Archive for the ‘cutting boards’ Tag

The Woods In The Woodshop   13 comments

I work with 21 kinds of wood currently. All are selected to be excellent hard woods for cutting boards, or, in some cases, serving pieces. I can source all but one of these woods locally in Southern California, though they grow around the world. Here are pictures of each of these woods in pieces I’ve made, along with a few key facts about each of these woods.

I’ve shown the rating for each wood on the Janka hardness scale; this is a measure used to compare the hardness of many substances, including woods. Remember, the FDA says a wooden cutting board in a commercial kitchen should be Hard Maple or its equivalent. The Janka rating for Hard Maple is 1,450.

Ash

  • Grows: Eastern North America
  • Janka Rating: 1,320
  • Description: One of the most common hardwoods used in North America. Often used for tool handles. There are a handful of species in the Fraxunus genus that are often sold together as “Ash,” including White Ash, Green Ash, Oregon Ash and European Ash.

Cutting Board 16 – End 042. Spalted Ash, framed by Jatoba. End Grain. 10″ x 12″ x 1″.

Birdseye Maple

  • Grows: Northeastern North America
  • Janka Rating: 1,450
  • Description: Birdseye Maple is not a species, but rather a specific figure found in some Hard Maple lumber. It is thought that the figure is caused by poor growing conditions for the trees, and they try to adapt by growing a large number of buds that eventually form the distinct figure in the wood.

Chess 17 – 304. Bloodwood & Birdseye Maple playing surface surrounded by a Black Walnut frame. 18″ x 18″ x 1-1/2″. Sold in its first showing.

Black Walnut

  • Grows: Eastern United States
  • Janka Rating: 1,010
  • Description: The dark color and wonderful smell of this wood when it is being worked are one of the pure pleasures of woodworking. There’s just nothing like Black Walnut.

Bear 16 – 01. Black Walnut. 12″ x 20″ x 3/4″.

Bloodwood, AKA Satine

  • Grows: Tropical South America
  • Janka Rating: 2,900
  • Description: Brittle and very dense, this wood is a challenge to work. Every piece I get seems to cup, twist and bow. To make the cheese & cracker server, below, I had to cut and re-cut the pieces in order to get a result that ended up being rather spectacular, if I may say so myself.

Large Surfboard # 15 – 26. Bloodwood.

Bubinga

  • Grows: Equatorial Africa
  • Janka Rating: 2,410
  • Description: The beauty of this wood is reward enough, but also getting to say the name of the wood means I like to use it a lot. It has a wide variety of grain patterns and a wonderful red color that is a highlight on any piece.

Cheese Board 16 – 017. Bubinga, African Teak & Black Walnut. 8″ x 11″ x 3/4″.

Canarywood

  • Grows: South America
  • Janka Rating: 1,520
  • Description: The colors in this wood are unique: yellows, reds and browns intermingle in breathtaking patterns. Plus, when I cut the wood I smell cinammon in the air. Love this wood!

Clipboard 16 – 009. Black Walnut, Canarywood, Honey Locust & Purpleheart. Letter size. 1/2″ capacity clip.

Caribbean Rosewood, AKA Chechen

  • Grows: Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Guatemala, Belize, and southeastern Mexico
  • Janka Rating: 2,250
  • Description: Not a true Rosewood, this wood is often substituted when an affordable alternative is required. The wood’s color has a wide range: red, orange, and brown are often beside darker stripes of blackish brown. Color tends to shift to a darker reddish brown with age.

Magic Bottle Opener 16 – 195. Purpleheart, Black Walnut, Cherry & Caribbean Rosewood. Double Magic.

Cherry, AKA Black Cherry or American Cherry

  • Grows: Eastern North America
  • Janka Rating: 950
  • Description: The softest wood that I work with, Cherry has been a favorite of American furniture makers for hundreds of years. The color of the wood darkens when exposed to sunlight.

Cherry server, Black Walnut end grain cutting board insert.

