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Advice on cutting board / butcher block

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tyyz Aug 24, 2010 07:55 PM

I've decided it's time to upgrade to a nice cutting board/butcher block that should (hopefully) last me a lifetime - I'm referring to the pieces of wood you put on your kitchen counter (not the ones with legs that are a stand-alone piece of furniture). I've done some research, and thought I'd get the advice of experts here. I've already read through several threads on this topic on this site, so hopefully this isn't already addressed elsewhere.

Based on what I've read, it seems clear that end-grain is the way to go, and I'm prepared to spend ~$200 for a nice board.

Reversible vs. non-reversible:
It seems that some boards are reversible, while others have little feet attached, which means they can only be used on one side. My initial thought is that reversible is better, as if something goes horribly wrong, I should still be able to use the other side. However, I've read that the feet prevent sliding and help air circulation, so that moisture doesn't accumulate on the under-side of the board. Is one generally better than the other, or is it just personal preference? The one I'm using now doesn't have any feet, and I've never experienced any issues with sliding.

Thickness:
Thicker seems to be better, however, I'm not that tall, and having a 4" thick board on my counter would make cutting uncomfortably high (I've tested it out). I'm thinking 2 - 2.5" is the maximum thickness I could manage, given my current kitchen setup. Is it worth investing in an expensive board of this thickness?

Wood type:
Is maple really the way to go? I love the look of walnut, which is not quite as hard. Is walnut a good choice if I'm looking for something that will last a long time? I don't mind paying extra for walnut, but not if it's not as functional as maple. Cherry also looks nice, but appears to be softer than walnut.

Manufacturer:
Any thoughts on the quality of John Boos boards, compared with some of the smaller companies? I'd prefer to support the smaller makers, but don't want to end up with something that falls apart after a few years!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Politeness RE: tyyz Aug 24, 2010 08:47 PM

    tyys, There ain't no flies on John Boos, but Michigan Maple Block generally is regarded as a tad better at the price. http://www.buybutcherblock.com/mm5/me...

    I do not know if Michigan Maple Block, despite its name, also has walnut products.

    1. s
      smkit RE: tyyz Aug 24, 2010 09:15 PM

      One of the most highly regarded boards is from The Boardsmith. I am in the process of getting mine done right now, but almost all of the knife nuts at Knifeforums highly recommend the Boardsmith boards as well.

      You can choose your wood (I also like walnut) and size. 2 inches thick is pretty standard, but you can just write (David) to get a custom size that fits your sink for instance, and you can also choose to get juice grooves in it and rubber feet to prevent the board from sliding.

      http://www.theboardsmith.com/

      7 Replies
      1. re: smkit
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        iyc_nyc RE: smkit Aug 24, 2010 09:22 PM

        Smkit, thanks for this great referral! Do you know how to best think about thickness -- i.e., what is optimal (assuming height is no issue), what is the relevance of thickness/what does it impact, are there diminishing returns after a certain point, etc.?

        Also, any thoughts on OP's question re: optimal type of wood, and one vs. two-sided?

        Thanks in advance!

        1. re: iyc_nyc
          s
          smkit RE: iyc_nyc Aug 25, 2010 07:01 AM

          Just as Boardsmith said down thread, it is personal preference (thickness/wood), but you might want to try putting books on your counter at the height the board would be and see how it feels to cut at that height. Also, keep in mind that if you get a non-reversable board and have rubber non-slip feet on it, then that will also add some height too.

          Lastly, keep in mind the other cooking partners in your family. What is just right for you might not be good for someone who is a shorter cook.

          I've gone for the 2-inch because it seems to be a good tradeoff between stability (warping resistance) and heaviness. If the board gets too heavy, it is often used less. And a board that is never used is just a decoration. I also measured my sink to make sure it would fit into it. The bigger boards do get heavy and cumbersome to hand wash, so having it 'fit' your kitchen is a plus.

          Also, just fyi, I personally won't be using my boards to cut protein on. I have dedicated poly boards with a juice grove around the edge that I use for that.

          1. re: smkit
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            iyc_nyc RE: smkit Aug 25, 2010 05:01 PM

            Great - thanks! Re:washing the board, I have a tiny sink.. I've read that some folks just wipe the board down rt on the counter. If I don't use it for meat, would that be ok?

            1. re: iyc_nyc
              Chemicalkinetics RE: iyc_nyc Aug 25, 2010 09:10 PM

              It is definitely easier to clean a board in a sink. You don't need the entire board to fit inside the sink. As long as a good part of the board fits, it will do. Scrubbing a board on the counter is not the problem. It is the rinising part.

              If rinising over a sink is not possible, then you can wipe the board on the counter as you suggested and probably using a scraper and put more efforts on board disinfection. By disinfection, I mean using anything ranging from salt, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, bleach solution... .

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                iyc_nyc RE: Chemicalkinetics Aug 26, 2010 04:23 AM

                great - thanks! (sad how i haven't mastered the seemingly simple things in life..)

