a regular cutting board, as it cannot be moved into the sink. But I don't know exactly how much cleaning work will be involved."

    There's no more cleaning or maintenance involved than with any other end grain board. Sanitize after use and buy or make some board wax/butter to keep it maintained. As you already noted the only real difference is you can't put it in the sink which really isn't the best way to clean a wood board any how. ;)

    "...and yes, that's edged grain"

    Congrats on the now board! However that's end grain, not edge or "edged". End and edge grain are very different. Edge grain is less $$$ and looks much different.

    For board maintenance you can make your own board wax/butter by melting either 1 part Bees wax or parafin into 8-10 parts mineral oil. I just store mine in a pint Ball canning jar. If you don't make board butter or wax you will have a heckuva time working the wax into the surface of the wood.

    I have to force myself not to look at David's Walnut boards...Must ....resist...temptation!

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  14. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    That ratio you cite, is it by volume or by weight?  I assume volume!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  15. ilovecookie

    ilovecookie

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    Last weekend, I went to a local restaurant supply store, and saw a 24" x 36" John Boos Gathering Block. It has a 4" thick top, with decorative square legs, and looks pretty. I didn't think it looks that big, but my husband thought it's huge!

    So I still haven't decided on what size to get. 24x30, 24x36, 30x30, 30x36, or 30x40? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif Hope I don't sound like nuts, but I have trouble deciding if square looks better than rectangular!
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013