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Confused about cutting boards

So before going all out with knives, I've decided to look into maybe upgrading my cutting board first (I currently use and own the poly kind.) I'm a little confused. It appears that the best ones are supposed to be end grain wood (i.e. maple) as far as being the kindest to the knife's edge. So how come websites like Korin and Chef's Knives To Go don't offer any of these types of boards? Chef's Knives To Go only offers bamboo. Isn't this material too hard on the knife's edge? Korin offers materials that I don't even recognize. What material should I REALLY be looking at? I currently own Wusthof knives and a couple of Forschner knives. I would love a Japanese knife (or two) one day. What cutting board material would be kindest on these knives?

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  1. I couldn't tell you about a why a particular store or website doesnt offer a particular style of cutting board other than their price to purchase it doesn't agree with them or they don't agree with the boards. And thats just 2 reasons out of quite a few, honestly.

    If i'm buying boards, i really want to be able to look at it and inspect it, especiallty since my choice is wood. And i would think that the easiest of the ones you've listed would be a wood. Polys are nice, but not 'germ-free' and i'm just a guy who likes the look of a wood board above my knife.

    1. <So how come websites like Korin and Chef's Knives To Go don't offer any of these types of boards?>

      I wonder that too.... certainly for ChefsKnivestoGo. It may have to do with profit margin. Don't ask me why, but high quality Japanese cutting boards have been edge grain design. Possibly for absolute flatness. As for Korin, I have just checked out after you said. It seems Korin offers different synthetic cutting boards. I have seen these used in sushi restaurants. I cannot comment these ones. However, I have used a professional grade rubber cutting board. Rubber cutting boards are increasingly popular in the restaurant industry (Western kitchens or Asian kitchens).


      I have one, and have written a review. In my opinion, my rubber cutting board dulled my knives much faster than my end grain cutting block. By all means, my rubber cutting board is not some no-name low quality board. It is from Sani-Tuff, one of the leaders in rubber cutting board business:


      Instead I went back to my previous thick wood cutting block:


      That being said, I cannot comment if there are some newer and better rubber cutting boards.

      In my opinion, end grain cutting boards and edge grain cutting boards are fine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        That's strange that high quality Japanese wood cutting boards are edge grain. I'm wondering if the type of wood they use has anything to do with it? Or the glue?? I'm more and more convinced end grain is the way to go.

        1. re: sherrib

          There are many things which are different between the Asian concept and the Western concept. As you well aware, a Chinese traditional cutting board is simply a cross section cut of a wood trunk, usually unfinished. They are end grain in this sense, but different from the typical Western end grain boards.


          The Japanese sushi chefs are not too different in this regard. The traditional Japanese sushi boards are face grain, but usually unfinished, often one-piece Hinoki wood. Because they are often one piece, there is not much of a glue to talk about.


          The Hinoki wood is soft compared to maple.

          If you are into end grain, then I have seen some nice deal in TJ Maxx, HomeGoods. Make sure you take a closer look, some of the boards have cracks in them. You don't want those, of course.

      2. Go to John Boos cutting boards site.....all I've ever used, and if cared for can become heirlooms.....

        9 Replies
        1. re: Saddleoflamb

          I've looked at them online extensively. I'm just a little concerned about all of the complaints that they warp or crack. How thick should they be to keep this from happening? I saw a 1 and a 1/2 inch thick one in a store (edge grain though.) I like that it wasn't terribly heavy. Is that "too thin"? How thin can I safely go without worrying about warping or cracking?

          1. re: sherrib

            You can get cracking and warping in just about any block. I worked in a resort where the butcher had a nice block for his work. Talking about a 8-10' thick block that was probably around 4ft long by 3ft wide, maybe? In the 5 years i worked there, a crack started in one of the corners were two pieces met. The Banquet Chef tore him a new one for that because that block was about a 2K investment.

            If you take good care of them, dry any fluids pretty quick, little mineral oil from time to time, i'd imagine even something from Target or something would last a good long while.

            1. re: Irregular

              Wow. I wonder, though, if thinner boards are MORE prone to cracking than the thicker ones. Or, does it all just have to do with how you treat it, no matter how thick the wood is (or who manufactured it?)

              1. re: sherrib

                It is probably more affected by the manufacturing than the thickness. Hardwood must be aged to dry and stabilize before being worked. A crack can result when a piece is used before fully stabilized.

                1. re: GH1618

                  I concur completely. It's as much about the wood and the way it's cared for as anything. I made boards for each of my kids about a year and a half ago, 4 boards total and two of the four have now cracked in some odd places. My son's board shows absolutely no signs of cracking, neither does the one I made for my youngest daughter, but the other two girls have odd cracks in their boards. What they have in common is the manufacturer, me, the thickness and overall dimensions and the glue, Tightbond III. What they don't have in common, is although they are predonemtly maple, not all the maple came from the same lot of wood and I can't say which board got which wood at this point, and they don't get the same treatment and use. I know my son takes impeckable care of his board, keeping it dry and keeping it oiled. None have warped and they are nominally 2" thick. My wife has an older board I made that is under 1.5 inches and it hasn't warped or cracked, but I know it was wood that I had for a very long time, so it was dry and I keep it oiled. I recently made her a new board to slide into a slot in the cabinetry just below the counter top, it's slightly under one inch to fit the space provided by the cabinet maker. It hasn't warped yet, but it's fairly new, and it's larger than the other boards.

                  If the boards are properly oiled, warping and cracking shouldn't be an issue, as the moisture content will not change. If left to dry out, then you have problems. On the other hand it's wood and as one of natures' products, you have to expect the unexpected sometimes.

                2. re: sherrib

                  Thin boards will warp more easily, so you have to be very careful with storing and moisture. Warping will stress the seams where the boards are glued and weak points in the wood. I've cut juicy tomatoes on a 1-inch end grain board before and just the juice from the tomato will cause it to slightly warp after 30 minutes.

                  1. re: smkit

                    I've never had a board warp from normal use and the big one is a thin, cheap cutting board from IKEA; guess I'm lucky.

              2. re: sherrib

                I'm just a little concerned about all of the complaints that they warp or crack.

                With Boos those are valid conerns IME. I've had two of their 3" boards fail and Americas test kitchen had a boos board fail during testing as well. I'd suggest Michigan Maple block if you are in the US.

                1. re: TraderJoe

                  We have a Boos board and treat it pretty badly. Wash it at least twice a day in hot soapy water, rarely dry it well and never oil it. Still great after 7 years.

            2. From what I've read, John Boos end cut boards are the best money can buy; and you'll need lots of money to buy one too. I'm going to throw out a suggestion: can you splurge for a real honest-to-goodness butcher block? The kind on big chunky legs like they used in the olden days? I had one before I had to downsize and absolutely loved it. I had a carpenter build a knife rack along one of the sides and it was oh so convenient. I think about how wonderful it was everytime I used my current bamboo board that is dinky in size just like my hateful dinky cooking "area." (It just doesn't qualify as a kitchen).

              2 Replies
              1. re: cheryleo

                How did you keep the butcher block clean? Would you use it for raw poultry as well?

                1. re: cheryleo

                  See pic...I had this island top made by a Co. called Duhnke. It's maple, and I do almost nothing to it. I lightly hand sand and oil it every few years. It was installed in 1997. Paid $300 for the custom board. I cut everything on it, but if I'm doing raw poultry, I'll pull out a little plastic sheet 1st to cover the board.

                2. Both edge and grain boards will be "kind" to your knives. End grain is important for a chopping block, because it is more resistant to damage when struck a heavy blow with a cleaver.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    If both end and edge grain boards are good to knives, then my next question is, is one type of board more resistant to warping or cracking than the other? I currently don't do any heavy cleaver work. If I'm cooking a big meal, what I currently do is use a poly board (15 x 20) for all of my veggie prep (I chop tremendous amounts of veggies.) If I have to do something with meat, I either wait until all of the veggie prep is finished and then use the same board, or I take out and use a different board if I still have more veggie prep to go. I then scrub both boards with plenty of elbow grease using lots of soap and rinsing very well under hot water. I don't submerge the boards. I don't put them in the dishwasher. I wash them in the sink. This is exactly how I imagine using wood boards. I need a large board for my veggie prep (something bigger than 15x20) and one more for meat (15x20 adequate size for this.) Going from there, I'm confused about end grain, edge grain and then thickness of the boards. I really hope to avoid a cracking/warping board. However, I also really hope that doesn't mean that I would need to get a board that's thicker than about 2" since it might become too unwieldy in the sizes I'm looking at.

