I'm spending the next week wrapping things up for Christma -pun intended- and frankly, I need a breather. I've been waking up at 7:30 (not so bad), going to work only to come home and deal with admin stuff until 1am (so, so bad). So, I'm resting after Christmas.
In January, we have some purchases made in late November with the discount code FCOVID20 where customers got a 20% discount in exchange for accepting their item in 2021 instead of 2020. We have to work on getting those items out first, and then we can start shipping items that were purchased on and after 12/17/2020. So, in short, I am expecting January to be a little messy, but we'll get'm done. After January, we should be resuming our weekly shipments.
Those of you who subscribe to our Newsletter know that I chose to take it a little slower this year. There's a lot of reasons for this, like I think this year has been so nutty, that I really wanted to prioritize the right things, so to speak, and I wanted BKBB to cool it on pitching, promotion, and sales.
As some of you also know, I'm a first time father to a 3 month old, and I am a-ok with winding down the shop a little earlier and spending a little more time with the little one.
While I won't be shipping boards out the week of Christmas (I think that starts on the 21st, right?), I will still be in the shop. My stock may very likely be well depleted, but if you want to try a pickup, that'll be the week to do it. If you want to try your luck, email me then at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe your board split, maybe it is just showing little cracks--in either case, what can you do?
Good news--it can be fixed. Bad news--it may be nearly as expensive as buying something new. More bad news--if you do it yourself, it might not save you as much as you'd like.
If you're fixing it yourself, and you don't have the tools to do so, you'll need to buy Titebond 3 (Glue), a random orbital sander, and a few grits of sandpaper (120 and 220 at least). If buy that from a big box store new, all told that can cost you $80 before you include your labor. But at least you can fix it a second time without needing to buy more, so that's a plus.
If you want me to fix it, I'm happy to but be aware that the unfortunate aspect to this is the shipping. Shipping between the general Northeast to Brooklyn & back is going to be at least $30. Shipping from the West Coast to BK and back is going to be at least $40 if not $50. Yikes! If I'm wrong, and you find a way, PLEASE let me know. Then, you also have to play for labor which can be anywhere between $20 and $50 depending on the issue. So there you go. Your range in price is $50 to $100 on a standard 12x18 board. If you live close by, you can drop off your board upon request and avoid the shipping cost.
So how do you go about fixing it yourself? Well, I'll be creating a little series demonstrating how, but for now I'll put it plainly. You want to sand the board evenly and create some dust. Besides resurfacing the board into something beautiful again, you also want that dust so you can mix it with the glue to create a putty. You use this putting to put into the smaller cracks and you'll continue to sand it at 120 grit. After you've done this for a little while, you'll do a finish sand at 220, trying to remove the marks made by the 120 grit. In the shop, we use a lot more grits (in this order): 60, 80, 120, 150 or 180, 220 or 240, 320. For a repair though, you should be able to get by with these two grits and some elbow grease.
Larger cracks will need the skills and tools of an expert. We're happy to help how we can, but if your board is more than a 5 years old, I would definitely at least consider getting a new one as opposed to paying someone to repair it. That's my two cents, but I'm happy to follow your lead :)
In my last post, I had some stuff I wanted to get off my chest about a number of websites that inform readers about everything in your kitchen--what's best, what you should get, what's this and that, and the latest trends. Last time, it was Bamboo. This time, let's talk Teak.
I think Teak is a great options, and a lot of people sing its praises for being a pretty durable, food-safe, stable wood for cutting boards. BUT for those who want to support American made, I am very skeptical any teak boards are made in America. Why? Because teak costs an arm and a leg. It's 3 to 4 times as pricey as Walnut and if you've shopped around, you know that a lot of expensive cutting boards are made of Walnut. So how can teak be so expensive as a raw product but so cheap (comparatively) as a product?
Because American Labor at an American Price doesn't make the product. Plus, I am wagering that the import tax on Teak as a raw good is pricier than as a product. Nevermind the fact that Teak doesn't grow in North America.
So, look, I'm not one of those guys that thinks we have to have an economy that only conducts a business with its own nation state, but I did want to let people know that Teak Cutting Boards are being shipped in to the USA from somewhere else (Thailand & India are common).
One other thing--I can't help but be skeptical about the finish I see on a lot of Teak boards. I am not saying this is true, and I am literally making a guess based on what I've seen... but it almost looks like the apply some kind of weird sheen or resin cover to the boards. They just look a little too plastic, IMHO.
Anyway, to close this up, realize that if you're perusing Etsy and you see an item made of Teak, there's a 99% chance that came from oversees. Alright, end rant.
Folks, I resisted very hard to title this "online articles that make me cringe, part 1."
