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DeepCSweede
01-04-2012, 04:57 PM
Does anyone have thoughts / experience with these boards. They claim that they are not hard on blades, yet seem to be pretty hard. My wife picked up two of these boards over Christmas and I haven't been able to bring myself to use them, especially with my better blades.

mr drinky
01-04-2012, 05:11 PM
I have a few small ones and use them only for very light duty (slicing some fruit with a paring knife, cheese board etc). The smaller ones are nice to have in a pinch, so you don't have to bring out the big boards. I don't use my nicer knives on them either. My thoughts are this: If I didn't offer some small, light cutting boards the relatives would cut on plates or my granite counter top, which is far worse. It's a trade-off.

Most people are concerned with the glues that go into making them, so even though the wood product might be softer, the glues aren't so knife friendly.

k.

ajhuff
01-04-2012, 05:36 PM
I know that's conventional wisdom, but as an engineer I can't help but question it. :D

What is the relative hardness of wood, bamboo, polycarb and epoxy? Compared to the knife they all seem pretty soft. Are the really that much of a contributing factor to edge wear?

-AJ

chazmtb
01-04-2012, 06:04 PM
They are pretty hard. I have one and I use it for protien slicing, breaking down chicken, ect. Actually pretty nice for that job, because it is easy to wash and pretty light weight. No chopping/push cutting on that baby.

Eamon Burke
01-04-2012, 07:11 PM
I know that's conventional wisdom, but as an engineer I can't help but question it. :D

What is the relative hardness of wood, bamboo, polycarb and epoxy? Compared to the knife they all seem pretty soft. Are the really that much of a contributing factor to edge wear?

-AJ

A baseball is soft compared to a metal bat, but it still leaves dents.

DeepCSweede
01-04-2012, 07:37 PM
They are pretty hard. I have one and I use it for protien slicing, breaking down chicken, ect. Actually pretty nice for that job, because it is easy to wash and pretty light weight. No chopping/push cutting on that baby.

I was thinking the same thing. One is a 30" circular monstrosity that actually would be a pretty good board when you don't need to touch the board but need some space for protein mess and the easy clean-up is a bonus.

mr drinky
01-04-2012, 07:41 PM
I think there is also a psychological element because the boards clack so much. They just sound hard when dropped from a short distance. Another thing is that the boards are very brittle. If you drop them they will chip.

I will also agree with chazmtb that I also use them for jobs that are messy, especially like chopping up anchovies, sun dried tomatoes and anything else really greasy. They clean up really nicely.

k.

DeepCSweede
01-04-2012, 07:41 PM
I have a few small ones and use them only for very light duty (slicing some fruit with a paring knife, cheese board etc). The smaller ones are nice to have in a pinch, so you don't have to bring out the big boards. I don't use my nicer knives on them either. My thoughts are this: If I didn't offer some small, light cutting boards the relatives would cut on plates or my granite counter top, which is far worse. It's a trade-off.

Most people are concerned with the glues that go into making them, so even though the wood product might be softer, the glues aren't so knife friendly.

k.
My wife is one of those who doesn't have a problem cutting cheese / veggies on her plate / tile cutting board. Luckily, she won't use my knives. Her preference is the free ones that come with Usinger sausage gift kits, so I am fine with that.

kalaeb
01-04-2012, 08:31 PM
We have a couple that are pretty handy. They are hrder than wood boards, but for light home use there are no issues. Especially with the extent that many of us spend on the stones.

ajhuff
01-04-2012, 08:45 PM
A baseball is soft compared to a metal bat, but it still leaves dents.

Well yeah but that's a transfer of energy issue, not a hardness issue.

-AJ

JohnnyChance
01-05-2012, 04:03 AM
I know that's conventional wisdom, but as an engineer I can't help but question it. :D

What is the relative hardness of wood, bamboo, polycarb and epoxy? Compared to the knife they all seem pretty soft. Are the really that much of a contributing factor to edge wear?