                    1. re: sherrib

                      An end grain board might be more resistant to warping, but warping is caused by absorbtion of water. The way to prevent it is to avoid prolonged exposure to water. Just wiping it off after use, and periodically applying mineral oil when fully dry should keep a good board in good shape.

                      I use a one-inch edge grain board, which seems sufficient. It did warp when I allowed water to stand on it for a time, but it has straightened out with prolonged rest to dry. I am more careful with it now, and would never immerse it in water to wash it in any case. I just wipe it off, and periodically clean it with vinegar and peroxide. But I never cut chicken on it — I use a poly board for that.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Also keep in mind that different types of wood will 'move' more than others. If you made the exact same cutting board out of five different woods, each one would likely warp a bit differently.

                  2. No cutting board is "germ-free" unless we keep it so, as much as we can. That said, polymer boards that can be run through the dishwasher are easier to keep clean than wooden boards of whatever kind. Not just for that reason, I've been using Architec's Gripper, the 11" x 14" size - more than one, actually, I have a separate Gripper for cutting meat on. Inexpensive, easy on the knife edges, easy to clean, and they stay put on the countertop.


                    15 Replies
                    1. re: John Francis

                      Recent evidence suggests that wooden boards are actually more sanitary than plastic, just FYI. Wood seems to absorb pathogens, moving them away from the cutting surface, whereas plastic provides scars and crevices that make their surface difficult to sanitize.

                      As personal experience goes, I've found plastic boards dull a knife's edge significantly quicker than wooden ones. Seemed to dull knives maybe twice as quickly, give or take.

                      OTOH, plastic boards admittedly come with an attractive price tag. And they're certainly not on par with glass for destroying a knife's edge or anything like that.

                      1. re: cowboyardee


                        I agree with you that a few research articles have indicated that an aged wood cutting board is more sanitary than an aged plastic board. The mechanism is the same as you have described. However, I am also thinking about something. These researches were done with untreated wood cutting boards. You know how many people seal the cutting boards using mineral oil, beeswax or whatnot, right? Doesn't that also likely to hinder the wood ability to absorb the pathogens as well?

                        This does not make it less sanitary than plastic. It will, however, make it more plastic-like.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Very interesting point. I guess I couldn't say with any confidence at all how a treated wooden board fares in terms of natural sanitary properties. I'm actually a little embarassed that hadn't already occurred to me.

                        2. re: cowboyardee

                          "Wood seems to absorb pathogens." I hadn't heard that, but if true, it's hardly reassuring! And apparently it depends on the kind of wood. Check out this site for the safety pros and cons of wood and plastic boards.


                          Personally, I haven't once had food poisoning in my own home, and don't share the American obsession with utter cleanliness as an end in itself, so I'm not worried about the safety of the equipment I use and how clean I keep it. As for the other points, it's been many years since I used a wooden cutting board/chopping block, so I can't speak from personal experience. But commercial kitchens buy both wood and plastic boards, so it's not clear that either is truly better.

                          1. re: John Francis

                            To be honest, bacteria or lack thereof aren't major factors in why I've chosen the cutting boards I have either. Personally, I'm okay with any choices from a safety standpoint as long as I clean em well and keep separate boards for low risk items (vegetables, etc) and high risk ones (raw chicken, etc). Mainly I point out wood's sanitary properties because I've seen some people shy away from wooden boards due to fear of bacteria, and that seems to be more or less unfounded.

                            "But commercial kitchens buy both wood and plastic boards, so it's not clear that either is truly better."
                            'Better' depends on what characteristics you look for in a cutting board. Plastic boards are undeniably more economical, take up less space, arguably need less maintenance, are more easily color coded, etc. But I can say more or less unequivocally that wooden boards are easier on a fine edged knife. Which characteristics are 'better' just depend on what you're most concerned with.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              I don't want to argue about this at length, but I gather that if there's one thing that professional cooks make a fetish of, its their knives, which many carry with them. If plastic boards were really bad for knives, instead of marginally less kind to them, I'd expect that to outweigh the advantages and keep them out of professional kitchens. But what do I know? petek's the expert on this.

                              1. re: John Francis

                                <petek's the expert on this.>

                                Oh I'm no expert,I just happen to work in a busy production kitchen where wooden cutting boards are verboten(kinda).

                                Do poly boards dull my edges faster than wood,probably,maybe...But what choice do I have?It just means I have to hone/sharpen my knives more often(which I personally don't mind at all :D)

                                1. re: John Francis

                                  I didn't say they were 'bad' for knives. Glass boards are bad for knives. Plastic just means you'll be sharpening more often than if you used wood.

                                  I sharpen knives for professional cooks and professional kitchens - I can assure you that not all professionals keep their knives wicked sharp. Probably the majority don't, to be honest.

                                  Plastic boards are popular in pro kitchens for many of the reasons I listed above - price, low maintenance, utilitarian appeal. Also, I've been led to believe that in some places they are considered less risky with capricious health inspectors.

                                  Again, I have nothing against plastic cutting boards. They make for perfectly acceptable kitchenware and have their own advantages. But in this particular case, the OP is concerned about preserving her knife's edge, and whether pro kitchens use em or not, plastic boards dull a knife noticeably quicker than wood does. I've gone so far as to buy wooden boards for people whose knives I sharpen (my mother, a good friend who is also a professional cook) because it means I'll have to sharpen em less often. And it works.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    I use my Forschner chef's knife the most. I learned to sharpen knives on that knife. I took a private lesson from someone who spent three hours teaching me how to sharpen different knives (after I had only paid for one.) We spent the most amount of time on the chef's knife which was super sharp when we were done (he made sure of it.) I do a lot of vegetable chopping at home and use only poly boards. This knife is now SUPER DULL and is begging to be resharpened. I'm aware that it's a soft steel, and I'm absolutely ok with sharpening it often (it's not an expensive knife and it's my guinea pig for sharpening.) I just know that I will one day want to upgrade from this knife and I don't want to reduce the lifespan of an expensive knife because of my cutting surface. Thanks, Cowboyardee, for verifying this for me.

                                  2. re: John Francis

                                    The cutting boards are no doubt provided by the restaurateur, not the cooks. No cook is going to bring in his own cutting board, even if he brings his own knives.

                                    1. re: John Francis

                                      " If plastic boards were really bad for knives, instead of marginally less kind to them, I'd expect that to outweigh the advantages and keep them out of professional kitchens"

                                      It's a board of health thing. Although many areas do allow the use of wooden boards, its much easier to pacify the board of health by using plastic boards.

                                      1. re: twyst

                                        It's a board of health thing. Although many areas do allow the use of wooden boards, its much easier to pacify the board of health by using plastic boards.

                                        100% spot on.
                                        Just a FYI to the chow clan at large wooden boards are commonly used in commercial setting and both boos and Michigan Maple Block offer NSF rated wood boards. This has become more common as health inspectors accept that once scratched, plastic boards can hold more bacteria no matter how often you sanitize them

                                      2. re: John Francis

                                        Depending on which or what kind of professional kitchen you work in you may have no choice when it comes to wood or plastic cutting boards. FDA requirements, local health department codes, etc. dictate what you can be used in commercial kitchens. So chefs, cooks, and so on, don't have a choice, as such, what they use isn't probably a compelling argument for or against a particular cutting surface.

                                        1. re: mikie

                                          I believe the FDA is more relaxing than the local heatlh department in this regard.

                                    2. re: John Francis

                                      <I hadn't heard that, but if true, it's hardly reassuring!>

                                      Pathogens get absorbed into the wood, and then die. Based on the few literature articles I read, a brand new plastic board is easier to clean than a brand new wood board. However, an old scarred up plastic board is more difficult to sanitize than an old wood scarred up wood board. Here is a short abstract describing such.


