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Chopping board recommendations for hard Japanese knives?

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josemartinlopez

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I tried reading up on chopping boards, including old posts here, and am completely confused. What chopping board is recommended for hard Japanese knives? Is it end grain wood, Japanese hinoki wood, or rubber (and which brands; for hinoki are cheaper thin boards from the Japanese chain Muji safe)? Is plastic generally bad for Japanese knives?

Would appreciate a summary or a link to good resource material.
 

Nemo

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End grain wood (preferably not too hard a wood) is best. Mine is an Aussie hardwood called Jarrah. It's probably a bit on the hard side but not too bad.

Edge grain is not as good but is OK

Rubber (E.g.: Ueda or Hasegawa) are not bad. I use them as meat boards because they go in the dishwasher.

Plastic such as PE are hard on knife edges. I just bought one from Hasegawa. It's meant to be a lot softer than most PE. Haven't had a chance to use it yet, so we will see ir it really is kind to edges...
 

ExistentialHero

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I tried reading up on chopping boards, including old posts here, and am completely confused. What chopping board is recommended for hard Japanese knives? Is it end grain wood, Japanese hinoki wood, or rubber (and which brands; for hinoki are cheaper thin boards from the Japanese chain Muji safe)? Is plastic generally bad for Japanese knives?

Would appreciate a summary or a link to good resource material.
Special note: bamboo is significantly worse than other woods because it has very high silica content--basically, bamboo boards are full of sand.

For end grain boards, The BoardSMITH is a popular vendor around here and makes awesome product. I have a cherry Carolina Slab that is now the centerpiece of my kitchen--it's really stunning and feels great to work on.
 

Elliot

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Hasegawa is about as good as it gets in terms of babying your steel. They're ugly, but they will be nicest to your knife.
Otherwise, just think about the type of wood (maple and cherry are quite good). Boardsmith sells some good stuff in those woods.
 

Garm

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Hinoki boards are great if you(like I do) want light boards that are very easy to move around, clean under the faucet in the sink, etc.
The wood is extremely soft and very easy on knife edges. The boards will scar and may need some sanding after long use.
I don't use mine for meat or poultry though.
 

John O

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FWIW the Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen people had a lab do a study on edge retention on end-grain vs. edge-grain and didn't find an appreciable difference (mentioned in the Grain Style Can Affect Durability section).

 

nexus1935

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I recently tried the hi soft boards from Korin. They do seem gentle for the blade (without having the blade actually bite in), and I'm quite enjoying them. They're also less maintenance than wooden boards.

Takes a bit of getting used to at first though, because they feel much different than wooden boards. It's more difficult to tell when the knife has hit the board in terms of feedback or sound, when the board is directly on the granite countertop. I find that putting a wet cloth underneath it helps.
 

parbaked

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I have hinoki, edge grain walnut and Boos end grain maple. I use Epicurean for protein.
I use the hinoki most because it's so light and easy clean and feels great. I will always have one.
Use the Boos for larger jobs. i like that I can scrape it dry/clean with a metal bench scraper between tasks.
My end grain walnut feels too hard on the edge. it sounds and feels like an Epicurean composite board. It's pretty but I don't like using it...
 

nexus1935

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FWIW the Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen people had a lab do a study on edge retention on end-grain vs. edge-grain and didn't find an appreciable difference (mentioned in the Grain Style Can Affect Durability section).

Thanks for the read @John O . I always wondered if there was a discernible difference to edge retention between edge and end grain (I only have edge grain maple boards, wondering if I was missing out).
 

reagan

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End grain and hi soft rubber board for me. The end grain stays out 24/7 and heavier prep days or meat I use the rubber boards
 

jwpark

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BoardSmith End grain cutting board, enough said

I've has mine for over 12 years
 

ModRQC

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Variability over edge retention is in how one cuts as much as surface - if too much force is applied an end-grain board might show its advantages more clearly.

Even tap chopping doesn’t necessarily mean tapping the board with full force. I can sharpen a Victorinox and have it keep the keen edge over 3-5 preps on bamboo - some tap chopping included, and slicing proteins, and depending on the length of said preps. After that it’s not so keen anymore but not dull yet. Still very much usable for most produces - a couple more preps can be squeezed in before refreshing or resharpening. Anything over 60HRC or so can endure a whole lot more.

What I find dulls edges fast even with light technique is poly boards - but I never owned a good poly board. YMMV.
 

Kgp

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Another vote for Boardsmith. However, I see that you are in Singapore so shipping would be a *****. I use soft plastic for chicken and raw meat, end grain walnut is my mainstay.
 

josemartinlopez

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Thank for all the comments. I ended up buying a kiso hinoki, an aomari hibari and a couple of Asahi rubber boards. I looked for the 3 cm thick boards in each for a lifetime buy.
 

Kristoffer

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Sounds like you’re all set.

Getting a Hinoki board almost (ALMOST) put a complete stop to my browsing for nice end grain boards. It just feels so nice on the edge, whether that makes for a measurable difference in edge retention or not. Smells nice too.
 

cotedupy

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This is probably a very stupid question, but why does one cut against the grain on an edge grain board, rather than with it...?
 

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