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Which is the Best Wood Cutting Board?

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hanna6834 Jul 13, 2013 06:30 PM

I've used plastic cutting board all my life. I want to switch over to the Best wood cutting board. Any suggestions? Any good web sites out there that does a good comparision of various wood cutting boards?

THanks in advance
Hanna

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  1. c
    Chowrin RE: hanna6834 Jul 13, 2013 06:34 PM

    buy a black walnut "butcher's block"
    It'll cost ya, but it's worth it.

    1. a
      AAQjr RE: hanna6834 Jul 13, 2013 06:45 PM

      http://www.theboardsmith.com/

      Highly recommended

      1 Reply
      1. re: AAQjr
        DuffyH RE: AAQjr Jul 14, 2013 06:48 AM

        Agree. Their FAQ are very informative about wood boards.

      2. Chemicalkinetics RE: hanna6834 Jul 13, 2013 07:17 PM

        Hanna,

        First of all, many people prefer hardwood cutting board, such as walnut and maple. There are others who prefer soft wood, such as Hinoki and pine. If you grow up in a Western kitchen, then I definitely suggest you to stay with hardwood.

        Second, in my experience, the expensive cutting boards are usually made with greater care. They are refine and beautiful. However, this does not translate to significantly long lasting or better for knife edge retention. I find that many moderately priced boards ($40) are just as practical as expensive ones. I have two very inexpensive cutting boards ($13 and $40, respectively), and they have been working out very well.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7907...

        http://www.chow.com/photos/532856

        I know many people bought their wood cutting boards from TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, and they have been working out very well for them.

        1. cowboyardee RE: hanna6834 Jul 13, 2013 08:07 PM

          Hardwood end grain boards (also called butcher's blocks sometimes) are the easiest on knife edges, and least likely to warp.

          I have an inexpensive end grain board I got at Target (I think) and it's in great shape after years of heavy use. Cost something like $35.

          The more expensive end grain boards are generally finished better and usually look nicer. And you can order a custom board, support domestic craftsmen, etc. But in terms of function, the less expensive end grain boards seem to be just as up to the job. As the Boardsmith (linked above) notes, you are generally best off going for a hardwood that has either edible sap or edible nuts, though there may be exceptions.

          1. tanuki soup RE: hanna6834 Jul 13, 2013 08:19 PM

            I absolutely love my cherry wood end-grain J.K. Adams "Cherry Chunk" cutting boards (12" and 16"). Nice and solid, good thickness, no irritating feet/grooves/handles/badges to trap gunk, perfectly flat on both sides, easy to clean, durable, easy on knife blade edges, reasonably priced. Available from Amazon, Cutlery & More, etc.

            PS. For meat or chicken, I simply lay a cheap plastic "cutting sheet" on top of the board to prevent contamination.

            PPS. For treating your new wood board, I'd recommend Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner (a mixture of food-grade mineral oil, beeswax, and carnauba wax).

             
             
            1. cowboyardee RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 08:01 AM

              I also like this maker's boards:
              http://www.etsy.com/listing/11377901/...
              http://www.etsy.com/shop/1337motif?re...

              1. Sid Post RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 08:04 AM

                How big a board are you looking for? How will you use? Are your counters dark or light, cabinets, what's your budget, etc.?

                I have a large John Boos board which is very nice. The JK Adams cherry chuck board would be hard to say no too as well.

                1. DuffyH RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 08:52 AM

                  Hanna,

                  If you've got a big, soft plastic board, I'd recommend you hang onto it. Mine has a well around the edge and is our go-to board for really wet things, like watermelon, which we carve up into cubes for easy nibbling.

                  For most things, I use my Boos maple island top. For raw meat I use my old acacia end-grain block, mostly because I don't want to use a lot of soapy water on my island top. It's only a few months old and I'm still in the process of conditioning it, giving it frequent oil baths.

