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Talking about Teak

bemocked | Dec 27, 201107:37 AM

I've had a large rectangular end grain teak cutting block from Proteak (sustainably farmed teak from Mexico) for about 6 months now.

It looks lovely on my pale counter tops, and I've been happy with the performance/usability. I picked it up at a great price from Amazon (a larger one than the WS one linked to above).

Reading some of the recent discussions here about different cutting board materials, where people have cited that wood cutting boards should only be from the wood of trees where human consumption of the sap or products (seeds, nuts) is possible, (a la Maple, Walnut, Cherry, etc...) got me rethinking my teak board. A bit of googling revealed that "Teak wood is a tropical hardwood that is part of the mint family", so that alleviated fledgling concerns about possible toxicity and appropriateness for contact with food for human consumption.

But, several of these online discussions about the suitability of teak for a cutting board also mention that "Teak has a high silica content and can be very hard/abusive on sharpened metal edges". I read this on several discussion boards (including a post in a Chowhound discussion from back in June, Wiki articles, Boardsmith's FAQ on his website, etc). However, all the sites I found that mention this high silica content in teak, and this being abusive to knives were from the kinds of websites that I would not necessarily consider to be a definitive source for accurate scientific data (all these sites *could* be people repeating or re-citing mis-information published elsewhere online)?

Cooks Illustrated's review of cutting boards found a Proteak edge grain board to be the most Highly Recommended, and their discussion/comparison of a wide range of cutting board materials (many species of wood, and many other materials) makes no mention of teak having a high silica content, or that teak as a harder wood was unnecessarily tough on sharpened knife edges (and this was an edge, not end grain board they tested over a period of months)? This is the type of data or performance detail I would have expected CI to be a reliable source on?

Has anyone else had longer term experience cutting on teak? Anyone noticed any issues with the longevity of their knife's edge on teak? I haven't noticed any detrimental effects... but I am not certain if I trust myself to notice, or more specifically if I trust that I have the background experience to make a meaningful comparison, as prior to acquiring the teak board, I used an array of lesser/cheap boards, and hadn't formed a foundation expectation for my knife's edge retention to be a basis for comparison to my teak cutting experiences?

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