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,
We were recently featured in Departures, where they spoke very highly about our business and product line. It would seem that our end grain walnut cutting board just can't get enough attention! We really appreciate the shout out, Departures, even if you did call me "Wissle" towards the end of the article ;) Hey, it's a nickname I was given by my brother long ago, so it only seems fitting!
I'd also like to take a moment and talk about the direction Brooklyn Butcher Blocks is going, because it's going in many directions. It's a lot of stuff; too much for one blog post, but for now, I would like to cover how I have started and intend to continue handling events this year. Previously, I would ship crates or carry luggage and fly out to the destination city to sell our wares. Most infamously....
- shipped a crate to LA for an event, then flew out
- left the crate in LA for 2 weeks, while I returned to NY
- flew back out to LA and picked up the crate
- shipped the crate to Austin, and flew out to Austin for an event the following weekend.
Often these events barely pay for themselves once you get into shipping our product--it is just so heavy, it decimates products. But, from a marketing standpoint, it isn't pointless and over time the sales do add up. I'll see orders made around Christmas that I believe were caused from an event, and sometimes a customer makes a note of such to us as well. Thanks by the way, you make the work and effort worthwhile. I really do appreciate that.
The issue is that this system isn't sustainable--there's no way I will be able to hustle that hard forever, and I've come to realize this. Exposing my business to different geographic demographics does help build the business, and it also happens to be a value of mine.
My solution is pretty simple: We're still shipping product to and fro, but now we're hiring salespeople, brand ambassadors, booth attendants--whatever you want to call it--in cities across the country. This is still in its experimental phase. Right now, I am just interested in paying for the booth and the shipping costs. I think as time progresses, our ability to include Custom Work at these events will make them pay for themselves and then some. But first, we need to figure out what the system is that will lead to success, test it, execute it.
I am really excited about this process and seeing how it plays out. With that said, I wanted to share how our events in DC and Brooklyn went last weekend! Jaclyn attended American Field in DC while Kelly was at Bust Craftacular in Brooklyn. The day was as beautiful as any day in London, read: rainy. Despite the overcast skies, Bust and American Field saw decent turn out. Kelly accounts that, "Nils was right, the most common response was something along the lines of 'these are too pretty to cut on.'" What can I say except I'm in touch with my audience :P What surprised me though was that Kelly "mostly sold End-grain Cherry boards." Typically I have seen that New Yorkers gravitate to the Walnut, with Cherry being more of a favorite of Midwesterners. Jaclyn mentioned that "American Field was quickly transforming (from an empty warehouse) into a market for everything from natural soaps to one-of-a-kind clothing to handmade leather goods to Jagermeister - something for everyone!" This is very true and something I've always liked about American Field. But despite being different events in different cities, we were getting the same "ooooohhs" and "aaahhhs" as usual. Including a few proud owners of a Brooklyn Butcher Block who purchased in previous years! We're happy to have old customers stop by and sing the praises of our products to new buyers who are getting their "first 'Adult' cutting board" as Jaclyn and her customers put it.
So to Bust and American Field, I just want to say thank you for your assistance in helping build a community around good craftsmanship. And to Jaclyn and Kelly, thank you for having my back and the back of Brooklyn Butcher Blocks!
Brooklyn Butcher Blocks finally has some merchandise! Wear our colors proud. The shirts are of quality material, being from American Apparel, and the printing is done by Rich DiBernardo of Prographix. He/his company are considered one of the best in the industry and happen to be located right in Industry City of Brooklyn, NY.
When designing this shirt with my friend Rich DiBernardo, we wanted something that was humorous but also classy. I really liked the idea of plaid, a pattern that is associated with and that connotes the material flannel, being printed onto a cotton t shirt. When I mentioned this to Rich, he got the visual pun pretty quickly and produced an awesome design just as fast (I was kind of blown away by the quality and speed with which he did his work. A true sign of a pro). After some minor tweaks, we thought that it'd be best to put the "Brooklyn Butcher Blocks" logo in white like on many of our walnut boards and then to put it on the sleeve as opposed to... on the front in bold letters and in 200 point font that could glow during the day or at night with giant arrows pointing to it.
A note about the printing--where the pattern meets at the seams is *not* perfectly aligned and there are some very minor blemishes. We feel as though this adds to the shirt, but wanted to disclose this to customers.
We'll try to correct those sideways images as soon as possible--Shopify is proving to be a little difficult at the moment :)