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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.

                1. I have three...one "bar board" that I use for limes, etc., one longer rectangular board, that I rarely use (although it would be a good cheese board) and one 10 or 11" square one that is about 2" thick that I use ALL the time. It sits on my counter next to my sink, making it high enough to easily brush or wipe the crumbs and remaining bits from whatever I'm cutting up into the sink (I have a sink disposal).

                  They are hard, but I haven't noticed any dulling of my knives (although I try and use the steel often enough to prevent that from occurring). They do eventually begin to get cut marks on them, but it seems to take a longer time with bamboo than with my previous cutting boards.

                  I love them. The only time I use a hard plastic board is for meats.

                  1. Bamboo boards are not natural boards. The biggest bamboo in the world is from China, and grows 100 feet tall. But the maximum trunk size is about 7 to 8 inches. How do the make boards 10 to 12 inches wide??...hummm...

                    Well the Chinese have a secret process where they strip the long fibers and then compress them into sheets. These sheets are then milled to planks (boards), but contain resins rat make them very hard and wood like. But the resins detract from the qualities natural maple wood have.

                    Therefore maple has the best overall qualities of all other woods and materials for kitchen use. Any plastic and/or resin based material tends to retain bacteria, where bacteria will last only a couple of hours on maple surface.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hudel

                      I've seen many end-grain bamboo boards, where the bamboo is cut in strips (about an inch or so wide) milled flat, then glued together. The same process used in the construction of end-grain maple boards.

                      As for the OP, I personally do not care for bamboo cutting boards -- they are slow. Plus, as hudel and others have pointed out bamboo is a grass and most likely contains, as most members of this family do, silica -- which is not too friendly towards knife edges.

                    2. One thing to consider, though: bamboo grows much more quickly than maple, so it is more ecologically friendly since you're not cutting down old trees that take decades to grow. I don't know about the resin in bamboo boards (that could very well be true), but I feel better knowing I've used a sustainable source, and if I have to clean it more frequently with bleach, so be it.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: christinea

                        The more bamboo items we purchase, the less food will be available to koala bears.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          I think that you meant to say Pandas, for whom bamboo forms the bulk of their diet. Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves almost exclusively.

                          Anyway, due to the fast growth of bamboo, it is considered to be a renewable resource, unlike hard wood.

                          1. re: Ted in Central NJ

                            Uh right! I did mean Pandas, and there have been recent reports of diminishing numbers because so much bamboo is being cut in their part of China.

                              1. re: Ted in Central NJ

                                and eucalyptus has so little nutritional value that Koalas sleep 20 hours a day

                            1. re: christinea

                              Giant bamboo is a grass, and it grows about a foot every 24 hours, unto 100 feet. But maple is not in short supply, and is not used for general construction.

                              However bamboo cutting board contains about 80% bamboo fibers and about 20% petroleum additives. Therefore is you are of a “green temperament” you can be much more in tune by walking to the supermarket...once a year...

                              Additional the resins in bamboo boards retain bacteria unlike natural maple boards.

                              1. re: christinea

                                Bamboo can be grown just as unsustainably as any other plant -- e.g. corn, a very fast growing species, can be produced, and is in this country, using 2x the amount of fossil fuel energy than is derived from end grain.

                              2. I have a great big, round bamboo cutting board (from Costco), the side of which is wrapped in stainless steel and screwed into which are two SS handles. It's a GREAT board to use for cooking--one side is smooth while the other has a draining ridge--but at Christmas, I used it as a cheeseboard! It is heavy, but the handles made it easy to carry.


                                1. I just purchased a beautiful 18x20 bamboo cutting board right before Christmas from a cataloge. It's already splitting in several spots. with one split running the whole length of the board, and seemed to have happened overnight!
                                  I can't decide wether to ask for a refund or to replace it in the hopes I just got a lemom.

                                  This board was on sale at $80.00, so not cheap by any means.

                                  Anyone else have this experience with bamboo?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: JoCreek

                                    The net value of an 18x20 bamboo board of highest quality is about $20. Given the quality of your board its value is about nickel.

