HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Cutting Boards?

BerkshireTsarina Oct 28, 2008 10:00 AM

Lots of trouble with my most recent cutting boards. They're nylon (or something) and have suction-y things on the bottom to hold them in place, and for a while they were very good. But now they seem to be warping. Does anyone have favorite cutting boards to recommend? I prefer easy-care, and if possible, non-skid.

  1. pikawicca Nov 15, 2008 05:48 PM

    I have a huge Boos board right next to the stove, and I love it. I NEVER use it for meat; that is reserved for an acrylic board.

    1. d
      ditsyquoin Nov 13, 2008 02:11 PM

      I have to give a plug to JK Adams. I bought the "take two" wood board at an outlet mall because I was in a pinch. Just had new soapstone counters installed and had to make 2 gallons of cole slaw. I don't know if it was my mistake or a defect but the board warped the second day after I used it. I complained to Adams customer service and two days later I had a replacement board delivered to my house,free of charge, no questions asked. 5 stars for their customer service. I've oiled the new board thoroughly and have used ever since.

      1. azhotdish Nov 13, 2008 09:20 AM

        I would be curious to hear your feedback on the Epicurean board. I was in Duluth, MN, a couple wks ago and got a chance to visit the company's headquarters - very cool place and upcoming products.

        1 Reply
        1. re: azhotdish
          t
          Throckmorton Nov 15, 2008 07:03 AM

          I don't have one yet but have read a lot of good things. I think they may be a little harder on you knives than wood. My plastic boards are old and I'm thinking of replacing them with a couple Epicurean. Report back if you happen to use in the near future.

        2. s
          swsidejim Nov 11, 2008 08:54 AM

          I use a large, white, solid rubber board like I used when I used to cook for a living. I works for me.

          to keep the board from sliding? a damp kitchen towel under the board keeps it from moving.

          It wouldnt fit in my diswasher, but I wouldnt put it in there if it did.

          5 Replies
          1. re: swsidejim
            Sooeygun Nov 13, 2008 06:30 AM

            That's how I keep mine from sliding too. That seemed to the be norm in pro kitchens.

            1. re: Sooeygun
              RShea78 Nov 15, 2008 10:30 PM

              ""That seemed to the be norm in pro kitchens.""

              It did till the towel became a sanitation hazard.

              Sanitation Protocol- Wet towels get used for the duty of wiping down of any food contact surfaces, then it must be immediately returned to the sanitizer or placed into laundry service. (Just basic info, but I do the same at home)

              1. re: RShea78
                s
                swsidejim Nov 16, 2008 05:25 AM

                we never used a towel that was used for any cleaning or wiping down as the ones we put under our cutting boards.

                We went and got a fesh towl, got it damp, put it under the boards, did our work, and tossed the used towel in the hamper to be cleaned.

                1. re: swsidejim
                  RShea78 Nov 16, 2008 07:58 AM

                  Not the point. It is a "thou shall not do" thing, in our area.

                  The sanitation authorities MAY cite you for such a violation, if it is in the code books. I know in our area, it is one of a few common violations, that prep personal gets written up for.

                  I look for, in the near future, a Food Court. (Like that of Traffic Court, if things persist)

                  1. re: RShea78
                    Sooeygun Nov 16, 2008 09:26 AM

                    Must vary from place to place. Not a violation here.

          2. t
            Throckmorton Nov 11, 2008 07:54 AM

            I like wood, but it is a bit more labor intensive. My wife bought me a large wood cutting board that it only an inch thick about 5 years ago. Every now and then, it begins to warp, but I have found that a light sanding and mineral oil eventually fix the problem. If I was better about oiling in regularly, I don't think I would have a problem with warping at all. Depending on your counter top, I think almost any cutting board will slip. Most kitchen supply stores sell rolls of a rubber mesh material that you can put under cutting boards, carpets, etc to keep these in place.

