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small cutting boards-Practical?

Discussion in 'Kitchen Cutlery & Tools' started by GABaus, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. GABaus


    May 7, 2017
    I am working on upgrading a portable sink and part of that process involves cutting slots in a large piece of cutting board type plastic in order to make slots for the basins. And I was thinking of using the waste material to make some 6" by 9"(I will update the numbers tomorrow after taking more accurate measurements) cutting boards. I was wondering if this would be a a usable size for a cutting board or if it is too small to do anything on?
  2. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    It’s on the small size for cutting board also plastic is horrible on your knife edges and isn’t cleaner that good ole natural woods, While a few State Govs have been lobbied $$$$$$$ and the bought & payed for Scientists for the Plastic association say plastic is better, cleaner, Blah, Blah$$$$$$$ i wish you luck!
  3. GABaus


    May 7, 2017
    Roughly my concern with the size the things are pretty tiny(the cutting board I usually use is roughly a 1' by 1 1/2' cutting board but have access to some big ones for when I am cutting up large amounts of food) The sanitation thing really doesn't seem like that big of an issue with these boards since you can occasionally boil them, and in my experience the only "cutting board" medium which I have used that significantly dulls knives is glass.(I hate glass cutting boards)
  4. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    Our parents & Grandparents ,, ,, used good ole natural wood and no one got sick etc..... Enjoy!
  5. GABaus


    May 7, 2017
    I prefer wood myself I am mostly looking into this as a way to utilize some scraps I already have.
  6. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    Plenty of times when I just want to cut a single small thing - like cut a lemon in half, or slice some cheese off of a bigger piece, where I am not doing full food prep and don't feel like getting out a bigger board. So sure, having some small piece of something to protect your counter and the edge would be handy.
    GABaus and EDCSharps like this.
  7. KenHash

    KenHash Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I don't think the small size is a problem provided you are using it for small work with a parer or petty.
    But I don't advocate plastic boards if wood is available.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  8. Shann


    Sep 2, 2004
    I have 2 or 3 small cutting boards (all plastic). I use them all the time to cut a sandwich, or a single tomato or something like that. They are also a little handier if you are packing a picnic lunch or something and want to cut up some apples, etc.

    I do prefer plastic cutting boards, but I would make sure that whatever material that you are using is approved as food grade. I wouldn't just assume that it was safe to use as a cutting board if its just general plastic construction material.
  9. KnifeRep

    KnifeRep Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 5, 2018
    I have several wood cutting boards in various sizes, most are maple but I have a walnut one that’s about 5X7 and one maple that’s 4x5.5, they aren’t thick, maybe 3/4” thick, my wife loves to use them and they are her go to boards, I prefer something a little bigger, I go for a John Boos NSF listed maple board typically, it’s apx. 10x16x1.25 thick, but we have some big ones at home, 14x24 and a 20 x 30 with a routed blood channel that I use for butchering deer and pigs from quarters, the 14x 24 is thick and heavy, maybe 2” thick, the 20x30 is about 7/8” thick. Note I wrote heavy, those big ones don’t move around much, one of the draw back to a smaller board is it’s light weight and can move around depending on your slice motion; this is why I go for a bigger board than my wife, she’s a professional chef, her slice is fast and precise, her little boards don’t move much, my slice is clumsy in comparison and when I use the little boards they move on me and I don’t like having to use my off-hand to steady them while I’m also positioning the product for slicing.

    I’ll tell you guys a cool story I heard yesterday at the NAFEM foodservice trade show in Orlando, FL from the sales manager at the Michigan Maple Block Company (I hope I get this right)...

    After Chicago burned to the ground in 1871 they were in desperate need of wood to rebuild the city so they turned to the woodsmen in the northern Michigan area for 2 reasons, the forests there were abundant old growth and the logs could be floated to Chicago and milled there cutting transportation time and cost.

    It took a good 10-years before the demand for wood subsided and by that time the logging industry was well established in northern Michigan. Industrious and looking for ways to market their wood, the woodsmen, mills, and furniture makers began turning out finished wood products for the bustling Chicago marketplace which at that time, and for many decades thereafter, was the meat butchering capitol of the US . One of those products was the end-grain butcher block with legs that has become the icon of the Michigan Maple Block Company founded in 1881.