Goncalo Alves, AKA Tigerwood

  • Grows: From Mexico to Brazil
  • Janka Rating: 2,170
  • Description: Pronounced “Gon SAW lo Al Veez,” the high contrast black stripes in the wood make it a favorite of furniture makers and flooring manufacturers. Mrs M loves her cutting board which is primarily made from this wood.

Cutting Board 13 – 03. Mrs M’s primary cutting board is made from Goncalo Alves, Jatoba, Cherry, Honey Locust & Black Walnut.

Hard Maple, AKA Sugar Maple or Rock Maple

  • Grows: Northeastern North America
  • Janka Rating: 1,450
  • Description: The best cutting boards use Hard Maple, according to the FDA. If you’re looking for a generational board that will be a real workhorse in your kitchen, get an end grain cutting board made primarily from Hard Maple. The # 1 wood that I use, by far.

Cutting Board 17 – 401. Purpleheart, Jatoba & Hard Maple. Edge Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 20″ x 1-1/2″. Commissioned Piece.

Hickory/Pecan

  • Grows: Eastern United States
  • Janka Rating: 2,140
  • Description: Several species in the Carya genus are marketed variously as Hickory or Hickory/Pecan. Hickory is among the hardest of woods native to the United States: Hickory is denser and harder than either Hard Maple or White Oak. In Missouri, Hickory was often found as corner fence posts on the farms in my area. Today, I find the white sapwood combines with the golden heartwood to make fascinating patterns in some of my best cutting boards.

Cutting Board 17 – 402. Black Walnut, Hickory & Bloodwood. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″.

Honey Locust

  • Grows: South central & eastern United States
  • Janka Rating: 1,580
  • Description: The one species I use that I can’t buy locally. The unique orange hues and wavy grain pattern means I keep paying a premium to use this wood, in spite of the difficulty in working this very dense wood.

Sous Chef 17 – 906. Bubinga, Honey Locust, Padauk & Purpleheart.

Jarrah

  • Grows: Australia
  • Janka Rating: 1,860
  • Description: Formerly used as flooring in colonial homes in Australia, Jarrah is one of the Eucalyptus species that is just gorgeous. It’s crimson tones are spectacular.

Cutting Board # 15 – 014. Hard Maple and Jarrah, with just a spectacular grain pattern. End grain, of course. 12″ x 16″ x 1-1/4″.

Jatoba, AKA Brazilian Cherry

  • Grows: Central America, southern Mexico, northern South America, and the West Indies
  • Janka Rating: 2,690
  • Description: The color of Jatoba has little to do with Cherry, though that is a common association. It’s medium brown color approaches that of Black Walnut, but its hardness makes it a much better choice for edge grain cutting boards, as well as end grain! The 8/4 thickness is difficult to source currently, but this is a great wood for cutting boards.

Medium Surfboard 16 – 02. Jatoba & Hard Maple. Sold in its first showing.

Mahogany

  • Grows: Cuba, for “true” Mahogany, but that’s not available due to over-harvesting decades ago. Today, Mahogany may be from Honduras, Africa or Asia.
  • Janka Rating: somewhere around 1,000, depending on the specific species
  • Description: This is a very pretty wood, but the sourcing makes the wood very unpredictable. Most mahogany is too soft to be a good wood for cutting boards, but the grain is very pretty for serving pieces.

Magic Bottle Opener 183. Jatoba, Mahogany & Cherry. Single Magic.

Oak – Red

  • Grows: Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada
  • Janka Rating: 1,220
  • Description: The most popular wood in America, red oak is widely used for furniture and appears in most American homes. There is not a “red oak” species, but rather a group of species that characteristically share a reddish patina, and are marketed together as, simply, Red Oak. Extremely porous, this wonderful hardwood is not suitable as a wood for cutting boards.

Lazy Susan # 15 – 049. Purpleheart & Red Oak. 17″ diameter x 3/4″.

Oak – White

  • Grows: Eastern United States
  • Janka Rating: 1,350
  • Description: Like Red Oak, White Oak is an array of different species having similar characteristics, all being sold as “White Oak.” The lumber is most commonly associated with Mission-style furniture. It’s a good American hardwood, though I seldom use it in cutting boards because there are prettier options. In my opinion.