            I noticed a post reference a beeswax/mineral oil mixture for wood cutting boards. I've only used mineral oil in the past, but like the idea of the beeswas in the mix. I think the products are a bit expensive though. I'm going to try to make my own. Most craft stores like Joanne Fabrics sell 100% beeswax pellets, used to make candles. I'm going to buy a bag, drop a few pellets in with a bit of mineral oil, heat in the microwave to melt the wax, and apply the mixture to my cutting board.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Throckmorton
              scubadoo97 Nov 11, 2008 08:45 AM

              the beeswax/mineral oil works well and you sure can make your own mixture. At places like Woodcraft they sell big cans of beeswax for treating wood. I've found that any wood board under an inch or under is prone to warp. My 1.5 inch Boos has not had any warpage and 2" or more would have been better in that department but weight becomes an issue with a big thick board. It has to be easy to bring to the sink for a good scrub down. I give my board a light sanding a couple of times a year.

              1. re: Throckmorton
                BerkshireTsarina Nov 11, 2008 08:59 AM

                "Most kitchen supply stores sell rolls of a rubber mesh material that you can put under cutting boards, carpets, etc to keep these in place."
                Got some at BB&B and it works perfectly.

                1. re: Throckmorton
                  UnConundrum Nov 11, 2008 11:20 AM

                  A tablespoon of beeswax added to a cup of mineral oil makes a paste at room temperature. If you want it to remain semi liquid, use a teaspoon and a half of beeswax for the cup of mineral oil.

                  1. re: UnConundrum
                    t
                    Throckmorton Nov 13, 2008 08:55 AM

                    I ended up buying a block of beeswax from a craft store. It didn't have the pellets I expected, hence I paid $15 for a pound of beeswax and an additional $7 for a 12 oz bottle of mineral oil. I mixed about a 4/1 oil/wax ratio, and it came out as a soft paste. Works great on the cutting board, and the extra beeswax will probably last a lifetime.

                    1. re: Throckmorton
                      scubadoo97 Nov 13, 2008 10:02 AM

                      Sounds great. I love the feel of the wax/oil mixture. Easier to apply and not as messy as oil alone and seeing moisture beading up is nice since I know the board is not sucking it up.

                      1. re: scubadoo97
                        t
                        Throckmorton Nov 15, 2008 07:25 AM

                        I love it too. Now I just have to come up with the cash for a Boos or a board from www.boardsmith.com. Even thought my 1 inch thick board is better, it is still slightly warped. We are slowly making improvements to our home. Maybe when we can afford new countertops, we will shell out the cash for a new board as well.

                        1. re: Throckmorton
                          UnConundrum Nov 15, 2008 05:38 PM

                          Go with the Boardsmith. I've suffered a lot of damage with a boos board on my higher end knives. Took forever to find the cause.

                2. Robin Joy Nov 3, 2008 10:56 PM

                  In the UK we can get dishwashable wooden boards:

                  http://www.lakeland.co.uk/dishwasher-...

                  They also sell a d/w safe board made of re-cycled cardboard!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Robin Joy
                    BoardSMITH Nov 5, 2008 01:06 PM

                    Just looked at the link for Lakeland. The material they use is a medium denisty fiberboard that has been resin soaked to make it waterproof. Resin soaked = extremely tough on the edges and extremely cheap to make. I can buy the same material and make the identical boards for 38 cents US.

                    1. re: BoardSMITH
                      RShea78 Nov 5, 2008 04:41 PM

                      I seriously believe the water resistant grade of MDF is manufactured totally different than that of the furniture grade MDF. I mean it is well known that once furniture grade MDF gets wet, the glue becomes soluble.

                      Medex brand is the only manufacturer I know of that makes such a material but would it be food safe? MDF also contains a small amount of silica that isn't knife (or even saw) friendly by a long shot.

                      I am a firm believer of NSF Resin based cutting boards but at perhaps as much as $50 a sq-ft the stuff isn't cheap by any means.

                      MDF = Medium Denisty Fiberboard

                      1. re: BoardSMITH
                        Robin Joy Nov 5, 2008 08:08 PM

                        I'll have 10 please. Christmas is coming, and I expect they would wrap very nicely!