Too frequently, I come across articles from reputable sources supporting very odd decisions when it comes to cutting boards. We're talking places like Cooks Illustrated, Wirecutter, and more. My gripes?
Firstly, I can't take an article seriously if it doesn't mention end grain. What's really bad is that... it seemed like we had settled this 5 to 10 years ago. One end grain board should be featured, it's not even a debate anymore. I'm happy to admit that they will take more care than any other cutting board out there, but end grain butcher blocks are the only boards out there that can self-heal and also help keep a knife edge sharper, longer. I am becoming curious if affiliate links are impacting what's featured. Why do I think this? Because it was websites LIKE these that were so focused on educating readers about the benefits of end grain just a decade ago.
Secondly, of all the woods to mention, they bring up Bamboo. Bamboo Cutting Boards aren't even technically made out of wood but grass. Bamboo is grass. Does that matter? Eh, no, probably not. Does anyone get it right? No, but that really doesn't matter at the end of the day either. But you know what does matter? The fact that very few of these articles mention that these boards are murder on your knife. Bamboo is dense. Bamboo does have its pros, don't get me wrong: it's cheap (which of course is the primary reason it's used), it's resistant to splitting (except for the fact that it takes so much gluing to make one that now it has more areas to split), it's eco-friendly (which you could really argue for just about any wooden cutting board). In fact, I want to circle back to that last point... According to someone I know in the industry... wood products made in the USA with virtually any domestic wood is made from a wood that is used at a rate that is comparable with that specific tree's growth. Or in other words, on average, one of our cutting boards lasts as long as it takes for that tree to grow and be used for a new cutting board. While I wouldn't be surprised if bamboo might be able to grow faster, I was still blown away from learning that.
Thirdly, there are also really weird assessments about wooden cutting boards. Sometimes they're tough because they're thick, then they're delicate because they split. So which is it already?! It isn't that these two things aren't true--that's not what I'm saying. What I am trying to get at is that these articles seem so bad at informing readers and offering a complete picture. Here's how I would phrase it:
When laid perfectly flat on a flat surface, End Grain Cutting Boards provide a lot of resistance against even pressure from the top or bottom as opposed to an Edge or Face Grain Cutting Board (aka Long Grain Cutting Board). This is because the wood fibers are like a collection of straws glued together. When facing upwards, it's difficult crush them as opposed to when you lie them down. However, we have a new issue: it is easier to divide them from pressure up above. In that respect, you could consider it "weaker." But on the other hand, it's also stronger.
That might be too much information, and I suppose this has gone off course since I'm no longer discussing Bamboo. I'll take that as a hint I should call it a day and end this... maybe I should dish on Teak Boards next? They're mostly good, but I think there's a couple things people don't know about Teak that they should know. ;)
1) Product Orders are being shipped weekly. NO CHANGE from the usual.
2) Custom orders have delayed lead times. YES, DIFFERENT than usual.
3) "I have an existing order I'm waiting on or we've discussed" Odds are high that you're in the clear, esp if we've discussed recently (week of 8/18).
4) I am answering email daily, but my apologies in advance if there's a delay.
I know that was communicated a bit brashly, but I wanted to address the basics simply as possible for those who love to skim emails (I'm one of them), and make sure that people can't confuse #1 & #2, because that happens a lot (also me).
Custom work ordered before late September will experience delays with completion dates starting around mid-October. We estimate Custom Orders to have a lead time of 3-8 weeks during this time. These delays are just estimates, and may very well be shorter; that said, I cannot **promise** to meet deadlines that fall before October.
We don't believe Product Orders, like our 12x18 End Grain Walnut, will be impacted at all--Product orders should ship weekly during this period.
"Okay, but, like, what's going on?"
My wife and I are expecting late August/early Sept and we are unsure how our schedules will change. I would say that your custom project is still worth discussing as we might be able to finish it earlier--it's simply that I can't *guarantee* due dates. So, if you're on a very tight timeline and *must* get something done by September 9th, I won't be able to give you that 100% guarantee.
Thank you for your understanding. You'll probably hear from me sooner rather than later.
I’m renaming the the issue that’s effecting the world just so search engines don’t give me trouble like we've seen with one particular social networking site. I’ll be referring to it as C9.
I feel fortunate that it seems like I have learned about C9 from very level headed people who are saying to be calm, clean and careful. With that in mind, we are trying our best to embody those three Cs for our production, our deliveries and shipments. We are also recommending that you follow these three Cs upon receipt of any package. Watch where your hands are going, follow what the CDC and WHO are saying.
So what are we doing to make sure packages can leave our shop clean?