                1. re: iyc_nyc
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: iyc_nyc Aug 26, 2010 06:08 AM

                  Your welcome. Please feel free to post your questions. No one master everything in life. The most intrguing part of life is learning and experiencing new things. Life would be boring if you think you know everything there is to know. Best.

        2. re: smkit
          Chemicalkinetics RE: smkit Aug 24, 2010 09:31 PM

          Agree. I have never used The Boardsmith, but its reputation is unrivaled among knife experts.

        3. i
          iyc_nyc RE: tyyz Aug 24, 2010 09:16 PM

          Tyyz, I'm glad you posted as I'll soon be in the market for a board -- so thanks!

          For what it's worth, I did some (actually, a lot) of research earlier when I was looking for a butcher board kitchen cart, and heard mixed reviews re: John Boos. I was all set on getting one of their butcher block-topped kitchen carts that I'd been eyeing for several years; and then read reviews that their butcher blocks have had warping/splitting problems. Who knows how many they sell and what % actually go bad so it could be that a disproportionate number of dissatisfied customers who got bad apples submitted reviews -- but I read enough of them that I reluctantly decided to get something else.

          That said, a cutting board is a lesser investment than a whole cart (especially John Boos', which can be very pricey), so I might consider John Boos for a cutting board only. (vs. a cart where if the cutting board on the cart goes bad, the whole cart becomes much less useful).

          Also, if you are set on reversible, which sounds like a good idea to me, you can always get silcon mats/coasters/bumpers to place underneath the board to minimize slippage and provide some ventilation.

          3 Replies
          1. re: iyc_nyc
            Chemicalkinetics RE: iyc_nyc Aug 24, 2010 09:33 PM

            Agree. I have heard mixed review for John Boos. It seems certain types of their boards have very good reviews and some not good.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              h
              hobbess RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 26, 2011 01:30 AM

              Do you remember which Boos boards were generating complaints and which ones weren't, specifically which camp would the reversible end-grain Boos maple cutting board fall in? I know maple and end-grains to look for in a cutting board, but with Boos' mixed reviews... I skimmed through their Amazon reviews, and nothing really jumped out as to which ones were the good ones and which ones are the bad ones.

              It seems like Boos boards were seen as the best cutting boards out there for so long that I'm curious if these poor reviews are a recent phenomenon or if Boos boards were never quite that good in the first place.

              1. re: hobbess
                Chemicalkinetics RE: hobbess Dec 26, 2011 04:52 AM

                End grain cutting boards are nice. I think Boos cutting boards are solid standard. However, I used to read some bad reviews from Williams Sonoma website. Williams Sonoma no longer carry many of the Boos cutting boards, so those bad reviews can no longer be found. Here is one:

                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                On the other hand, I am not sure if the faults lie with the customers as opposed to the Boos cutting boards.

          2. Chemicalkinetics RE: tyyz Aug 24, 2010 09:30 PM

            Well, personally I prefer reversible as you mentioned. Many people like using different surfaces for meats and vegetables. For a reversible board, you can use vegetables on one side and meats on the other side. I don't think "moisture accumulates on the under-side of the board" is a concern. During usage, I put a dish dryer mat underneath my chopping block. It soaks up excess liquid and keeps the block from sliding. After usage, I store the board on its side. Nonetheless, nonreversible boards are excellent too. It is just a personal choice. This is the dish dryer mat I use:

            http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Botanika...

            People say thicker is better because a thicker wood board is more stable against warping. However, you really don't want to go against ergonomics and strain your wrist, arm and shoulder . Between a longer lasting cutting board and a healthier posture, I always pick the latter. I have recently switched away from my 5" end grain chopping block. I can use a gyuto/chef knife on it, but it does not pair well with my Chinese chef's knife (a Chinese chef's knife has a wide blade and lift my hand further up). A good rule of thumb is: your hand should be slightly below your elbow when you are cutting, definitely not above your elbow.

            Wood type. I don't know. I think I will get shot. I go against the conventional belief. I have a pine wood end grain cutting block. I know many people would say no-no to pine, but mine seems to have worked out fine for me. As mentioned, I have put it aside for now because it is very tall/thick, but I am looking forward using it when I get a new house with a new counter and all. Here is what it looks like.

            http://www.chow.com/photos/420502?tag...

            I think it is more important learning how to take care of the board than buying an expensive board.

            Best wishes.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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              iyc_nyc RE: Chemicalkinetics Aug 24, 2010 09:48 PM

              CK, super helpful as always - thanks!

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                smkit RE: Chemicalkinetics Aug 25, 2010 07:18 AM

                One option instead of reversing the cutting board that I did was I first bought some of those thin plastic cutting mats, then I ordered my boards to fit the cutting mats. That way, instead of flipping the board over I can just scrape off the food, put another matt on it and cut away. Also, if I ever need to cut a protein on my board, this will reduce food contact with the wood. The flat mats are easy to clean and can be switched out quickly.

                I have a couple Dexas grippmats that I use and got at Sears for $6.

