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Choosing a Cutting Board - Page 2

post #31 of 50
KY Heirloomer, most maple boards over 2" thick will have a series of 3/8" redi-rods running through them at 12 or 16" intervals. Wood swells and contracts natuarally enough with the seasons on regular furniture, which is why good pieces will allow for wood movement. (ie table skirts having some room when attached to tops, frame and panel construction in doors, etc.)

Cutting boards and butcher's blocks are subject to alot more abuse, and alot more moisture, which means the wood moves(contracts and expands) more. If no physical means of stopping the wood from expanding are used, the wood will evenutally swell and crack and fail along the glue lines. The redi-rods are used less frequently now due to cost effectiveness and due to kiln dried wood becoming increasingly cheaper.
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post #32 of 50
Does anyone have a section of butcher block incorporated into the countertop to use as a cutting board, or is it generally thought better to have something that is portable, for flexibility and sanitation?
post #33 of 50
Note, Foodpump, that my operative words were "well constructed."

Redi-rods were used for two reasons. The first you touched on; the wood was not cured properly, and so artificial means were needed to stabalize it.

Second was construction speed. Rather than gluing and clamping, the board or block would be held together by the rods until the glue set up. This allowed the maker to move on to other stages more quickly.

Me, I could care less about saving that time, cuz my game is quality, not quantity. People who order boards and blocks from me know that they're paying top dollar for proper construction and custom features, and we don't need threaded rods to hold the thing together.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #34 of 50
Well, we go through this every time the cutting board subject comes up. :rolleyes:

When my son was a cabinetmaker, he made a lot of cutting boards, mostly hard maple, sometimes mixed with walnut.

He located several research papers from the Food Service Department of the University of Wisconsin (at Milwaukee, if I remember correctly) that demonstrated the bacteria-suppressing characteristic of wood boards.

He would include a copy of the papers with each of the boards he sold.

I don't think this capacity is a myth.

Mike :cool:
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post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 
Nor do I. I've read enough over the last couple of months to feel quite comfortable using a wood board. Which is very good because I hate those plastic boards. In any case, I just don't worry about little things like bacteria <LOL>

Shel (living on the edge)
post #36 of 50
Folks, I really feel strongly about this, for the life of me I can not endorse someone to bone out a raw chicken, pork roast, or fish, on a wood board, give the board a quick wipe with a towel, and consider it sanitized. I think very few people could endorse this method of sanitation.

That being said, whatever you do in your own kitchens is your business, but if you're in the food business, no one will take a chance like that.

About construction, redi-rod systems are not a cheap cop-out, with massive boards and blocks they are a neccesity. I currently have a massive 30" by 36" by 30" THICK maple cutting block, made up of endgrain oriented strips dovetailed and glued together. Located at about 10" from the bottom is a series of redi-rods, all nicely plugged with maple caps. Some means of mechanical strength, as well as glue, is needed to hold that kind of massive weight together, and for the life of me, I can't see how these rods could subsitute for clamps during assembly.
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post #37 of 50
OMG, foodpump, how much does that thing weigh?:suprise:
post #38 of 50
Around 200 lbs. "Inherited" it when we bought the last place, a clapped-out "Chinese/Canadian" place. Matter of fact, it was of the few things that we DID keep, when we started cleaning that place out... But it was in baaad shape, so hollowed out in the middle my kids coulda curled up and fell asleep in the hollow..

I love wood and working with tools, especially hand tools, but I have a business to run and didn't know what to do with it, and couldn't just toss it out. Luckily for me, the guy across the street runs a pattern maker's shop, had a huge 24" bandsaw and managed to heave that sucker on the table and slice almost 9" from the top. So I lied a little, it's only around 20' thick now, but it was originaly 30" thick. Beautiful thing to pound schnitzels on, or bone out a pork loin (on a nylon board...) without the table wiggling and jerking all over the place.
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post #39 of 50
Well, Foodpump, it's a long, long way between a 2" thick board (>most maple boards over 2" thick will have a series of 3/8" redi-rods<) and a 30" thick, free-standing butcher block (>I currently have a massive 30" by 36" by 30" THICK maple cutting block<). That's talking apples and oranges.

