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Thread: "Ironwood" chopping block

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Bay area

    "Ironwood" chopping block

    So was looking at the wokshop for something and noticed they said these were the best chopping blocks they offer. Anyone know anything about this wood and these blocks?? (Wikipedia says "ironwood" can be one of a large number of very hard woods...)


  2. #2
    "Ironwood" from Asia is often what is also referred as Black Nargusta. Probably would make a good Chinese chopping block, but not so sure I'd want to use it for a cutting board.
    Rule #1- Don't sweat the small s%&t, rule #2- It's ALL small s%&t

  3. #3
    I played with those boards before. Usually imported from south east Asia (vietnam, and neighboring countries) IMO they are too dense for sharp knives, the ones that I have seen crack rather easy (I saw a bunch of cracked ones in a warehouse); also, the finish applied to the ones that I saw was quite smelly.

  4. #4
    Something called "ironwood" would not be my first choice in cutting or chopping blocks, too hard on knives. Maple was the hands down choice in the US for at least a century, and maple is still the most common wood I see. Any other hardwood with small pores is also fine, but you want to stay on the softer end of "hardwood" to preserve the knife edges.

    I'm making some boards at the moment from tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipfera) and a combination of black walnut and maple for the color contrast. Won't be as pretty as the freshly planed wood, alas, as the black walnut is a very lovely chocolate purple color that will turn dark red/brown when oiled. The maple is currently almost white, but will turn amber when oiled. End grain, should be nice to use.


  5. #5
    They are certainly the most common cutting/chopping board in China for home use. I saw them in every convenience type store and airport gift shop I was in. I've been using one off and on for my Chinese cooking for several years with no real complaints.
    Thin, fragile edged Japanese knives might be a different matter.

  6. #6
    It all depends on the hardness of the wood, I suppose. And the toughness of the knife edge.

    Cracking is probably due to moisture content changes. Wood shrinks and expands quite a bit with humidity changes, so something made of wood in a tropical environment may crack rather badly when moved to a very dry environment like Arizona. Wood does not expand and contract evenly with moisture changes, and the forces involved are higher than the mechanical strength of the wood.


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Newport Beach, California
    Wow, no one mentioned cringing at recommended soaking.

  8. #8
    When I bought mine from the Wok shop they had an instruction slip in the box about soaking in salt water for a period of time followed by a drying period. I followed their instructions.

  9. #9
    Soaking will indeed close up the cracks. That is simply a section of a log, and the wood will shrink along the rings more than across the rings.


  10. #10
    I think using a round block would bother me.

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