                  The beauty of an old, well-conditioned end-grain board is that they don't need to be oiled very often. Mine gets scrubbed with soapy water 3-4x/week, only sees oil about twice a year, and is so well-used it's surface feels like velvet.

                  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 12:59 PM

                    Boos cutting boards are pretty much the standard. They are widely available and they are of good quality. You will hear some complaints about the John Boos boards, but I think that is because they are gear toward a mass-market. Any time you sell to a massive customer base, you will get some complaints.

                    Boardsmith boards are well respected. They are also complaints here and there as well. Overall, he does make very attractive cutting boards.

                    In all honesty, I won't spend too much if this is your first wood cutting board.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      DuffyH RE: Chemicalkinetics Jul 14, 2013 03:35 PM

                      I've got to agree (as usual) with what Chem says. I've owned and gifted a number of boards over the years. The best (longest-lasting) boards I've owned have all been end-grain. I've had worse luck with edge grain boards.

                      The two Boos boards I've owned were both custom countertops, not portable boards. Both are excellent, but as Chem noted, there can be QC issues from time to time, as with anyone who makes a large number of boards.

                      For you, I'd suggest a somewhat thick 1 3/4-2" end-grain board. The type of wood isn't so important for end grain. Even my acacia board is soft, although acacia is a really hard wood. End grain boards are not only softer, but they're more resistant to warping than edge grain, although I've seen reports of cupping with them, too. But fewer.

                      Treat it well in the early days, oiling frequently, using water sparingly, and it'll likely reward you for many years to come.

                      1. re: DuffyH
                        p
                        pitibruni RE: DuffyH Jun 5, 2014 11:23 PM

                        Hi, how do you recomend to wash a Boos cutting board (end-grain board)?
                        I bought one 1 week ago and I noticed that it has a light split. How do I repair it?

                        1. re: pitibruni
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: pitibruni Jun 5, 2014 11:51 PM

                          Wood is just difficult to predict. You can do all the right things, and the board can still split. For minor split, I recommend filling the small gap with beeswax.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            monavano RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2014 05:18 AM

                            Wood boards are unpredictable.
                            My Boos is warping a bit- I have to keep flipping it, but I don't lube it up as much as I should.

                            1. re: monavano
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: monavano Jun 6, 2014 06:08 AM

                              < I have to keep flipping it>

                              So your board warps a bit in one direction, and when you flip it, then it slowly warps in another direction, right?

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                monavano RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2014 06:36 AM

                                Yes, sort of warps back into place.
                                I tend to keep it "gutter" side up most of the time, and need to put that side down more.
                                I usually don't think about it until the darn thing start a-rockin'.

                                1. re: monavano
                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: monavano Jun 6, 2014 08:29 AM

                                  <Yes, sort of warps back into place.>

                                  I see. In that case, the damage (if you want to call that) isn't too severe. In your case, oiling/beeswax will probably help -- that is if you want to.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    monavano RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2014 09:50 AM

                                    Right, no splitting, thank goodness.
                                    I bought the Boos oil, but need to be more diligent.

                                    1. re: monavano
                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: monavano Jun 6, 2014 11:03 AM

                                      No spilling. Great. Boos oil is good. If you ever run out, you can use typical Mineral oil from drug store. Beeswax or beeswax mix with mineral has a better longevity. In other words, you don't have to do apply as often.

                                      Boos also sells its own beeswax mix, but it would be cheaper to make on your own:

                                      http://www.amazon.com/John-Boos-Ounce...

                                      1. re: monavano
                                        DuffyH RE: monavano Jun 7, 2014 04:00 AM

                                        <I bought the Boos oil, but need to be more diligent.>

                                        As CK suggested, drugstore mineral oil is a cheap but very good oil. On a new board, you're going to want to apply it frequently, even as often as 2-3x a week if your board is getting wet frequently.

                                        I don't wash a new board a lot, if I can avoid it Certainly it gets a very good soapy wash after cutting proteins, but for veg I'll often just wipe it dry and call it good. No need to add more liquid to the thing. If you do wash it, always dry it thoroughly rather than air drying.

