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Old 01-21-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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Cutting Boards ~ Bamboo or Plastic or Both

Okay, so my SIL is a Pampered Chef sales person and for my birthday and to help her out to get started in her new state, I'm ordering a bunch of stuff from her. They sell bamboo and plastic cutting boards. The plastic is great for meat, that I know because you can bleach it. But what I don't know is, is bamboo good for your knives. I'm spending a bunch of money on knives, I don't want to ruin them if bamboo is bad for them. And what about plastic? Is it okay for knives or does it dull them? Need to know before I proceed.

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Old 01-21-2009, 03:13 PM   #2
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I have both bamboo and plastic boards. I use the plastic for meats, poultry, etc. The bamboo is used for veg's and fruits. I have had no problem with my knives (I have a set of Wusthof (sp?) knives that were quite expensive. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:18 PM   #3
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My understanding is that the epoxy used to glue the bamboo together to make the board is very hard and therefore not the best for knife edges.

All my boards are plastic. Dishwasher safe and easily sanitized. No special care required.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
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I had a bamboo board for a while. It was a great looking end grain board that I got for a great price. It was way too hard though. My knives were getting dull much too quick. I have moved that board to my downstairs kitchen which is never used. I replaced my bamboo board with a wood board and my knifes are much happier now. I used both wood and plastic and that is all I will use right now with the available options.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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So far this is great info. I don't want to spend $70 on a board that will dull my knives. I hope to get more input before I put in my order next week.
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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End grain wood boards (bamboo is not wood) or Sani-Tuff rubber boards (kind of ugly) are by far the easiest on knife edges. After that I would go with edge grain wood boards closely followed by poly. I like to do a lot of vegetable chopping and anything other than end grain or Sani-Tuff would chip my very hard Japanese blades and would roll my very soft German and French blades.
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Old 01-21-2009, 05:31 PM   #7
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I use a maple cutting board (24"x24"x2"), it is the easiest on my knives of anything I have tried. And more hygienic, too.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:04 PM   #8
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I like end-grain bamboo. Been using it for about 4 years and I've not had any problems with it dulling my knives. I use plastic for raw meat.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:09 PM   #9
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I use a maple cutting board (24"x24"x2"), it is the easiest on my knives of anything I have tried. And more hygienic, too.
Maple for everything here, too. It's easy on the knives and has natural anti-bacterial properties.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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I bought a nice bamboo board, but I find myself using these more and more:

Amazon.com: Norpro Cut And Slice 3 Piece Flexible Cutting Mats: Kitchen & Dining

They are thin, light, and flexible. I just pull one or two out of the cabinet and go to town. They always fit in the dishwasher because they are flexible and can wrap around other things in there. Once you are done cutting you can carry the entire mat to the stove and fold it into a funnel shape to let the food slide right into the pan... Easy...
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:25 PM   #11
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Maple for everything here, too. It's easy on the knives and has natural anti-bacterial properties.
Nothing special about maple. Cherry, walnut, and mahogany work just as well, as long as they are END grain. That's what you want. Think of it as the edge settling gently into the bristles of a hairbrush. That is what end grain does. Anything else except for Sani-Tuff is harder on your edges. You get what you pay for.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:29 PM   #12
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Here's one of mine. Walnut END grain, from Home

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Old 01-21-2009, 07:01 PM   #13
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I have several flexible plastic cutting mats and a maple one Buck made a hundred years ago. It's beautiful end grain and huge. He made it nice and big. It's great.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:24 AM   #14
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No matter how you describe it or how it is packaged and sold, bamboo is still grass. Made in the Orient under sanitary and manufacturing conditions that would not be tolerated here in the USA, it can be found in many stores and outlets at many prices. Very cheap to make, the mark-ups are extreme.

The tiny pieces of bamboo have to be glued together to form the board. Because the pieces are so tiny, an extreme amount of glue has to be used. The more glue used, the harder the surface. And the quality of the glues used is also questionable. They may or may not be waterproof or even water resistant or anything close to food safe. Along with the tiny pieces used, the manufacturers also use resins to harden the board. Those resins are extremely hard. (One American manufacturer also hardens their maple boards with resins making them hard enough to chip high end quality knives.)

The seasoning used is another consideration. In the Orient, bean oil is quite often used instead of an inert mineral oil. Bean oil is an organic oil which contains fats and can turn rancid over time. Once applied, it is always there. Again, the materials used and the conditions they are made under are far from what would be allowed here.

