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Olive wood chopping board

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I'm considering buying a chopping board as a present for somebody (just got new knives, but I think they still have a ceramic chopping board! Silly...). Anyway, on amazon (uk) there are quite a few olive wood chopping boards, and I haven't seen them mentioned in the past chopping board threads. E.g. Olive Wood Chopping Board - 45cm: Amazon.co.uk: Kitchen & Home

I think they look quite pretty, irregular shape and all, and are quite reasonably priced, but does anybody know if they're any good? It does say it's a 'very hard wood' as a pro, although I thought a board which is too hard is bad..

Any comments would be much appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Olive wood is one of the many good woods for cutting boards. However, the cutting board you linked to seems as though it would make a nice serving piece for foods which required some cutting on the buffet or at table; but as a kitchen cutting board appears to have lots of flaws. By way of two fatal examples:

It's a single piece of wood -- and not very thick at that. It will warp quickly and with almost no provocation; and it appears too narrow to be very useful.

Continue looking for something better suited for actual cooking -- even though it's quite likely to be more expensive.

The conventional best choice is a thickish "end-grain" board. However, a little bit of petroleum oil and beeswax will turn an ordinary long-grain board into a thing of beauty and a joy forev ... well, a joy until it needs oiling again.

Even a bamboo board would be better.

BDL
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #3 of 14
I'd have to agree with BDL. No flat-grain wood is really suitable as a working cutting board, for the reasons he gave. For a working board you want either an edge-grain or end-grain configuration.

That said, olive is a very pretty wood, with lots of grain pattern. It would make a great cheese board, for example, or as a platter for other finger foods.
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 #4 of 14
Not only are boards made of multiple pieces of end or edge grain wood less prone to warping, they are, generally, a faster surface and don't "scar" as badly. That said, olive is a good wood, but find a board made from many squares of end grain rather than a solid piece of, what looks to be, quarter-sawn. It makes good furniture, but it doesn't stand up to water very well.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for the responses. It all makes a lot of sense, I had read about end/long grain, but hadn't properly understood what it meant. In general, if a board is advertised as end/long grain, is there anything else to watch out for? E.g. types of wood which are used but best avoided, etc. I've seen a few, for example, where they don't say what type of wood is used (and suspiciously cheap).

Thanks!
post #6 of 14
The previous posters are correct. A single piece of wood will warp and split quicker and easier, edge grain is better than side grain and end grain is the best. (Quartersawn makes no difference at all.)

The general rule of thumb for selecting a wood to use is: wood from any tree with either edible nuts or sap, like hard maple where maple syrup comes from. An exception is oak, to porous.

What to avoid: most of the exotic woods - they may contain oils that are toxic to humans, spalted wood - the bacteria that causes the spalting is toxic and any wood the insects stay away from like cedars for example. They contain oils which repel wood eating insects.

In Europe, Beech has been used for a long time for cutting boards. Make sure it is European Beech. A lot of boards made from cheap rubber tree wood are marketed as Beech.

Yes, you can get wood that is to hard. Teak for example and it contains silica which will grind down your edges. Bamboo is okay to use but it too is very hard, requires a lot of glue to make and the glues and resins used are hard on knife edges. Once again, European Beech is a very good wood for you to look for and should be easily found.

BTW A good board will either be end grain or long grain. Look for end grain. And, you will get what you pay for. Cheap is cheap and will never last.
David The BoardSMITH
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David The BoardSMITH
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post #7 of 14
Just brought that up to make the comparison to furniture. It looks nice but warps badly when wet and such.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #8 of 14
An Olive cutting board is fine....I work with one....Hard Maple is good and then there is my favorite cutting board, Purple Heart....beautiful (cannot seem to bring myself to cutting on it yet ).

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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post #9 of 14
Boy of boy are you right, Petals. Purpleheart is beautiful. I often use it as an accent wood in my cutting boards and cheese boards. In fact, our wedding present to our youngest was a cutting board combining purpleheart and maple.

Lately I've been combining it with cypress. An absolutely gorgeous combination.

I've not used olive for cutting boards only because I don't have a supplier. But I imagine it would make a beautiful work surface when constructed properly---that is, with either end- or edge-grain up.
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 #10 of 14
As I stated before, the exotic woods should be avoided because of the oils they contain. Some are quite toxic and can lead to severe physical or neurological damage. I would be careful and hope you will be as well. For cutting boards, stick with woods that follow the rule of thumb; wood from a tree with an edible running sap or edible nuts. If the products are edible, the wood will be safe to use. Otherwise you will be playing with someones health record.

Cypress is a good wood to use but it is a soft wood, as compared to maple which is a hard wood. The two have different density and hardness values and will not play together well. The soft cypress will wear faster than the harder maple creating a rippled cutting surface and the cypress will cut easier requiring resurfacing much quicker. I believe the Japanese Ho wood is in the cypress family and has been used for cutting boards there for a long time.
David The BoardSMITH
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David The BoardSMITH
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post #11 of 14
Point taken , I would never work with exotic boards if I knew they were toxic, you would be very surprised to know the collection I own.

Yes, Cypress is good to...
Your posts are very interesting.

In the end I will always "have" a Purple Heart........:thumb:

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

thanks again for your replies. As it turns out, I haven't really seen any 'proper' olive wood chopping boards. Regardless, still in the search for a chopping board.

I still have a couple of questions on other woods I've seen. Basically,from what I can find searching for end-grain boards, there are some cheaper ones, up to about £30, but these either don't specify the wood (e.g. Thick Endgrain Chopping Board), or are either hevea or acacia (e.g. Tuscany Large Board in End Grain Acacia). I know acacia for example is some sort of gumtree, so not sure if it would fulfill the 'edible fruits/nuts' criterion. Otherwise, prices go up to at least £60 for maple.

The question, I guess, is what do you get for the premium, and/or are the cheaper options worth it. I don't really have a set amount, it's more about looking for value, particularly as I'm not 100% sure if the recipient would appreciate the difference (although who knows...)

Thanks again for all the responses!
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Also, with respect to boardSMITH's comment on beech, if a board is advertised only as 'beech' I should stay away then? (e.g. Buy John Lewis FSC End Grain Chopping Boards online at JohnLewis.com) I've not seen any boards that specifically state 'european beech', but on looks alone I don't think I'd be able to differentiate between actual beech or something else..

Thanks!
post #14 of 14
Acacia is okay to use for a cutting board. I have seen it used a lot in Europe and here on this side of the pond it is sold in discount stores. Hevea is another thing entirely. Also named Beechwood, Parawood, it is rubber tree wood. The first one you listed is rubber tree. It is sold as disguised Oak, Cherry and walnut with stain. Very cheap to buy.

The John Lewis board looks very good. Well sized and looks to be well made.
David The BoardSMITH
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David The BoardSMITH
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