-AJ

True, but how hard are they compared to fruits, vegetables and proteins?

I believe the differences between the acceptable cutting boards is overblown. But then again, many people here try to get every slight advantage they can, which is why we also debate different steels, heat treats, etc.

I have a couple epicurean boards, like other I like to use them for raw proteins, greasy items or things that can stain. But I have found that my butcher block after 50+ years of use, seasoning and oiling is pretty resistant to pretty much everything.

SpikeC
01-05-2012, 02:02 PM
There is also the issue of abrasiveness. Bamboo is more abrasive than most wood due to silica that migrates into the material as it grows. This is also a problem with teak.

chazmtb
01-05-2012, 02:38 PM
Ha, being a knife nut with knives for specific uses, you also have boards for every specific uses also. This drives my wife crazy, and we have had quite a few "discussions" regarding my equipment intake.

I have an end grain for veggies and most task, a sani-tuff for sushi, an epicurean for raw protiens, a wood board with juice grooves for slicing cooked protiens, and a small poly for the small random task, plus another board that is used as a counter when it is put over the stove. Oh and this doesn't account for a 30X18 poly board that I am going to buy, because one of our friend has a new boyfriend that goes fishing on a regular basis, and brings us back fresh snapper and grouper. That reminds me, I need a large mioroshi deba. Nuts I tell you.

ajhuff
01-05-2012, 02:45 PM
There is also the issue of abrasiveness. Bamboo is more abrasive than most wood due to silica that migrates into the material as it grows. This is also a problem with teak.

Isn't that kind of a bonus? After you're done cutting you can strop right there on the board. ;D

-AJ

Eamon Burke
01-06-2012, 01:33 AM
Well yeah but that's a transfer of energy issue, not a hardness issue.

-AJ

Same thing with a knife and board--you are bashing the knife into the board all day. I don't know about you, but I typically don't gently slice and pull my way through shifts at work, and the habit comes home with me. My knives are more like wrenches than paintbrushes.

Andrew H
01-06-2012, 01:35 AM
Well yeah but that's a transfer of energy issue, not a hardness issue.

-AJ

I can't tell if you're serious or joking.

tk59
01-06-2012, 01:40 AM
Same thing with a knife and board--you are bashing the knife into the board all day. I don't know about you, but I typically don't gently slice and pull my way through shifts at work, and the habit comes home with me. My knives are more like wrenches than paintbrushes.Yeah. Even if you're fairly gentle, that's still a lot for a fine edge to take. The actual edge isn't taking all of the abuse on an end grain board. My knife never sticks in a bamboo board the way it can in an endgrain. That's still not really a hardness issue. I don't really know anything about how hardness is measured in wood. Maybe it's a language issue like "reactivity." I'd say most of the time, reactivity is equated with discoloration or smell when it's really more of a purity issue.

ajhuff
01-06-2012, 01:56 AM
Same thing with a knife and board--you are bashing the knife into the board all day. I don't know about you, but I typically don't gently slice and pull my way through shifts at work, and the habit comes home with me. My knives are more like wrenches than paintbrushes.

Serious, not joking. Why?

-AJ

mr drinky
01-06-2012, 02:09 AM
I don't really know anything about how hardness is measured in wood.

I don't either really. Janka is a very narrow test and only tells a tiny part of the picture. It seems as if there are a ton of factors that may make a wood good or bad for knives. I was reading through a database on African woods a while back when researching a wood for a cutting board and they talked about a ton of things: the density of wood, the grain structure (straight or interlocked), silica content, janka side hardness, janka end hardness, cleavage, compression etc.

I think this is why we usually stick with tried-and-true woods like maple, cherry, walnut etc. But I admit that I have two sapele boards and one made out of ash.

k.

Andrew H
01-06-2012, 02:21 AM
Serious, not joking. Why?

-AJ

Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but the same principle of 'energy transfer' plays into knives when they touch cutting boards as well. The reason why I was wondering if you were joking is it is a parallel analogy... just not the same amount of energy is involved.

ajhuff
01-06-2012, 07:49 AM
Sorry, I don't see the analogy.