Some of those old free-standing jobbies were also stabalized with iron strapping. Would you want to see that on a counter-top cutting board?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #40 of 50
Shel,

Check your private messages.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #41 of 50
I guess this is going to be a long one. We've kept it clean so far, and it's my intention to keep it clean, no rabbit punches, no hitting below the belt.

I've seen alot of stuff in my career, seen nylon cutting boards so scarred and yellowed and mildewed you'd run away screaming, seen brand new wood cutting boards and after 2 months of regular use in a commercial kitchen shrink and warp, fatigue at the glue lines, crud getting lodged in the cracks. Seen the damage done by not properly drying boards: rot, mildew, nasty smells--nylon or wood boards, even nasty smells from sanitized boards (again, nylon or wood) by simply placing a wet piece of paper towel under the board during a particularly long prep session. Witnessed and fired eejeits who would ram a knife into a wooden board, breaking off the tip of the knife and poking a hole in the board, thier standard reply to my wrath was "Well, it's a chopping block, isn't it?" Well, gawsh geez whiz, I'd say to them, no it isn't an old oak tree stump, its a CUTTING board, chopping is what you do with an axe.

Met all kinds of health inspectors, and I've worked in Europe and S.E Asia as well as here in Vancouver in my 25 year career, but the Inspector's only criteria was that the board is to be sanitized by either hot water or chemical and free from deep scratches. I've been very lucky,--- very, very, lucky not to witness first hand the damage done by food poisoning, usually from cross contamination, usually via cutting boards, but it exists, and continues to exist, just ask any health inspector.

My biggest fear in life, (other than being trapped in an elevator with a Health Insurance salesman with gas...) is that some cook, somewhere, feels that wood cutting boards don't require sanitation; that after a 2 hour session boning out raw turkeys for thanksgiving, that a quick wipe with a damp towel is all that is needed, and that he can now go on to slicing med-rare prime rib on the same board under a carving light for a party of 50 or so guests in Banquet room "C". And if you've ever worked in a commercial kitchen, you know this scenerio could and probably will happen. Just hope it's far, far away from you or your family if and when it ever does happen.

These are my thoughts and feelings on the subject, based on being a caterer with capacities of up to 500 people for some events. What anyone does in thier own home is their business, but I want everyone to know the possibilities of cross contamination, how it starts, and how best to avoid it.

I have no other motives.
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post #42 of 50
I don't think any sane person would disagree with your basic contention, Foodpump. Good sanitation practices are good practices, and bad ones are bad, no matter what the cutting surface.

Prepping a bunch of raw turkeys on a board, giving it a quick wipe with a damp paper towel, then moving on to prime rib is just as wrong on plastic as it is on wood.

The problem with your posts, whether you intend this or not, is that you imply wood cannot be properly sanitized. And that's just not correct. I've had off-list conversations with several members, and they all read you this way. So it's not just me.

The only advantage plastic boards have over wood is that they can be thrown in the dishwasher. Well, that and the fact they're cheap. But, by the same token, they have to be disposed of more frequently, and there's the additional labor of sharpening knives more often. So the cost aspect may be more perception than real.

>chopping is what you do with an axe. <

Or a cleaver. Which is why they are so often called "butcher's blocks." And chopping is often what we do with a chef's knife as well. The act of chopping is what happens when you use a cutting edge without a slicing motion. (And, if you're at all interested, we can discuss why American-model axes do that better than any other tool)

But your point is well taken. Anyone who abuses a knife and a cutting board that way needs to be more than fired. They need to be taken out behind the barn for a whooping.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #43 of 50
I certainly didn't mean to imply that wood cutting boards are self-sanitizing.

They need to be taken care of, and sanitized, like any other board. It's just that they can be cared for and not be put in the dishwasher like a plastic board, and may be more sanitary - properly cared for - than plastic. A dishwasher will take most any wood board apart, no matter what glue is used to assemble them. (Well, maybe not polyurethane, but I am pretty sure it's not FDA-approved, as Titebond II and Titebond III are.