                                2. I have managed to keep our boards, both end and edge grain in pretty good shape with normal damp cloth wiping, rubbing with salt and mineral oil. The salt is to presumably kill bacteria. I learned that from a butcher. Once in a great while, I will take a carpenters wood scraper and surface the board with it. Whether the salt and scraping have added to longevity I cannot say, but keeping the board dry has and so has keeping the board lightly oiled.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: dcrb

                                    At work we use poly boards cause they're easy(no oiling,salting etc) to maintain and fit in the machine to get sanitized.

                                    At home I use small poly boards for raw proteins(for the same reasons) and a big ol' maple boardSmith board for everything else...

                                    1. re: petek

                                      <At home I use small poly boards for raw proteins(for the same reasons) and a big ol' maple boardSmith board for everything else...>

                                      Considering Canadians are meat-eater, bet you use the poly boards ten times more often. :P

                                      1. re: petek

                                        Hey Petek,

                                        Where did the rest of your funny comments go? Anyway, you are in the food industry.... have you used a rubber cutting board before, and if so, do you like it?

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          <Where did the rest of your funny comments go?>
                                          Take a guess..I guess someone didn't think they were so funny :D

                                          We use plastic/poly boards at work only.When they get too beat up we chuck em' in the bin and buy new ones.I haven't used the rubber ones(sani tuff?)so I can't comment on them,sorry.

                                          1. re: petek

                                            Not everyone has good sense of humor like we do.

                                            About the rubber boards, one thing really great about them is that you can resurface them by sanding them, whereas you cannot do that to a typical poly board. On the other hand, Sani-Tuff rubber boards are not dish washer safe.

                                    2. American Test Kitchen had an episode reviewing cutting boards. Their pay site usually does not display their contents to non-members. But here's the cutting boards review with an update, in full, for everyone, for now. Better copy and save it, I did.


                                      1. All my cutting boards are wood and they get washed with warm, soapy water in the sink after they're used and then lightly dried. No problems with warping. Here's a shot of the four I use the most. (I'm working on a post on this subject for my blog and I just took the picture an hour ago.) The pale one at the bottom is half of an Ikea countertop--25" x 21". It's my favorite for mise en place.

                                        1. I ordered a great big mahogany board from "the boardsmith" a few weeks ago and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. I have heard nothing bot good things about his boards.


                                          36 Replies
                                          1. re: twyst

                                            Yer gonna love it twyst!
                                            Photos please when you finally get it...

                                            1. re: petek

                                              "Yer gonna love it twyst!
                                              Photos please when you finally get it..."

                                              Just got a quick camera phone shot of it, but its super nice. Im totally in love with my new board :D

                                              1. re: twyst

                                                <Im totally in love with my new board :D>

                                                What size is the board??

                                                1. re: petek

                                                  22 x 16 x 2

                                                  I almost went with the biggest size but am really glad I didnt as this thing is PLENTY big enough for me

                                                  1. re: twyst

                                                    "22 x 16 x 2 "
                                                    Same here..it's plenty big.It's the perfect size for my kitchen counter top..right next to the oven.The mahogany looks real nice(I kinda cheaped out a bit,went for the maple,no regrets though)
                                                    Looks like you had to wait over a month for the board,but it's totally worth it.

                                                    Enjoy your new board! :D

                                                    1. re: petek

                                                      About 2 months actually, but worth the wait!

                                                      1. re: petek

                                                        22 x 16 x 2

                                                        I have to triple this remark. I too, almost went with the bigger one and am glad I didn't. My boardsmith is maple and I adore it. The mahogany one is a beauty. No doubt you will love it. Congratulations!

                                              2. re: twyst

                                                I did a lot of research here and at kitchen knife forums looking for a good cutting board and I recently received my first Boardsmith, in walnut. I'm still conditioning it and it's so far unused, but I have to say that it is a thing of beauty and craftsmanship and that's just for a stock piece! The craftsmanship truly reminds me of old school furniture makers -those that took pride in their work and had it reflected in what they made. That's high praise from me.

                                                Based on all the good reviews Boardsmith gets, I'm sure I'm going to be very happy using it. My only regret is not getting something custom designed, but I think that can be remedied.

                                                1. re: Molly James

                                                  I'm curious as to your conditioning process. It takes a long time?

                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                    I condition by oiling it once a day for the first week and then put a mix of oil/beeswax on it. It just took me a bit to get started doing that.

                                                    I'm sure it would be fine to use after oiling once or twice. (I think that's the general recommendation).

                                                2. re: twyst

                                                  I've also read rave reviews about his boards. Although I'm still deciding what to get, I emailed him over the weekend with the same questions I've asked here. He's been INCREDIBLY nice about it. I see why he's well respected and based on pics I've seen of his boards, I see why they're coveted.

                                                  1. re: twyst

                                                    I have a maple Boardsmith, cutting board and I love it. It is truly high quality and he was so good to work with. I highly recommend Boardsmith cutting boards.

                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                      "I have heard nothing bot good things about his boards"

                                                      Hmmm. There's plenty of discussion about those boards and not all good. There was thread recently on KKF with some hideous boards with massive of amounts of mineral staining that the Boardsmith is passing off as fist quality. That wood wouldn't even make a #2 grade like that and at those prices I'd certainly expect #1 wood. I like those boards but I'd never buy one sight unseen and they are really only finished on one side.
                                                      I hope you asked David about his "mahogany" because I've seen him discuss that before. He buys his wood from a lumber yard so he really has no idea on the origin of the "Mahogany" he is using which can be many sub-species, some of which can be from over forested areas in the Amazon and Africa. That might not be an issue for every one but it's some to be aware of before you just pay a bunch of $$$ for a board because it's purdy. There was another thread here in the past with complaints from other hounds about communication issues as well.


                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                        <I like those boards but I'd never buy one sight unseen>
                                                        I will never buy anything else that big or expensive online again. Gotta see it up close and personal.
                                                        I was very "lucky" with my boardsmith board.Certainly not perfect but nothing worth the hassle of returning it(from Canada).Still, a great piece of wood that I hope to get many years of use from...

                                                        1. re: petek

                                                          I like Davids boards but clearly he has some quality control issues with Maple. It's not as easy as it sounds to get a consistent product. The Mahogany should just be avoided IMO.
                                                          David does make very nice Walnut and Cherry boards and I've never seen an issue with those. Still not a fan of boards with feet but that's just me.

                                                          1. re: TraderJoe

                                                            Quality control? I know Dave has past issues of sending people the wrong dimension or wrong specifities. I have not heard of the QC thing. Why should we avoid Mahogany? Is it toxic?

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Because Mahogany is all CITES listed and unless it's plantation grown you have no idea what the origin of the wood in your board is. Not all Mahogany is equal. As far as QC just follow the link I posted with photos of boards plastered with mineral stains. Those are defects no matter how you slice it. (pun intended)

                                                              AFAIK All Mineral stains in Maple are formed from deposits in fungus that grows in the wood after some injury to the wood such as root rot, trauma, cancer etc.

                                                            2. re: TraderJoe

                                                              Can't believe I missed this. Hard maple has a lot of different things that could be refered to as defects, some are, some aren't. Hard maple has cream sapwood and a brown heart wood. Some boards use this combination of color to make a pattern in the end grain board. It's not a defect, but not everyone may like the look of heart and sapwood in the same board. Some red maple has streaks in it along with a small hole. This is the result of a worm and mineral staining, probably not great for a cutting board. The worst thing I can think of is what is refered to as spalting, a black line in the wood, this is the result of a level of decay. It makes for interesting specialty wooden items for display, but would not be suitable for a cutting board under any circumstances. I'm not sure what is being referenced as a defect, but what may appear to be a defect in the wood may not actually be.

                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                All Mineral staining in Maple is considered a defect in the Wood industry.
                                                                There's no way to clean that up by giving it some kitchy name and you can search the US Forestry service pamphlets on disease in Maple for more detailed info or just read down thread.
                                                                David has put out some Maple boards with numerous defects right down the middle of the board on the main cutting service and result was unhappy customers. In either event he posted that he was going to start offering blemish free boards at a premium price so if that's what a customer wants they need to ask if David has not done that on his web site yet.