We have started making our boards in batches. Why does that matter? Virtually all of our boards we have in stock now predate the time when the C9 became public in the USA. There has been minimal human contact (if any) with these as they sit in storage.
C9 does not seem to last long on packages, as seen on this list (#6). In the specific example linked, they claim that even packages arriving from China are fine. Fortunately, packages usually take longer than 24 hours, the lifespan of C9 has on cardboard, to get delivered. Additionally, this 24 hour lifespan is based on lab experiments where the intensity of the sun can't potentially kill C9 off sooner.
Our packaging area is effectively a quarantine already, a quality that is probably more common for a small business. We're not a giant warehouse with thousands of goods and hundreds of people.
We have also changed the design of our operation so that people are more separated, thus making C9 too far out of reach for it to spread
Because of the smaller nature of our operation, we have a very willing and flexible workforce that has allowed us to change hours around thus limiting exposure; in other words, one person can work7:00am and the second person can work from 12:00pm to 8:00pm. There's only a 3 hour period where multiple people are working together. We are trying some other experiments where there could be zero overlap, and that's our goal.
Custom work has its own unique problems, but fear not as we have added a cleaning agent to the wetting process we do between sanding stages. After that, the pieces are only touched via clean gloves.
Lastly, let's do a quick comparison at e-commerce vs a storefront. Going to a store means you're going to run into people who are also trying to prepare for C9, which means you have a much higher chance for exposure, and it is unknown if these people are following any protocols. With e-commerce, the package is going to multiple people but it goes from person A to B to C to etc as opposed to C through Z. Lastly, the customer can still do additional preventative measures after the package is dropped off.
That's my two cents. Above all, please stay safe, wash your hands regularly, and practice social distancing. Remember, you are doing this for your neighbors, your family, and your family's grandparents if nothing else.
Look, I hate those articles that drone on & on before getting to the solution so...
TL;DR: try lemon or lemon juice. Eh, maybe bleach, but I discourage it.
Recently, a customer contacted me about mold on their butcher block, and they weren't sure what to do. The piece was big enough that they couldn't just haul it in, and the site was far enough that I wouldn't be able to do a site visit. So what can you do besides find someone who is close enough? Well, do it yourself!
I want to get my least favorite way out of the way first. Bleach it. You could further dilute some bleach and apply that onto the board and scrub with sponge or a stainless steel scouring pad. That said, I am not crazy about putting bleach near my food. If there are alternatives, I'll happy try all of them before dropping the nuke that is bleach.
I suppose you could try salt, but that just seems like a hassle.
So what are my favorite methods? Lemon and Lemon Juice. You can repeat the application we went over with bleach--apply the lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub with a stainless steel scouring pad; however you can also scrub with an actual lemon. Just cut a fresh lemon in half and push the cut side into the board, releasing the citrus juice. Doing this and then scrubbing it should help a lot.
If these methods don't work, you could have us repair it, though it might make more sense to replace the one you have.
I met Tielor McBride, the owner TM1985, a few years ago at American Field, and immediately recognized the quality of the work. He is extremely good at displaying his work as well; like, I think I do a pretty decent job, but he blows me out of the water. Real talk.
I find it very difficult to find this level of quality with leather work. The briefcase (sold out) he designed has much more detail than is necessary given what is available on the market. The one backpack available right now has a real nice mix. Nothing needs unnecessary complication. The cover to the opening lies over the top of the backpack and it features tied ends. You're probably familiar as I am with laces running through a common hoodie; you know what I always do with those? I tie a knot at the end. But then look at the additions. There's a side compartment with a zipper, and the top of the cover looks sturdily sewn into the backpack. These may seem like tiny details, but I know these are attributes that someone could have simply skipped. And aesthetically, I love a light brown with blue.
Anyway, I'll wrap this up and simply say: check out TM1985--I have been an admirer for years now.
First I wanted to handle the most recent news--we were mentioned in a Michelin Article written by Jacob Dean (his page is here). The piece covers the tools of the trade and is worth a read if you're pretty new to cooking or if you want a serious but bite-sized refresher course. Take a look! And now with that said...
For those that don't know, I tied the knot with my now-wife in Maine back in August. #gitmurd
We had a knock out time and got to experience everything we love about Maine... including lobster where it can be the cheapest way to eat if you have the right connections ;) Shortly after though, we headed south. What was supposed to be a tropical storm that just missed us turned into a Cat 1 Hurricane that went right over us. That said, our honeymoon could have been multitudes worse as I'm sure most of you know. Just a reminder for next time you're scrolling through Facebook and you see a donation page regarding Dorian--consider clicking on it
Alright--excuse me a minute--I'm just stepping down from my soapbox...
Thanks for reading,