                                    If I were you I would forget about a replacement and buy a $50 hard maple board. Try www.johnboos.com Note Boos also makes bamboo and plastic. But is for culinary uses NOTHING beats hard American maple.

                                    1. re: JoCreek

                                      I did not include the link for you to go to.



                                    2. I use bamboo as my primary board, and plastic for raw meat. Plastic gashes because it is too soft. Bamboo does not dull my knives any more than a maple board used to, and that is, not at all. You are probably just used to the feel of soft plastic.

                                      1. I have a bamboo cutting board that was given me, don't care for it myself. It's harder on knives than wood or plastic cutting boards are and knives don't cut as fast on these boards as they do on wood, it's a toss up compared to cutting on plastic.

                                        Bamboo, a woody plant is a member of the grass family.

                                        To make cutting boards, flouring and building material, the bamboo is cut long strips, these strips are then cut near the approximate width. These strips are glued under pressure, more often than not with formaldehyde resins.

                                        There is no governing body in China that controls how much of what type resin is used in manufacture.

                                        In the U.S. Products are tested to insure they do not off gas more than what is considered acceptable.

                                        Bamboo grows fast, 3 to 6 years from seedling to harvest, but it may not be as “GREEN” as you think. In China large areas of old growth forest are being clear cut for bamboo farms, since flooring and other formed bamboo products are big business.

                                        41 Replies
                                        1. re: Demented

                                          "It's harder on knives than plastic cutting boards"

                                          While I agree with many of your other points I think that's a bit over stated.
                                          We should all raise an eye of suspicion to products for food use coming out of China. After using Bamboo for several months I see little difference between it and Maple save for the fact that Maple costs considerably more and is prone to cracking from humidity changes. Maple and Bamboo cutting boards are both held together by glue.
                                          While bamboo may technically be a grass bamboo wood is harder than maple or oak, will not absorb moisture nearly as fast as hardwood making it far more bacteria resistant. So there are Pros and cons to each product.
                                          Here is an interesting thread started by Chad Ward. A few folks on this thread may want to read his post and the thread that follows.


                                          1. re: Fritter

                                            I know that plastic is harder on knives than maple is as well.

                                            Laminated bamboo destroys saw blades, dulls plane irons. chisels, rasp and any other cutting tool (read knives into that), at a rate much faster than maple.

                                            1. re: Demented

                                              The chance of bamboo "destroying" a knife from normal use on a cutting board is nil. If that were even remotly the case then we would not see knife gurus like Chad talking about them.
                                              You gotta go with what works for ya but so far I'm completly satisfied with bamboo. I do not sharpen any more frequently than when utilizing hardwood.

                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                Hhmmm.... The opposite seemed to be true with my experience.

                                                I decided to try out bamboo last year and used it for a few months. I liked the aesthetics of it, as well as the sustainability of the product. However, in that time, I found that I had to resharpen my knife about once a month. Honing it wasn't enough after a couple weeks of daily use.

                                                I got a great deal on an end-grain maple cutting board about six months ago and haven't had to sharpen since. A quick honing before and after every use is all I've needed to do.

                                                Perhaps it's my cutting technique; perhaps it's my knives, but I think the end-grain is key. I've used a side-grain maple before and found it performed similar to my bamboo (also side-grain). Next chance I get, I'll try out an end-grain bamboo cutting board. However, my concern with end-grain bamboo is because of the small cross-section of bamboo, a greater proportion of the cutting surface are the glued joints.

                                                1. re: can_i_try_some

                                                  "a greater proportion of the cutting surface are the glued joints".

                                                  You got it right and those joints are epoxy which is damned nearly as hard as glass. Sick with endgrain maple. It has been around for centuries for a reason.

                                                  1. re: can_i_try_some

                                                    I completly agree. End grain Maple is much better than side grain IMO. I have some Michigan Maple blocks that I will never part with. For me the bamboo was a fun experiment but bamboo lacks the weight I prefer.
                                                    End grain bamboo would not be an option I would choose with the unknown origins of the glue.