                                                            3. re: petek

                                                              >I will never buy anything else that big or expensive online again. Gotta see it up close and personal.<

                                                              While this would be my preference too, I don't live in an area where high end, end grain cutting boards are available near by.

                                                              And the more folks choose to buy on-line, I am seeing less and less choices of anything to buy in the stores. Such as there isn't a store that carries LC within a hundred miles of me.

                                                              So for me to get a high end cutting board, I had to risk it and order on line, or do without.

                                                            4. re: TraderJoe

                                                              >I like those boards but I'd never buy one sight unseen and they are really only finished on one side. <

                                                              My Boardsmith board is finished exactly the same on both sides and the edges. But I did get mine without the feet.
                                                              Another thing that I liked about his boards and was the determining factor for me was the size of the end grain pieces and the pattern that they were put together. The pieces are big. I am not home to measure, but I think about 4 inches long and maybe a couple of inches wide? Then they are placed in a brick pattern, which makes it more stable.

                                                              1. re: dixiegal

                                                                My Boardsmith board is finished exactly the same on both sides and the edges

                                                                Not if you look closely. Sorry but David has been clear about this in the past and you can see close ups on his site. Nothing about the BS boards pattern is more "stable". They are just glued together 1x4's purchased from a lumber yard and thus the shape.

                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                  >Not if you look closely. Sorry but David has been clear about this in the past and you can see close ups on his site. Nothing about the BS boards pattern is more "stable". They are just glued together 1x4's purchased from a lumber yard and thus the shape.<

                                                                  Well I don't know about how far "in the past" you are speaking of. I have had my Boardsmith board for about 7 mos.

                                                                  Either my board is finished on both sides or it is not finished on either side, because both sides of my board are exactly the same. I know, because I use both sides of my board exactly the same.

                                                                  The wood ends are 2 x 4's. I measured them and my board is just over 2 inches thick. I have no clue if they came from a lumber yard or if Dave went out and cut down his own trees and cut his own boards from the logs. If the boards came from a lumber yard, i don't see how that matters.

                                                                  And yes, staggard joints (as in a brick pattern) are more stable than all running joints. That is why wood floors have staggard joints, as well as decks, block and wood retaining walls and bricks and blocks on houses.

                                                                  On a cutting board, the staggard joints might not be all that beneficial, because a cutting board is not holding up weight (such as a building) or holding back a landslide of dirt and rock or water.

                                                                  But living in a family of cabinet makers, house and barn builders, and even a bridge or two, I have learned a lot about building things to be stable and learned to appreciate stability, as well as craftmanship from a real craftsman that takes pride in his or her work. But that is just me.

                                                                  Oh and my board does indeed have some of those 'mineral stains' on some of the edge pieces. But I guess they don't bother me, because I had to check to see if they were there.
                                                                  I am a lover of nature and all that comes out of it.. Things made of wood leather, rocks and stones are my favorite. And I love them for their 'imperfections'. For that is what makes each piece special. I have learned through the years to grasp and appreciate all the imperfections in my life. For that is what makes it so unique and special.

                                                                  I too have visited and read a lot about Boardsmith boards and the man Dave that makes them. While I have seen some complaints about not receiving the board ordered, I just have not read complaints about the quality of the boards.

                                                                  Those mineral deposit marks has nothing to do with the quality of the board. That is only a cosmetic thing. The board is still a fine board. I mean it isn't like it is knotty and full of holes. But if the mineral deposits are a problem for some maybe they could request one without. But I bet the price would go up. The more perfect anything is, the more it is going to cost.

                                                                  1. re: dixiegal

                                                                    Those mineral deposit marks has nothing to do with the quality of the board. That is only a cosmetic thing.


                                                                    Not according to the US Forestry service. ;)

                                                                    Mineral deposits form in damaged areas of the wood. Wood with mineral stains like that is not even grade #2. You are just getting hosed when you get a board full of mineral stains like the one in the thread I linked. That staining comes from mineral deposits that form in a fungus that grows in the wood after an injury to the tree. Not every mineral stain will rot but almost all rot in Maple comes from areas with mineral stains. Those areas can be much harder or softer. In short each one of those stains is a defect.

                                                                    So much for getting more for your $$ or having the board be easier on your knife edge. There's a reason you don't see defective or stained boards like that getting sent out from MMB and Boos and it starts with the fact that they control their wood quality by not buying 2x4's at a hardware store. Not even Boos or MMB seconds look like that and you can buy their seconds from time to time on overstock dot com for less $$.

                                                                    As far as the BS price going up you already paid top dollar for #1 wood just like those in the pictures on the BS web site.

                                                                    I can't imagine paying more on top of full price not to get a board with several defects running right down the center of the board.

                                                                    1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                      <Mineral deposits form in damaged areas of the wood. >

                                                                      Based on your kitchenknifeforum link, some people agree with the above statement, while others think the stains are no big deals.

                                                                      <you don't see defective or stained boards like that getting sent out from MMB and Boos >

                                                                      Yet, there are plenty complaints of Boos.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        <Yet, there are plenty complaints of Boos>
                                                                        When I was researching my new board I read more negative reviews than positive(warping/cracking/splitting etc) and they cost the same or more than the boardSmith board I purchased(up here in Canada anyway)

                                                                        1. re: petek

                                                                          Yeah, I read a lot of negative complaints.



                                                                          That being said, I also feel like that many people who bought Boos cutting boards have no idea how to take care of one. So I am not saying Boos boards are not good. In fact, I bet they are good. I just think sometime some complaints are very valid, while some are not at all.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            So I am not saying Boos boards are not good. In fact, I bet they are good.
                                                                            The other thing to consider with Boos is that they produce a zillion boards so they are bound to have more failures. My opinion is that they are no longer drying their wood properly to keep up with demand. If you look at their web site they are now using metal corner straps on their 16" Monarch butchers block to stop the wood from separating.
                                                                            MMB is still using double dovetail joints on the 16" blocks.

                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          When I was researching boards, I read tons of complaints about boos boards. Even on the knife forum, I read where one got rid of his boos board or boards after receiving their Boardsmith board. Of course, since boos boards are produced in the masses, there are more boards out there to complain about. At the time I was researching boos boards, I found the ones comparable to my BS board to be more expensive than my BS board.
                                                                          Anyway, out of curiosity, I have been looking and looking for more complaints on Dave, and I am just not finding them. The complaint about receiving the wrong board and the one about the mineral stains is all I have found. I also saw where even grade #1 hard maple lumber can have minimal mineral stains. It seems that is bee common in hard maple. I also read wher the mineral stains are caused by the soil. Not disease. It is, in fact considered a defect or blemish in the lumber. So lumber with little or no blemishes does cost more.

                                                                          Consumers being how they are, value things in various ways. Because some consider mineral stains as defective, I think Dave would save himself some headaches and customers, if he used photos of some boards with the stains and educate folks on what they are and how it affects the wood.
                                                                          Selling boards with the stains for less money would not be beneficial foe Dave, because the same time and work is put in those boards as the ones without. Much of the price of Dave's boards is in the labor, not just the wood. That is the way of any hand crafted thing.
                                                                          Ever priced a homemade/handmade no machines used, quilt? Hundred to well over a thousand dollars. And that ain't for the material used to make the quilt.....

                                                                          1. re: dixiegal

                                                                            I also read wher the mineral stains are caused by the soil. Not disease.

                                                                            Sorry but again that is simply incorrect.
                                                                            It's not my opinion, the US forestry service has several pamphlets and articles on the topic. Try googling Dept of Ag pest leaflet 110 to start.