              2. BoardSMITH RE: tyyz Aug 25, 2010 03:39 AM

                I would like to reply to the original question and I don't want it to sound like an advertisement.

                Reversible vs non-reversible. That is a personal preference. A single sided board with feet will give no less useful life than a double sided board without feet given moderate care. However, extra care must be given to ensure that the board doesn't sit in any moisture when not in use and a non-slip mat should be used underneath the board during use. After washing, allowing it to air dry while on its edge is a good idea that another poster mentioned. With some of the edges I have seen, the last thing you want is having to chase your board across a counter top.

                Thickness is another personal preference. I make mine 2" thick because I get the best yields from my raw stock with less waste. And I personally like the look of a thicker board. For someone who is not as tall, a thinner board will work fine. For someone with arthritis or a senior citizen, a thinner block will be easier to move. Again, personal preference.

                I believe if you ask 10 people which wood they prefer, you will get 10 different answers. Again, personal preference. The general rule of thumb is to choose a wood from a tree with an edible running sap; hard maple where maple syrup comes from; or a tree with an edible nut. If you can eat the product of the tree, the wood should be safe to prepare food from. In my opinion, oak is an exception because of its open grain characteristics. Woods to avoid, some of the exotics, cedars, spalted wood and any wood that is insect resistant.

                There are any number of manufacturers out there who will make your board. Some will stick with their stock sizes and some will make custom sizes for their customers. Look for experience and reputation and watch out for the casual maker who just putters around in their spare time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BoardSMITH
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: BoardSMITH Aug 25, 2010 06:32 AM

                  It does not sound anything like an advertisement. I don't think there is a single thing you wrote which is not factual.

                2. BiscuitBoy RE: tyyz Aug 25, 2010 06:11 AM

                  $200, for real? At that price point, I'll start selling my boards...Bisciboards, llc. I continue to be amazed by what people are willing to pay for things.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BiscuitBoy
                    Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Aug 25, 2010 06:28 AM

                    Yeah, a lot of people sell $200 boards and higher. I believe many of large size John Boos boards are around that price range, not to mention custom boards. John Boos:

                    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/john-bo...

                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/john-bo...

                    I am personally more amazed by how much people willing to pay for smart phones and iphone. People are paying about $1000 annually.

                    http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/26/ho...

                    I am not sayin that $200 for a cutting board is a steal, but considered all the other things we are willing to spend. It is probably not that bad.

                  2. t
                    tyyz RE: tyyz Aug 25, 2010 08:05 AM

                    Thanks for all the info - this is all very helpful!

                    I think I've decided on the reversible/no-feet version, just for the added benefit of being able to reverse it, if necessary. Also, any added height resulting from the feet doesn't help me at all...

                    There doesn't seem to be much concern around 2" thick being too thin, so hopefully that means it's fine. I did try putting books under my existing board and at 3.5" thick, it's uncomfortably high for me.

                    As for wood type, it seems clear that walnut is safe... my only remaining question is if it's as effective/durable as maple. I cook at home probably 4-5 times a week, so this will get regular use, but not excessive. At this price-tag, I'd definitely be careful to take good care of it!

                    The Boardsmith seems to be well-regarded - I'll send him an email.

                    Thanks again, and of course, welcome any additional thoughts/opinions!

                    1. m
                      mdepsmom RE: tyyz Aug 25, 2010 04:37 PM

                      I got my board from Ozark West, after I read about the company on these boards. I have the large walnut end grain board: http://www.ozarkwest.com/18x22x17endg.... It's the same board that you will see on many of the Food Network shows. I have had it for almost two years and I love it. It is gorgeous, heavy, and still looks like new. Yes it cost a small fortune but I think (hope!) it will last forever. But on the off chance it needs to be replaced, I'd buy the exact same one.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: mdepsmom
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                        iyc_nyc RE: mdepsmom Aug 25, 2010 05:03 PM

                        Mdepsmom, how do you wash it? Does it fit/go in the sink?

                        1. re: iyc_nyc
                          BoardSMITH RE: iyc_nyc Aug 26, 2010 04:10 AM

                          A word about washing and sanitation.

                          The best way to clean a wooden board is washing in the sink. Simply wet with warm water, scrub lightly with a good dishwashing detergent and rinse thoroughly. Don't do as one customer did, leave it under hot running water for 5 minutes. The cutting surface warped badly then mildewed. He gave it to his mother.

                          If you can't fit your board in your sink, consider using a bathtub as some of my customers have told me they do. Maybe a little less convenient but works well.

                          To sanitize without washing, spray the surface with a mixture of Clorox and water, the formula is on the back of the Clorox bottle I believe, or spray on a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, this is food safe because the vinegar is edible, or coat overnight with a layer of salt. The salt will kill any bacteria on the surface and wick up the residual moisture. This is how the old time butchers sanitized their blocks after cutting raw meat daily.

                          Whatever method is chosen, just do something.

                          1. re: iyc_nyc
                            m
                            mdepsmom RE: iyc_nyc Aug 26, 2010 10:01 AM

                            It doesn't fit in the sink. I scrub it with hot water and dishwashing liquid, on the counter. Once a month I rub some mineral oil into it.