                        Who says I'm cheap?

                        1. re: Robin Joy
                          c
                          chefwong Nov 9, 2008 09:15 AM

                          Hopefully not to skew this topic off track, but if a wood board can even be thrown in a DW , or so that tout....how much wood fiber compared to resin is in the board.

                          Recently we added a Epicurean board to the stash - seems like alot of *epicurean style* wood fiber boards have come out on the market lately as well.

                          For the size, I like the weight and footprint of them. Can easily use them as a trivet as well when I need to grab a hot stockpot and just want to place it on the board.

                          I don't like it feels with our harder Japenese knives, but they feel fine with the Wusthofs on these boards. I'm still debating on how forgiving or not these board are on the knife edges overall but they so have give---I can see superficial slice marks on the board already.

                          On the discussion of mdf, there are SO many grades of MDF. I forgot the different lines of pressboard, but some are uber dense super furniture grade

                          Does these wood cutting boards *epicurean and the like*, fall into the MDF catagory ?

                    2. m
                      mpalmer6c Nov 3, 2008 06:40 PM

                      I've been cutting stuff up for 50 years, and have never once had a cutting board skid. I'd say just buy one from a reputable source. Studies have shown, by the way. that wood boards are more sanitary than plastic ones. I use both. and haven't been poisoned. If you wish to buy a very expensive board, OK by me, but it nwon't make your life any better.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mpalmer6c
                        RShea78 Nov 3, 2008 09:28 PM

                        ""Studies have shown, by the way. that wood boards are more sanitary than plastic ones.""

                        Don't say that to the authorities/inspectors in charge of food establishments. I mean unless each wooden item is literally branded to be used according to food groups, and meats according to the animal or fish, they prefer (or even demand) plastic. In other words if you cut onions that is the only item to be cut on that wooden board. Pork, lettuce, fish, beef, etc needs their individual boards. (The fears really boil down to cross contamination concerning wood vs plastic based on wash-ability (as in a dish washer))

                        1. re: RShea78
                          legourmettv Nov 4, 2008 01:07 PM

                          That's just hyper sensitive governments covering their *sses in a busy commercial kitchen environment.

                          For home use wood boards are the most sanitary way to go.

                          G.

                          1. re: RShea78
                            r
                            RGC1982 Nov 4, 2008 01:55 PM

                            Has it really come to that? Separate boards for all different veggies? I am a bit of a cross contamination nut, but it would never occur to me to have all the veggies separated. It does kind of make sense if you cut potatoes or mushrooms, which tend to have a lot of earth around them. In this day and age of eColi showing up in everything including produce, I guess I am not surprised. It seems impractical for a home cook, however.

                            For home cooking, I use a heavy bamboo for most veggies. I actually peel potatoes and other peelable veggies over paper towel for fast cleanup, but use this one board for cutting washed veggies. I instinctively keep raw potato skins off the board, just because they are muddy, but this was mostly motivated by my cleanup habits with paper towel. I have another plastic board that I use for meats, and it goes in the dishwasher. My real concern with the plastic boards is that they tend to get gashes, which I think harbor more bacteria than they repel, so I toss them once they get worn out.

                            I use a separate board for bread and another board for cheese, and I have a grooved edge board specifically for carving cooked roasts and chickens. All of these boards are maple or other similar hardwood. I probably have duplicates of most things, just because I have a lot of stuff, so keeping the raw from the cooked, and meat from veggies is easy. I wash all wood and bamboo with antibacterial dish soap and let them air dry. The plastic ones make it through my Bosch drying cycle (no coil).

                            It already seems a little over the top with all the boards I use, but you get used to it once you have been doing it a while. I don't know that I will ever consider a separate onion or bell pepper board. There would have to be some kind of outbreak for me to be thinking of that.

