Tree stump cutting boards

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

Oshidashi

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
227
Reaction score
953
Location
Boca Raton, Florida
I believe that in much of Asia the most common cutting board is a circular board sliced from a tree stump or log. It is the most simple end grain cutting board type and clearly requires little in the way of construction. But it is rarely utilized in the Western world for some reason. I think it would be pretty cool to have one, especially for chopping. Anyone with experience with them? Anyone know where to get one that is not overpriced?
 

McMan

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
2,286
Reaction score
2,369
They're readily available at asian markets.
 

Jovidah

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2016
Messages
2,304
Reaction score
1,679
Location
Netherlands
I've been wondering the same. Couldn't find a good specimen locally either. I guess the main downside is that you end up with a round board instead of a square one.
 

ian

Not banned
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
5,184
Reaction score
10,252
Location
Boston, MA
I’ve never really been interested since they’re typically so tall. I’d need a low counter to use one of those, or I’d f up my ellbow.
 

Noodle Soup

Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
1,808
Reaction score
184
I've always wanted to bring one of the tamarind blocks back from Thailand but any of the large ones I like weigh a ton. There is also a shop on Shanghai street in Hong Kong that specializes this type of chopping block.
 

btbyrd

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
821
Reaction score
1,285
Location
W-S, NC
They're typically quite small (10-13" in diameter) for their weight and height. My larger knives would have trouble staying on the board.
 

Oshidashi

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
227
Reaction score
953
Location
Boca Raton, Florida
Lumber yard wouldn't have a round stump either. We have tamarind trees locally but the neighbors probably wouldn't want me cutting theirs down. Maybe the landscaping people could set me up, but it would have to be a good wood. My understanding is that it would have to be soaked in salt water, then dried and then oiled.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ian

cotedupy

Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
1,752
Reaction score
2,938
Location
South Australia
I've 'made' a couple of these; one worked, one didn't.

You need to think quite carefully about what wood you use, both for the result in use, but especially in terms of curing. It's very difficult to avoid lateral cracks in a round that's an appropriate diameter, height and wood for a chopping board...

IMG-0874.jpg


That wood turned out to be too hard anyway, so was no great loss. I cut it up and have made a few nice knife handles from it.

Your best best, I think, would be to cut a round from the middle of a log that's been curing for decades. Then cure it further while keeping slightly damp for maybe a year. Then dry it and load with a feck-ton of mineral oil (the board in the pictures below has a few litres of oil in it).

This is from spalted Norfolk Island Pine. It did develop a couple of small cracks after being cut, but easily filled:

IMG-1028.jpg


IMG-1035.jpg
 
Last edited:

Oshidashi

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
227
Reaction score
953
Location
Boca Raton, Florida
I've 'made' a couple of these; one worked, one didn't.

You need to think quite carefully about what wood you use, both for the result in use, but especially in terms of curing. It's very difficult to avoid lateral cracks in a round that's an appropriate diameter, height and wood for a chopping board...

View attachment 148485

That wood turned out to be too hard anyway, so was no great loss. I cut it up and have made a few nice knife handles from it.

Your best best, I think, would be to cut a round from the middle of a log that's been curing for decades. Then cure it further while keeping slightly damp for maybe a year. Then dry it and load with a feck-ton of mineral oil (the board in the pictures below has a few litres of oil in it).

This is from spalted Norfolk Island Pine. It did develop a couple of small cracks after being cut, but easily filled:

View attachment 148484

View attachment 148483
Interesting. Thanks. As usual, things are more difficult or complex than they at first seem.
 

cotedupy

Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
1,752
Reaction score
2,938
Location
South Australia
Interesting. Thanks. As usual, things are more difficult or complex than they at first seem.
Yeah. I'm sure there are certain species that are known for cracking less as they cure, but I don't know enough about wood to be able to help much there. TBH unless you had some particularly beautiful round that you wanted to use, I'd just buy one.
 

cotedupy

Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
1,752
Reaction score
2,938
Location
South Australia
Here's a nice little video:

You can see how it gets bashed into a hole - I assume that's to help avoid cracking and warping issues.
 

MarcelNL

professional blame taker
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,536
Reaction score
1,480
[
Casually measures insect-infested cutting-board hole at a butcher shop... :rolleyes:
Yikes, now i HAD to watch the video to see what you were talking about...
 

rocketman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Messages
66
Reaction score
82
Location
KINGWOOD
Wood has a number for % shrinkage in both radial, and tangential directions.. Some species the numbers are dramatically different, and those species severely crack. On the other hand, some species the numbers are not too different, and those do not crack so severely.. Here in Texas, Magnolia is pretty good about not cracking, as the numbers are similar... Palm trees almost never crack, but the trunk is pretty porous, and really not a choice I would make.
 

MarcelNL

professional blame taker
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,536
Reaction score
1,480
sure, yet what I saw there were not maggots...unless what appear to be roaches are used to keep wounds clean I'd vote for another butcher as supplier for the family meals....
 

pgugger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
223
Reaction score
436
Location
New York, USA
This is like a Pro Max version compared to regular ones in Asian kitchens.
Haha, fair enough. I was lucky to get this when my Dad decided not to make a small table top out of it. I think he found it looking around at small lumber yards in the region.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
1,428
Reaction score
2,412
Location
CT
Haha, fair enough. I was lucky to get this when my Dad decided not to make a small table top out of it. I think he found it looking around at small lumber yards in the region.
It looks really good. Plus, the cherry wood is the better/softer one out of the commonly seen end grain boards including cherry, maple, walnut and teak. I will buy this!
 

Hz_zzzzzz

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
1,428
Reaction score
2,412
Location
CT
I think I read the Chinese one are often some type of larch.
For restaurants I think it’s usually cheap willow (柳木). Larch is common too. Ironwood is mostly for family use.

Willow is very soft and dry so they soak it in oil or salty water once a while. It’s so soft you get deep scratches easily, so they once a while clean it by cutting a layer off. They usually don’t sand, just use a cleaver to horizontally cut a layer off.
 

natto

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2015
Messages
236
Reaction score
42
Location
Wilhelmsburg.de
I read about chop block some years ago. From asian newspapers a board from full grown trees (I think tamarind, but unsure) would be best. Resources diminishing they complained about new stuff, hard to get good old quality nowadays.

The old boards developed cracks when stored dry, which is no issue. Moistening the boards closes gaps without damage.

A local shop had one board left with cracks from the center becoming smaller to the rim. An inch from the rim the board was free of cracks. Knowing nothing at that time I left it there. Argh, me stupido!
 

demcav

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
85
Reaction score
150
Location
S. LA
I just received one of these today -- 13" round x 3" thick. Washed the salt cure off of it, let it dry, and poured mineral oil all over it; tomorrow I'll wipe off the excess oil and apply a layer of beeswax/mineral oil paste. Nothing fancy but VERY practical for chopping with a heavy CCK bone cleaver.

I'd been looking for something to fill this need at a reasonable price, so thank you for the link!
 
Top