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Thread: Got my first board

  1. #1
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    Got my first board

    It's just a "plain old" 16"x22"x2" maple, but it's still amazing. When my wife first saw it she asked, "I thought we agreed on the smaller one!?" to which I replied, "this is the smaller one" ... well, it isn't the 18"x24", is it? At least 1/2 of it fits in the sink for washing, which wouldn't be possible with the 18"x24".

    When it first came, the top was smooth as glass. The first washing raised the grain enough to give it a softer texture (I expected that to happen). The color of the wood was deeper than I expected; I assume that was related to it being pre-oiled/buttered. My wife complained that it was orange, at which I pointed out that the browner walnut board was just $100 more, and I could probably find a buyer for the maple board if I sold it at a discount. She didn't argue after that.

    The treatment that I gave it before the first use was as follows:

    First day, oil both sides with ~2 oz. mineral oil
    Second day, oil both sides with ~2 oz. mineral oil and then apply melted board butter.
    Third day: quick wash (both sides) with warm water and dish soap and dry, although most of the excess water was drawn into the board before I could reach my towel.

    I was originally planning on saturating it with oil every day for a week before my first use, but then I saw a warning that over-doing it could make even a 2" thick board warp. I was afraid that I had overdone it on day 2 when I noticed that when I placed the board upside-down on my granite counter top, there was a little bit of a wobble of about 1mm. However, when I turned the board 90 degrees, the wobble direction didn't turn with the board. In other words, the board is flatter than my granite counter!

    In the above preparation steps I noticed that the bottom drank up the oil a lot more quickly than the top (I was careful to limit how much I applied, trying not to saturate the board). The bottom also didn't arrive glass-smooth like the top. Unless Dave does something differently between the top and bottom surfaces of the board, like only buttering the top, I can't guess why the bottom was more thirsty than the top.

    My father-in-law, who previously owned a small Chinese restaurant, was visiting when it arrived and he insisted that it isn't strong enough for a commercial Chinese kitchen where he'd hatchet through lamb bones. (Is everyone's father-in-law impossible to impress?) I'm not sure that I'd want to try to prove him wrong, at least not without removing the feet first. I wouldn't be afraid to let him cleave any bird or shellfish of his choice.

    So far, the board has seen minimal use over just a couple of days so there still isn't a scratch on it. Clearly I need to sharpen my knives some more. Overall, the board exceeded my incredibly high expectations.

  2. #2
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    Haha. I love the "plain" maple. If I could do it over, I'd have stuck with that rather than the walnut I've been using. The problem with cleaving big bones, etc. is just that you'll leave a scar on the board (any board, not just yours). I'd rather not, personally. I've heard of the over-oiling bit. I have treated six BoardSMITH boards and several others by leaving a pool of oil on it until oil seeps out the bottom. Then I flip and repeat several times. I've never seen any warpage although if you do this when it gets hot, the oil will seep out at higher temps and then soak back in at lower temps.

  3. #3
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    How much oil would you go through on a 16"x22"x2" board!? Dave's website mentions only periodically oiling the cutting surface of the board to maintain it, so I had figured that event the treatment that I gave it was more than necessary.

  4. #4
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    I don't remember but it was substantial. A pint maybe? I've definitely seen others that have weathered well with less oil. As long as the surface is fairly saturated and you don't let a lot of water soak in, you're good, as far as I can tell. Eventually, oil will saturate your board. There just no way around it unless you just don't oil enough. One more thing, my board is still smooth except where it's been worn and on the edges where it's been beveled off.

  5. #5
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    I've given the board another drink of oil, and this time 2 oz. was enough to leave a puddle that I had to wipe off the excess. I guess that the board butter is sitting just a little below the surface and holding the oil up.

    I didn't have a proper cabinet scraper, but I do have some seriously sharp knives. Brought it back to glass smooth in about a minute. I just went at it as if I was sharpening the knife on the board instead of a stone. The grain hasn't raised again since. It didn't hurt my knife at all either.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Eventually, oil will saturate your board. There just no way around it unless you just don't oil enough.
    Congrats on the board.

    The board I use the most started to be saturated after a year or so, but there was only one spot where oil went through to the other side. I always think I am going to oil that area less, but I never remember where it is. Oh well.

    When I lost that glassy feel, I just took some high grit stand paper to it. After a couple of times of sanding it stayed pretty much glassy.

    And if you are going to do a lot of stinky food chopping (onions, garlic etc.), you may want to apply some beeswax mix to seal it. I never did this, now delicate fruits such as strawberries tend to pick up a slight garlic aroma/taste. You can reduce the odor later on by trying to draw it out, but it is easier to prevent it in the first place.

    But other than that, man, you have a tough crowd to please (too big, too orange, not strong enough). Just tell them that the board makes you really really happy and that you love using it and cooking more because of it. Any complaints after that are just mean.

    k.
    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr drinky View Post
    ...And if you are going to do a lot of stinky food chopping (onions, garlic etc.), you may want to apply some beeswax mix to seal it...
    Good luck avoiding the garlic n onion smell. I've done the wax thing from the beginning and I can tell you I've decisively lost that battle. I toss a cheap plastic cutting sheet on my board for fruits.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Good luck avoiding the garlic n onion smell. I've done the wax thing from the beginning and I can tell you I've decisively lost that battle. I toss a cheap plastic cutting sheet on my board for fruits.
    Yup, same here. A little boardsmith just for fruits would be pretty cool though.

  9. #9
    My boardsmith smells just like a kind of foody wood smell. Maybe I just wipe it down faster?

  10. #10
    Yep, I have that onion and garlic smell to the board as well. I going to try spraying vinegar or diluted bleach to get rid of the smell. Hopefully it helps.

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