                                                    1. re: can_i_try_some

                                                      I made the mistake of trying to resurface a bamboo board with a bench plane, the iron needed to be sharpened after one pass.

                                                      1. re: can_i_try_some

                                                        I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "the sustainability of the product" if you only used your bamboo board for a few months before moving on to a new Maple cutting board.
                                                        What difference does it make how fast bamboo grows over in China if the product made from it doesn't endure?
                                                        Hard maple boards last for generations with reasonable care.

                                                        These bamboo boards are the "next new thing" and they're being sold as "sustainable" based only on the cultivation of the plant, which still has to be shipped from far, far away.

                                                        The only long-term experience that I have with bamboo is some high quality cooking spoons.
                                                        Unlike my wooden spoons, it is possible to see the separation of the fibers of the grass and they have become quite rough. They have been cared for equally and are actually used less frequently than the wooden spoons.
                                                        My conclusion is that bamboo will not stand the test of time and that it will not be a true "sustainable" material since it will have to be replaced many times, whereas wood will last.

                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                          Another bad thing about bamboo. It is loaded with silica. In fact they extract it as a health food suppliment. Silica is glass. Good for the knife edge, yes? NO.

                                                          1. re: billieboy

                                                            "Silica is glass"

                                                            Not exactly. Glass is silicon dioxide. Bamboo contains Silicon. Bad for your knife? Not likely. Some cutting boards are made from silicone.

                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                              Silica is sand. Go rub your knife over sand for awhile. Not mine, though, yours.

                                                              In the form of silica and silicates, silicon forms useful glasses, cements, and ceramics. It is also a constituent of silicones, a class-name for various synthetic plastic substances made of silicon, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, often confused with silicon itself.

                                                              1. re: billieboy

                                                                "Silica is sand"

                                                                True enough. It's just totally irrelevant to the topic at hand. Bamboo does not contain sand or quartz or glass. LOL
                                                                Silica is used to create glass or silicon compounds. Silicones INCLUDE silicon so again it's not harmful to your knife.
                                                                If you are going to pull from an article and pass it off as your own words then you should try to understand what you are reading. Did you really think the health extracts from bamboo were sand or glass?
                                                                Here's the part of the article you should have paid attention to;
                                                                "Silicon is much more important to the metabolism of plants, particularly many grasses, and silicic acid (a type of silica) forms the basis of the striking array of protective shells of the microscopic diatoms"

                                                                Silicic acid or silicon is not glass or sand.

                                                                1. re: Fritter

                                                                  OK I give. As long as you are happy with your board, that is all that matters.
                                                                  But you might want to read about how the silica in bamboo presents a problem for the machines that try to make paper out of it.
                                                                  Not that it matters cuz your mind is made up. Don't want to confuse you with facts.

                                                                  1. re: billieboy

                                                                    I'm just interested in cutting boards. I'm not making paper, Planing the board with my german knives or trying to saw the wood in half with a Yanagi. Seriously, it's just bamboo, not iron wood.
                                                                    Me? I like end grain Maple block. I just haven't found bamboo to be a bad product. Not every one can fork out the cash for a quality maple block and IMO bamboo is preferable to plastic for many reasons.

                                                                      1. re: Fritter

                                                                        Sur la Table has some John Boos maple cutting boards for $25.95 and $35.95.
                                                                        Granted, they aren't the big, heavy thick blocks, but they'll last a lot longer with reasonable care than the bamboo boards will and a lot longer than any of the plastic boards that have to be constantly replaced when they get gouged and sliced.
                                                                        Chef's Depot has a 20 x 15 x 1 3/4 rock maple board that is NSF certified for $48.95. http://www.chefdepot.net/mapleboard.htm
                                                                        It should last a lifetime.
                                                                        I don't think that any bamboo boards are NSF certified.
                                                                        It's far more economical to buy quality that lasts rather than replace and replace and replace less goods.

                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                          "There is nothing as expensive as cheap stuff."

                                                                          I think I read those wise words somewhere recently ;)

                                                                          1. re: can_i_try_some

                                                                            MakingSense posted that in the "Is quality worth the expense?" thread.