Mike
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post #44 of 50
Haven't tested it, Mike, but I'm not so sure even polyurathane would withstand the abuse of constant dishwasher immersion. If nothing else, the wood alongside the gluebead would break away.

Can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly did not take your posts to mean that wood was self-sanitizing. But wood does have natural anti-bacterial properties which makes it relatively easy to maintain a safe, sanitized surface without the need for the high temperatures of a dishwasher.

On the other hand, without that high heat, the groves, nicks, and scratches in the plastic boards can become hotbeds of disease.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #45 of 50
Thread Starter 
I would imagine the temps used in a restaurant kitchen dishwasher may, at times, be higher than those found in home dishwashers. Aren't restaurants required to have a certain minimum temp for their washer water? And I'd suspect that restaurant machines may be a little more powerful as well. Perhaps someone can address that point.

Regardless, home dishwashers are all over the place. Some homeowners keep their hot water temp lower than others, some inexpensive machines just barely get the dishes clean, some people use too little detergent. I've got a good machine, am faniliar with appropriate water temps, use the proper amount of a good, strong detergent, and know how to properly load the machine. Still there are times when those plastic boards come out with obvious dirt in the scratches and knife marks.

Shel
post #46 of 50
Grooves, nicks and scratches are found on all types of cutting boards, not just nylon. Then again, burn marks ( and, yes, melt marks...) are found on all types of cutting boards too.

To properly sanitize wood boards I endorse the method of rinsing off, then splashing on liquid bleach, rub it in with a paper towel, wiping off the excess, and letting the board air dry--the bleach will dissipate as it the board dries. I would like to know of any other methods of properly sanitizing wood boards that don't involve high heat.

For scarred and grooved boards--all types of materials-- I usually borrow some wood working techniques. Simple and easy is to run the board--again, any type of material-- through a woodworker's electric thickness planer, and remove about 1/16 of an inch off of each side. From this site, on this thread, I have learned of using a clothes iron to iron out scratches on nylon boards. And while thumbing through the Matfer catalouge, I came across a specialty tool that scrapes a light layer off of the surface of the cutting board. This specialty tool strongly resembles a #4 1/2 Stanley-type smoothing plane, albeit without a chip breaker or lever cap...
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post #47 of 50

chefed

:chef: Useing plastic or wood boards is a matter of preferance. I have found the old fashioned way is the best for wood. that is sprinkling with salt and a course curly kate or steel brush. No water if possible as it tends to expand the wood therefore allowing growth of bacteria. As far as plastic a towl soaked in hypoclorite solution left over night will sanatize and take out discoloration. Putting it in a steamer for 12 minutes also does a great job. Hope this answers some questions. Ed B.
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post #48 of 50

chefed

Silicone cookware
Much discussion has surrounded the use of these items, re health issues. Keep in mind they have not been on the market that long, and to state they have no adverse effect is shortsighted. Time alone will be the final judge.It was after the fact years ago that silicone implants were fine it later turned out they were not.Poly vinyl chloride was used for years before some of the items that were made of it were pulled off the market. Each food may have a different reaction to this material and no one has tested them all. A good example is when back in the 60s test were done on M.S.G(ACCENT) The ingredient was introduced to case study groups in its simplest form ,in soda pop many people had no reaction .When it was heated in a wok at high heat many of the people in the study showed reaction. This could be the same for silicone cooking. Remember Dow wants to sell this stuff and they also said implants were safe. Ed Buchanan
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post #49 of 50
Good point, Ed, but poor example.

Recent conclusions, after a ten year study by FDA, indicates that concerns about implants were a tempest in a teapot. There is no indication that women who use them are at any greater risk for breast cancer or other ailments.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #50 of 50
As a Culinary Instructor, do you really endorse someone to sprinkle kosher salt on a bloody, grease smeared wood block, and use an abrasive steel brush? On wet wood? Cross your fingers and pronounce it sanitized?
The method of salt and abrasives on wet wood just lifts and abrades the wood fibres, giving you a very rough surface, as well as wearing a hollow in the cutting board. The rough surfaces hold and trap food debris, and release the said debris whenever it is least convenient--like when cutting of a steak from a strip loin and crud gets lodged on both the steak and the loin....
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