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May 17, 2006 05:23 PM

Bamboo cutting board--too hard?

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Does anyone else use a bamboo cutting board?

I just switched over from plastic, and the board feels weird. I watched my knife; it didn't seem to dull, but I was only cutting a few vegetables.

More annoyingly, the board seems really resistant to the knife. Is bamboo too hard a surface? Do I just need to break it in? Am I just used to plastic?

I'm wondering if I got suckered into buying a beautiful piece of wood that's no good for cutting.

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  1. I've never used bamboo but I have several maple boards which seem just fine. It does feel different from a plastic board which a sharp knife will slice into. Maple will also show scratches and nicks but not as deeply as plastic.

    1. I have a bamboo cutting board, got a beautiful one as a wedding present.

      I actually like it quite a bit, it did take some getting used to, but I did grow to like the harder surface. my only problem with mine, is my countertops are high (and/or I am short)... then add to that the 2 inch height of the board... so i can only use my bamboo board when I am cutting something at the dinner table.... so it kind of ends up being a overly fancy bread and cheese board. kind of a waste of such a nice board.

      5 Replies
      1. re: withalonge

        I'm too short to comfortably do dinner prep in my kitchen for long amounts of time. Get a stepping stool if you don't already have one! I find that if I stand on mine, the extra height allows me to chop with ease for much longer. Even though I can cut just fine standing on the floor, the stepping stool makes a huge difference over the course of a few hours for those days when I'm cooking a lot. Plus, it's great for getting to those top cabinets safely.

        1. re: nooodles

          Any recs for someone tall that gets 'hunched shoulder syndrome' from chopping all day? Lower back pain and tight shoulders and sore neck.....sigh.....

          My dream house WILL have higher countertops.

          1. re: krissywats

            You and me both. Being tall is no fun, as far as kitchen counters are concerned.

            Me, I chop sitting down. If I have to stand up (for example, when doing dishes), I put one foot on a short footstool - that seems to help. I can't wait until I can afford to raise my kitchen countertops!


            P.S. I have a bamboo cutting board, too, but I've never used it. It's so beautiful that I can't bear to get knife marks on it. But now that I know it's such a hard surface, I might be able to bring myself to use it.

            1. re: krissywats

              I'm tall, too, and my kitchen countertops were designed by the height-challenged.
              Great shoes/clogs seem to alleviate the problem.

              1. re: krissywats

                The sainted Julia, who was 6' tall, had higher counters built in her kitchen.

                A possible solution would be to get a big end-grain cutting board, which is usually 4" thick and is the easiest surface on knife edges.

                I got a big maple board and mounted it separately on legs, to stand at my hip. Get an electric screwdriver though. Even with large pilot holes, maple is a B*TCH to get screws into.

          2. Have a bamboo cutting board and think it's great, certainly no problem with it being "too hard." Certainly don't think you were "suckered."

            2 Replies
            1. re: Monty

              Thanks! I think I can get used to the hardness; I mostly wanted to make sure I wasn't going to damage my knives. Hard to imagine that steel wouldn't be able to stand up against wood, though!

              1. re: nooodles

                I don't have one but have seen them - they didn't strike me as being any harder than maple, which is great for cutting boards.

            2. I guess I'm going against the flow and will say that everything I've heard points to "too hard." The expensive cutting boards are end-grain for a reason: because they're easier on your knives. You cut in between the fibers. Bamboo boards are laid perpendicular to the grain and it seems that if it feels hard to you, it probably is.

              If it's really beautiful, you can always use it for serving cheese or snacks.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Christine

                Late to the party, sorry...

                Actually, Christine, good boards are made of ends to prevent them from warping or peeling unevenly. The endgrain should be so well laminated and sealed that your knives should not be "cutting between" anything.

                Personally, I love my bamboo board. I use big heavy knives, I'm tall, and I bear down on my food with all the speed I learned in commercial kitchens. Because neiter my counters nor may sink are large enough for large plastic cutting boards (which stain and eventually show a significant amount of wear) my bamboo is holding up beautifully.

                When I moved out of my folks' place a couple of years ago, I inhearited their old maple board- it is not an endgrain board- that thing is warped, pitted, and chipped. I do have a small wooden board and a large plastic board I use for butchering.

                1. re: jdherbert

                  I'm even later to this party.. I'm curious about your bamboo board though.
                  I have a few and after just one use and washing/drying well immediately they have small fibers sticking up everywhere. That just doesn't seem normal, does yours do this?

                  I've just broken down and purchased a 20"x15" end grain maple that I'm pretty excited about.

              2. I got one a few months ago and noticed right away how different it felt to use. It's much harder than my previous board and the knife hits it with a much sharper sound. I've adjusted but I have to say that I like my old, softer board better.