                                                                            1. re: Demented

                                                                              Well done! You caught my reference!

                                                                              Too bad you missed the ---> ;)

                                                                          2. re: MakingSense

                                                                            "I don't think that any bamboo boards are NSF certified"

                                                                            I really think that is the most solid point against bamboo. We just don't know what's in that glue. The other major drawback is the number of glue joints because the material is so small in diameter.
                                                                            I have had a couple of Boos boards fail. It could just be the humidity change here or bad lack.
                                                                            I try to buy boards from Michigan Maple Block which is located in my hometown so I know it's a quality American product. Their thick chopping blocks are very nice.


                                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                                              I have an older butcher block made by Michigan Maple block. Got it up second hand on ebay for a song. It had never been used as anything other than a table, and had likely never been oiled, the blocks where shrinking.

                                                                              Where it not for the double dovetailed joints I'm sure it would have fallen apart. After a good cleaning and a oiling (well, several) it was as good as new and has been in daily use since.

                                                                              1. re: Demented

                                                                                I'm glad to hear that one is working well for you. I've known some of the people that work there for 40 years.

                                                                              2. re: Fritter

                                                                                I'm glad to read you've been really happy with your Michigan Maple.
                                                                                I've just recently ordered one of theirs and am looking forward to receiving it.

                                                                                1. re: grnidkjun

                                                                                  I'm sure you will be happy with it. I have several of their products. Hopefully if you ordered direct they are still offering their board conditioner at 1/2 off when you buy a board. :)

                                                                        2. re: Fritter

                                                                          umm... But Silica (SiO2) is found in many species of grass -- including bamboo, and is well known for its hardness. Silicic Acid forms the base! Animals and plants uptake Silicic acid and produce SiO2 -- e.g. Biogenic Silica.

                                                                          I think you could also benefit from understanding what you're reading. And yes, Silica is bad for your knives.. it's very, very hard.

                                                                          1. re: mateo21

                                                                            Silicic acid is a compound (H4SiO4). If you want to talk about Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) or BSi then we should be discussing rock like quartz, opal or even the spines of a sea urchin and not H4SiO4.
                                                                            What's next? Nori and cucumbers dull blades like cutting quartz because they both contain silica? If animals "uptake" silicic acid perhaps I should never cut meat with my knife again! After all BSi is in collagen.

                                                                  2. re: MakingSense

                                                                    I'm afraid I may have to agree with you here. Bamboo may be the next great thing for some applications, but as a cutting board, I'm leaning towards no.

                                                                    That said, I do still use my bamboo boards as a cheese/charcuterie/meat serving tray/plate where I'll only do a little slicing. It's great for this since I hate cutting on porcelain plates. So no worries about waste. It definitely still has a place in my home.

                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                      >>I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "the sustainability of the product" if you only used your bamboo board for a few months<<

                                                                      Good point. The overarching 'green' ethic at play needs to be "reduce" resource consumption, and if the product is not serviceable and needs replacement, it obviously flunks that test.

                                                                      But overall, bamboo's productivity and its ability to displace both hardwood consumption and displace other products like particleboard in applications like flooring and furniture are what makes it "green". Using it for kitchen utensils is more or less green fashion accessorizing.

                                                                      That said, I love my bamboo cutting board. I'll probably cast a more suspicious eye on it now that I've heard the grumbling, but mine has been sturdy, easy to clean, and it was cheap -- certainly no more expensive than the hardwood alternatives. I'm amused that some bamboo products fetch such a high price -- fashion has its price I suppose. In fact, it should be cheap and it is if you shop in the right places.

                                                                      1. re: BernalKC

                                                                        Bamboo's "sustainability" may be a case of "greenwashing." It certainly won't replace particleboard for cabinets, underlayment, or framing, and it's not being used for furniture frames either. Hardwoods aren't used for those anyway - except for high-end furniture. Bamboo is often used as veneers.
                                                                        It is amazingly strong. Have you seen the multi-story scaffolding of bamboo used in construction projects in Asia? They look scary but they're in common usage. It does have serious drawbacks in its ability to hold dyes, stains, and finishes, and fades quickly. I am certain of the antibacterial quality of wood cutting boards and can put a plastic one in the dishwasher. I am wary of the bacteria problems with bamboo.

