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Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 11:46 am

You can get a 15x20x1/2" polyboard for under $10, and a 1" thick poly (preferred) for $20-30. It's a great entry level board, and they're easy to find. You can always upgrade to a luxuriously large 2" thick wooden board (with finger grooves in the ends for easy lifting) as budget permits ... decent ones can be had for under/near $50. Although wood is the preferred upgrade, I've had no problems cutting on soft poly, and most of my steels are the softer western stainless, cold steel, and older high carbon variety. In any case, they're cheap enough so that they shouldnt preclude you from also being able to afford a new chef knife.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 11:56 am

I was cruising a restaurant supply store that had Rubber-wood cutting boards. I had never heard rubber-wood being used for cutting boards, furniture maybe. I know that maple is the standard, but what about this rubber-wood? Csn it even be put forth as a viable alternative? An 18x24 rubber-wood board runs about $43 while the similar sized maple is 16x24 runs $54. For such a small price difference I wouldnt think twice to grab the Maple board, however if it ends up being a stand up alternative, power to it. Rubber-wood.


Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 11:58 am

I am new here, but I might be able to point out some budget entries for both stones and cutting boards, which will leave you more $$ for new knives...

I'm sure the wood board recommendations above are superior products, but on a tight budget, this is hard to beat:

http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/La ... oduct.html

This is actually a 'Made in USA' hardwood (non-specified species) end grain board from a company called Catskill Craftsman. I bought this a few weeks ago and am very impressed with the product, especially for the price. It seems that most of the other reviewers feel the same.

For stones, there are a couple of King stones that come with bases and are designed more for home users than pros. They lower in price than the Deluxe ones that Mark sells (which I'm sure are nicer). You can pick the 'home' style ones up from Amazon for under $60 for a set of 1k and 6k stones (not combo stones mind you, but individual stones, each comes with base).

Now, again, I'm sure the 5-piece Bester/Suehiro kit is much better quality and would outlast the low price King offerings, but for a home cook who may only sharpen 2 or 3 knives every month, the King stones would definitely get you started in the right direction, and if your knife maintenance turns into a more serious interest, you can buy the nicer ones down the road.

For knife recommendations, I'll leave that to others.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 12:21 pm

In my own experience, every portable endboard (read: glued checkerboard end pieces) I've ever seen/used has always died prematurely of splitting, after a year or so of semi-regular use and washing, sometimes sooner. However, to be fair, I live near the ocean, so its perhaps a tad more humid here than some places. I like the feel of straight grain better ... you want a basic hard wood for sure, but not so hard that the board clatters when you're chopping, and punishes your fine edges (which bamboo is notorious for) - so save your money and steer clear of those pretty exotic woods (which rightly belong in handles, not your cutting surface), and just get a simple smooth maple board (the thicker the better because they warp less, and you can always belt sand them back into shape), and maintain it properly. Another advantage of a reversible thick board with endgrooves is that you can stack all your mis en place on it and carry your entire setup from station to station (harder to do on 1/2" poly, as they tend to bend), and if one side gets gouged or stained you can use the otherside until you can clean/repair the mess. Also, avoid boards with feet, and boards treated with non-foodsafe chemicals, lacquers or stains. Mineral oil and/or bees wax derivatives are fine, but that's about it ... and the fewer glued seams, the better.
Last edited by ISI-Society on Thu May 02, 2013 12:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 12:32 pm

In terms of the santoku knife. Would you recommend the Mack pro over something like the Sakai hammered Damascus or the tojiro dp blades?

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 1:14 pm

I was looking at a John boos boards the edge grain ones but I was told the end grain is better. So if its not to big of a difference ill just get the edge grain maple board I was looking at. Thanks
Last edited by bigdrew on Thu May 02, 2013 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 1:20 pm

Go for it. It would be wrong of me to imply all endboards the world over are the same quality and durability - I can only relate what I've experienced with the ones I've tried in the past, by other brands, and those were all 10+ years ago.

In the long haul, the low cost of replacement renders the matter largely moot. By the time you get a better feel for what you like, the endboard will be ready for replacement (or demotion to secondary use or regifting) around the same time, so buy it and sleep happy. It will probably serve you well. :)

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 3:58 pm

I'd definitely spend the money on the knife and an entry-level sharpening kit and then go with a inexpensive poly board or two. At around $10 each, they do the job, and get grabbed in my home for all the "quick" tasks, as well as any time we're working with raw meat, foul, or fish.

In my opinion, you need at least two, dedicated cutting boards in any kitchen to help reduce cross-contamination. Some would argue strongly for even more. Properly cared for, a wooden cutting board isn't any better or worse than a poly one. The key phrase there is "properly cared for." I don't know many home cooks that take the time to scrape and properly wash and dry a wooden board (or a poly one, for that matter).

I don't know much about "rubber wood" but I have used "rubber" cutting boards (Sani-Tuff brand, as I recall) and find them very gentle on the knives and they have a decent feel to them. They are very heavy, so my wife hates even putting the 15"x18" one away, and won't touch the 18"x24" one. They aren't inexpensive, but they can be resurfaced by sanding.

Mac knives are something of a personal preference thing. Some like they way they feel in the hand, others can't stand them.

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 4:10 pm

That sounds like a good idea. I think I narrowed it down to a boos cut and slice board and a poly board for meat for around $60 for both. A victorinox bird beek and pairing knife and a sharpening kit. Still on the fence about the santoku. Trying to keep it below $125

Re: starting from square one in the knife department.

Thu May 02, 2013 4:43 pm

I would be able to prepare most anything for a home meal with a 240 mm gyuto and a fresh, 3 1/4" Victorinox paring knife. I'd work with those for a while and see what you do often enough that has you thinking, "If only I had a knife that was..." before deciding on your next purchase.

For me and the way I prep, I find a ~150 mm petty much more indispensable than I do a santoku.
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