Clipboard 16 – 017. Purpleheart, White Oak & Birds Eye Maple. Legal Size, 1/2″ clip. Commissioned Piece.

Padauk

  • Grows: Central and tropical west Africa
  • Janka Rating: 1,970
  • Description: When I cut this wood, it’s pumpkin orange. With exposure to UV, the wood changes to a nice warm brown. Padauk is perhaps the most frequently misspelled (and mispronounced) wood species, with Padouk, Paduk, and Paduak being common misspellings. A common pronunciation is puh-DUKE, though the google machine tells me that the proper pronunciation is puh-DOWK.

Lazy Susan 17 – 12. Padauk & Birdseye Maple. 18″ diameter.

Purpleheart, AKA Amaranth

  • Grows: Central and South America (from Mexico down to southern Brazil)
  • Janka Rating: 2,520
  • Description: Without question the most requested wood that I use due to it’s striking purple color, Purpleheart will eventually fade into a grayish dark eggplant color that’s almost silver with prolonged UV exposure. Some pieces have a striking rotten smell when cut, so it’s hardly my favorite wood to use – but it is the most requested.

Pig # 16 – 02. Black Walnut, Cherry, Hard Maple & Purpleheart. 12″ x 19″ x 1″.

Teak

  • Grows: Native to southern Asia; now widely grown on plantations throughout tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Janka Rating: 1,070
  • Description: This expensive wood is a favorite of traditional outdoor furniture makers, but the plantation grown teak that’s currently available is too soft for cutting boards. I do use Teak in serving pieces, and it is a very pretty wood.

One of my favorite pieces, made from Yellowheart, Teak and Walnut. I was able to piece this together out of scrap, and the results were very unique.

Yellowheart

  • Grows: Brazil
  • Janka Rating: 1,790
  • Description: The most striking and consistently colored of hardwoods, Yellowheart often flouresces when cut properly and shown in proper lighting. If you like yellow, you will LOVE Yellowheart!

Small Sous Chef 16 – 024. Quilted Yellowheart & Canarywood. 9″ x 16″ x 3/4″.

Yes. The Answer Is Yes.   2 comments

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeIt’s my number one most requested item … but I never seem to have time to make some.

Or, perhaps it’s I never seem to make time to have some.

In any event, I have nearly completed my flurry of making anchored by last week’s staycation. The fruits of those labors will be showing up here over the next few days. Let’s start with 6 chess boards.

All are different, of course.

Most have the board sitting a bit proud of the frame … meaning that the board is perhaps 1/8″ taller than the frame it sits on. Why? Because I like them that way. Chess boards should be proud, methinks.

Most of the frames have mitered corners and are glued in place, but I did a couple that have contrasting frames that are screwed into place. That really messed with Mrs M, who didn’t understand why I was suddenly using fasteners, AKA stainless steel screws, on my work. She thought I only used glue.

The whole art thing just zoomed right over her head.

Oh, the plight of the artist, so often misunderstood by those around him….

But back to the question. THE question. “Do you make chess boards?”

Now you know the answer, and as long as these last, my only answer will be to point.

The 100th Cutting Board … and Friends   8 comments

Mr-Ms-Logo-RTI’m on a mission.

I’m obsessed with it, actually. I’m working to create an inventory of 150 cutting boards, cheese boards and serving pieces so that when sales pick up, I won’t be constantly panicked with how I can keep up. Good plan.

The reality is I’m just now at 103 boards … and since today is the opening of Clovis’ Big Hat Days, it’s a sure bet that I won’t have 100 when the sun sets. That’s a good thing, right?

Posted April 11, 2015 by henrymowry in Woodworking

Tagged with , ,

Building More Boards In 2014   Leave a comment

Handcrafted ByI can see the light at the end of the tunnel … but I’m not there yet.

I never understood how many cutting boards and cheese boards I’d be making this year when I hopped on this merry-go-round. With success … comes work. Here are some of the latest boards I’ve built … and there’s more to come. 2014 is not done, not by a long shot.