I wasn't asking how a knife wears.

Perhaps I didn't ask my question very well so let me try to illustrate.

Let's say a knife has a hardness of 60 HRc. At the top of the spectrum we have glass and granite. Let's assign an arbitrary hardness of 100 HRc for them. Since glass and granite are much harder than the knife, those materials are detrimental to the knife's edge. I don't think anyone hear would argue with that.

Now looking at the the other end of the spectrum, wood and polycarbonate. Both are too soft for the Rockwell C scale. So let's just switch to Rockwell B and arbitrarily assign a value of 20 HRb to wood, well below 0 HRc. We generally consider wood to be a preferred material to cut on. So where does poly fall? If the hardness is near that of wood, then the two material should perform near equally. It seems to be generally accepted that poly is significantly harder than wood and therefore more detrimental to an edge, but is that true?

But the wood part of the equation is complicated a little by the use of resins and glue. What is the hardness of the resins as compared to the wood and poly? I would think that the resin hardness is about equal to that of polycarbonate so I would not think there would be much difference between the two. However on these Epicurean boards the consensus seems to be that because the resin content is so high, the boards are hard on knives.

The silica content of bamboo is an excellent point as mentioned above and kind of differentiates those boards.

It seems widely accepted that these Epicurean boards are significantly harder and therefore knife contact should be light. I'm wondering if that is just an assumption that has been taken as fact. I haven't seen anything to support it and if the resin hardness is on par with polycarb then the two styles of boards should be about equal.

-AJ

Andrew H
01-06-2012, 12:47 PM
Good question AJ, I'd like to see the answer also. I was just commenting on your statement that a metal bat getting dented by a baseball is an "energy transfer issue", not a hardness issue (like the knife and board issue is).

ajhuff
01-06-2012, 01:21 PM
Good question AJ, I'd like to see the answer also. I was just commenting on your statement that a metal bat getting dented by a baseball is an "energy transfer issue", not a hardness issue (like the knife and board issue is).

OK. Well the baseball is thrown with velocity giving it kinetic energy. When it contacts the bat the kinetic energy is transferred to the bat resulting in material deformation, a dent. At the same time the bat is swung with velocity giving it kinetic energy. When the bat strikes the ball the kinetic energy of the bat is transferred to the ball sending it out into the out field.

In the case of the knife striking the cutting board, the cutting board has zero kinetic energy, it does not transfer any energy to the knife. The knife in a downward smack possess kinetic energy which is transferred to the board and back into the users hand in the form of shock waves.

So see, I don't see an analogy. Maybe it's just me. Sorry to get this so far off track, but I must not have worded my original question well.

-AJ

DeepCSweede
01-06-2012, 01:32 PM
"In the case of the knife striking the cutting board, the cutting board has zero kinetic energy, it does not transfer any energy to the knife. The knife in a downward smack possess kinetic energy which is transferred to the board and back into the users hand in the form of shock waves."

Which was some of where my question origninated from that the cutting board depending on density / hardness / reflextivity absorbs some of the energy from the knife.

But my main question was really about how the composite nature of the board and the factors noted above affect the sharpness of a knife?

Might not happen soon, but a test may be in order to compare an epicurean board to other materials.

WildBoar
01-06-2012, 02:07 PM
I'll muddy the waters a little here. I think an Epicurean board rolls an edge easier then an end grain board because the edge does not bite into the Epicurean as much when it strikes the board at a slightly off-angle.

How to break that down structurally/ physically? I guess it's more of an inelastic collision vs/ elastic, so more eccentric force is applied to the thin edge.

I have no hands-on experience with bamboo boards, so my best guess is they typically have more glued joints and the chipping may be from stress concentration points where the glue is slightly higher then the wood surface. And that guess is worth exactly how much you paid for it :wink:

Eamon Burke
01-06-2012, 05:37 PM
Solution: Karring, use the Epicurean boards like it's going out of style. Tell us what you think. We will believe you.