                        2. h
                          hollerhither Nov 2, 2008 10:48 AM

                          Love my Boos, I got a 1.5" thick. Maybe I'm kidding myself but after I ditched the nylon -- and got a bigger stationary block -- I felt like I was chopping much more efficiently. It was easier to "rock" the knife with a little give from the wood. The wood boards need oiling from time to time, I'm a little more conscious to avoid leaving standing liquid on them or near them to prevent warping, and I still use a nylon layer when working with raw meat or poultry.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: hollerhither
                            c
                            chefwong Nov 2, 2008 11:51 AM

                            Tough answer. I'm a wood man myself but others like plastic as well (which you could sand down). I'm not talking the hard plastic variant though. It's like a soft tablemat.

                            Both are easy on the knives.

                            For ease of use, size, cleanibility, I would recommend Epicurean.
                            But if size, heft, etc was not a concern, a walnut or cherry end grain woodblock which should last you a lifetime.

                            1. re: chefwong
                              BerkshireTsarina Nov 2, 2008 01:01 PM

                              I appreciate everyone's reasoning about a good wood board lasting a lifetime, but, folks, at my age, this is not a concern! (If it came with a guarantee that I would last ITS lifetime, that might sway me.) No, I just want something that's easy to care for and won't slide around while I'm cutting, and doesn't cost the earth. Easy on the knives would be nice too. Aesthetically I'm a nut for anything Japanese, so the new bamboos are visually appealing to me. And they're not so expensive. Any opinions?

                              1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                scubadoo97 Nov 2, 2008 02:38 PM

                                Based on your requirements I still say wood. Heavy enough not to slide around, easy on your knives and easy to care for. Just wash it in the sink and don't let water stand on it too long. I often use a dough scraper to clean the board. It removes food as well as water from the surface but is no replacement for washing when your finished. The only thing you can't do with it is put it in the dishwasher as you could with a plastic board. Wood just feels better under your knife. Heavy rubber ones are good but they are heavier than wood. Get a least a 1.5" hard wood board. The cost isn't bad. Cheap thin wood boards will warp over time. Bamboo is okay but a regular hard wood like maple, cherry or walnut is the ticket.

                                1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                  UnConundrum Nov 2, 2008 03:37 PM

                                  In my experience, bamboo is harder than most woods, and thus, harder on your knives. That said, they sure do look nice and probably hold up well. Edge maintenance is the top issue for me, which equates to ease of cutting, so wood or rubber are the only choices. I never understood the concept as there was not one sharp knife in my parents' home. Now, I appreciate the edge, what it does for me, and what I need to do to keep a knife sharp.

                                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                    BoardSMITH Nov 3, 2008 02:12 AM

                                    Bamboo is harder than most woods which makes it tough on a good edge. The resins that they use are harder still which is much harder on the edges. The organic oils (bean oil) that is used is prone to turning rancid which can be dangerous to your health. Since they are made in the orient, the prosesses and manufacturing areas used are not up to the same standards as what is made here in the states. The darker bamboo in the two toned boards is carbonized. Meaning, it has been boiled to obtain the darker color which reduces the hardness by 30%. Having such a difference in the hardness of the materials used lessens its durability.

                                    Plastic is also hard on the edges and hard to sanitize properly. It can be placed in a dishwasher but the cleaning solutions can't reach the deep portions of the cuts thoroughly enough to reach all the bacteria.

                                    1. re: BoardSMITH
                                      BerkshireTsarina Nov 3, 2008 03:18 AM

                                      Well, okay. Bamboo is out. I ordered a Gripper board from Epicurean (thanks, chefwong and qwerty, for the lead). I'll also check out our local kitchen place (we live in a close approximation to a wilderness for shopping) for wood boards since they give a discount certificate in birthday months, and I've got one right now. BTW I did look online at Boardsmith's boards. Out of my league, but GORGEOUS.

                                      1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                        c
                                        chefwong Nov 3, 2008 04:48 AM

                                        Good call on the bamboo. While it's easily avaiable (every ~home~ store) seems to carry one variant on the other, bamboo is just not knife friendly - too hard.