                            1. re: mdepsmom
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                              iyc_nyc RE: mdepsmom Aug 26, 2010 07:37 PM

                              Sorry to be so clueless, but how do you rinse off the D/W liquid then? Do you just sponge it off?

                              1. re: iyc_nyc
                                m
                                mdepsmom RE: iyc_nyc Aug 27, 2010 11:43 AM

                                Yes, I use a sponge.

                            2. re: iyc_nyc
                              i
                              iyc_nyc RE: iyc_nyc Aug 26, 2010 07:36 PM

                              Thanks to all for your helpful guidance, and to OP for getting the dialogue going!

                          2. t
                            tyyz RE: tyyz Aug 26, 2010 08:24 PM

                            Thanks again to everyone for all the helpful advice! I've decided to go for a walnut board from The Boardsmith. David has been great both with his replies to this thread, and in answering my questions through email.

                            Thanks again, and can't wait to get my new board!

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: tyyz
                              s
                              smkit RE: tyyz Aug 26, 2010 09:09 PM

                              Give us all a report when you get the board in (and pictures). I imagine it will be a few weeks.

                              1. re: smkit
                                t
                                tyyz RE: smkit Dec 16, 2010 09:24 AM

                                Have had the board for a few weeks now and thought I'd provide a report, as requested above... I ordered a 22" x 16" board in walnut, with no feet, in late-August.

                                Firstly, regarding the quality of the board, it is very good, as expected. Nice, dark walnut, well-built, and shipped in a secure and protected package. No complaints whatsoever about the board - I've attached a picture.

                                My experience purchasing from The BoardSmith, unfortunately, was not so positive. The original board arrived in early October, but the one shipped was one-sided, with feet, whereas the board I had ordered was to be two-sided, with no feet. Unfortunately, with the added height of the feet (almost an inch in height), the board sat too high on my counter for me to comfortably use.

                                After emailing David about the problem, he acknowledged that the wrong board was shipped, and offered me a refund if I returned the board to him. However, I was not really interested in a refund - I just wanted the board I had purchased. He seemed reluctant to ship a new board, but after several email exchanges, he agreed to make a new board. He agreed to ship the replacement to me at his cost, but refused to cover the cost of returning the incorrect board that I received. Although I did not feel this was fair (since this was due to his shipping error), I agreed to pay the return shipping cost myself ($40), as I just wanted to receive the correct board at that point.

                                The new board was ready to be shipped in early-November. As I live in Canada, I asked him to declare a value of $0 on the customs form, and requested that an invoice be included that showed there was no charge for the board, so I would not have to pay import taxes and fees on the replacement board (this was accurate, as there was no charge for the exchange, and I had already imported the original board). I also reminded him several times in future correspondence to do this, as I wanted to avoid any further complications. Unfortunately, when the replacement board arrived, the declared value was $143, and there was no invoice included. As a result, I was charged another $24 in import taxes and fees to receive the replacement board.

                                After contacting David about this issue, he said that he could not indicate the value of the item as $0 - it would have been nice if he had mentioned this in any of our previous correspondence! He was also unwilling to reimburse the additional import fees charged for the replacement board, and asked me to dispute the charge with the Canadian border services. After I requested it, he did provide an invoice showing there was no charge for the replacement board, which I have used to submit my dispute for the import fees - I have received no response as of yet.

                                In summary, I have no complaints about the quality of the cutting board purchased from The Boardsmith. However, I am quite dissatisfied with the level of customer service provided, especially since the problem was caused by their error. The total additional cost to me as a result of their shipping error was in excess of $60 ($40 for return shipping, and $24 for additional import fees). In addition, I have had to incur the hassle of filing a dispute with the Canadian border services to request that the additional import fees be refunded (with no success so far). Needless to say, in the future, I will purchase from another company with more of a commitment to "make things right".

                                 
                                1. re: tyyz
                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: tyyz Dec 16, 2010 10:00 AM

                                  I am very sorry to hear about your bad experience, especially your experience is related to the information you have gathered from CHOW. I understand your pain because I had to deal with wrong/bad product shipments and sometime the hassel is worse than the cost.

                                  At this point, I would just focus on the board and try not to dwell on the bad experience as it won't really help the situation. I think we all knew you wanted to have a two side (no feet) cutting board as you have indicated here many weeks ago. I do agree that if you have a bad experience with dealing with any merchant, then you should be more careful in the future, just to avoid the same bad experience.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    d
                                    dessert_diva RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 16, 2010 11:57 AM

                                    The height of the feet on the Boardsmiths is almost an INCH?? Dang. That's not mentioned on the website, and the photo doesn't provide a hint.

                                    Now I'm starting to worry about the height of the board I ordered the other day. It's just the basic maple one, but his site does say in the FAQs that "Normally I build for a 2" thickness for the end grain boards but most end up about 1/16" thicker." So with the feet on it, my board will end up being a little over 3" higher than the counter??! That could well be a problem, since I'm petite, and also since I've been using 1/2"-thick plastic boards for Idontwanttosayhowmany years -- that'd be a huge adjustment, and no I won't wear high heels in the kitchen, LOL.