Some of these boards were built to fulfill Xmas orders. Some were built for our final events of the year, taking place this weekend. I built all of these because I thought they’d be pretty.

Hope you agree!

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Buying A Board From Mr M’s Woodshop

13 Lies People Tell Me   Leave a comment

HandcraftedI admit I’m a bit obsessed with cutting boards these days. In my defense, I have actually done research into what makes a good cutting board. I know what the government requires for cutting boards in restaurants. And, I’ve made more than a few of these kitchen tools, as well.

So when people lie to me, it gets me riled up. And when I talk to a lot of people at holiday boutiques … people lie to me. I need to get people to stop lying to me, and lying to themselves.

Please, help me stop the lies.

1. It doesn’t matter what cutting board I use.

Yes, yes it does. Different kinds of boards do have different advantages (or, in the case of glass or marble … not). If you’re looking for information about which board might work best for you, check out the link below for Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

2. Bamboo makes great cutting boards.

Hard Maple, Cherry & Black Walnut. 16" x 12-1/2" x 1-1/4". End Grain.

Hard Maple, Cherry & Black Walnut. 16″ x 12-1/2″ x 1-1/4″. End Grain.

Bamboo does indeed make cutting boards that are inexpensive. However, those boards are made overseas. They’re made with a great deal of glue by workers in third world countries. Bamboo grows quickly, and is a renewable resource … but doesn’t reach maximum hardness until the Bamboo is 5 or 6 years old. If the wood is harvested earlier (and how would you know?), the wood is softer. In addition, the bulbous nature of the wood means that it will dull your knives more quickly than boards made from traditional wood like hard maple or walnut.

3. Bamboo boards are harder than “rock maple” boards.

(This was stated by a seller of bamboo boards). This is simply untrue. “Rock Maple” is a nickname sometimes used for Hard Maple or Sugar Maple. That wood is harder than bamboo.

The hardness of wood is measured by something called the Janka scale. Higher numbers represent harder woods, and here are the scores of the woods that I use for cutting boards … and some that I don’t:

  • Purpleheart: 2,520
  • Jatoba, AKA Brazilian Cherry: 2,350
  • Osage Orange: 2,040
  • Bubinga: 1,980
  • Goncalo Alves, AKA Tigerwood: 1,850
  • Hickory, Pecan: 1,820
  • Yellowheart: 1,790
  • Padauk: 1,725
  • Hard Maple: 1,450
  • Bamboo: 1,380 (one species of Bamboo)
  • Ash: 1,320
  • Bamboo (carbonized): 1,180
  • Teak: 1,155
  • Black Walnut: 1,010
  • Cherry: 995
  • Mahogany: 800
Commissioned piece. 16-1/4" x 12-3/4" x 1-1/2". Hard Maple, Black Walnut, Cherry and Yellowheart. Edge Grain.

Commissioned piece. 16-1/4″ x 12-3/4″ x 1-1/2″. Hard Maple, Black Walnut, Cherry and Yellowheart. Edge Grain.

The hardness of Bamboo is further complicated by the hardness of boards varying between the knuckle or node of the bamboo shoot (which is hardest), and the rest of the plant.  In addition, if the wood fibers of the bamboo shoot are scored (which is something that happens on cutting boards!), then the wood loses more rigidity … so it’s softer.

Bamboo is cheap, which does give it one real advantage over other types of cutting boards.

4. Plastic boards can be sanded smooth to extend their life.

(This was stated by a seller of plastic boards.) Simply, not true. Plastic boards will develop cuts and grooves in their surface over time, and a used board is a better habitat for bacteria. Unfortunately, sanding a plastic board just makes MORE cuts and grooves in the plastic surface. When the plastic board shows wear, replace it.

5. Glass boards are more sanitary than wooden boards.

Absolutely not true. You can read the research studies that are linked in the cutting board article at the bottom, previously referenced.

6. Your boards are at the perfect price point.

End Grain. Hard Maple, Walnut, Yellowheart, Padauk, Cherry. Cutting Board # 13.

End Grain. Hard Maple, Walnut, Yellowheart, Padauk, Cherry. Cutting Board # 13.