                                        Bench scrappers can eliminate the need for aggressive scrubbing. Onions and garlic are exceptions. Have you ever had garlic watermelon? It's a treat. Onion watermelon isn't bad, but the garlic add-in was a mistake. ;-)

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                p
                                pitibruni RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 10, 2014 12:37 PM

                                thanks.

                              3. re: pitibruni
                                DuffyH RE: pitibruni Jun 6, 2014 02:06 AM

                                If the beeswax fill doesn't disguise the gap and it continues to split, wood glue might save it for you. You've just got to find a way to force it back together while the glue works. Clamps, if you've got a large set, could do it. A really heavy weight is another option.

                                1. re: pitibruni
                                  TraderJoe RE: pitibruni Jun 6, 2014 06:29 AM

                                  If you buy Boos I'd suggest buying at a store with an good return policy. They only Maple boards I've ever had split (2) were Boos and one of them was 3" thick.
                                  Even Americas test kitchen had one of their boards split during testing. Return it if you can. A split board is just a harbinger for bacteria.

                                  1. re: pitibruni
                                    p
                                    pitibruni RE: pitibruni Jun 10, 2014 12:41 PM

                                    Thank everyone for your responses.

                              4. tim irvine RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 09:17 AM

                                My personal preference is end grain maple, but over a few years I have decided there are no guarantees with wood. It is full of variables, and sometimes it works and holds up well and sometimes it doesn't. I have seen heavy Boos boards decide they will split, and I have seen little cheapo boards hold up beautifully. That said my heavy maple primary board (not end grain) is over 35 and going strong. It gets washed and mineral oiled regularly. It is a joy to use with old carbon steel knives. I hate the way they lack on bamboo.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: tim irvine
                                  DuffyH RE: tim irvine Jul 14, 2013 09:39 AM

                                  I don't like bamboo for cutting boards. I used one at a friend's house, and it felt very hard, more like a hard plastic or glass board than a wooden one.

                                  1. re: DuffyH
                                    Sid Post RE: DuffyH Jul 14, 2013 12:03 PM

                                    Bamboo is very hard and while attractive in the kitchen, is a horrible cutting board choice IMHO. It's in the same class as stone and glass cutting boards AFAIK.

                                    1. re: Sid Post
                                      cowboyardee RE: Sid Post Jul 14, 2013 12:10 PM

                                      Not quite that bad, but definitely harder on knives than a nice wood board.

                                      1. re: Sid Post
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Sid Post Jul 14, 2013 01:00 PM

                                        <. It's in the same class as stone and glass cutting boards AFAIK.>

                                        Not that bad.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          Sid Post RE: Chemicalkinetics Aug 30, 2013 05:39 AM

                                          Technically not as bad but, subjectively to me it is. I won't have any of those three in my home no matter how pretty or cheap they are.

                                  2. monavano RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 09:30 AM

                                    I love my Boos.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: monavano
                                      tim irvine RE: monavano Jul 14, 2013 05:14 PM

                                      I love my booze.

                                      1. re: tim irvine
                                        DuffyH RE: tim irvine Jul 14, 2013 05:50 PM

                                        Don't we all, Tim. Don't we all. :)

                                    2. t
                                      Tom34 RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 12:42 PM

                                      I went through the same dilemma not that long ago. What type of wood, which grain, how thick & what size.

                                      While in a small restaurant supply house I came across a 12" x 18" x 1 3/4" thick "Rubber Wood" edge grain board that looks similar to maple for about $30.00.

                                      I bought it figuring $30.00 is a cheap experiment for seeing if it would be big enough for my tasks but small enough to maneuver in the sink to rinse off. If so, then I would contemplate a couple hundred for a custom board and give the Rubberwood Board to a friend.

                                      Its been close to a year, the size is perfect for bulk chopping but it still fits nicely into the sink for rinsing. The 1 3/4 thickness is more than beefy enough.

