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Cookware

In Search of a Better Cutting Board

obillo | Dec 11, 201701:49 PM     24

Advice and arcane knowledge, please, on the subject of cutting boards. Years ago I had a wonderful board made of rock maple (a.k.a. hard maple and sugar maple; botanically Acer saccherum). Hard use in a bachelor kitchen had led to many stains and a couple of burns—enough to prompt wifely esthetic objections. When the kitchen became, post marriage, hers, I allowed myself to be talked into 86-ing it. I have regretted that ever since, the more so because all replacements have been unsatisfactory. A tempered-glass job lasted only long enough to hear how much noise it made; granite likewise. Various boards of some sort of plastic proved unattractive and seemed hard on knives.

Various maple replacements haven’t fared well either, including a pricy Boos job that warped enthusiastically. One serious problem seems to be that the maple used these days may not be genuine rock maple. I may be wrong, but even the maple Boos board seemed to have a very loose, open grain structure.

I wonder about oak as a material for boards, especially white oak. Anyone have experience with that? What about beech or boxwood? I toy with the idea of grabbing a batch of oak or maple floorboards (plentiful hereabouts when folks do renovations) and running them crosswise through a table saw to produce enough little blocks to glue up my own home-made end-grain board. Red oak stringers from shipping pallets are also readily available for the purpose.

If I can get round to such a project I will report the results. In the meantime I seek to tap the vast Chowhound knowledge base.

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