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View Full Version : Need Advice - The Ideal Cutting Board for Home use



Burl Source
08-13-2011, 09:37 PM
I was hoping you guys could give me some advice.
My boss wants me to make some cutting boards to sell in one of our galleries. I was wondering what you feel are good dimensions and anything else you feel would be good features if you could have a cutting board made exactly how you like.

I have a lot of old straight grain wood that I will be using. My plan was to cut it so there would be end grain surface to the cutting boards. I spent a bit of time looking at the cutting boards in the stores and didn't see anything I would be willing to use, let alone purchase.

To cut to the chase, what would want in the ideal cutting board?

Delbert Ealy
08-13-2011, 10:34 PM
Ok maybe I am not the best person to answer this question and if I am wrong in any of this info please feel free to correct me.
Wood choices;
Use woods that have edible fruit or edible sap, the ones that come to mind are apple, cherry, pear, plum and olive, also maple and birch. Not sure about the citrus woods.
My board is 12" x 18" and its too small for me, but this may be OK for some people using smaller knives, but its the smallest size I would recommend making.
I know its more work, but maybe do something besides a checkerboard pattern with a boarder. The only thing that comes to mind is a starburst.
Del

RRLOVER
08-13-2011, 11:02 PM
I like cherry and maple.Also the less glue joints the better.

tk59
08-13-2011, 11:25 PM
I've used maple, mahogany and walnut. The best is maple, in my opinion.
+1 to using big blocks and an 18x12 minimum size

Eamon Burke
08-14-2011, 12:56 AM
If I had a 2" thick, 16x22 slab of solid(one piece) cross-cut American black cherry, I'd never think of another board again.

To me every board is just a game of how close you can get to that one.

sachem allison
08-14-2011, 02:26 AM
I use a 3x18X22 hard rock maple board, no glue. It is actually held together with 4 threaded rods and nuts that run the width of the board. The ends are counter sunk and the holes plugged with dowels and flush sanded smooth. One hell of a board.

99Limited
08-14-2011, 09:32 AM
I use a 3x18X22 hard rock maple board, no glue. It is actually held together with 4 threaded rods and nuts that run the width of the board. The ends are counter sunk and the holes plugged with dowels and flush sanded smooth. One hell of a board.

That sucker ought to have some weight to it. Got any pictures?

oivind_dahle
08-14-2011, 09:38 AM
Black Walnut is the king here :)

BertMor
08-14-2011, 09:59 AM
I say buy a Boardsmith board, there are no finer boards out there.

Eamon, good idea, but a one piece board that large will warp/crack/check/split over time no matter what. It just has too much stress, not unlike a honyaki blad has internal stress and will warp out of true straight over time

Pensacola Tiger
08-14-2011, 10:23 AM
To cut to the chase, what would want in the ideal cutting board?

Maple.

End grain, large blocks (1.75" - 5.5" or larger) to minimize glue joints.

2" thick. 14" x 20" minimum. 18" x 22" preferred.

Feet to lift board off the counter to allow drying.

tk59
08-14-2011, 10:48 AM
I use a 3x18X22 hard rock maple board, no glue. It is actually held together with 4 threaded rods and nuts that run the width of the board. The ends are counter sunk and the holes plugged with dowels and flush sanded smooth. One hell of a board.

Where can I find such a board?

Burl Source
08-14-2011, 01:44 PM
Delbert,
I was considering doing some like you said. Arranging the end grain patterns to form designs like they do with veneer for high end tabletops.

My biggest questions are size and if things like feet, groove around edge to catch blood & juices, ability to stand on edge when not in use, stuff like that were important.

Bert,
I understand that Boardsmith makes great cutting boards.
My goal is to use wood I have on hand and my own labor to make a few boards for us here.

My understanding about end grain is that it is not as abusive to the knife edge because the blade edge goes between the wood fibers instead of against the harder surface resulting in less wear on the blade.

There were a few comments about less glue joints.
Is that a cosmetic or a mechanical issue. The reason I ask is because properly joined pieces will not show a glue line.
I kind of like the idea of a "Take Down" sort of board with none or very few glued joints that could be taken apart and re assembled.

My concern about a 3 inch thick board is weight. A board 18 x 22 x 3 in maple or walnut would probably weigh about 15 or 20 pounds.

I am not looking to make a butcher block, but more like a cutting board for everyday use at home.

Wagstaff
08-14-2011, 05:10 PM
There were a few comments about less glue joints.
Is that a cosmetic or a mechanical issue. The reason I ask is because properly joined pieces will not show a glue line.
I kind of like the idea of a "Take Down" sort of board with none or very few glued joints that could be taken apart and re assembled.