                                    On the other hand, if I ask him to ship one without feet (assuming it has not been sent yet), would it move around on the countertop during use? One would think it'd be too heavy to do that, at 2" thick, wouldn't it?

                                    )*%$##@!!!!! Never dreamed the feet would add that much height. :-( I'm going to contact him and ask for a doublesided board if (fingers crossed!) he has not yet shipped mine out.

                                    1. re: dessert_diva
                                      m
                                      mikie RE: dessert_diva Dec 16, 2010 01:18 PM

                                      I suppose if the board slips or not will depend a lot on your counter top surface and how slippery it is. You can always get a piece of that non slip shelf liner and put under the board, this will only minimally increase the height as this stuff is about 1/16" thick. I seriously doubt you would have any trouble with it slipping on this surface. I'm not that familiar with the boardsmith's boards, but if you don't get feet, you will need some finger slots to be able to more easily pick up the board. I've seen boards with slots on one side (usually on one use side boards) or with slots mid board (typically on two side use boards). With tall feet, it may not require finger slots, so you may want to check what you're going to get. As was mentioned up thread, cutting boards can get quite heavy, so you want to make sure you have some way to lift it easily. Any board I make that is 1.5" or thicker (and I really see no need to exceed nominial 2") I put a finger slot in the middle of each end, it's about a 1/2" wide and about the same depth, just enough to get it up off the countertop. Oh, if you don't get feet, make sure the board is either stored on edge dry or very well dried before returning it to the counter top.

                                      One last thing, end grain will soak up a lot of board oil, so keep it well oiled. Mineral oil works fine, but a mixture of mineral oil and bees wax works even better at sealing the board without building up a finish on the surface.

                                      1. re: dessert_diva
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: dessert_diva Dec 16, 2010 02:16 PM

                                        "and no I won't wear high heels in the kitchen"

                                        At least you have that option. I can't.

                                        As for slipping, it really depends on your countertop, as Mike said. If necessary, you can get a dish dryer mat or something which can grab hold of the cutting boards.

                                        http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Botanika...

                                        1. re: dessert_diva
                                          t
                                          tyyz RE: dessert_diva Dec 16, 2010 05:00 PM

                                          I didn't measure the height of the feet, but the difference in height was definitely noticeable...

                                          As for issues with sliding, despite being very large and heavy, my board does slide a bit on the counter. I've put a tea towel under it which stops the sliding and doesn't add any height.

                                      2. re: tyyz
                                        s
                                        smkit RE: tyyz Dec 16, 2010 12:24 PM

                                        Beautiful board. I also ordered one this fall and love it. Dave is a great craftsman and makes a wonderful cutting surface.

                                        With that said, I'm sorry you had problems and must say that I had some of the same issues you had with shipping/product specs. My board came with feet when I specifically requested not to have them and the size was not to my specs so it couldn't fit in my cabinets (I measured exactly beforehand to ensure it would fit). In the end, I just kept it as I didn't want to send it back and I had already paid extra to correct for the package going to the wrong address.

                                        If ordering from Boardsmith I would recommend double confirming your specs and summarizing everything in one last e-mail before production. Especially, if you are ordering a board that is not in one of his standard sizes/models.

                                        Also, if you pay with PayPal, double check the shipping address with them. When you send money directly to an e-mail address, you don't see your shipping address. I am not sure what the receiver of the funds sees in PayPal, but for some reason a 3-year-old address was used and my board was sent to a different state. I use PayPal all the time through eBay and never have problems, so I assumed that it would be fine. It was not. Make sure to double check your address before shipping or delete old addresses in your PayPal account. Regardless, of what happened, the mistake was made and I had to pay extra to get the shipment redirected back to me.

                                        I think the main problem is that ordering through Boardsmith is done via e-mail. So after you have discussed wood, dimensions, juice grooves, feet and other things, some of those details can be lost when the e-mail is reviewed right before making the board and shipping it out.

                                        I think Boardsmith could definitely benefit from a more formal shopping cart/ordering system. But until that time, I would recommend extra care during the ordering and shipping process. The boards are worth it, and I would still recommend them, but some added diligence is worthwhile to avoid these problems.

                                        1. re: smkit
                                          Chemicalkinetics RE: smkit Dec 16, 2010 02:23 PM

                                          I think Boardsmith (Dave) can definitely benefit from a better shipping/ordering system. That being said, mistakes were made to tyyz and you. Boardsmith could have handled this a bit better. Afterall, tyyz didn't make the mistake. We all like Boardsmith and wish him the very best, but we have to be fair too. Had Amazon did exactly the same thing, I think many of us won't be nearly as forgiving.