                                      Because it works great, looks great & has held up well I no longer have an itch for a custom board. Will spend the money on blades instead :-)

                                      These boards are on line at the Webrestaurantstore.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Tom34
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Tom34 Jul 14, 2013 12:55 PM

                                        <Because it works great, looks great & has held up well I no longer have an itch for a custom board. Will spend the money on blades instead :-)>

                                        Thanks for the update. I still remember your rubber wood board story. It is just that it has been working great for you. :D

                                      2. girloftheworld RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 05:47 PM

                                        I have a beautiful catskills wood butchers block and about four smaller prep boards

                                        1. m
                                          mikie RE: hanna6834 Jul 14, 2013 07:25 PM

                                          Wood board types, if that's what you're asking, as opposed to brands, come in three varieties, face grain, edge grain, and end grain. A face grain board will typically have what's refered to as cathedral grain, looks something like this on the surface >>>>>>, an edge greain board, if you look at the end of the boare looks a bit like this ))))))), the third type end grain takes the end of the board and puts it on the surface. Face grain boards are typically under an inch thick and are the most likely to warp, just the nature of the way the wood is cut from the tree. Edge grain boards can be a little thicker and are less likely to warp, some woods display an interisting ray fleck. End grain boards can range in thickness from about an inch to just about any thickness, eventually becoming a butcher block. Of the three, end grain boards are the best for a number of reasons. First, the end grain works a bit like the bristles in a natural dart board, seperating when struck by a sharp object. This is easier on both the board and your knife. Because of the way the grain seperates, the boards are all but self healing. Edge and face grain boards, can experience splintering from excessive use, this is rare, but a potential none the less. End grain boards are more expensive for a couple of reasons, one they are typically thicker, which meand there is more wood in them, secondly, there is a lot more work involved in the manufacturing process, so expect to spend considerably more for an end grain board.

                                          I make my own and I can tell you some of the posts about wood having a mind of its own, are dean on. Most of the time it does what you want it to do, but don't be shocked at anything a wood board does. However, to keep the odds in your favor there are some simple rules to follow, never soak a wood board, oil it well and often especially when it's new, dry it throughly before you put it away. Mineral oil with some bee's wax is a good way to take care of your board. Also, as has been mentioned, any wood that
                                          has eddable products, nuts, fruit, maple surip, etc. is almost always a good choice, also, closed grian like maple or cherry are typically better choices than open grain woods like oak or pecan.
                                          Hope this helps,

                                          1. d
                                            divadmas RE: hanna6834 Jun 5, 2014 11:54 PM

                                            i really like those flexible plastic sheets. easy to clean and easy to transfer food. they do get nicked and have to be replaced but are cheap.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: divadmas
                                              DuffyH RE: divadmas Jun 6, 2014 02:13 AM

                                              I've got a set from SLT, and they work very well for transporting cut veggies to a soup pot, for example. They've got a grippy silicone on the back so they stay put. I like that, too.

                                              My issue with them is that my knives feel weird when I cut on them, like there's no give. It's a bizarre feeling, one I'm not at all used to. As practical as they are, I seldom use them. They just don't feel natural to me.

                                              Could just be me, a lot of people really like them.

                                              1. re: DuffyH
                                                monavano RE: DuffyH Jun 6, 2014 05:19 AM

                                                I place the plastic sheet on top of my wood board to get the feel, then use it to transfer.
                                                Great for my KA mixer.

                                                1. re: monavano
                                                  DuffyH RE: monavano Jun 6, 2014 06:18 AM

                                                  I use it on my island top, which is Boos edge-grain maple. It still feels awful.

                                                  1. re: DuffyH
                                                    monavano RE: DuffyH Jun 6, 2014 06:37 AM

                                                    I know- I don't like how the blade feels like it's sticking in the plastic.
                                                    How I usually use it to assist in transferring is by putting my measured dry ingredients on it and funneling it into my KA.

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