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Re: Good Japanese knife

Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:04 pm

Jeff, thanks for accurately pointing out the silica issue which I should have noted. Always important to have all the facts when making a decision.

Teak can have a good level of silica, but this level varies significantly amoung trees in different geographic regions and even how it's farmed. A scientific study was done measuring silica content in five regions of the world that produce the most teak. The study showed a statistically significant difference amoung regions with a low of 0.03% (almost nothing) to 1.4%. Mexican teak, which is where the Proteak plantation is located, is on the low end of the scale.

Just as not all knives are not created equal, neither are teak cutting boards. Some teak cutting board manufacturers use wood from areas where silica content is high. In fact, in some areas of India silica content in teak has been measured at 3%. Mario Batali's teak board is an example of a board made in a geographic region where silicon content was high in teak wood. Conceptually this board would be harder on your edges than a Proteak.

The ultimate question is how much harder is teak on your edges than the average wood and what's the tradeoff? My experience as a home cook using Proteak boards is that there has been no accelerated dulling of my Japanese or German blades compared to using a maple board. I believe you would need to be a professional chef making cuts all day, every day to notice a difference in knife performance using a Proteak board vs your average wood.

I happen to appreciate Proteak because they are more beautiful, durable and maintenance free than my maple board. Also plantation teak is a sustainable product. Coming from a practical perspective, until I actually experience Proteak being harder on my edges I'm going to keep my maple board in the basement, nice as it is.

Re: Good Japanese knife

Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:05 pm

Hi Scott, I agree that when it comes to most home cooks they are not going to notice a difference from using Walnut, to Maple, to Teak, to Bamboo, and most don't care. As you noted, just giving the facts as I know them. Glad you shared your knowledge with us.

Re: Good Japanese knife

Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:36 pm

Scott, thanks for the knowledge about varying silica levels in teak. Good to know.

Do teak boards require any maintenance? Or is there enough natural oil to keep them from drying out?

Re: Good Japanese knife

Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:22 am

Yes, teak boards do require maintenance. It is recommended that the board is seasoned with mineral oil four times before using it. After that a coat of oil every 2-4 weeks. Personally I like applying a coat every 2 weeks just because it brings out the natural beauty of the wood.
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