12 Tips To Buy Your Perfect Cutting Board   Leave a comment

There are 4 questions to answer before you buy a cutting board … but I have some tips that will help inform those decisions for you. No wrong answers here: your cutting board is yours, and you need to like it. What other people do is their business. Thank goodness.

So, here are those all important 4 questions:

  1. What size do you want the board to be?
  2. What color do you want the board to be?
  3. End grain or edge grain?
  4. Juice groove or no?

When you answer those, you will make sure you are getting the board or boards you want and need. But here are those tips that will help smooth your process.

  1. Where are you going to use the board? Is it mobile? Beside the sink? Beside the stove? On the island? Or … ? Wherever that special place is, get out your measure and see what the dimensions of the space are. If you have a galley kitchen with standard cabinets, you have 24” of depth to use. If you have appliances against the wall, then you only have 12” or depth or so to work with.
  2. How many are you cooking for? Cooking for a family of 4 is different from cooking for you and your spouse. If this is a general purpose board that will be used to prepare large meals, I would recommend at least 14” X 18”.
  3. Is this board single purpose? Some cooks like a dedicated board to only do onions and that stinking rose, garlic. Every cook is different. Maybe you want a set of 3 that are dedicated for meat, vegetables or bread. You get to choose. But, each of those purposes can dictate a different size and shape.
  4. Does the board live on the counter, or do you need to store it at times? Storage of a board can be difficult the larger the board is. A handled board, though, can hang on the wall and add to the warmth of your kitchen.
  5. Be Colorful! Most of the large retailers that sell cutting boards use overseas factories to make them, and they generally offer one or perhaps 2 woods or colors of boards. I have 40 woods in the shop, and all do find their way into cutting boards. So, you can match your décor. Contrast with your counter top. Indulge your eyes with your favorite colors.
  6. Bigger is not always better. Cooks that prepare large hunks of meat often want very large, thick boards – but those come at a cost. Heavy is difficult to move, big is difficult to clean, not to mention storage! There is no need for a board to be more than 1-1/2” thick. More than that is making a statement, for sure, but it is not improving the performance of the board.
  7. Smaller is not always better, either. The thinner the board, the less stable and more prone to warping or twisting it becomes. I do make my smallest boards, AKA Cheese Boards, about 8” x 10” x 5/8”, and those laminated assemblies are stable. People that use the ¼” thick bamboo boards sold in grocery stores … well, they will have issues using them, almost immediately.
  8. End grain boards are harder and show less wear, but they require more time and better tools to construct properly. Time is often needed to custom order a “perfect” end grain board. Plan ahead.
  9. Edge grain boards are perfectly fine when made from good hardwood. A quality cutting board will last for decades with minimal care. It all comes down to … do you like stripes? Or fancy patterns that look a little like a chess board?
  10. Mrs M is a hard NO for juice grooves, and she is a serious cook, smoker & BBQ boss. Many people want juice grooves (they get to choose!), but the grooves do shrink the usable space available on the board. Add 2” to the height and width if you are getting a juice groove.
  11. If you get a groove, make sure it is big enough to clean with your finger. And a brush or cloth! My standard is 3/4” wide x 3/8” deep.  Smaller and deeper will cause you problems. I do also make grooves 1-1/4” wide on my Carnivore Boards, which is needed if you want to corral the juices from your Thanksgiving turkey.
  12. Before you buy your board, pick one up. Move around with it. Cleaning it is a daily task, frequently multiple times in one meal when you practice good sterile technique. Make sure the board fits you as well as your kitchen.


Shop at Mr M’s Woodshop

Carnivore Boards!

Edge Grain, 14″ x 18″

Custom, Large End Grain Boards

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