                                2. re: hollerhither
                                  BerkshireTsarina Nov 7, 2008 02:24 PM

                                  I could just ditto all this, hollerhither! I finally got the Boos 1.5 and really do feel like my knife skills improved right away! The wood has a kind of "give" which feels kinder to the knife and to my hand. So far I treat it like an honored guest; that'll have to stop some time! but for the time being, I baby it and oil it. And I followed your tip about the nylon layer, got three, one for fish, one for fowl, one for meat. That works well. So thanks to everyone on this thread, you all were right!

                                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                    scubadoo97 Nov 7, 2008 06:13 PM

                                    BT, so glad it's working well for you. I use to use mineral oil on my board every few weeks but after trying this boardwax product I'm sold on it http://www.japaneseknifesharpening.co.... It's a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. Makes the wood feel smooth as silk and makes clean up a snap as very little will penetrate and moisture rolls off. I really like the addition of beeswax over just mineral oil alone. Enjoy your new board.

                                    1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                      h
                                      hollerhither Nov 10, 2008 12:59 PM

                                      That's great to hear! I hear you re babying it -- I've given mine a prime spot on the counter and I yell at my BF whenever he puts groceries or non-chopping stuff on it. ;)

                                    2. re: hollerhither
                                      j
                                      jgriffin61 Dec 1, 2010 07:21 AM

                                      Boos are nice, but pricey. Check out colorful-cutting-boards.com for same quality at better prices.

                                    3. UnConundrum Oct 28, 2008 02:14 PM

                                      I have some high end knives and have really studied cutting boards. IMHO you have two choices if you knife edges mean anything to you. One is a solid rubber board. They can be sanitized and sanded down if they get ugly looking. They're expensive, not too attractive, and very heavy. The other choice is a natural wood board. I highly recommend Dave the Boardsmith http://www.theboardsmith.com/ He custom makes cutting boards and does a beautiful job. Some of his boards can be expensive, but they'll last you a lifetime and they're a piece of art in your kitchen. He has several woods available, but I'd suggest the cherry or walnut as they are somewhat softer woods and will not chip out your blades. The downside of a wood board is the need for maintenance (oil or dressing on occasion) and you can't soak them in water. You just wipe them down and spray with a weak vinegar water solution.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: UnConundrum
                                        scubadoo97 Oct 28, 2008 05:20 PM

                                        Agreed. I bought a Boos 1 1/2 thick edge grain board as my first cutting board. thick enough not to warp and big enough not to feel cramped. Dave the Boardsmith has very beautiful boards that are not too much more if at all than Boos. Make sure if you get a big board that it will fit in your sink or enough to easily wash it. A board that's too heavy or too big to clean at the sink can become a problem.

                                        My next board will be from Dave if he's still making them.

                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                          UnConundrum Oct 28, 2008 06:09 PM

                                          The Boardsmith's board replaced my 3" boos board... I had it for about 8 years and loved it... until I realized it was the source of my chips. Never would have believed it. I thought my knives (custom made) were defective, and even sent them back to the fellow who made them... he said they were fine. We varied the edge angle, changed my cutting style... nothing worked. Then on a whim, I thought I'd try one of Dave's cherry boards. Haven't had a chip since :)

                                      2. q
                                        qwerty78 Oct 28, 2008 11:30 AM

                                        i like the epicurian ones- they are dishwasher safe- for sliding I've seen a recomendation for a wet/damp paper towel underneeth but i haven't remembered to try it.

                                        I actually prefer wood boards but prefer the dishwasher safe option even more.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: qwerty78
                                          helen0505 Nov 8, 2008 06:57 PM

                                          i highly recommend the epicurian ones as well. i will be using these forever.

                                          1. re: helen0505
                                            j
                                            jeanmarieok Nov 13, 2008 07:03 PM

                                            I put little rubber feet on my epicurian board - they are just little peel and stick rubber or soft plastic knobs. They came on a strip with like a 100, from the hardware store for a couple of dollars. I don't put my board in the dishwasher except for maybe a couple times a month, so sometime the feet come off and I have to stick new ones on. But not always.

                                        Show Hidden Posts