                                                                        The entire "sustainability" concept is fashionable now. Yes, it's an excellent way that we should all strive to live but it is often not thought through sufficiently. How many "sustainable" products do you see out on the curb on trash day? Some have worn out, but many have simply been replaced by more fashionable goods.

                                                                        As you so correctly point out, our goal should be to "reduce resource consumption... and if the product is not serviceable and needs replacement, it obviously flunks [the sustainability] test." That ain't green.

                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                          In all fairness there are hardwood cutting boards that flunk the sustainability test as well. For sure any cutting board made of Oak or Maple in the US from a reliable vendor should be a renewable resource and likely far "greener" than bamboo. However if you start looking at Mahogany or Walnut then the water becomes a lot murkier. A wise question might be;
                                                                          Where did that Walnut or Mahagany come from? There's a darn good chance that Mahagany cutting board that looks so purdy and was "made in the USA" was constructed with illegally cut wood from the Amazon basin.
                                                                          In either event IMO all cutting boards should be NSF certified.

                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                            That's a lot of speculation. Most people use plastic cutting boards because they're cheap. That's been one of the advantages of bamboo. It's a less expensive "non-plastic" alternative to a quality wood board and it's being promoted as "green."

                                                                            In reality, there aren't that many mahogany cutting boards out there statistically speaking. How many trees would they actually add up to?
                                                                            It's not illegal to harvest mahogany in most of Latin America but that still doesn't mean that we have to contribute to the problem.
                                                                            Most Latin countries need export income and wood provides that. If they are faced with restrictive trade barriers, many will sell what they can to maintain their balance of payments.

                                                                            The lesson here is that consumers have to start thinking through their choices. The best ones are the quality, durable products that will last. As you say, they should be food-safe (NSF certified) and from a reliable source.
                                                                            The fashionable purchase du jour may be a thing of the past.
                                                                            Even if products cost more, even if we are facing more difficult times economically, the best values are still the products that give us the best service over decades of use. Europeans and Asians have always lived like this and Americans did too until not so long ago. We may have to readjust our profligate ways.

                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                              "That's a lot of speculation"

                                                                              Perhaps. However there is a lot of speculation in this thread. That's not always a bad thing.
                                                                              Mahogany can as you say be legally harvested in some south and Central American countries. That surely does not make it a "sustainable" product and it doesn't take a lot of searching to see considerable resistance to the de-forestation in some of these areas.

                                                                              "How many trees would they actually add up to"

                                                                              Volume is not a criteria for sustainability, not that you have to look very hard for board makers utilizing exotic woods. Since some of the species of Mahogany being harvested are endangered even one could be too many.
                                                                              We haven't even touched on the same issues with other exotic woods and walnut.
                                                                              There are hardwood cutting boards, and plenty of them that "flunk" the sustainability test with flying colors.
                                                                              The bottom line is that we all have to make choices about what we each feel is right and I agree with you that we may indeed have to adjust our ways.

                                                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                                                You're really mixing things up here. "Deforestation" is a problem in some areas usually for agricultural purposes. They're not whacking trees to make artisanal products. When we lived in South America however, it never ceased to amaze us that natives in the Amazon would chop down a 200 year old tree to make a stupid dugout canoe when they could have sold it for thousands of dollars and bought dozens of canoes - and an outboard motor. Try to explain that to a guy in a loincloth.

                                                                                Yes, you're right. People don't think about the products they buy because there is so much misinformation out there.
                                                                                Most woods, even so-called "exotic" woods, are not endangered. More and more are being farmed or reclaimed. People see a lovely board in a reputable store and they buy it. It is probably just fine - except that there may be better choices.
                                                                                If they move on to the Next New Thing, it doesn't matter what wood that board is made of, it wasn't a "sustainable" choice. It was a throwaway.

                                                                                The wooden chopping board market is still spit in the ocean. And it's a pretty high-end ocean at that. Those consumers should be the easiest to educate as should the retailers who serve that market.