                                          1. re: smkit
                                            s
                                            SpringRam RE: smkit Dec 17, 2010 05:50 AM

                                            Dave moved the location of his shop a few months ago. During that time, he had lots of things going on related to the move that might have caused a lack of full attention to his board orders. Not to make any excuses for Dave, just providing a possible reason contributing to the mistakes discussed. As to customer service, Dave should have been more understanding, I agree. However, when you deal with one-man shops that produce handmade custom boards that are works of art like Dave does, you have realize there is no designated "customer support" or "shipping" department. Thus, sometimes things may not be as smooth or timely as you want. Regardless, Dave makes as fine a cutting board as anyone and better than most. In addition to my BoardSmith, I have a couple of boards from Ozark West which are outstanding also and can be recommended.

                                            1. re: SpringRam
                                              n
                                              Nugentrocks RE: SpringRam Feb 2, 2011 07:58 AM

                                              I just recieved my new cutting board from David( The Boardsmith). It's a custom 22x30 x2 inch board. I could not be happier with it. The construction is perfect as well as the beauty of it. It's a Mahogany board that to me is more like a piece of well made furniture. The only word I have for his piece of art is Beautiful. It took about four weeks to recieve it only because he had to order some new wood stock. I haven't used it yet because when I got it in the mail I oiled it immedeatly, and it soaked up the oil yvery quickly. I have been oiling it 5 times a day for three days before I attempt to cut anything on it. I think that will for sure prolong the life of the board. I have read some petty complaints here and there about his shipping(not his work or product). I can't say enough good things an\bout David and his work. I will deffinatly be purchasing more cutting boards from him soon. I had NO problem with communicating with David via emailo or phone in the least. He does exactly what he says he will and exactly to your spefications. I will be ordering one soon by the size of 30x 24 x2.. It will be a hard maple center with black cherry border. Thank you so much David for my just perfect cutting borad. I reccomend any and everybody to call or email David for a fine piece of furniture. The only thing was I might have bothered David a little because I was chomping at the bit to recieve my new board. Good luck with your future endevors David,and I will be calling you soon. David Moore

                                              1. re: Nugentrocks
                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: Nugentrocks Feb 2, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                Glad to hear your feedback. David's reputation as a craftman is unrivaled. However, I won't say "shipping/order" is petty. We all have preference. A wrong board is a wrong board. If I order an automatic transimsion car and it arrives as a manual car. I won't say it is a petty issue to complain about it. tyyz got the a cutting board with the wrong spec. David has acknowledged it too. His response was removed now, but it was here. Their disagreement was about how to handle this mistake. This also happened to smkit. Now, I am sure it does not happen to everyone, but it did happened at least a few times. Everyone has different experience. Some got lucky and some not so much. Let's respect each other's experience, and not call the other person's complaint as petty.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                                  Nugentrocks RE: Chemicalkinetics Feb 2, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                  Not calling anybody "petty". I think that their issues could be resolved without much ado about it is all I said. Anyway I know if you're looking for something that you want and the least thing is wrong is a big deal to some. I have had a very deloghtful experience with David. Sorr if you took it the wrong way.

                                                  1. re: Nugentrocks
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                                                    tyyz RE: Nugentrocks Feb 2, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                    Thanks Chemicalkinetics - couldn't have said it any better myself. The wrong product was shipped, and I agree it could have - and should have - been resolved without too much trouble. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

                                                    I would re-iterate that I have no complaints as to the quality of the product. However, given all the praise that the BoardSmith has received on this forum (and others), I think it's only fair to share some feedback regarding my experience with the shipping error. That way, future shoppers can make an informed decision.

                                                    1. re: Nugentrocks
                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: Nugentrocks Feb 2, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                      I understand you didn't call anyone petty, but I believe you mentioned that some of *compliants* as "petty complaints". I have no doubt that most people have great experience which is why David got such a good review as a craftman. My understanding is that a few people have semi-bad to bad experience due to shipping and order. Although it takes nothing from David being a great craftman, these problems ultimately did impact the customers. To the person it happened to, the impact is big.

                                                      What do they say as a joke? It is an economic recession when your neighbors get layoff. It is an economic depression when you get layoff.

                                                      I agree with your original post 99%. I think David is a great craftman. I believe you had an excellent experience, and to some extend I am sure both tyyz and David could have handled the problem in a more efficient manner. I just thought maybe the phrase "petty complaints" may be just a touch too strong. It kind of implies that tyyz shouldn't have complained.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                                        smkit RE: Chemicalkinetics Feb 2, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                        As one who had some problems with my Boardsmith experience, I just want to reiterate my confidence in David's products. There were some shipping/ordering problems and I even knew that he had some logistical challenges at the time of my order. I guess what I am saying is that I understood to some degree. With that said, here is an excerpt from David's blog about challenges in 2010. I would fully expect that future customers would have few if any problems.

                                                        [BEGIN QUOTE]

                                                        In another Internet forum, a comment was made that The BoardSMITH has had some complaints and problems with orders and shipping in 2010. That is a true statement.

                                                        To elaborate.

