Bamboo Cutting Boards: Do they dull your knives? And does it make a difference whether they are end grain vs. edge grain? Thanks! ;o)



Slow C. April 25, 2012
I do use bamboo cutting boards, I chop...a lot, I haven't noticed any very significant difference is dulling of my knives. Bamboo does have antibacterial properties, though, which is something that I appreciate. I know that I can throw my plastic USF boards in the dishwasher after cutting chicken, but I'm never really comfortable that the cuts in the plastic boards are truly clean. Somehow I feel better using bamboo (truth be told, I haven't made anyone sick no matter which board I'm using, so I guess good hygeine is just that, but still, sustainable bamboo just makes me *feel* better, for what that is worth).
ChefOno April 20, 2012

Cook's Illustrated published a report on cutting boards a few months ago.

"The durability of the wood and bamboo models mostly depended on how the boards were constructed: end-grain or edge-grain...End-grain models showed fewer scars than the edge-grain boards because their wood fibers faced the surface, and as a result, the knife marks actually closed up within minutes. Unfortunately, those exposed wood fibers also soaked up liquid and stains like a sponge, making them prone to warping. The end-grain models in our lineup began to warp—and eventually split—after just a few rinses in the sink. The edge-grain boards, on the other hand, showed no evidence of warping."
sfmiller April 20, 2012
I wouldn't say bamboo boards are terrible on knives, but bamboo is a significantly harder material than maple, so you probably will have to sharpen your knives (or have them sharpened) more often if using a bamboo board rather than a maple or plastic one. I've read that end-grain bamboo is somewhat easier on knives than edge-grain, but can't verify that from experience.

Cutting on a bamboo board feels slightly different, too; there's less "give" when the blade hits the wood. I find it more fatiguing if I"m doing a lot of cutting/chopping. I prefer the feel of a maple or plastic board, personally.

LeBec F. April 19, 2012
great question aj. btw, you can reach me directly at opinionatedchefatcomcastdotnet
I've been using bamboo cutting boards at home for the past five years or so, and my knives have held up great. If anything, I recommend having your knives sharpened professionally twice a year, and I have two different steels at home- one diamond steel, for when your edge really needs a boost, and a ceramic steel for everyday honing and edge maintenance.
hardlikearmour April 19, 2012
That's great to hear. I love the look and concept of the bamboo cutting boards, but have heard they're terrible on knives. Thanks for the real world experience!
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