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Wood Fiber Laminate Boards

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Our kitchen just got equipped with READ Wood Fiber Laminate cutting boards. Any of you have experience with, or know about this product? They feel very hard on my knives. I am reading that composite boards can be pretty rough on your blades. However, according to the FAQ on the READ website:
Quote:
Will READ Woodfiber Laminate dull knives?

No, they are not hard enough to harm or dull knives. Yet they're dense enough to resist slice marks that can harbor bacteria.

After finishing a couple of tasks, I can't say that I noticed any real difference on my edge, but the surface just feels so hard, that I ended up using a plastic board over the laminate. Should I follow my intuition that the board is to hard, or do I need to get used the fact that this is just a different kind of surface?
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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post #2 of 10
depends on what kind of binders what is used on the wood laminate. but as far as i know it is generally harder on knives than regular wood boards.
post #3 of 10

I hope that you post again in about a month...

 

... let us know how they perform.

 

Honestly - use em and if they dull the crap out of your knives ask the place to pick up the tab for resharpening and never use them again.

 

I've never heard of them and have no idea.   I generally have to use the stupid plastic boards because wood is forbidden by our food code.

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #4 of 10

The "sani-tuff" fiber boards have been around for quite some time, I'm guessing the above ones are similar.  I've got wood cooking/stirring spoons I use for pastry work that perform well that are made of the same material.  They are hard, but do not absorb flavours/odours or colors.  They will chip though--and burn if you let them.

 

IMHO they are tougher on knife edges, and am uncomfortable when the knife "skates" around.

 

If they bother you, pick up some nylon boards  at the dollar store or IKEA, they are cheap enough to buy several.

 

Yes nylon does get scarred easily, and one of the first things a health inspector looks for is deep scarring on the boards--no matter what the material it is made of.  What I have done in many places I've worked at was find  a wood worker with a thickness planer, and run nylon and solid wood boards through the machine.  It will have two new clean surfaces--but it will also be a bit thinner

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 10

IMO there's no material that's "dense enough to resist slice marks" yet won't dull your blade. If the board doesn't have some give it will roll an edge. Just get NSF rated Maple Boards from Michigan Maple block. When they get worn break out the belt sander and refinish. Simple, cost effective, Made in the USA, good for your knives. The down side is you can't abuse them and run them through the dish machine.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #6 of 10

Composite boards are in roughly the same class as bamboo boards.  They're hard enough to cause impact deformation (aka collapsing or rolling the edge) on most knives; hard enough to promote some chipping on knives which are too strong and hard, but not sufficiently tough. 

 

Impact deformation is just bending.  It's the kind of "harm" which can be repaired very easily by steeling, and is no big deal with most knives used in a pro environment.   

 

Composite boards are not as good as good, wood boards but are better than plastic.  Soft, nylon-like plastics are extremely hard on your knives and hard plastics are even worse.  They're not as kind to your knives as Sani-Tuff rubber boards, but don't have Sani-Tuff's other disadvantages. 

 

Good wood boards are getting expensive, and many line cooks don't do a good job of maintaining them -- so they don't last very long.  Don't expect your employer to develop a sudden concern for your edges and reequip the kitchen. 

 

All things considered, composite boards indicate a fairly enlightened owner.  Since the composite boards are in the workplace and there's probably nothing you can do about them, and while you're firing up your rod hone be glad the boards aren't plastic. 

 

BDL

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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well we are a week in with the new boards. Most of my impressions thus far fall on the negative side, but they're really not that bad and the pros are stronger than the cons.

Things I don't like:
They are loud( putting down plates, knives hitting the board), prone to chipping( no chopping according to manufacturer), more drag on the knife makes roll chopping awkward and difficult, and the overall feel when using a blade. Sometimes it feels tip of my blade is sticking to the board. The feel is similar to when using one of those cheap-o flexible plastic boards on a granite counter top. When they get wet you can smell the resins. To be fair, after about three days the smell was completely gone and diminished a little each time they were washed. I had them washed and dried three times before using them the first day. Some internet research revealed that this was normal and nothing to worry about, although pretty off putting.

Things I like:
Easy to clean. Knife gouging is not as deep. They can be sanded like wood( according to the manufacturer haven't tested that... yet). The friction problem mentioned earlier, is helpful when I put a plastic board down for chopping or whatever( yes I am aware of wet towels, this is better in conjunction), but they are slick enough that I can brush crumbs and other debris off in one swipe. I haven't noticed any negative effects on my knives, I do keep my rod hone nearby, the kitchen knives are supplied by a sharpening company that switches them out for sharp ones every other week, so we really don't have much to worry about. Higher resistance to temperature(the manufacturer claims 350*F). I set a sizzle dish from a 400* oven on the board for less than 20 seconds and that was enough to cause some discoloration. This amount of time would not have melted the plastic boards, but a minute would have done it. I'll take the discoloration over melted plastic.

I have no idea what they cost, so I can't say if they are worth the price, but I would be willing to pay a little more for them if the decision was up to me.

Duck, I hear ya on those Michigan Maple Boards. Actually saw you mention them on an old post and checked them out. I will get one for the house, but work, is not gonna happen. Even if it was my choice, I can't trust every person who works now( or potentially in the future) to maintain them properly.

BDL, thanx for weighing in. I always appreciate your technical knowledge( even when others don't want to hear it). You are 100% right, those boards are mine now, and like it or not, they're not going to change. Fortunately, I do like them. It seems to me that my pros are rational, the cons are just resistance to change.
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just one more update, and I believe I'm done with this topic.

With two months of use ( including a particularly abusive December!), the boards are nicely worn in. The drag issue I had with the boards feeling a little tacky under my knife is gone. The corners are getting a little chipped up, from contact with various surfaces. Two of them are 8' long, so I guess its bound to happen...

With regular honing, the knives ARE holding their edges longer. The difference is definitely noticeable, I wouldn't go so far as to say significant, but at the end of our two week rotation, the kitchen knives are sharper than with the plastic boards. And my blades are certainly much happier!

I was worried about the board near the oven/ grill getting burnt up by hot sizzle dishes, but that hasn't been an issue. I think the fact that the boards are new has caused the guys to take more care where they put the hot sizzlers, but sometimes there is nowhere else to go.

Gotta give them a " thumbs up" all the way around!
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #9 of 10

Thanks for the update.

 

Sounds like I might have to find a decent sized one and try it at home.

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #10 of 10

They are ok. Only thing I do not like is when wet they are a bit more slippery then wood board. They do stain however and the thinner ones warp if put through dishwasher a lot.

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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