                                                        The year of 2010 was a year of transition and change. I moved the shop which put me behind in filling orders and I have stayed behind since. What I should have done was close until I was ready to continue production which is a total fault on my part. I expected I could keep up and still complete the shop but I was wrong, the new shop took far longer than I anticipated and everything suffered. As an addition, I am still finding details needing to be done which should have been done long ago.

                                                        I hired a part-time employee to help with shipping and packing. I hoped that by delegating those tasks to someone I could concentrate on making the boards to the standards I expect and demand. I later discovered his reasons for working part-time was nothing more than a convenient ruse....His packing skills were horrible with the boxes looking like someone had slept in them. There have been instances of orders and boards not matching up after he was finished which caused me extra time to straighten out his mess....

                                                        [END QUOTE]

                                                        I think David mentioned in his earlier reply that that worker has since been removed from his employ.

                                                        If (and when) I order from David again, I will be confident in his product and shipping.

                                                        1. re: smkit
                                                          Chemicalkinetics RE: smkit Feb 2, 2011 01:06 PM

                                                          smkit,

                                                          Thanks for the information. I think the information will be helpful for others, so they know the situation has been changed. Yes, I remember David has written the root of the original problem ihas been removed. What's done is done. In no way I want to tell people not to buy from David. All I wanted to say is that tyyz's compliant about getting a board of the wrong dimensions and of the wrong features is a reasonable compliant. Of course, there were additional complaints too.

                                                          I don't know how to say it better, so I will use an example. Toyota recall. I personally have confident that Toyota has tried its very best to fix its problems and is sincere about changing. I have absolutely no problem in getting a Toyota for my next car. That said, I think the "unintentional acceleration" incidents were real and did affect a few people. For the people who were affected, I think they have absolute right to express (or not express) their anger and their experience. To me, they are separate issues.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                                            escondido123 RE: Chemicalkinetics Feb 2, 2011 04:05 PM

                                                            Good customer service means the customer does not pay for a mistake made by the company or any of its employees.....period.

                                                  2. re: Nugentrocks
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                                                    hmansion RE: Nugentrocks Sep 14, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                    For those of you who have a BoardSMITH board, how long did it take for you to get it? Has anyone ordered recently and received their board in a timely fashion?

                                                    The site says to allow 2 to 3 weeks - I'm now over 7 weeks. In late July I ordered a "stock" maple board (i.e. no modifications) and have been disappointed with the delay. I understand its a one-man operation and I don't want to hound Dave, but a simple email update and "Thank you for your continued patience!' would go a long way to improve the customer service side of things...

                                                    1. re: hmansion
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                                                      hmansion RE: hmansion Sep 15, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                      Well, as coincidence would have it - my BoardSMITH board arrived today. I was never sent the UPS shipment confirmation and tracking number so had no idea it was en route. My experience seems similar to some of the reports I've heard - the "operations side" - order confirmations, proactive updates on delays, notice of shipping, etc. - of BoardSMITH has room for improvement, but my cutting board really is gorgeous. I would go so far as to call it furniture-like in quality and appearance.

                                                      If you're the patient type and can forego the niceties of a seamless ordering process, you may want to keep BoardSMITH on your shopping list. I sat it out (granted,feeling pretty frustrated at times) and ended up with a superbly crafted artpiece.

                                                      1. re: hmansion
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                                                        Nugentrocks RE: hmansion Sep 15, 2011 06:32 PM

                                                        hmansion I read your posts about the product you received the other day from David (The Boardsmith) It is great to receive it is it not? I bought a 30x22x2" cutting board from David I beleive back in Feb of this year (2011)After my initial order from his website, I was in contact with him via e-mail as well as a few phone calls. At first I was kind of hesident ot call him so much on the phone (as I was chomping at the bit to receive my board. After talking to David via phone and several e-mails I was completely assured (to my satisfaction) that everything I had wanted would be realized. When it came I (beleive I called him) or via e-mail, and told him that I had expected a very beautiful board, but upon inspection it had surpassed any desires I had had before hand. It did take a few weeks to get in the mail (iabeit by UPS). I'm pleased that youdid receive your board, and hope you have as much delight as I have had with mine. I plan to order another one in the near future,but as you know the econamy is not that great as I type this. I would suggest to anyone that wants a nice cutting board, that could be a piece of furniture, please call David Smith. You will receive a board that you specified, but not only that. I beleive it will surpass all your expectations. One thing that I have heard on these topics is that the delivery may be a little longer than anticipated, but beleive me that it is not his fault. In my case he had to order some more wood stock that I wanted my board constructed of. Don't be shy to call David or send e-mail (as I did). I'm sure he loves to talk to his customers. I can't recommend The BoardSmith more highly. All it takes is to order a board and receive it in the mail. I know you will be just as happy as I was, and will be in the future. I plan to pass this board down to my future generations, as I'm sure they will do. Thanks' for the oportunity to tell you of my expeeience with David Smith. Hope all goes well with all that read this in the coming year. David Moore

                                                        1. re: hmansion
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                                                          smkit RE: hmansion Oct 16, 2011 08:26 PM

                                                          Just be aware that Boardsmith Dave is moving shops after a landlord sent him packing from his newly equipped shop of just last year. Not good for him. His boards are worth the wait.