No need to shot bearings at it!

mr drinky
01-06-2012, 06:18 PM
Solution: Karring, use the Epicurean boards like it's going out of style. Tell us what you think. We will believe you.

No need to shot bearings at it!


LOL. The irony is that I just happen to be cutting on one as I write this, and a minute ago I was sawing into it with my miyabi paring knife just to how it felt when scarring the board. I remember when this issue came up a couple years back, I actually took a crappy knife and dropped it tip down from a set height just to see how far the tip would penetrate all my different boards.

k.

kalaeb
01-06-2012, 06:46 PM
LOL. The irony is that I just happen to be cutting on one as I write this, and a minute ago I was sawing into it with my miyabi paring knife just to how it felt when scarring the board. I remember when this issue came up a couple years back, I actually took a crappy knife and dropped it tip down from a set height just to see how far the tip would penetrate all my different boards.

k.

That is some serious skill! Cutting, surfing KKF and typing at the same time, very well done! The word addicted comes to mind. :Stefan:

I love using that smiley, it has so many uses here.

I will still maintain that for home use, while my Boardsmith is my prefered board, the epicurean boards are not as bad for the edge as they are being made out to be. I have no data to back that up, but in the long run, don't we all need more practice sharpening anyway. My home knives hit the stones every other week so the correlation between edge abusiveness and the board never really entered into play.

Justin0505
01-06-2012, 07:26 PM
I started a thread like this one awhile ago and I'm sure that there where many before that and they all seem to end. In the same place: no one really knows / has done a scientific test on edge wear on end grain company epicurean but the 2 are probably close enough that the decision comes down to other factors like application, cleanup, feel, appearance and personal taste.

Like most nuts on here I have end grain. Maple, poly, and epi.

However, I recently got a screaming deal on a massive epi "big block" series board... It's 26"x18"x1" thick. My reason for getting it was that my endorsing board had previously been living on the counter and by the sink and taking a lot of abuse /water /missuse. Being as near indestructible as any knife friendly surface can be, the epi made a much better "always out" board. It takes hot pans, but water, oil, blood, sticky goo, vinegar, food coloring, red wine... and it just shrugs it off and asks for more.

For long cutathons I still bring out the end grain. I enjoy cutting on the natural wood more... It just feels nice. Wood also seems to have much better dampening properties (absorbs/deadens shock).

However, I have to say that while the epi looks and feels harder, it still cuts and scores and I haven't noticed a difference in edge retention since I started using it more.

Lucretia
01-06-2012, 07:36 PM
OK. Well the baseball is thrown with velocity giving it kinetic energy. When it contacts the bat the kinetic energy is transferred to the bat resulting in material deformation, a dent. At the same time the bat is swung with velocity giving it kinetic energy. When the bat strikes the ball the kinetic energy of the bat is transferred to the ball sending it out into the out field.

In the case of the knife striking the cutting board, the cutting board has zero kinetic energy, it does not transfer any energy to the knife. The knife in a downward smack possess kinetic energy which is transferred to the board and back into the users hand in the form of shock waves.

So see, I don't see an analogy. Maybe it's just me. Sorry to get this so far off track, but I must not have worded my original question well.

-AJ

Can't agree with this. You can hold a baseball bat still and dent it with a ball--the ball just has to be moving faster to have enough energy to generate the same effective work. And the ball will rebound off a bat that isn't moving--think of little kids holding a bat still and getting a "hit" when a ball hits the bat and bounces off.

You can hit a cutting board with a knife or hit a knife with a cutting board--or have them both in motion--the same kinetic energy will generate the same force on the blade for a given cutting board. As long as the resulting energy is the same, the origin of your coordinate system doesn't matter.

The material properties of the board, on the other hand, will affect how much of the kinetic energy is dissipated through damping, vibration, friction, etc. Hardness isn't the only property that will affect the forces on the knife blade.