A lady actually said this to me … and then she bought 5 boards. So, what am I saying??? If she likes the price point, then good for her. Me, I think prices should go up.

7. These boards are too expensive.

One guy said this to me … and then his wife asked if I made the boards. When I said yes, she then told her husband that the reason the boards are more expensive is that “the artist is on site.” I had nothing to say to that. And the couple didn’t buy anything, for the record.

8. These boards are too pretty to use.

People that say this to me are just inviting an argument. I wonder if their stoves are too pretty to use, too? Or how about their dishwashers?

9. Wooden boards are not sanitary.

Not true. This is not backed up by the science. Wooden boards – with all wood types being shown to be roughly equal – actually have natural anti-bacterial properties.

10. You dye these woods different colors, right?

Never. I only use natural woods with their natural colors.

11. It’s best to treat cutting boards with salad bowl finish.

A fully restored board. The padauk is once again a vibrant orange.

Edge grain. Purpleheart, Canary wood, Padauk, Cherry and Hard Maple.

Nope. Salad bowl finish is fine for, uh, salad bowls. However, this finish is a varnish, and that’s not something that should be applied to a cutting board … and then cut up and served with the food prepared on the board.

12. It’s best to treat cutting boards with olive oil (or walnut oil).

Organic oils are not recommended, as they will eventually turn rancid. Food-safe mineral oil is recommended.

13. I made a board just like this in high school when I was in shop class.

Respectfully, no you didn’t. You may have glued boards together and called it a cutting board … and I’m sure your mother loves it! … but I humbly submit that the work done in a high school shop may not be up to the standards found in Mr M’s Woodshop.

Humbly submitted. And since I’ve now referred to myself in the third person … I’m done.

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Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

 Wikipedia: Janka Hardness Test

Cheese Boards … Or What Do You Think They Are?   2 comments

Handcrafted ByI freaked out last weekend after selling several cheese boards … and I had to make more for our next big event.

Well, I call them cheese boards. You may think they’re perfect cutting boards for your small kitchen, RV, for cutting a sandwich, or whatever. To each his own. I’ll keep making them as long as people like them!

Today, Mrs. M’s Handmade is at the Thousand Oaks Street Fair. Come see us … and you’ll get to see these boards, up close and personal.

I’m working with some new woods here … and trying some new techniques in the shop, too. Please share your thoughts; would love to hear what you think of these new boards.

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The Trouble With Success

Cheese Boards That Think That They Are Cutting Boards

Cheese & Cracker Servers

New Cutting Boards … And One Like New   4 comments

One last batch of cutting boards finished before the 4th quarter craft fairs begin. These, and many others, will be at Mrs M’s booth this weekend.

If you’re out and about in Santa Clarita on Saturday, please join Mrs Ms Handmade at the LA Sheriff’s Department’s Annual Fun In The Sun Chili Cook-Off at the Equestrian Center in Castaic. The address is 26983 Tapia Canyon Road.

If you’re not so fortunate as to be out in the heat with us on Saturday, then write me on the Contact Us form and tell me what you would like!

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Mrs Ms Handmade

Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

Cutting Boards: Care & Cleaning

Cutting Boards: Restoration

Fifteen Cutting Boards   8 comments

HandcraftedI have this problem. I have too much wood in my garage workshop.

There’s only one solution: make more stuff. So I did.

All cutting boards have routed hand holds on each end for easy handling. Non-skid rubber feet attach with stainless steel screws for long life. Finish is mineral oil, with a top coat of Mrs M’s special Board Butter that combines mineral oil with locally produced beeswax (and it smells like honey when I rub it in!).

These cutting boards are for Mrs M’s Handmade fall craft shows which begin in September. So now the only question is … how soon do I need to make more?

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Three New Cutting Boards

Cutting Boards: The Third Round

Cutting Boards: The Next Set

I Had To Mention Cutting Boards

The Cutting Board

Three New Cutting Boards   3 comments

From the workshop … I got a nice load of walnut lumber, so I’m playing. Here are 3 new cutting boards. More designs to come!

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