Wednesday, February 23, 2011
What is it about Cutting Boards?
How old are these boards? What are they made of? How are they made? How can you collect them?
Most of the boards you will run across at shows, online etc. date from the late 18th C. (1780 or so) to the 1940s or so. You can pretty much tell from the color of the wood, the shapes, etc.
Here are 2 18th C. ones from my collection. The larger one, a pastry board only has 2 edges. Very unusual. The smaller one is an 18th C. door panel converted to use as a cutting board. Look at the deeper colors and the wear to the soft pine wood.
How are they made? Most boards are simply cut out of a piece of wood. A little later they started adding "breadboard" ends. This prevented splitting of the board. Remember wood always shrinks across the grain, and with all the washing they endure, you can see boards often shrink and get cracks. Cracks in a simple board will cause the board to split in two, bad idea. If you have breadboard ends, you might get a crack in the center of the board, but you can still use it.
The other half are hard wood, such as maple and birch, because it will last a lot longer. Here's a beauty in maple, an elongated octagon.
Here's sort of a make-do cutting board, the top of a barrel used as a cutting board. Hey, make do with what you got!