                                                                            Chem the tone of that thread changed a bit from the image on page 2 to the image on page 7. Several large stains down the center of a cutting board is a big problem.
                                                                            There is no more labor in Daves boards than any other board. In fact there's less in Davids boards as he's just gluing together 2x4's.
                                                                            Yes there are plenty of legitimate complaints about Boos. As I said I've had two 3" Boo's boards crack so I don't use them any more but you will never see one of their boards with several large defects in the form of mineral stains right down the middle. This is not the first time the topic of defects like this has come up with BS so those defects are more common than some might like to believe. They don't look any thing like the boards he advertises on his web site so it's not hard to understand why a customer would not be happy even if they don't understand what causes mineral stains. When you just buy 2x4's in a lumber yard you have no quality control other than not sending out the defective boards. Clearly that's not some thing BS sees as an option.
                                                                            IMO the best boards out there are Michigan Maple Block and Boardsmith (with caveats). Boardsmith brand boards in both Maple and Mahogany should be avoided unless you can actually see the Maple board you are getting in advance.
                                                                            The Mahogany has nothing to do with David but the simple truth is the Mahogany sold at a lumber yard can be any number of species. You just have no idea what you are getting.
                                                                            As far as other complaints well you don't have to look far. There was not one but two incidents in the past where David threatened to file a lawsuit against people that returned defective boards and yet another thread here in the past with a cracked board. All board makers will have some failures, but the difference is how they handle customer service.

                                                                            1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                              <they are now using metal corner straps on their 16" Monarch butchers block to stop the wood from separating.>

                                                                              I thought that is just mostly look good like this one. Sure metal straps can help the wood from separating, but sometime they just look good too:


                                                                              <There was not one but two incidents in the past where David threatened to file a lawsuit against people that returned defective boards >

                                                                              Ha ha ha. This is horrible.

                                                                              <the difference is how they handle customer service.>

                                                                              I perfectly understand what you mean.

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                That's a solid point about the look on the Boos Monarch Chem. The straps are a recent change. Both Boos and MMB have been making those 16" blocks over a hundred years.
                                                                                I want one! ;)

                                                                              2. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                >Try googling Dept of Ag pest leaflet 110 to start.<

                                                                                Thanks for that. I couldn't find a lot about mineral stains in wood and what I did find had varied info.

                                                                                >In fact there's less in Davids boards as he's just gluing together 2x4's.<

                                                                                How do others put their blocks together? I thought all of them were glued together.

                                                                                >There was not one but two incidents in the past where David threatened to file a lawsuit against people that returned defective boards <

                                                                                Goodness. Since when is returning defective merchandise grounds for a lawsuit? I mean, did the consumer threaten Dave if they did not get their money back? a new board? There must be more to that story, for that does not make any since. I am picturing myself returning something at the store, only to be summoned to court, because I did....................

                                                                                >All board makers will have some failures, but the difference is how they handle customer service.<

                                                                                I so agree. Customer service can make or break a business.

                                                                                As for Boos boards. I expect they are ok boards. I also suspect the reason you don't see mineral stains on them is because they know, as Dave is finding out, it can hurt the sale of the boards. For it doesn't matter if a product is really defective or not. If the consumer feels it is defective, then it might as well be defective, because they are not going to buy it.

                                                                                I think my advice to Dave (not that my advice matters in the least) is to not use the blocks with mineral stains, or display boards that have them, so people can see that some boards have them, or my favorite idea, is to find a way to use them in the board as a form of art.
                                                                                My board has the blocks with mineral stains down one side. If the whole board was framed with them, it would look kind of cool.

                                                                                But then, I guess I am kind of an artsy person in a way. I am one of the few people I know that likes things made from cedar. I like the constrast of colors and the patterns in the wood. I like hickory even better, for the same reason, but I like the color of hickory better than cedar.

                                                                                I am not attracted to wood like birch, that is almost the same color everywhere and with no textures or patterns.

                                                                                I have only discoverd the spalted wood and think it is soooooo cool. But I think I read something about not using it for food because of it being toxic I think.

                                                                                1. re: dixiegal

                                                                                  David just posted that he is changing his web site soon and he will be offering both standard and premium Maple boards in the near future. The Premium boards will not be stained. I think that's a B I G step in the right direction and no one should be disappointed when they know what they are getting.
                                                                                  I love wood myself so I can surely appreciate how any one would like the design in a given wood grain.
                                                                                  The most important thing is that each person is happy with the board they choose. :)

                                                                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                    Where did he post this?

                                                              2. I am going to say something which comes from a different angle. While a custom made board (such as BoardSmith Dave) is desirable, it is not a must for a kitche knife. In fact, I would argue that it may be wise to get an inexpensive for your first wood cutting board -- if anything just to learn taking care of a wood board and to see if you like a wood board (not everyone likes wood). Once you are convinced that you do like wood boards and have the skill and knowledge to take care of one, then you can purcahse a nicer one.

                                                                In many ways, this is the same advice I give about other products as well. If a person has never used a Japanese knife, then I feel uncomfortable recommending a >$150 Japanese knife.

                                                                24 Replies
                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  And to add to Chems good advice about first getting a cheaper wood board. Get the cheaper version of the type wood board you want. I have used cheap wood boards all my adult life, but they were not end grain. They were just a plank kind of board. Like wood flooring. Anyway, my end grain board is different from my plank style boards and needs a different kind of maintenence. I had some suprises with my new end grain board and a bit of a learning curb. But my end grain Boardsmith board, being the well built board that it is, was forgiving of my mistakes and I adore it.

                                                                  1. re: dixiegal

                                                                    <Get the cheaper version of the type wood board you want>

                                                                    Good point.

                                                                    1. re: dixiegal

                                                                      What were the surprises with your end grain board? What did you need to learn in order to maintain it? What were your mistakes with it?

                                                                      1. re: sherrib

                                                                        >What were the surprises with your end grain board? What did you need to learn in order to maintain it? What were your mistakes with it?<

                                                                        One suprise was how much the end grain absorbes and holds odors. My plank kind of boards didn't do this. After cutting onions, I can just wash it with a little soap and water and let it dry. The odor never stayed with the board for long. With my plank boards, I seldom and I do mean seldom, oiled them. And they seem to function just fine. I have had them a long time.

                                                                        My biggest suprise and scare, was when I decided to wash off my end grain board under running water (like I do my other wood boards) and it began to warp. I was so sick and panicked about that. I got on line and began researching this and found that I need to equally wet the other side of the board, dry off what I could, set it on its end and let it dry. Thankfully, the board settled back into it's original form and without any cracks or seperations. So don't let water get on the board but for a very short time. To short of a time for the water to soak in. I also now add beeswax to the mineral oil, in hopes this will prevent anything from soaking in the board.
                                                                        So end grain boards seem to need more maintenance, but I sure do love using it. I am not a knife expert, but even I can tell how much easier on the knife blade my end grain wood board is.

                                                                        Another suggestion. If you do decide to try a cheaper wood board. Keep in mind just that. Cheaper, meaning cheaper made and probably won't be a good representaion of a well made one. But it will give you an idea about what it will be like to have it around and the care involved.

                                                                        I think if I had had a cheaper end grain board, it would not have survived my water and warping ordeal. But then again, if I had had a cheaper one, I would have learned not to saturate it with the water in the first place. Then I would not have risked damaging my good one. Kind of like my first bike.
                                                                        My parents got me a cheap one, because they knew I would wreck it trying to learn to ride it. Then once I learned to ride, they got me a nice one.............

                                                                        1. re: dixiegal

                                                                          Thank you so much for this information!

                                                                          1. re: dixiegal

                                                                            A few notes about warping:

                                                                            1. For starters, it doesn't seem to me that cheaper end grain boards are any more likely to warp than more expensive boards... if they are the same thickness. Of course, cheaper boards tend to be thinner than more expensive ones, but there are exceptions.

                                                                            2. There is a lot of basic advice how to avoid warping and dixiegal seems to be following most of em - mineral oil can help, a coating of beeswax can help, don't submerge the board under water (though rinsing under running water is fine), don't leave it wet for long periods. But I have a suspicion that one thing I do makes a huge difference, and I never see it under the standard advice. After rinsing and wiping the board clean, I store it STANDING UP. Usually I tilt it against the wall a bit, but the important thing is that the board gets aired out and that gravity isn't pulling water into the board's interior. I can't say for certain this is what makes the difference, but I suspect it's what has kept my current board perfectly straight and well-conditioned while an older wooden board warped (I stored it flat, and at times under other kitchenware). A friend keeps his board stored standing up against the wall and has no warping issues either, even though he doesn't bother to treat it with oil or wax and isn't super particular about how he cleans it.

