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Old 05-12-2005, 04:34 PM   #1
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Cutting Board Materials?

I recently purchased a nice ($100) kitchen knife to do most of my food preperation with. I've used both wood (about 1 inch thick) and plastic cutting boards but both seem to need replacing every few years.

The wood one warped rather severely and the plastic one got cut up pretty well in addition to being discolored.

What cutting board materials are recommended and which are not recommended? The Corian material cutting boards look very nice but I suspect the material is too harsh on a sharp blade.


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Old 05-12-2005, 04:51 PM   #2
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Well I like wood for cutting boards.

In storage, I have a 36 inch square maple butcher block table, but in my small quarters I use the maple wood top from a 1960's dishwasher I got for free. It is 1 1/4" thick, and has not warped in all the years I have used it.

Before my table went into storage, I used this dishwasher top on top of it to protect it.

Now, if I were to go out and buy a wood cutting board, I would insist on a end grain oak or maple one -- I especially like the thick ones sold by Boos. They supply the Food Network.

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Old 05-12-2005, 05:33 PM   #3
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I use both wood and plastic. I wouldn't use anything harder than those witha good knife. Plastic is cheap and easy to replace when it wears out. But I use the wood one most often, and don't have any problems with it warping. It's not a butcher block, but surprisingly, it works just fine...
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Old 05-12-2005, 05:42 PM   #4
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Both wood and plastic are recommended. Corrion, Glass, and most other types are not recommended. I have not been able to get a good enough answer on bamboo so as far as I am concerned the jury is still out on that one (although I would guess it is as good as wood).

A thick end grain wood board should not warp, just dont soak it in water.

Plastic boards will need to be replaced every once in a while, but they are pretty cheap and can be put in the dishwasher which is a big plus in my book.
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Old 05-12-2005, 06:45 PM   #5
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I've had a bamboo one for about 6 months and so far it's doing well. I had plastic ones but they really dulled my knives. (Dulled! is that a word?)
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Old 05-12-2005, 09:47 PM   #6
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The best cutting board material would be an end-grain wood cutting board. This would include GB's bamboo cutting board since all I've seen are end-grain. This is what is known as a "true" butcher block. As you cut the food and the knife contacts the board ... the knife blade goes between the wood fibers ... thus causing only minimal dulling of the knife edge.

Next best is edge-grain wood. This is the most common ... and cheaper than end-grain butcher block. Eventhough you are cutting across the wood fibers ... it's not as damaging as plastic.

Third choice would be plastic.

Materials like Corrian, glass, marble, ceramic tile, glazed pottery dinner plate, etc. will kill a knife in no time.

As for being sanitary .... research has shown that a wood cutting board can actually be more sanitary than a plastic one. Seems wood has some natural anti-bacterial properties that plastic doesn't. Of course, you can toss a plastic board in the dishwasher, something you could never do with a wood board, which some people think is an advantage.

As for warping of a wood board ... it depends on how it was made, how heavy (thick) it is, and how you treat it. If you dry it after washing/sanatizing it - and keep it oiled with mineral oil so the wood doesn't dry out ... even a cheap edge-grain board will last for years without problems.
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Old 05-12-2005, 09:54 PM   #7
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I totally agree with Michael's response!

Anything but wood will dull your knives. And make sure that mineral oil is labeled "food safe."
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:43 PM   #8
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I have chosen to go with plastic cutting boards. I have about a half dozen in various sizes. I've gone with plastic because they are the easiest to care for.

As Michael said, after use, they can go into the dishwasher for cleaning and sanitization (if your washer is equipped with a sanitize cycle). You cannot do that with a wood board.

If a plastic board gets stained, I just sprinkle a little bleach/water solution on the board and let it sit for an hour in the sink. It comes out as white as a new board.
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Old 05-13-2005, 02:22 AM   #9
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I use a solid maple edge grain board that is 2 1/2 inches thick. I also have another end grain Madrone block that was cut for me from a lightening killed tree. It's 40" thick by 32" square. The only work surface in the kitchen that fits me.
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Old 05-13-2005, 06:43 AM   #10
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I use wood for veggies - easier on the blade with all the cutting and just a quick wipe will get it clean. Never soak in sink or put in the dishwasher or it will warp or split. If you feel that's not sufficient, wipe with a diluted bleach solution. I use plastic for meats and occasionally run them through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle, particularly if exposed to chicken.

...and that's the way it is in northern Minnesota.
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