    The end-grain is the key for its natural fibers gives away to the knife’s edge and then the fibers reform giving longevity to the end-grain block (I’m no expert here, I’m going by what I learned from the person I talked to at the show) and end-grain maple is the best wood to use because it strikes a good balance between hard and soft for a knife’s edge.

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  10. herisson

    herisson Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    I tried a plastic cutting board (long time ago) because it was supposed to be easier to clean and non absorbing juices, etc.... Well, in the end, I found out it to be just a miserable piece of crap : it got cut marks very quickly and these retained debris and juices very effectively. Despite hot water and rabid scrubbing, the center of the board (where most of the cutting happens) stayed brownish... Off to the bin it went and now I use only wooden boards. Any soft wood will do, for your pricier and thinner knives : pine, beech, ash and best of all, hinoki / japanese cypress (this one will cost the price of a knife and not last for ages, but it's very compact, soft, has a beautiful fragrance and will never dull your edges). Oak is fine for the more robust knives. Avoid bamboo because it has a high content of silicates, not good for the edges. If I could grab some of that end grain maple, I sure would ! And yeah, sanitization... When you're done, scrub the board with hot water and dish washer soap, rinse thoroughly, let it dry upright and you're golden. I wouldn't dismiss your plastic scraps for small occasional cutting like a lemon for the rum or a tomato for the sandwich or some more onions for the barbecue... they can be useful. And as they are free, when they get ugly you can throw them away lighthearted. I would give a thought, though, to their food compatibility... Plastic corks for bottled wine were all the rage some years ago (cheaper, cleaner, stabler...) until someone noticed that some of the components of the plastic dissolved into the wine. Not good. That's plastic for you. There are so many different sorts of plastic that you must tread lightly when using them.
    GABaus and KnifeRep like this.
  11. KnifeRep

    KnifeRep Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 5, 2018
    I've been looking at cutting boards on Etsy and eBay searching, "End grain cutting boards" and "Maple end grain cutting boards', there are many, many choices, both commercially manufactured and home shop built, I bought a maple one with a checkered dark maple heart wood and blond maple end grain sectional laminate from a home shop builder last night, a 8.5 x 6 x 1.25" thick one, it was $45 delivered on eBay and you could specify rubber feat on one side if you wanted them, I didn't get the rubber feet.

    If you are going to use your board in an inspected kitchen, a commercial kitchen that is inspected by the local health department, I would advise you to stay with a know brand name, like 'Wood Welded' by Michigan Maple Block Co. or the John Boos Co. boards, and get one that's NSF listed, especially if you are working in a chain restaurant (just my professional advise here...) It is my experience that health inspectors gravitate to wood food contact areas in the kitchen as potential contaminate points (among other areas), best to have your ducks in a row here, Folks. The NSF listed wood boards are dye stamped on their side with the NSF logo indicating they are listed.

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  12. Brandon Nelson

    Brandon Nelson

    Jan 16, 2019
    As another poster said, small boards have a purpose. Quick and easy small tasks. Limes for a margarita, cheese, tomatoes for a quick salad, etc. These are all the tasks for a small 6" Chef's knife and not a 10". If you only have a large 10" Chef's knife then the boards will be far too small.
    GABaus likes this.
  13. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I went the other direction, with two 18x18 inch end-grain cutting boards, one 4 inch thick maple and the other 3 inch thick larch. I keep them well oiled, and nothing stains them. No knife marks. My chef's knife stays sharp much longer. These are the most functional luxury items I've purchased.

    And they are easy to keep clean because the oil keeps everything on the surface.
  14. KnifeRep

    KnifeRep Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 5, 2018
    I bought 2 this week

    * A Teak end-grain 12" x 8" x 1.25" thick one made in Brazil, off eBay for $27.55 shipped
    * A 'party of wood' board from a local home shop builder here in Oakland, CA, 8" x 7" x 5/8" thick, $45.00


    I'm bidding on eBay for a smaller one, 7.5" x 5.25" x 1.25" thick made of end-grain maple, the maker/seller is in Illinois and he has a lot of little end-grain boards listed on eBay, seller name is greggytat


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