                                                                            2. re: Fritter

                                                                              "In either event IMO all cutting boards should be NSF certified." Fritter

                                                                              When I turned pro several years ago, I contacted NSF about being certified to carry the NSF label. I was told....The process would cost $3000 to $5000 and would NOT require an inspection. So much for NSF. :( To be sure, I asked again and was assured that NO inspection would be required. All that was required was paperwork. I invested in additional equipment and tools instead.

                                                                              As for mahogany, there are many different species that are available and aren't cut from the rain forests. Genuine mahogany from SA is just to expensive to use, much to hard to get and to soft to use. I use one of those other species and it is legally cut, legally imported and is harder than genuine mahogany. No, it isn't Luan!

                                                                              As for bamboo, no matter how you cut it, glue it, package it or sell it, bamboo is still grass, made from small pieces of material, glued together with a large amount of glues and resins and the boards are built in shops in the Orient under conditions that would not be tolerated here in the USA.

                                                                              Save the Pandas; buy Maple!


                                                                              1. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                                NSF is independent and not for profit. All of the hardwood boards from John boos and Michigan Maple block are NSF certified as are all of those sold at stores like Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table. There is a reason for that.

                                                                                "No, it isn't Luan! "

                                                                                So you advertise Mahogany, but don't use "genuine" Mahogany and your not telling us what you do use?
                                                                                Okey Dokey

                                                                                "Save the Pandas; buy Maple!"

                                                                                Unfortunately for those attempting to propagate false information (for profit) the facts just don't support such catchy sales pitches.
                                                                                The bamboo used for cutting boards is Phyllostachys pubescens. This is not what a Panda consumes. Panda’s consume a genus of Fargesia or Pseudosasa japonica and sometimes Phyllostachys bissetii.
                                                                                Nice attempt at diss information though and thanks for proving my point.


                                                                                1. re: Fritter

                                                                                  Gee, I'm sorry that you misunderstood my reply. I understood the question to be; is bamboo to hard? I attempted to reply to that specific question with the facts as I know them. Sorry we can't agree. :(

                                                                                  Save the Pandas, buy maple was sarcasm, sorry you didn't understand. Actually I don't care what they eat.

                                                                                  The mahogany I use isn't genuine mahogany because of the price and softness. It isn't cheap Luan.

                                                                                  I understand that NSF is an independent organization. I have no plans to pay a huge amount of $'s to carry their symbol.

                                                                                  Bamboo is still to hard to use, contains to much resin and glue and is hard on the edges.

                                                                                  You won't use Maple in MI because they crack.....Maybe you are using the wrong brand of board.

                                                                                  1. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                                    Are there solid reasons not to buy bamboo boards?
                                                                                    They are not NSF certified.
                                                                                    Maple boards from reliable and qualified vendors are.
                                                                                    Based on my experience I certainly don't see the Big Bambu as the evil slayer of Kirenaga.
                                                                                    I buy my Maple boards from Michigan Maple Block. I have never had one of their boards crack.
                                                                                    BTW They are NSF certified! ;)


                                                                      1. re: Demented

                                                                        i happily use a board made of end grain camphor laurel, an Australian hardwood. It doesn't dull my blades terribly and seems to stand up to just about anything, and is bacteria resistant as all get out. Maybe we just breed 'em tough down south, but i reccomend it.

                                                                  3. re: Fritter

                                                                    What you really need to know about keeping you cutting boards safe can be found here ~ http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Cutboa... ~

                                                                    Read this thread ~ http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598824 ~ if you have any questions about the validity of the research.

                                                                2. The question is - Is bamboo to hard? Without a doubt, yes. Additionally, the large amount of resins and glues needed to hold all those small pieces together is a killer for the knife edges. I have seen chipping that has occurred after using a bamboo board.

                                                                  And the degree of sanitation they are made under pales to what is required here in the USA. And when they oil their bamboo boards, bean oil is most ofter used. Prone to going rancid.