Bamboo boards come in two colors, natural and brown, known as carbonized. The carbonized bamboo has been boiled to produce that color which also weakens its strength by 30%. Normally bamboo is at the high end of Janka hardness scale where you want a cutting surface to be. At 1650 it is almost to hard and can chip the edges on the better Japanese knives. Softer, cheaper knives may not see this chipping.

Plastic is another choice. However, when cut on the plastic boards will always scar and the deep scars could harbor bacteria. Normal sanitizing efforts may not reach the bottom of the scars . And they will stain! What is in that stain?

I know that I am prejudiced for wood. There is a look and feel to a natural wood board that nothing else can come close to. And in today's tough economic conditions, Made in the USA takes on a whole new meaning!

One last item; for those Jewish readers out there, the materials used may not conform to Kosher.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:38 AM   #15
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I use plastic boards because I like to throw them in the dishwasher. Those maple cutting boards look wonderful though. They have to be hand washed, right? I might spring for one, someday.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:33 AM   #16
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cooking professionals use the plastic more and more...easy to sanitize and ok on knives. (glass is not)

Woods do carry natural disinfectant properties, and certainly can be washed and oiled to seal them after use. Certainly they can transfer flavors, garllic and onion especially.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:25 AM   #17
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I use a maple cutting board (24"x24"x2"), it is the easiest on my knives of anything I have tried. And more hygienic, too.
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Maple for everything here, too. It's easy on the knives and has natural anti-bacterial properties.
I built this island along with the maple board from rough sawn lumber. It's very easy on my knives, doesn't chip and is easy to clean. No oil or sealer either. It's been used every day for the past 3-4 years without an issue. My knives see a sharpening stone once or twice a year and get honed maybe once a month.

I have a large plastic sani board that I use for raw meats and poultry. Otherwise, all my veggies and cooked meats can be cut on the board followed by a good soapy cleaning. Sometimes it will hold the onion or garlic smell, I just use hot soapy water on it, some lemon and it's fine.

Whatever board you choose, make sure it has a channel to catch juices.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:17 PM   #18
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Jeez ~ that is absolutely beautiful.

buzzard767 ~ I'm just a home cook. Cutting boards that start at over $100 are way too out of my price range. I can buy three decent plastic boards with grooves and rubber edges to keep them from slipping and keep the juices on the board. That Sani-Tuff you mentioned is outrageous for someone who just wants to keep her knives sharp and cook for her family. The price range I found was $120 - $1,600. Who pays $1,600 for a cutting board was my question when I saw that. I can't even fathom that. I could buy a car for that. :)
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:00 PM   #19
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Jeez ~ that is absolutely beautiful.

buzzard767 ~ I'm just a home cook. Cutting boards that start at over $100 are way too out of my price range. I can buy three decent plastic boards with grooves and rubber edges to keep them from slipping and keep the juices on the board. That Sani-Tuff you mentioned is outrageous for someone who just wants to keep her knives sharp and cook for her family. The price range I found was $120 - $1,600. Who pays $1,600 for a cutting board was my question when I saw that. I can't even fathom that. I could buy a car for that. :)
You read too fast. The board in the picture is a BoardSmith end grain walnut board. It'll last my children's lifetimes and is a kitchen showpiece. Cheap? No. Worth it? Yes.

I also have a 15"x20" Sani-Tuff rubber board available here for about thirty bucks. They aren't pretty but they're approved for commercial kitchens and are as easy on knife edges as end grain wood. I lay a Walmart poly board on it to cut beef, poultry, fish, and beets.

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:09 PM   #20
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You read too fast. The board in the picture is a BoardSmith end grain walnut board. It'll last my children's lifetimes and is a kitchen showpiece. Cheap? No. Worth it? Yes.

I also have a 15"x20" Sani-Tuff rubber board available here for about thirty bucks. They aren't pretty but they're approved for commercial kitchens and are as easy on knife edges as end grain wood. I lay a Walmart poly board on it to cut beef, poultry, fish, and beets.

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I don't know how you think I read too fast. I went to the sites provided and they listed the walnut boards starting at $100. That's just not something feasible for a single mother that just wants her knives to stay in decent condition.

The $100 - $1600 was what I found when I googled Sani-Tuff. I could only go by what I found when I did a search; it didn't have anything to do with reading too fast. I researched according to information provided. This was the first site I went to and where I got my numbers for the Sani-Tuff.
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