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Old 05-28-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
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Cutting boards: Bamboo vs Wood

I live in Denver and the air is dry here. So dry that my wooden cutting boards split over time. I diligently oil them every six months, never put them in the dish washer, wash them quickly with warm, soapy water, rinse and set them vertically to dry completely before re-oiling with mineral oil. I'm at a loss.

Question: Would bamboo cutting boards act any differently than wood, in this arrid climate? Thank you in advance for any response.
By the way, I have plastic cutting boards as well and use them for preparing raw meats. I simply love the wood boards though....

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Old 05-28-2008, 03:56 PM   #2
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First off, welcome to the site!

6 months seems like too much time between oiling. I would bump it up to every month or so.

To answer your question though, I think bamboo would act differently than wood. My guess is that your bamboo board would be much less prone to the drying problem you have experienced with your wood board.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:38 PM   #3
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bamboo vs wood

But, my question is, what are the differences in characteristics of wood and bamboo? How does a bamboo cutting board hold up over time from a high quality wooden board in prolonged arrid conditions?
I need a professional view on this.
Thanks, though, for your imput.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:50 PM   #4
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I thought I had answered your question. You had asked
Quote:
Originally Posted by star
Would bamboo cutting boards act any differently than wood, in this arrid climate?
and I responded

Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
I think bamboo would act differently than wood. My guess is that your bamboo board would be much less prone to the drying problem you have experienced with your wood board.
Are you looking for an answer to a different question?
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:18 PM   #5
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Bamboo vs Wood

I'm sorry. I was expecting more than an " I think.." response. Actually,
I am looking for critical, hard evidence proving or disproving one over the other. I am looking for facts, not opinions. I'm sure there is someone with background knowledge of these two natural resources and would kindly explain to me how or if one sustains a longer, durable lifespan than the other. That's all I'm inquiring about.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:55 PM   #6
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I'm sorry. I was expecting more than an " I think.." response. Actually,
I am looking for critical, hard evidence proving or disproving one over the other. I am looking for facts, not opinions. I'm sure there is someone with background knowledge of these two natural resources and would kindly explain to me how or if one sustains a longer, durable lifespan than the other. That's all I'm inquiring about.
You aren't using mineral oil nearly often enough. Of course, I'm just a layman and cannot satisfy your demands so you should contact David Smith here and he'll give you the professional opinion you desire. Like any huge decision you might want to get a second opinion here.

By the way, chuck the bamboo. It's really hard on your edges, just like poly, granite, glass, and coconut shells.....
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:03 PM   #7
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One more thing. Add some bees wax to the mineral oil and melt it in in a double boiler. It will 1) stay in solution, and 2) protect your board better than mineral oil alone. Apply it to the board while warm. It will aid the penetration.

This is a Boardsmith walnut end grain. My grandchildren will be using it.
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:20 PM   #8
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After thought, but very important. Oil ALL surfaces including the bottom, otherwise you will get differential rate swelling leading to cracks.

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Old 05-28-2008, 07:41 PM   #9
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Hi Star,

Actually, Buzz said a mouthful. Bamboo is grass and the resins used to glue the pieces together is very hard and tough on your knife edges. Also, they are made in the Orient under conditions that would not be tolerated here with glues and finished that are second rate.

Oil often, often and often! When the surface looks a little light, hit it with the oil and oil all the surfaces top, bottom and sides. Pour some mineral oil into a container and shave some bees wax into it. Melt in a double boiler and when the wax has melted, the oil will turn an apple juice color. Spread the warm oil on to the clean dry cutting surface and let it penetrate. Once it looks to not be soaking up any more oil, buff off with a clean cloth or paper towel. Thenoil the rest of the board with straight oil.

If you want to get very fancy, melt some bees wax in a double boiler and pour in some oil. 1 ounce of oil to four ounces of wax. Pour into a clean container and use like a paste wax. Makes the cutrtting surface quite water repellant and shiny.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:18 PM   #10
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Hi Star,

Then oil the rest of the board with straight oil.

If you want to get very fancy, melt some bees wax in a double boiler and pour in some oil. 1 ounce of oil to four ounces of wax. Pour into a clean container and use like a paste wax. Makes the cutrtting surface quite water repellant and shiny.

Hope this helps.
Thanks BoardSmith, I had forgotten those two things.
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Old 05-29-2008, 06:06 AM   #11
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Bamboozled!

Thank you very kindly, Boardsmith and Buzz! I love it when someone takes the time to share their knowledge about something in question.
I'm glad I came to the forum for answers before investing in a bamboo cutting board, which I have decided to not do. You two have been of great help! Take care.

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Old 05-29-2008, 06:13 AM   #12
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BoardSMITH and Buzz are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-29-2008, 06:34 AM   #13
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Thank you for the comment! I'm glad that I was able to help a little bit.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:07 AM   #14
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Work of art

That is a beautiful board.

This is a Boardsmith walnut end grain. My grandchildren will be using it.[/quote]
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by star View Post
I live in Denver and the air is dry here. So dry that my wooden cutting boards split over time. I diligently oil them every six months, never put them in the dish washer, wash them quickly with warm, soapy water, rinse and set them vertically to dry completely before re-oiling with mineral oil. I'm at a loss.

Question: Would bamboo cutting boards act any differently than wood, in this arrid climate? Thank you in advance for any response.
By the way, I have plastic cutting boards as well and use them for preparing raw meats. I simply love the wood boards though....
(I know this thread is a little old, but)

That's why they are cracking.^^^^ You aren't drying the board off!

If you use oil, you need to use it all the time to protect against bacteria, not to maintain a stable board. I never oil my board and it's completely safe. If I used it, then oiled it, I could trap bacteria in the grain. without the oil, the grain can breathe and the bacteria has noplace to develop.

There's plenty of articles on the web about this. The only time I use a plastic board is for raw meats and poultry.....and beets.
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Old 08-24-2008, 03:22 PM   #16
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while jeekinz is right on bacterial problems after oiling, it is still very important to oil your board especially if it's end grain. If you don't, the dried out wood will act too much like a sponge when being reintroduced to moisture. Over time, the drying out and reabsorption will cause the wood to ebb and swell alot, and checks (cracks) will start to form. If it's an edge grain board, it will want to warp, and if the wood wasn't laminated correctly, the joints will split over time. So,the question really is, when to oil? If my boards look dry (which after months of "seasoning", they visually look dry every month or two) I oil in the morning or right before bedtime. That way, you avoid the problem of bacterial growth under the oil. Bacteria doesn't duplicate on wood easily, it usually dies off pretty quick.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:09 PM   #17
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Like the OP I too live in the Denver area, and I have never oiled a wood board, and I've never had any issues with cracking. I have a bamboo board and a regular wood board (no end grain butcher block type boards), and both get regular use. Both are at least 10 years old and in mint condition (aside from the necessary cutting scars). I hand wash and dry after each use, and they are stored vertically on the counter leaning against a taller cabinet with my stand mixer acting like a bookend.
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