                                            2. pikawicca RE: tyyz Aug 27, 2010 12:09 PM

                                              I've had a 17x24 reversible Boos board sitting beside my stove for years. It's reversible, with one side having a channel around the perimeter to catch meat juices when carving. The only time it gets near the sink is when it's used as a carving board. I never cut protein on the cutting board side. I clean it with hot soapy water after every use, give it a light sanding occasionally, and apply mineral oil once in a while.

                                              This board has a lip on the front that fits over the countertop and keeps the board from sliding. I put a rubber washer underneath the board at each corner to promote air circulation. I don't believe that there's an item in my kitchen that I use or appreciate more.

                                              1. m
                                                mikie RE: tyyz Feb 2, 2011 12:26 PM

                                                A bit of a show off here, but you guys will appreciate the effort. This is one of the cutting boards I made for my kids for Christmas this year. They were all end grain, nominally 2 inches thick and about 13x18 inches. This one has a Padauk border and is walnut and maple, the maple has brown as well as white tones in it.

                                                 
                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: mikie
                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: mikie Feb 2, 2011 12:28 PM

                                                  Very nice. I wish I can do that, but I need to do so many things before this too.

                                                  1. re: mikie
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                                                    NotJuliaChild RE: mikie Sep 15, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                    Do you sell these?

                                                    1. re: mikie
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                                                      bmccommon RE: mikie Oct 9, 2011 07:00 PM

                                                      Wow, that's one awesome board. I'd buy one of those! It's just beautiful. I hope your kids appreciate it.

                                                      1. re: mikie
                                                        Bada Bing RE: mikie Oct 11, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                        I speak as a foodie and a woodworker: that's terrific!

                                                        My only second thought on trying the same: when I worked with Padauk (sawed it, I mean), the dust really did a job on me. Apparently I'm allergic.

                                                        1. re: Bada Bing
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                                                          mikie RE: Bada Bing Oct 11, 2011 07:43 PM

                                                          Although for the most part exotic woods are safe, there are many that cause allergies for some people. I've used exotic woods for other projects and apparently I'm not allergic. I used the exotic wood around the edge only, as it is more trim than anything, you really cut on the maple and a bit on the walnut.

                                                          To answer the other posters above, no, at this point I'm just making them for friends and family. As far as appreciation, my son only cuts bread on it, the three girls use them daily. I gave one to a close friend and she didn't use it for over a year and hides it so no one else uses it. My oldest daughter put one in a chairty auction and it brought over $200. There's a lot of work that goes into an end grian cutting board and a lot more wood than you might think. It's almost time to start gift giving season again, so I'll be back in the shop before long, I have some requests for cheese boards.

                                                          1. re: mikie
                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: mikie Oct 11, 2011 07:55 PM

                                                            " I gave one to a close friend and she didn't use it for over a year and hides it so no one else uses it. "

                                                            What the?

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                                              mikie RE: Chemicalkinetics Oct 12, 2011 10:30 AM

                                                              "What the?" Exactly! At first I thought she didn't like it, turns out she thinks it's too pretty to cut on. What can you say, cut already, it won't hurt it. I'm still not sure it's ever been cut on. The odd thing is, my wife and I use the one I made for us all the time, and our friend has seen it after years of use and it still looks good, that's one of the neat things about end grain boards, they don't show knife marks badly, it's kind of like a bristle dart board in that regard. On the other hand, it's kind of nice to know it's appreciated.

                                                              1. re: mikie
                                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: mikie Oct 12, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                                Oh. So she actually likes it too much. That must be flattering nonetheless. I think you will never able to convince your friend to use it. What you can do (if you want) is to make her another one. So now, she has one she can use, and one she can keep a show piece.

                                                      2. j
                                                        JorgeNYC RE: tyyz Apr 19, 2014 04:31 AM

                                                        tyyz, If $200 is your ceiling and you want some really nice quality boards try the Magnolia Place WoodWorks shop on Etsy. Take a look at the boards I'm getting made. These are more costly but Nicholas Henton can make any size you need. The 1st is a Black Walnut "Brick" Signature series board, a whopper 36x24x2. Endgrain design with cherry wood for the brick's "mortar". The second also end grain with the same dimensions but I opted for Rock Maple wood with Black walnut accents. This one is comprised of Cherry wood with Black walnut accents. He has many designs to choose from and he can also work with you on a unique design you may have in mind. Give him a browse on Etsy. You may like something that peaks your interest. Very easy person to talk business with Nick by the way.

                                                         
                                                         
                                                        1. j
                                                          JustCharlie RE: tyyz Apr 19, 2014 01:12 PM

                                                          Get an end-grain maple board as big and heavy as you can afford. If it's too tall, mark the legs whilst the unit is on a level surface and saw them off to suit.

                                                          Everything else is an also-ran. Do not, under any circumstances, be talked into buying a long-grain oriented board in any species.

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