A chopping board and a question

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cotedupy

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I've recently made this Chinese-style chopping board from a piece of Ironbark a friend cut for me. Pictures show the progress through to what I hope is the finished article (picture with the knife on top of it).

It was completely green when I got it and has obviously been cracking and changing shape a bit, so have been working on it slowly as it dries a little, fingers crossed it's now stable-ish in terms of filling &c.!

It's not the biggest board, and I'd quite like to get another larger, and reasonably tall one. And was wondering if any Aussie members had any recommendations for anyone selling this kind of whole, end-grain, board here? Ideally a cheapish Chinese version...
 

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Nemo

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Interesting.

Certainly looks great.

It's end-grain, which is good.

Ironbark is pertty hard (Janka ~14KN), which could be a bit hard on edges..
 

cotedupy

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Interesting.

Certainly looks great.

It's end-grain, which is good.

Ironbark is pertty hard (Janka ~14KN), which could be a bit hard on edges..
Funny you should say that... I tried using it in earnest for the first time this evening, and decided quite quickly to stop using my smart knives. It's insanely hard!

Looks like it's destined to become a fancy cheese board. Hey ho.
 

cotedupy

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Interesting.

Certainly looks great.

It's end-grain, which is good.

Ironbark is pertty hard (Janka ~14KN), which could be a bit hard on edges..
Out of interest- if I was trying this again would you have any recommendations for native woods that might be better?
 

Nemo

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Out of interest- if I was trying this again would you have any recommendations for native woods that might be better?
It depends on where you live- So much regional variation in eucalypt species (and maybe even more variation in the common names for them). Maybe talk to a local carpenter? I reckon- aim for around 8 KN Janka.
 

LostHighway

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It depends on where you live- So much regional variation in eucalypt species (and maybe even more variation in the common names for them). Maybe talk to a local carpenter? I reckon- aim for around 8 KN Janka.
@Nemo is absolutely right about wood (and plants generally) nomenclature. Common names are a rat's nest of of potential confusion. They often differ from place to place within the same country and the same name, e.g, "ironwood", is often used for completely unrelated species. You need both the genus and the species. Acacia, which seems to be showing up with some frequency for cutting boards, is legitimately a genus, albeit a large and complex one, but it covers hundreds of species and potentially several subgenera depending on whose classifications you are working from.
Wood species generally recommend for cutting boards in North America range from about 4,000 to about 6,500 newtons (ballpark US equivalents 900 - 1,500 pounds). The Japanese may choose to use softer woods line Chamaecyparis obtus, aka Hinoki, but typically for protein slicing rather than bone breaker chopping. As a separate issue some woods can have high silica content which may make them less than ideal for cutting boards regardless of their Janka hardness.
 

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LostHighway

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The impression that I get is that most Aussie hardwoods (which are mostly eucalypts) rarely get much below 8 KN. I'd need to ask a woodworker or a timber boffin to know for sure, though
That may well be the case. I don't have much familiarity with anything other than Northern Hemisphere, temperate climate, tree species. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) historically has been the preferred wood for butcher block/end grain cutting boards here at about 1,450 newtons. There are few North America species that are harder but most of them tend to be smaller and less abundant species. Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacaia), some Hickory (Carya sp.) and some Oaks (Quercus sp., notably Live Oak, Quercus virginiana) are the only large North American species I can think of off hand that are notably harder than Sugar Maple. Wood selection for cutting boards seems to be more a matter of tradition, availability, anecdotal evidence, and perhaps grain and pore structure than anything approaching science. I have no real idea how hard is too hard but choose to err on the softer side for harder steels (normal kitchen use, not bone chopping).
 

cotedupy

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Good points, and all I know about the wood I was given is that's it's 'probably a type of ironbark'.

It certainly felt like cutting on marble, and took the edge off a Mazaki in almost no time. I can't imagine how bad cutting on actual marble must be.

Will bear all this in mind for next time!
 

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Ironbarks are around 13-14 KN Janka.

Looking a bit closer, there are a few softer eucalypt species. For example, Victorian ash is about 6KN.
 
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LostHighway

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Correction: I must have been not fully present when I posted yesterday. 1,450 is the Janka hardness for Sugar Maple in pounds not newtons, the value in newtons is 6,450. Australian Cypress aka White Cypress Pine (Callitris columellaris aka Callitris glaucophylla) has a Janka hardness very close to Sugar Maple. Although it is reported to have numerous small, tight knots, it otherwise sounds promising for both cutting boards and maybe knife handles but I have no idea how available it may be.
 

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Correction: I must have been not fully present when I posted yesterday. 1,450 is the Janka hardness for Sugar Maple in pounds not newtons, the value in newtons is 6,450. Australian Cypress aka White Cypress Pine (Callitris columellaris aka Callitris glaucophylla) has a Janka hardness very close to Sugar Maple. Although it is reported to have numerous small, tight knots, it otherwise sounds promising for both cutting boards and maybe knife handles but I have no idea how available it may be.
You can certainly get it. I used it to replace some fence posts (not an easy job, rest assured). It's said to be resistant to both rot and inscects/termites.
 

cotedupy

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Thanks again for the expertise here.

A few days later I was round at my wife's uncles place and noticed he had a small forest's worth of chopped down trees in his yard for various projects, and all sorts of different species.

So I'm now the possessor of quite large piece of Norfolk Pine which he cut for me. 42 cm by 13cm deep. Has a hardness of about 3kN apparently (maybe a bit soft?), tho appears to be used for boards a bit, so fingers crossed will come out alright...
 

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