                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                    "the large amount of resins and glues needed to hold all those small pieces together is a killer for the knife edges"

                                                                    Ok label me slightly confused. I agree about the larger volume of glue but didn't you post the following on another forum?
                                                                    "The glues used in bamboo boards is most likely not water resistant and will melt when in contact with water. Like Elmer's yellow glue, water will cause it to melt"

                                                                    If so and the glue is as soft as you claim then that pretty much elimates resins and hard harmfull nasties to an edge. I'm definatly in the "Buy American" corner of the ring and I've seen some of your work however I think you have a vested financial interest in focusing on the negative aspects of bamboo. IMO nearly every product has some positive and negative aspects.

                                                                    1. re: Fritter

                                                                      Hide glue (which is basically gelatin), is so hard when set you can not break an edge joint made with it using a sledge hammer, the wood will break on either side of the joint but the glue itself will hold.

                                                                      It's been used to make furniture for centuries because of it's holding strength... And the fact, if you steam or soak the joint with water, it will come apart.

                                                                      1. re: Demented

                                                                        Solid point there save for the fact that some hide glue is FDA approved for food surfaces without direct contact and it could be utilized in any wood cutting board including domestic maple block.

                                                                        1. re: Fritter

                                                                          “If so and the glue is as soft as you claim then that pretty much elimates resins and hard harmfull nasties to an edge.” so said you.

                                                                          FDA approved or not, hide, like many water soluble glue are hard enough to chip chisels and other cutting tools, including kitchen cutlery, when fully cured.

                                                                          When speaking of hide glue, I think of “Hot hide glue” that's used when joining furniture.

                                                                      2. re: Fritter

                                                                        I'm not certain what glues are used. No one is. However, Elmer's Yellow Carpenters glue dries hard and brittle to the touch and will melt with exposure to water or heat. Type 3 waterproof glues dry softer to the touch and will not melt when wet. Heat is another story. But I do stand on the statement of to much glue and resins and to many small pieces can be a killer for knife edges. I see and hear about it almost every day.

                                                                        Am I focusing on the negative here; yes maybe a little. Am I trying to sell my product; not really. But I do focus on the "Buy American" aspect. Especially when I get the monthly email from a Chinese company asking me to purchase a container of Chinese maple boards for a ridiculously low price.

                                                                        1. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                          "Am I focusing on the negative here; yes maybe a little"

                                                                          I'm glad we agree on that although I have a hard time time with ;
                                                                          "Am I trying to sell my product; not really"
                                                                          Especially when I see the links in your posts.
                                                                          FWIW IMO your boards might be more appealing if you focused on the positives of your products and not the negatives of some one elses.
                                                                          A quality product does not need to point out the flaws of the competition.

                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                            Gee, I'm sorry that you misunderstood my reply. I understood the question to be; is bamboo to hard? I attempted to answer with accurate facts.

                                                                            And my products will stand up to anyones elses for quality and value. (I see that you recommend other makers in another discussion, complete with their links.)

                                                                          2. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                            I use a 30x30x16H hard rock maple block held together by double dovetail joints, no glue. Over 100 years old, no cracking. now THAT's true sustainability. Pure food grade mineral oil to maintain the surface, keep it from drying out. Bamboo being grass provides abrasive velcro-like resistance to the knive edge, making cutting slower.

                                                                      3. @nooodles The answer to your question depends on whether or not you're using an edge-grain or end-grain bamboo board. Edge-grain bamboo boards are definitely harder on knife edges, but people like them because they can be sturdier than end-grain boards and may last longer. End grain boards on the other hand are known for being easy on knife edges but if you drop them they can crack (like most things). If you're looking for an end-grain board to try out, I just bought one on sale on masonglass.com - buy one get one free right now. I'm pretty happy with it, though like all natural boards there is definitely an upkeep factor (you need to oil it and not let it sit in your sink like my procrastinating son does). https://masonglass.com/shop/chopping-...

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jtreehorn

                                                                          Good info. But I've never oiled either of mine. I wash them, air dry and put away.

                                                                          1. re: jtreehorn

                                                                            Guess (???) I'm lazy. My boards are probably ten years old and still look and 'act' like new. But, again, good info.