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FAQ

Find quick answers to your questions below

What are the different types of grains?

There are 3 basic kinds: 

  • End Grain: This is the when the boards are standing up like lots of little blocks. It is the hardest and most durable, but also the most labor intensive, and therefore, and bit more expensive. But gorgeous. 
  • Edge Grain: This is where the long edges of the board are stood up and stacked together. It is very durable and most cost efficient. 
  • Face Grain: Pretty much means what it says. Just boards stacked next to each other. A little softer, eats up knives a little easier, not as strong due to fewer glued spots, and if too big, could be a bit more prone to warping. 

 

What are the differences between and butchers block and a cutting board? 

- A butcher block normally has the wood grain turned up on end and a cutting board has the grain running the length of the board.

 

Which wood should I choose for my board?

- The general rule of thumb is to choose wood from a tree with an edible running sap or edible nuts. Hard maple is the traditional wood used because of its very tight grain structure, weight and hardness. Oak is a very poor wood because of the open grain structure that will tend to trap food particles.
 

What is the advantage of end grain?

- End grain boards are easier on the knife edges and will last much longer. When cutting, the edge goes between the wood fibers and those fibers aren't severed. Long grain cutting boards, while they are much easier to make and much less expensive, will have their wood fibers severed as an edge cuts across. 

 

What about exotic woods?

- Many are toxic and should be avoided. Woods like Teak contains silica which is highly abrasive to your knife edges. Also, avoid any spalted wood. Spalted wood contains a bacterium that is eating the wood and is toxic to humans. Steer clear of woods like red and white cedar. They contain oils that the insects can't stand and it the insects won't eat it, you shouldn't be eating off of it.
 
I've seen bamboo used. Is it a good choice? 
- Bamboo is used primarily in the Orient and is a grass product. The smaller pieces require a tremendous amount of glue to be used which is hard on your knife edges. 

 

Is there a wood that is to hard?

- Woods that measure 850 to 1600 on the Janka hardness scale will be good for a board. A measurement above 1600 will be tougher on the knife edges. A partial list contains: Ipe, Teak, Southern Chestnut, Bloodwood, Tigerwood, Purpleheart, Jarrah, Bubinga, Merbau, Hickory/Pecan, Acacia, most Bamboo and Wenge. Also, some manufacturers add a resin hardener to their boards which is extremely tough on knife edges.

 

What is the hardness rating of the woods you use?

- On the Janka hardness scale maple rates 1450, the mahogany I use is 1220, black walnut is next at 1010 and black cherry is 850. But, the key here is the end grain construction which makes each very durable.

 

How thick are your boards?

- Normally I build for a 2" thickness for the end grain boards but most end up about 1/16" thicker. More thickness, more weight and more sturdiness.

 

What sizes do you make?

- Pretty much any size you could possibly imagine. 

 

Do you make custom sizes?

- You know it!

 

If I want a board with several different wood species, can you do that?

- Yes. But bear in mind that different species of wood react to humidity and wear differently so keep the different species as close to the same hardness as you can.

 

Do you offer grooves?

- Perimeter grooves can be added at a slight additional cost. Remember that they take away from the usable space on one side of the cutting surface. But all our boards are 100% reversible, so most customers find it only enhances their boards functionality.

 

What is the lead time?

- Normally we can get it to you in about a week. If you need to expedite it, we can put a rush on the order for an added fee of 30% of the cost of the board. 

 

Can you ship internationally?

- Yes. I use the USPS Priority Mail service which will get a package as far away as Russia in about 6 to 10 days.

 

Can I use a glass cutting board?

- Only if you hate your knives. The hardness of glass will destroy an edge almost instantly.

 

Can I use a plastic cutting board?

- Plastic is much easier on the edges than glass but the deep cuts that remain make it difficult, if not impossible to clean and sanitize. However, their cheaper initial cost makes them easier to discard but they will last in a landfill forever.

 

Should I use two boards, one for raw meat and one for vegetables?

- This is a popular idea. But proper sanitation and cleaning will reduce the chances for cross contamination. To be sure, cut the raw vegetables first then raw meats. Wash thoroughly and sanitize accordingly.

 

I've heard that wood is more sanitary. Is this true?

- As far as I can tell; the moisture on the surface of the board is wicked into the interior carrying bacteria with it. As the moisture is wicked inside, the bacteria will die due to a lack of moisture. 

 

Is there a better glue to use over another?

- Actually almost any glue can be used. However, a type 3, waterproof cross-linked polymer glue that is FDA approved as food safe is the best choice. Yellow carpenters glues will melt with water contact, polyurethane glues are hard and will flake off and type 2 glues are only water resistant.

 

What oil do I use to maintain the wood?

- Straight mineral oil is preferred. Heat and apply to the cutting surface periodically to help maintain water repellency. Add some bees wax to the oil and heat until the wax melts. Apply this to the cutting surface for extra water repellency. Either will help the condition and protect your board. Just remember to oil all the surfaces from time to time, not just the top.

 

What oil shouldn't I use?

- Any organic oil, vegetable, olive, nut oil and the like, should be avoided. They all contain natural fats and will turn rancid over a period of time. Nut oils can also cause an allergic reaction in those who are allergic to nuts. Avoid Tung oil. Tung oil will never dry and will turn into an ugly mess unless a chemical heavy metal dryer is added. 

 

How do I sanitize the board?

- After each use, wash with a quality dishwashing detergent and warm water. Wet the surface, apply the detergent and wash. Rinse thououghly. (Do no leave hot water running over the surface for an extended period of time!) A solution of 1 tablespoon of Clorox to one quart of water is sufficient to sanitize. Spray on, let it sit and then rinse. Or, mix a 1 : 1 ratio of vinegar and water. Spray on, let it sit and then rinse. Or, coat the surface with salt overnight. The salt will absorb the moisture and kill the bacteria.

 

How do I get rid of stains?

- Clean the surface and use peroxide on a cloth. Dab the stain and the peroxide will lift the stain gently. But not quickly.

 

How do I get rid of odors?

- The best way is to keep the board well oiled. Deep set odors can be removed with either dry baking powder or mix water with the baking powder to create a slurry and apply to the smelly area. Either will lift the odor after a period of time. Reapply as needed.