My Rubber Cutting Board Experience (Sani-tuff)
Earlier, I posted a NY Times article on rubber cutting board.
I kept seeing these rubber cutting boards in restaurant supply stores, but not in regular departmental stores. I wanted a new cutting board. Although my large round chopping block is fine, it is more than 4.5 inch thick and when I use a wide blade knife like a Chinese chef’s knife, my hand will be above my elbow and that is non-ergonomic.
In short, I bought a Sani-tuff rubbter cutting board and just tried it. I bought the thinnest and cheapest one ($27) as a testing board. It is 12” x 18” X ½”. If I really like it, I may get a more expensive one in the future. There was one which costs >$110; very thick (maybe 5 inches thick), and very heavy (more than my wooden chopping block).
It does not feel soft, but the moment I started cutting on it I knew it is soft because the surface tightly grabs my knife blades. I tried my CCK Chinese chef’s knife and my Tojiro usuba bocho. After I am done cutting, I can see many knife marks on the board. Most of them have sealed themselves closed, so that is very much like an end grain cutting block. The label on the board and the NY Times article suggest that these rubber boards can be resurfaced by sanding and that sound very attractive.
I will update.
More than a month and a half since I bought and used.
Thin, stury, dense, (mine is thin, but there very thin ones)
Has self-healing property against knife cut
Does not wrap
Does not require oiling or waxing
Can be sanded (I tried it)
Dulls knives faster (~X3 times faster) than my wood chopping block.
As mentioned, I switch to this rubber board mostly because my wood block is too tall (5 inch) and make my hand parallel to my elbow -- not ergonomic. I can live with it being easily stain and gouge, but it dulls my knives too fast. I tried Tojiro gyuto, CCK KF1303, Tanaka nakiri. I am disappointed because I read rubber boards are gentle to knife blades. Maybe it is better than a glass cutting board, but it is not on par with my end grain wood chopping block.
So I am still on the market for shopping a thin board which does not dull my knives.
Good report and interesting results. Do you have any ideas on why it is dulling your knives faster?
I was worried about hand cutting height too, so I placed books on my counter to see what my max height for a board should be and ended up getting a 2-inch end grain (brand new just last week). It doesn't have rubber feet to reduce the height even more, and I just put a damp paper towel underneath to prevent slipping when in use. I've even heard that boards 1 3/4 inches thick are pretty stable.
Unlike glass or granite cutting boards, the rubber boards are soft, softer than my wood block. I can feel the friction from the knives digging into my rubber board on every strike. It did not dull my knives all the way from very sharp to very dull, but it dulled them from very sharp to semi-sharp and stopped there. The knives went from very sharp cutting into the board to semi-sharp and cutting into the board.
Because the rubber boards are both soft and dense, the knife easily digs into the board and rubber holds on the edge very tightly, which is why I feel fricition. I think the smallest side-to-side movement breaks the knife edge. Just a guess.
I think a 1-2 inch board will be great for me. This height of this rubber board is actually very good.
I use a dish drying mat for my cutting board. It is nice. It is about $5-7 depending on the size. It grabs the board better than a normal cloth towel. It can absorb more water and it can go into washer. I have washed it 10 times or more now and there is no wear thus far. The only thing is that it is made of microfiber and not natural fiber, so some people may not like it
"tactile feedback of rubber"
Absolutely agree. It grabs the knife more tightly than my wood chopping block does. Is that what you mean? When I first sharpened my CCK (陳枝記) knife to a sharper bevel I also felt the knife was being grabbed by my wooden chopping block. Read this last entry:
The knife got sharper and I were using the same force, so I cut the knife deeper into the wood block, resulting that "braking" or "jerking" feedback. In time, I learnt to adjust my force. I believe this is the same thing happening just in a reversed manner. The knife is just as sharp, but the board surface got softer. Maybe I will able to adjust in a few weeks. I will see. Thanks for pointing this out.