Which Cutting Board is Right for Me?
Now that you’ve made your decision to invest in the foundation of your cooking skills and experience, here are some tips to help narrow down your choices.
Type of Wood
Between the 3 most popular US domestic hardwoods- cherry, maple, and walnut- maple is certainly the best selection. Maple is extremely stable and extremely durable under the conditions that any discerning chef will throw at their cutting board.
Maple wood boards can handle a wide variety of applications- from moist climates to dryer homes and still keep its structural qualities. At woodcuttingboardstore.com we use a species called “rock maple” which parallels in hardness to many exotic imported woods on the market today. Maple is clean and very straight grained with very few imperfections throughout the material selection.
Teak is second in selection for us because it is more difficult on foresting methods and regrowth practices. With that being said, teak is often used outside for decking and outdoor wood products because of its extreme durability and longevity. Americas Test Kitchen performed a test on multiple cutting boards and found teak to be the best solution out there. However, their test was incomplete because it only took into account the use of the board, not the complete life cycle of the wood- from forest to milling practices.
The look of the board is next in importance. Are you going for a more modern feel and look in your cooking space? Or are you looking for pieces that have character within themselves? Walnut is a great choice for warmth and character because each piece of wood is so different from the other. Where walnut loses is in its stability and flatness over many years of use. It tends to move the most out of all the domestic hardwoods selection.
Cherry is a very warm wood that will “grow and change” with your use. It is more sensitive to UV and the light in your kitchen fixtures which often causes deeper hues to show up the more you use it. Cherry also has a unique feel and character with use. It is not as heavy as rock maple but performs just as well.
Maple is very clean and the least “fussiest” of woods out there. It stays extremely flat and stable with very little movement. It has more of a “Scandinavian” feel to it. But where it loses is in the character because of how even and clean each piece of wood looks. There is very little distinguishable properties from one board to another.
So, if you're going for a board that can keep up with the demands of your kitchen with daily use, rock maple would be my first recommendation. If you're looking for a cutting board that can stand out on your counter all on its own, then the more gorgeous walnut would be a better fit for you.
Whatever your needs are, we have the board that’s just right for you.
What Size is right for me?
Now that you have a better idea on the wood selections, let’s review cutting board sizes and build options.
Larger boards may seem nicer because bigger is better, right? Well, not always…
What type of tasks will you perform with your board? Mostly vegetables? Or mainly carving meats?
Many people like to get a size that fits directly over one side of their sink.
A 12”x16” is probably the most common size because it is just large enough to complete a vast array of kitchen tasks but also small enough to fit in your cupboards and on many surfaces. 12”x20” is better suited for serving applications because of it’s longer length.
A 14”x20” is better suited for holiday use- lots of room for turkey carving or ham serving.
Many residential kitchens have cabinets with 24” depth counters so a 16” is the best solution for maxing out space while not being cramped for space.
A more commercial grade size would be closer to a 20”x24” or a 20”x30” size.
- Juice grooves- this is one of the most common upgrades to many boards that we do. It allows carving of steak and beef while allowing the juice to run in a specially designed groove instead of onto your counter. A great choice for many meat enthusiasts.
- Rubber feet - this option allows best air circulation in between uses and can greatly extend the life of your board. However, it limits your board to only one side of use. Sure, you can move the feet to the other side when there are extensive knife marks. Rubber feet also allows for increased safety in handling your board and food in the kitchen.
- Handles - you can opt for bolted on handles or handles built into the design of the board itself (My personal favorite). Handles designed into the board are vast in choices but I prefer to utilize handle that allow full use of both sides of the board at all times.