                                                                            Again, I don't know if this is universally true of wooden boards, but it makes sense to me.

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              Though I know any wood will warp given the right circumstances, I am not sure a cheap end grain board would dry out and return to normal, without any cracking splitting or seperation of the glue joints. My Boardsmith board returned to normal with no cracking or splitting after the water soaking and warping.

                                                                              1. re: dixiegal

                                                                                My cheap end grain board has been fine, as have those I've bought for people. But more to the point, aside from an expensive board sometimes being thicker, I just kind of wonder what people think is so different about a cheap board that might make it more prone to warping. If it's made out of an acceptable hardwood and appropriately thick, what would make it any more prone to warping?

                                                                                I've never seen any real complaints about glue joints splitting in either expensive or cheap boards. There are a lot of reviews on places like Amazon, and while plenty of people complain about the wood itself warping or cracking, I don't see complaints about joints splitting. So while I understand general worries about cheap boards using inferior glue, I don't see any reason to be concerned, at least from a durability standpoint.

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  When I was looking at end grain boards at BB&B, I saw a couple that were split at the joint. And they were still in the plastic wrap. I don't know if it was the glue that gave way, or the edge of the wood pieces that the glue was attached too. I also saw pics of end grain boards that split after laying all night in a little puddle of water on the counter. Of course, that may have caused a split in any board. I saw other pics of various end grain boards that split, also.
                                                                                  So I consider myself lucky with my board and the water incident.

                                                                                  I too have cheap wood boards that I have had for years and I have not even been close to taking special care of them, and they are in great shape. But, they are not end grain boards.
                                                                                  I am all for trying inexpensive stuff. I have plenty that have and are serving me well. And I have sunk money in some expensive things that did not last till the water got hot.

                                                                                2. re: dixiegal

                                                                                  End grain is end grain. There is nothing magical or special about one brand Vs another. If any thing companies like MMB and Boos have the edge because of the way the purchase timber and control the drying process. You won't see either of those bands put out boards with lumber that shouldn't have been used for a cutting board full of mineral stains. Just because you spend more doesn't mean you are getting "more". Your BS board is actually more prone to warping under water than many MMB or Boos boards simply because it's only 2" thick instead of 3". Either way abusing a wood board under running water is not much of a test for any brand and I've seen plenty of BS boards cracked including right here on CH in years past. ;)

                                                                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                    >Your BS board is actually more prone to warping under water than many MMB or Boos boards simply because it's only 2" thick instead of 3". <

                                                                                    This may be, but I didn't want a 3" thick board. I wanted a 2" board, LOL. If I had wanted a 3 inch board, I would have ask Dave to make me one.

                                                                                    Yes. Any wood board can crack. No suprise there.

                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          Thanks for pointing this out. I often hesitate to mention it because i don't want to actively discourage people from looking at a custom boardmaker's offerings, but if you're just interested in function, you can find an end grain board that works very well at a very affordable price. For about 5 years now, I've been using a 15"x15" end grain board that cost me about $30. Still every bit as good as new.

                                                                          There are some perfectly good reasons to buy an expensive custom end grain board - beauty, the availability of larger boards, slightly better assurances over the way the board is made, supporting domestic craftsmen, etc. But it's not the only way to enjoy the functional advantages of an end grain board.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            " . . . I've been using a 15'x15' end grain board"

                                                                            I hope you meant inches! Where or where did you find an end grain board for that price?

                                                                            1. re: sherrib

                                                                              Inches, yeah.

                                                                              It was either at Walmart or Target. Both stores seem to vary which cutting boards they carry periodically, so you might have to look a few times and just be opportunistic about picking one up when they stock em. There are some end grain boards of around that size available on Amazon for about $40.

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                Pay attention to the type of wood those boards in Wally World etc are made from and where they are made. I surely don't want any glue from China and many of the lower end boards are made from Birch which doesn't last as long buy hey it costs less so perhaps it evens out in the end.

                                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                  I'd also advise looking for boards that don't use exceptionally small pieces of wood, just because that entails more glue in the construction.

                                                                                  I can't say firsthand how long you might expect a birch board to last vs one made of, say, maple or cherry. I can say that I'd expect many years of use out of either if the board is maintained well. I can also say that, IME, most hardwood end grain and edge grain boards have comparable feels under the knife, and have similar effects on edge retention. The differences sometimes emphasized by cutting board makers tend to be overblown. I'm not saying there is no difference at all, but hardwood boards tend to be more comparable than not in terms of edge retention and feel.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    I agree across the board (har) Cowboy. The biggest difference between the Birch boards at Wally world etc Vs Maple from the Major board makers (as long as neither are made in China) will be thickness which in the end will have some effect on board longevity but not an edge. Maple has some other beneficial properties and would always be my first choice but they are more $$$.

                                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            I agree with you and think it's a good idea to start with an inexpensive wood cutting board to see how I like it. I'm just not sure if I'll be comparing apples to apples. If an inexpensive edge grain board splits, warps and is harder on the knife's edge, then I can't really compare that to a board that is end grain coming from a better manufacturer. But I think as far as knives are concerned, I definitely won't get into expensive Japanese knives until 1) I'm confident with my sharpening skills and 2) I've started with some good quality entry level Japanese knives to see how I like them (by this I mean affordable yet still of a good quality.)

                                                                            1. re: sherrib


                                                                              I think dixiegirl is correct that you want to get a board resembles what you will eventually get. If you foresee yourself getting a $200 custom end grain cutting board, then maybe you can get a $30 end grain board from HomeGoods or TJ Maxx. If anything, just to get you ready for a more expensive cutting board.

                                                                              For example, a pair of $50 winter gloves may keep your hand warmer than a pair of $10 gloves, but a pair of $250 gloves may not get you that much more benefits.

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                Good advice. The cheapest online price I've seen for an end grain in the size I'm interested in is over $60. That's not cheap! I think I have to start with a smaller board and see how I like the feel/texture of it first. I do know that I will definitely need to end up with something bigger than 15x20. But that doesn't mean it's where I have to start.

                                                                                1. re: sherrib

                                                                                  Yes, unfortunately/fortunately that many online cutting boards have free shipping service. You know the shipping fee is really attaced to the price, of course. As an example, I have seen this Catskill cutting board a few times from HomeGoods, TJ Maxx for about $25-30.


                                                                                  Online; it is $54, which isn't that bad if you consider that they are shipping one big item to you.

                                                                                  <I do know that I will definitely need to end up with something bigger than 15x20. But that doesn't mean it's where I have to start.>

                                                                                  You know. You don't have to think of your first wood cutting as a waste. When you do get a second wood cutting board, you can use one just for meats and one just for vegetables. Alternatively, one is your main cutting board, and the other is your bread cutting board. You can always use one as a cleaver block (to be abused), while the other one is kept pretty. :)

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    As an aside, your cleaver comment reminded me that I finally ordered a CCK. Can't wait!

                                                                                    1. re: sherrib

                                                                                      <your cleaver comment reminded me that I finally ordered a CCK>

                                                                                      Cool. Did you order the thin cleaver or the thick cleaver? Although they are both called cleaver, they have very different usages. The thin one is probably the thinnest knife you have ever used, and is excellent for slicing and dicing, but horrible at chopping bones. The thick one is the other way around.

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        Thin. I need it for vegetables. I'm hoping the size will help with things like squashes.

                                                                          3. Although this may be splitting hairs, no pun intended, the biggest difference between end grain boards and edge or face grain boards isn't how it effects the knife, but how the knife effects the board. With edge or face grain boards the wood fibers are running perpendicular to the knife, this is the case if you are cutting with or across the grain of the wood. As a result, over time the knife leaves some serious marks in the board and in extreme cases can turn up splinters of wood. With end grain boards, the grain runs paralell to the knife blade. This is a bit like a bristle dart board in as much as the dart seperates but doesn't break the fibers, the knife cuts between rather than across the grain. Ultamately this does less damage to the cutting board. Now with this said, it takes a lot of cutting to splinter an edge grain board. The other difference is that the end grain is much more receptive of the the mineral oil treatment than an edge or face grain board is. Again because of the fiber and grain alignment, the end grain board soaks up the mineral oil, in some cases, when a board is fully oiled, the oil from one side comes through the other. You can't get that type of penetration on edge or face grain.