That said, the store where I bought my knife advised against using Epicurean boards.

ajhuff
01-06-2012, 08:05 PM
I would retract my comment if I could, but alas I can't remove it.

-AJ

Lucretia
01-06-2012, 08:18 PM
I would retract my comment if I could, but alas I can't remove it.

-AJ

Just edit it to remove all content, pretend you're a politician, and deny it ever happened! :lol2:

K-Fed
01-06-2012, 10:00 PM
One of the kitchens that I work in has wood fiber cutting boards on the line, and was never a fan of them. They've got a strange gritty feel to them while cutting along with feeling hard, similar to the side grain bamboo cutting boards at friends houses that I've cut on.

mr drinky
01-07-2012, 01:10 AM
Well, in the end a lot of stuff we do here with stones, blade steel, edges, angles etc is all 'feel' and we develop a sort of 'gut' like or dislike. Before I owned a BoardSmith and other end-grain boards I used Epicurean and Bamboo boards exclusively. But slowly I stopped using both Epicurean and bamboo boards with my good knives, and never when serious cutting needed to be done.

My gut tells me that bamboo boards are easier on my knives than Epicurean boards (though I used to feel differently about this). The bamboo scars more easily, feels more tactile, and it seems that the knife edges have a bit 'softer landing'. Yes, there is the silica issue with bamboo, but that is just my feeling about knife feel (I can't feel wood silica content really). But these are both resin/glue impregnated wood/grass products at the end of day and somewhat similar.

The biggest difference for me is that end-grain boards cleave when the knife edge hits it, and these manufactured woods do not. They will scar through force, but there is no natural give. Maybe end-grain bamboo is different, but I have never had one so I don't know.

After using Epicurean and bamboo boards for years, I never use them anymore for intensive chopping sessions. I would use bamboo in a pinch though. And again, for light-duty paring knife stuff or messy cutting, Epicureans are just fine IMO, and I actually prefer them.

It's all a tradeoff. If I really wanted to be super nice to my knife edges, I wouldn't cut butternut squash either and only eat softer veggies -- but what fun is that ;)

k.

MichaelD
07-10-2012, 12:54 PM
Sorry, I don't see the analogy.

I wasn't asking how a knife wears.

Perhaps I didn't ask my question very well so let me try to illustrate.

Let's say a knife has a hardness of 60 HRc. At the top of the spectrum we have glass and granite. Let's assign an arbitrary hardness of 100 HRc for them. Since glass and granite are much harder than the knife, those materials are detrimental to the knife's edge. I don't think anyone hear would argue with that.

Now looking at the the other end of the spectrum, wood and polycarbonate. Both are too soft for the Rockwell C scale. So let's just switch to Rockwell B and arbitrarily assign a value of 20 HRb to wood, well below 0 HRc. We generally consider wood to be a preferred material to cut on. So where does poly fall? If the hardness is near that of wood, then the two material should perform near equally. It seems to be generally accepted that poly is significantly harder than wood and therefore more detrimental to an edge, but is that true?

But the wood part of the equation is complicated a little by the use of resins and glue. What is the hardness of the resins as compared to the wood and poly? I would think that the resin hardness is about equal to that of polycarbonate so I would not think there would be much difference between the two. However on these Epicurean boards the consensus seems to be that because the resin content is so high, the boards are hard on knives.

The silica content of bamboo is an excellent point as mentioned above and kind of differentiates those boards.

It seems widely accepted that these Epicurean boards are significantly harder and therefore knife contact should be light. I'm wondering if that is just an assumption that has been taken as fact. I haven't seen anything to support it and if the resin hardness is on par with polycarb then the two styles of boards should be about equal.

-AJ

This might be helpfull.
1.
Hardness of resins http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/facilities/ionprobe/EpoxyResins/Hardness.html
2.
http://www.calce.umd.edu/TSFA/images/image012.gif
3.
http://www.calce.umd.edu/TSFA/images/image013.gif