The Perfect Cutting Board
Our wood cutting boards look incredible on the counter and are sure to get looks from visitors. But we designed them to work great too! Learn about what makes the perfect cutting board below.
So Everyone's Happy
Everybody has their own preferences and needs for their kitchen. We know that no one board could be favorite to all. So, we focused on two designs that (we hope) cover the majority of people.
End Grain Walnut
The nicest cutting board we could come up with
End grain has great knife feel and superior resistance to cut marks
Walnut is expensive, and end grain boards take much more time to make
End grain is more susceptible to moisture, so it needs a little more care
Modern Butcher Block
Maple is harder than walnut, and will be very durable (It's also cheaper)
Edge grain is more resistant to moisture, and requires less care
Lighter colored wood may be more prone to stains
Edge grain won't hide cut marks as well after heavy use
How We Got There
To start, we had to determine the best cutting board materials. Hardwoods are generally one of the best materials for cutting boards because of their:
natural antibacterial properties
ability to be resurfaced after heavy use
Plastic cutting boards win in the cost category, but that's about it. Studies have shown that the cut marks in plastic cutting boards are very difficult to clean and are a breeding ground for bacteria. Some commercial kitchens use plastic boards, but they're thrown away and replaced often. We prefer a natural board that's built to last.
Wood hardness is often measured with the Janka scale. For context, a 2x4 measures about 660 and patagonian rosewood measures 3840. From our research, the ideal cutting board measures around 1000. This provides a good knife feel, while still being durable.
Which Wood is Best?
There are lot's of ways to differentiate hardwoods, but our main concerns for cutting boards are color/appearance and hardness:
Appearance - We want our board to demand attention, so we need a great looking wood.
Hardness - The hardness of the wood has a direct impact on durability. We want something that will hold up to years of cutting but not so hard that it dulls our knives.
Our Top Picks
Wood Orientation Options
Made by gluing lots of pieces of wood together so that the end of the board is the cutting surface.
Has great knife feel and cut marks tend to self heal
Requires more effort to build
Made by gluing together lengths of board on their side so that the edge of the board is the cutting surface.
Easy to build
Durable and resistant to moisture
Requires less maintenance
Made by gluing boards together flat, so that their face is the cutting surface.
Very easy to build
Prone to warping
Not a durable cutting surface
Really only good for serving boards
Our Top Picks
Cutting Board Sizes
A cutting board can be virtually any size you want, so how do you decide? A good place to start is the industry standard: 12in x 18in. This is a great balance between cutting space and being able to fit it in your kitchen.
But what if you want bigger? More cutting space makes life easier and reduces the need to use other dishes. All of your ingredients can be cut and stored on the board before they're used. Only one thing to clean!
For a larger size, we went with 15in x 22.5in. This board should still fit on most counters, but it provides over 50% more cutting space! And it's the same ratio as the standard board, so if you have both in your kitchen, they'll look great next to each other.
Length and Width
There are a few things to consider with the height of the board. Thicker boards tend to be more resistant to warping and have greater opportunity for resurfacing. But adding thickness also adds weight, and a board that's too tall is uncomfortable to cut on.
We landed on 1.75in for the height of our boards. This is thick enough to stand the board up on its side for drying and it gives a very sturdy feel in the hand, but it's still very comfortable to work with on the counter.
From our research, a cutting board starts to feel too heavy at about 15 pounds. Based on our LxWxH measurements, our smaller board comes in around 9 pounds and our larger board around 14. Everything is coming together!
Final Design Decisions
High End Board
Here's what we've decided so far:
Construction: End Grain
Size: 15in x 22.5 in x 1.75 in
Now we just need to make it look nice! We want our board to demand attention, but when it's in use, it should put focus on the food and help compliment the colors of the ingredients.
Our ideal design is a brickwork pattern that creates a randomized look. This helps to let the board blend into the background when it's in use. It also does an excellent job at hiding knife marks.
Here's what we've decided so far:
Material: Hard Maple
Construction: Edge Grain
Size: 12in x 18 in x 1.75 in
Edge grain hard maple isn't anything new. Yes, it's pretty, but it's a somewhat standard cutting board. And with the rise in popularity of butcher block countertops, it may look a tad familiar.
To differentiate our board and add just a bit more eye appeal, we can rotate the wood 45°. This gives a more modern look, and only adds a little more work during gluing and sawing.
And that's how you design the perfect cutting board! If you're interested in building one of these boards yourself, detailed plans will be available soon!