                                                                            The best woods for a cutting board are American hardwoods, such as maple, cherry, walnut, woods with relatively close grain. This is opposed to oak with a relatively open grain structure, although I have seen oak used for this purpose. Trees (woods) that yield products you can eat are typically considered to be safe for cutting boards, so fruit, nuts, or maple sirup are all good safe choices. My personal favorite is cherry, I just like the texture and the color, and I like it mixed with other woods for contrast, it fits nicely with the lighter maple or darker walnut.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mikie

                                                                              Ding, ding. We have a winner. Long grain boards will splinter. End grain will not. The difference to the knife edge is mostly immaterial.

                                                                              Making and end grain board is more labor intensive which can easily be noted if you simply look at a wood board and contemplate the whole thing for a few minutes.

                                                                              Whilst people are not horses, one should note that walnut is totally toxic to a horse and will cause certain allergic reactions in humans. Do not use a walnut cutting board. Stick to maple, beech, cherry.

                                                                              1. re: CharlieTheCook

                                                                                Long grain boards will splinter


                                                                                Boards are either end grain which is the best (IMO), Edge grain which is perfectly fine or face grain which can indeed splinter. You are not going to splinter an edge grain board unless you abuse the schneikies out of it. I've seen edge grain sandwhich boards in daily use in professional kitchens that were 30+ years old and nearly worn through in places with out any splinters.

                                                                                Personally I like edge grain at home for butchering because they absorb less. I use end grain for day to day cutting.

                                                                                There is also no reason to avoid walnut unless you have horse DNA. If you want to avoid Walnut you may want to avoid Beech as well since both Beech and Walnut are nut bearing woods.

                                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                  <There is also no reason to avoid walnut unless you have horse DNA>

                                                                                  How do I find out that I don't have horse DNA?

                                                                                  Anyway, this topic is so old from other forums. Humans are not horses. We share some similiarities, but not all. Human can eat meat. Horse cannot. Horse can eat grass. Human cannot. Human can eat chocolate. Dogs cannot.....etc.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    "How do I find out that I don't have horse DNA? "

                                                                                    Nosh on some Black Walnut muffins with a little walnut saw dust for extra fiber. If you bloat like the Good Year blimp you might be related to Mr. Ed. :-D

                                                                                  2. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                    I have a large 1 inch thick white plastic board for proteins but just got some new Japanese knives and I am looking at going with wood for veggies etc to help retain the edge.

                                                                                    After reading all the above posts the common consensus seems to be "moisture" is the biggest enemy of the wood boards and the most common source of moisture in the kitchen would be water. It also seems to make sense that end grain boards will not only absorb more moisture but just as important absorb it much FASTER making them more vulnerable to accidental splashes, sweating cold beverage bottle or the dastardly dash under the faucet. My board will be out sitting flat on the counter not far from the sink and all of the above will happen to it sooner or later. Enter kids into the equation and its a practical certainty. As a result, I am thinking an edge grain board would be less prone to water related problems due to the slower absorption qualities. Is this an accurate assumption and how is the edge grain on the knife blade? Still better than the white plastic?

                                                                                    Thanks, Tom

                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                      I don't believe the edge/end grain factor is nearly as important as the handling. If a wooden board is left out flat on a counter, you must make sure that there is not water trapped underneath. You must also not allow standing water on top. When my board warped, it was because I was using it as a place to drain dishes when my dishwasher was broken. I had a wet towel in contact with the surface for an extended time. This was a bad idea.

                                                                                      Whichever type of board you have, wipe it dry after use and stand it on edge to dry thoroughly to avoid warpage.

                                                                                      By the way, the warpage has to do with the orientation of wood fibers which have absorbed water, not with the rate of water absorbtion.

                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                        I would not worry so much about your board warping. I've had all kinds of boards--from cheap to expensive--but never end grain. They get washed daily, sit out on the counter and all do just fine. Just be sure you don't have them standing in water or leaning up against the side of a stove where they can be subject to high heat. Keep a clean and use them daily, they'll be just fine. An accidental splash won't warp it, a ring from a cold bottle will dry up and washing under the faucet will assure you of a clean board.

                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                          <I am thinking an edge grain board would be less prone to water related problems due to the slower absorption qualities>

                                                                                          True, but the ways which the end grain and edge grain boards adsorb water are different. When water touches an edge grain cutting boards, the face of it will swell up faster and more than the underside causing it to warp. The end grain cutting boards will absorb water much faster, but you won't get as big as a expansion difference between the top vs the bottom -- instead a greater difference between side to side or center to edge.

                                                                                          In my experience, edge grain cutting boards warp more so than end grain cutting boards, but all my edge grain cutting boards were much thinner than my eng grain boards. So if you are getting boards of equal thickness, then they may be similar.

                                                                                          <Is this an accurate assumption and how is the edge grain on the knife blade?>

                                                                                          I think an edge grain board is just as nice for a knife blade. The difference, if there, is small.

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                            >Enter kids into the equation and its a practical certainty<

                                                                                            After raising 3 children of my own, my advice while you are raising the kids, plus their friends, is to go cheap. Whatever board you choose, make sure it is not a huge investment. Because chances are, at some point, you will be using it for firewood.

                                                                                            For me, my tuffest wood boards are just the plank style? or maybe they are called face grain. Anyway, they are the ones that look like an unfinished hardwood floor. Mine have survived a lot and I still use them. They are just not as kind to my knife edges as my end grain is.
                                                                                            But then I did not get a nice set of knives until my children were grown and in the process of moving out. I then threatend all with an inch of their life If I saw them using my good knives. I put them away where they were not easy to get too.

                                                                                            If you are interested in an end grain, try one of the not so expensive ones and see if it survives the family.:o) That way you can attempt to teach the kids how to take care of it. Kind of like getting the kids a goldfish or hamster before you get them a dog. ;o)

                                                                                    2. I've just seen an episode of Jacques Pépin's "Fast Food My Way" in which he uses both wood and plastic cutting boards. His main board is a thick flat-grain wooden board, but on top of it he had a green plastic board that looks like a Gripper, for cutting up lamb shoulder for curry. When he moved on to the next dish, the plastic board was gone.

                                                                                      Whether Pépin actively chooses every appliance and tool that's used on his shows and dresses the workspaces himself, I don't know, but he must surely have the right of disapproval.

                                                                                      1. The information in this thread is fairly solid. But I would like to add my 2 cents worth.

                                                                                        I can't satisfy everybody, no matter what I do. Each year I run into one or two customers who prove to be a royal pain. I have been crucified here but not allowed to present my side. So as not to bore you with needless details, I can't satisy everybody.

                                                                                        Spalting is a fungus that is eating the wood and should be avoided at all costs. If the wood is kiln dried then the fungus is dead. If the wood is air dried, the fungus is still present and is toxic to humans. Spalting is usually a lighter, spongy feeling wood that has black streaks around and through it.

                                                                                        Walnut in all forms is toxic to horses. The limbs and bark from cherry trees is also toxic to horses. The black locust tree bark will kill a mule. Since none of us are related to Mr Ed, this is a non-issue.

                                                                                        Mineral staining in maple is almost unavoidable. A customer demanded I discard all the maple with any trace of mineral staining and when I inspected the wood, 1/3 had some form in all the end pieces. No business can exist when discarding 1/3 of their raw stock. I do try to avoid mineral stains but sometimes it is impossible.

                                                                                        My lumber sounce isn't just some redneck lumber yard or a lumber yard like Lowe's or Home Depot. I use a wholesale supplier who caters to the professional cabinet shop and professional furniture industry. Their supplies are always good. I am allowed to "cherry pick" a little from the bundles of lumber they bring out to me but when when I "cherry pick" the stack, I can't always be assured that what I get is exactly what I need because the lumber is rough on all sides.