My understanding is an extension of your understanding of the end-grain advantage -- that is, more glue joints means the knife edge encounters more glue and relatively less end-grain wood. And the glue is harder and your edge than the wood. (I have a pretty end-grain board with small pieces, so... lusting after a better, if not necessarily better-looking, board, in that regard).

I don't really get what you have in mind with a "take-down" board. Really just assemble squares of wood that are not joined, each time??

Burl Source
08-14-2011, 05:29 PM
What I meant with a Take Down board was to use longer pieces of end grain pieces and instead of gluing the strips of wood together, drill some holes going all the way through and hold together with pressure using hidden bolts and some sort of removable cover over the bolt ends.

I don't really know how well it will work until I try it.

Delbert Ealy
08-14-2011, 05:54 PM
Mark,
Even with properly clamped boards there is still a bit of glue there and the glue is rough on edges. I don't think its necessary to make a take-down board, but one that is put together without glue is very appealing. I like the idea of a grooved board, but I think some may not like it, maybe just offer that as an option. You can always add it later. I think you would satisfy most with boards that are about 2 inches thick. Three inch boards maybe for a custom option.
I don't like feet, but I think I am in the minority.
Del

sachem allison
08-14-2011, 06:31 PM
That sucker ought to have some weight to it. Got any pictures?

Yeah it's not something you like to move around and you damn sure don't want to drop it. Unfortunately I just moved into a tiny NYC apartment and had to leave the board with my dad in Cali. I'll call him up and see if he would be willing to take pictures. He is a little persnickety these days.lol So that might not happen. God I can't wait to get old so I can justify my persnicketyusness.

sachem allison
08-14-2011, 06:52 PM
Delbert,
I was considering doing some like you said. Arranging the end grain patterns to form designs like they do with veneer for high end tabletops.

My biggest questions are size and if things like feet, groove around edge to catch blood & juices, ability to stand on edge when not in use, stuff like that were important.

Bert,
I understand that Boardsmith makes great cutting boards.
My goal is to use wood I have on hand and my own labor to make a few boards for us here.

My understanding about end grain is that it is not as abusive to the knife edge because the blade edge goes between the wood fibers instead of against the harder surface resulting in less wear on the blade.

There were a few comments about less glue joints.
Is that a cosmetic or a mechanical issue. The reason I ask is because properly joined pieces will not show a glue line.
I kind of like the idea of a "Take Down" sort of board with none or very few glued joints that could be taken apart and re assembled.

My concern about a 3 inch thick board is weight. A board 18 x 22 x 3 in maple or walnut would probably weigh about 15 or 20 pounds.

I am not looking to make a butcher block, but more like a cutting board for everyday use at home.

I think that The very minimum Thickness that you could do the take down board would be about 1.5 inches, I think much thinner and you run the risk of actually cracking the board. It runs on the principle of post tension as you tighten the bolts it straightens the wood and compresses it together giving a tight fit and rigid board. If you over tighten the resulting pressure and strain will cause the board to buckle if you don't use glue, crack if you do. The alternative is to use long dovetails or tongue and grooves that run the length of the board and then you can do the rods and nuts. This way you get the best of both worlds no glue and an incredibly strong board that will never warp or break.
You have to realize that not all people take care of there equipment properly, either through ignorance or laziness. I can
t tell you how many warped wooden boards I have seen because people leave them in the sink and don't even get me started on those damn bamboo boards. ( great in principle, poor in execution and materials) Just my 2 cents worth. hope it helps.

sachem allison
08-14-2011, 08:13 PM
Where can I find such a board?

I can't help you with that. That board is over a hundred years old. I bought it on the Bowery in nyc about ten years ago the first time I moved to New York. I think it may have come out of an old Deli.

Burl Source
08-14-2011, 10:31 PM
Just want to make it clear that I will not be making boards for sale other than a few to go in our shop here. People who are set up to make boards regularly such as the Boardsmith are able to give you a lot more for your money than I would be able to.

The boards I will make are just to keep my boss happy and allow me to do something a bit more creative than cutting and sanding blocks for a couple days.
I figured if I was going to make a few it would be best to get functional input from you guys.

Pensacola Tiger
08-14-2011, 10:36 PM
Just want to make it clear that I will not be making boards for sale other than a few to go in our shop here. People who are set up to make boards regularly such as the Boardsmith are able to give you a lot more for your money than I would be able to.

The boards I will make are just to keep my boss happy and allow me to do something a bit more creative than cutting and sanding blocks for a couple days.
I figured if I was going to make a few it would be best to get functional input from you guys.

Please have your camera ready and post pics of your creations, Mark.