As a general contractor, we get asked to supply, make or install a number of different things. Some are what you would expect; frameless glass shower enclosures or an extra window in a master suite addition. Other times it’s quite different.
“Can you hang this extremely heavy and valuable antique phone?”
“Can you paint this room ‘grape’ purple?”
The answer is almost always, yes we can! Sometimes the more different a task is the more fun and educational it can be!
The other day when meeting with a couple regarding their upcoming kitchen project, they mentioned replacing an old cutting board that was built into their 1970s kitchen cabinets. Could we do this for them? “Absolutely!” was our response.
Immediately we began researching this small yet important task of making a cutting board. Here are some things we learnt.
1) Plastic, contrary to popular belief is not always more sanitary. When a knife runs across a cutting board it creates scars or cuts in the material. When bacteria sits on a wood cutting board it sinks down into the pores, is unable to multiply and dies. The scars in a plastic cutting board, however, harbor the bacteria and allow it to multiply and cause problems. None the less, the FDA states that both are safe if cleaned and replaced often.
2) The most common types of woods used when making a cutting board are Maple, Walnut and Cherry. Maple in some cases has been shown to kill some bacteria. Other woods such as Oak, Mahogany and exotic woods (which are aesthetically pleasing) are also used. Obviously the harder or more closed grained the wood is the better it is from a sanitary and durability point of view.
3) End grain boards last longer and won’t dull knives as quickly, especially important for chopping or cutting meat. However this type of construction is labor intensive and therefore comes with a hefty price tag. The next best option is edge grain, followed by face grain. Of course end grain is what will give you the most unique looks and fantastic grain patterns.
4) Important in the preservation of your cutting boards is how they are sealed. Mineral oil is often recommended and used by many, with lightweight mineral oil being better than regular mineral oil as it dries quicker and prevents newly made boards from weeping. Walnut oil dries quickly and looks great, however people with nut allergies should steer clear. For a premium finish melting some bees wax into your oil over hot water is your answer.
We are turning to our custom furniture and millwork company Three Blocks Carpentry to help us produce this custom cutting board. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see the final product!
We looking forward to taking on your future projects from design to completion, and focusing on every detail in between!