                                                                                        Unlike a lot of the garage part-time builders out there, I do this full-time and am still a one person shop. A recent addition of a part-time helper has helped but finding competent people willing to work is a killer. I also recently invested with a sister shop in a $40k 5 head moulder which will speed up the process and make the boards more accurate.

                                                                                        No I don't use 2 x 4's. That may be close to the final size but that isn't where they start out. All the wood is 8/4"+ thick (2 inches) and is rough just like it came from the dry kiln. Taking the rough stock to a finished product is far more labor intensive than the you can imagine.

                                                                                        All trees have sap wood and heart wood. Sap wood is lighter in color and the heart wood is darker. While the color difference is preferred in walnut for the darker tones, in maple it is the opposite, people prefer the lighter tones. There again, I can't always satisfy everyone.

                                                                                        The arrangement of the blocks is important. The running bond pattern is an accepted and strong way to stack bricks, blocks, install flooring, and yes, build cutting boards. In the running bond pattern, each block is supported by 6 of its neighbors and makes the bond that much stronger. Just ask any brick mason, flooring installer or engineer.

                                                                                        Spliitting of the glue joints can be a problem. I received very few complaints about splitting joints. A high quality glue and proper joint preparation go a long way to avoid problems.

                                                                                        Customer service is a tough call. What satisfies one person will not satisfy someone else. Anyone who is in business knows you can't satisfy everyone and those who are dissatisfied can be loud and long suffering making the issue much, much worse than it actually was. Each year I run into one or two and those can be a royal PITA. (Excuse my inference.) All I can do is try but some can't be satisfied at any cost. And when they post in an internet forum like thins one, it makes the issue look worse, giving me the black eye they intended to do. A recent poster here expressed his displeasure once and then again months later and again months later still.

                                                                                        Okay, so that is my 2 cents worth. Take it or leave it, agree or disagree.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                                          David just for clarification have you started to offer Maple boards with out mineral stains at a higher price as you suggested you would on KKF? IMO that should keep most folks pretty darn happy. The board of yours I saw recently with the Mahogany edge and Maple center was killer!

                                                                                          1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                            As Per David on KKF 7/12/12
                                                                                            "Later this summer or early in the fall, my web site will undergo a major face lift after almost 8 years. I will be adding a returns policy page, as suggested here, alter the FAQ's somewhat, and offer a "Standard" and "Premium" version of the maple boards. The "Standard" may include some mineral staining where the "Premium" version will not."

                                                                                            Here's an Example of a BS board with Mineral staining. While wood is never perfect having defects in the main cutting surface is far from ideal. I'd certainly pay a few bucks extra on the Maple not to get one like this.
                                                                                            Scientia est potentia

                                                                                          2. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                                            Hi David,

                                                                                            Just want to let you know that having worked with wood for close to 50 years, you have my sympathy. Wood is a product of nature and no two boards are idnetical, even if they were cut from the same tree. Unfortunately, many people ecpect a piece of wood or many pieces of wood put together, to look and act like a plastic laminate and that just doesn't happen. What can I say, customers, can't live with them and can't live without them.

                                                                                            As far as feedback is concerned, there is always an unhappy customer, no matter what the product, it's almost made me give up on product reviews. If 99 people give it 5 stars, one guy or gal gives it 1 star for some reason or another.

                                                                                            Illegitimi non carborundum

                                                                                            1. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                                              Hang in there David. Your boards are wonderful. My boardsmith has mineral stains too, but I don't consider that bad or good. Just the 'nature of the beast'. I love thingsade of nature for the imperfections that they always have. Wood, stones, leather, etc. those 'imperfections' are whatakes them special. That is as long as it does not compromise the structure.
                                                                                              Keep up the great work! (because I might want another one)
                                                                                              The bigger blocks and the brick pattern is what made me choose your board over others.

                                                                                              1. re: dixiegal

                                                                                                I recently picked up an 1 3/4 inch thick good size rubberwood edge grain cutting board at a local restaurant supply house for under $30.00. So far so good. It is very good for utility purposes and the color is light like maple. The down side IMHO is that it has very fine grain like mahogany and lacks personality. Again its strictly a utility board and it goes away after use. Once I nail down the exact size I want I will order a Boardsmith to sit on the granite counter and agree with you in that I want it to have personality like a high grade gun stock.

                                                                                              2. re: BoardSMITH

                                                                                                hi BoardSmith,

                                                                                                I have a question, I have made a chopping board involving a range of timbers, one of which is spalted beech.

                                                                                                is this potentially toxic?


                                                                                              3. I wanted to thank everyone for their responses and let everyone know what I ended up with. I am the proud owner of TWO maple boards.

                                                                                                One of them is an edge grain Boos board, 12" x 18" x 1.25"


                                                                                                The other is a Boardsmith end grain 16" x 22" x 2"

                                                                                                I use the smaller edge grain Boos one for onions, garlic and any sort of raw meat or fish.

                                                                                                The Boardsmith sits on the counter and is used for fruits and all vegetables other than onions, garlic, shallots, etc.

                                                                                                Both boards get washed in the sink with a sponge and soap and hot water. The Boardsmith board doesn't get washed like that after every single use but definitely after a big chopping day.

                                                                                                The Boos board sits flat on the countertop, is reversible and weighs significantly less (hence easier to wash.) It CAN and DOES slide around on the countertop.

                                                                                                The Boardsmith board will not slide around on the countertop as it has rubber feet but is much heavier and more difficult to take to the sink and wash (most of the time, I just wipe it down with a wet towel dedicated to that board - it sees the sink MAYBE once a week.)

                                                                                                Now for the interesting observations:

                                                                                                The Boos Board is already showing slight (but stable) separation at the glue joints towards each end of the board. I hope these won't get worse but given how much I abuse this board and its relatively low cost, I'm not losing sleep over it in the least.

                                                                                                The Boardsmith board has a couple of slices in it. I believe these were caused by my chinese cleaver (I actually used the cleaver on my Boos board the other day and ended up doing the same thing to that board.) I don't know why or how my chinese cleaver (a CCK) is able to slice into a board like that, but it is.

                                                                                                All in all, I'm extremely happy with my purchases. Whenever either board looks "thirsty", all I do is use some mineral oil and it livens back up.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: sherrib

                                                                                                  Thanks for the update.

                                                                                                  <It CAN and DOES slide around on the countertop.>

                                                                                                  I find using one of these dish dry mats help:


                                                                                                  <The Boos Board is already showing slight (but stable) separation at the glue joints towards each end of the board.>

                                                                                                  You can use wood sealer or beeswax to seal the crack and slow down/prevent further cracking. You can try flipping your edge grain Boos cutting board side to side, so that it is not only being used on one side. Or like you said, don't worry about it because it is inexpensive.

                                                                                                  < I don't know why or how my chinese cleaver (a CCK) is able to slice into a board like that>

                                                                                                  Did you sharpened it lately? These carbon steel CCK knives are inexpensive, but high quality knives, so they can take on good sharp edges. I have not yet met anyone here online who own a CCK, and does not think it is not worth the price they paid for. P.S.: My CCK knives certainly put marks on my cutting boards.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    The CCK is DEFINITELY a fantastic knife for the price! I have NOT sharpened it yet because I'm intimidated by it. Even though it is inexpensive, it's such a good quality knife, that I don't want to mess it up (I'm not very confident about my sharpening skills even though I have yet to ruin a knife.) I feel the same way about my Victorinox chef's knife. It, too, is an inexpensive knife, but since it is a great quality knife, I'm always scared to sharpen it because I don't want to ruin it (even though it is now due for some sharpening.) It's also my only chef knife, so if I end up doing something horrible to it in the sharpening process, I'll be out of a chef's knife. I'm really beginning to think I should get some Kiwi brand knives. I keep looking at more expensive knives than the ones I own, but am not confident about my sharpening skills. I figured those super cheap knives will be a great way for me to practice practice practice my sharpening until I'm confident enough to splurge.