• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

chopping block  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22368
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Karl Krutsch gave us a beautiful chopping block surface last year. Armin Voit mounted it on a super sturdy frame. It got started at being a meat block - cleaned only with salt water. Awesome!


At some point people were putting things on it and it got some sort of motor-oil/grease stain on it. Ick!

Jason went to work on it and made it beautiful again. I think it was Justin that put a sign on it that it was for food only.

Then some food tools appeared on it. But even that bothered me. I'm thinking it should be for meaty bits only. Over and over I keep finding stuff on it and I get angry.


The idea is that if you treat this right, in time the right kind of bacteria will infest the block - and they will be the primary source for meat that will be naturally preserved. I don't want people to put anything else on it.

I am now thinking that when it is not being used for meaty bits, it should have some sort of cover over it. Probably something that allows airflow, but will keep icky stuff off. Maybe another wood top on top of the wood?

Ideas?
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 586
Location: Soutwest Ohio
100
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have come to understand that it is the nature of humanity that unless one is very meticulous about a surface, humans will place random items on whatever flat open surface presents itself first. Once they see one to several items on that surface, even if those items directly relate to the surface in question, it becomes easier to absently toss something down there. The more pristine the surface is, the more likely they are to wander further for another surface. Keeping it looking pristine is the first step, but honestly only meticulous observation and harsh enforcement seem to work at keeping people from putting things down wherever they are out of habit.

If people have to put 10 dollars into a jar or something every time they do so, pretty soon you have a few hundred dollars to work with on a project and they stop putting things there. Another possibility is to create a covering for it to protect the surface when not being used. If you do put a covering on it, still be harsh in enforcement since you don't want anyone thinking it is an open license to put things there. If it is covered though, when someone screws up, it doesn't cause any lasting harm.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Do you want the block to be utilised when it's not being used for meat cutting?
As in cover/protect the block itself, but create a second layer of useful surface that can be lifted off.
I imagine space could be a bit tight to have a potential useable area out of bounds most of the time?
paul wheaton wrote:I am now thinking that when it is not being used for meaty bits, it should have some sort of cover over it. Probably something that allows airflow, but will keep icky stuff off. Maybe another wood top on top of the wood?
How about cutting and hemming several layers of cotton cheesecloth as a pad between the block and an identically dimensioned cutting board?
A challenge with that is the pad would need to be kept reasonably dry-so the cutting board would need to be dry when replaced after washing.
We're talking signage...

While I always feel a bit squirmy putting 'do this, don't do that' signs on everything,
but in a place with lots of people coming and going they are really useful.
At the very least it takes away the "but you didn't tell me" factor!
Maybe update the sign?
And there's often a creative person around that really enjoys painting cool, friendly signs.

If you don't want the block used for anything but meat cutting,
how about making something along the lines of a cake cover thingy?
No way people can plonk things on top of that
Cheesecloth would make good cover fabric.

 
Bill Ramsey
Posts: 86
Location: SW Georgia, zone 8b
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Probably putting a pyramid shaped "lid" that wil cause anything placed on it to slide off and hit the ground. Human nature gets in the way of cooperation when they think you are not watching. If it takes more effort to remove the lid, they will set their stuff on the ground. Sorry for the cynicism but that is my experience.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
89
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Around here I practice the 1st Rule of Chaos Carpentry: Immediately cover every available horizontal surface with Stuff.

A quick and simple answer: put some empty cardboard boxes on the table. Upside down will allow some airflow. The cardboard will absorb excess humidity.
Egg cartons might work to drive away the would-be Perpetrators of Chaos.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5912
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
367
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really think a cutting board needs both light and air....I think even a second board with an airgap would be too closed in for the meat board. Maybe just a nice simple pottery trivet or tile in the center with a message..""DON'T" or ""STOP" would be enough to remind folks....sometimes if there are too many words they aren't read.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9929
Location: Portugal
910
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about a pretty white lacy tablecloth?

It might just look too 'clean and white' for people to plonk oily tools down on without at least flinching long enough to ask themselves if it's OK to contaminate it. Maybe...
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Light and air is what makes wooden chopping surfaces safe for meat. The bacteria that spoil meat can't survive without the humidity. I would be really wary about putting a cover over it, although I do understand the conflicting need to keep other clobber off it.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I always wanted my deli meet thick cut, just the opposite of everyone else on the planet, but then i didn't have dogs following me any more ether !

After always asking for thicker cuts (baloney ) The Deli owner said the only thing thicker was buying the whole hunk -so I did !

I always just set my meets in a casserole dish with a towel quite damp with 50% normal strength vinegar ! Like german potato salad it may be an
acquired taste, but vinegar has been a major preserver for centuries, this may be a bad thing to do to a chopping block maybe but thats the way
I used to do dli meets and how i clean all my chopping boards ! Big AL !
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have some doubts about this working, but what about burning your instructions into the wood, MEAT ONLY, type of thing.

Could we see a pic of the chopping block? It might inspire something like store it on its side so there's barely a surface to put anything on.
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 204
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perhaps D. Logan's idea of a jar with a sign on it should go right in the middle of the chopping block? On top of a trivet?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Cox wrote:Light and air is what makes wooden chopping surfaces safe for meat
I agree, scratch the 'board above board' idea

I better not suggest it would make a great temporary place to lay a board/cut if there's a mass cookathon happening,
as we've got to assume the cutting board won't be removed/washed/dried/stored properly.
I'm back to a version of the 'cake cover' then.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9929
Location: Portugal
910
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cj Verde wrote:Could we see a pic of the chopping block? It might inspire something like store it on its side so there's barely a surface to put anything on.


I think this is it.



 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, it's a beast (in the nicest possible way )
That just cries out "put things on me!"
Aside from putting castors on it so it can be wheeled off somewhere quiet, I can't envision anything useful.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Actually, my reaction is...

I want one!

Regarding castors, they would need to be pretty heavy duty ones to take the weight of that beast, and the abuse it will get while in use. It looks like you have a high ceiling there, although it is hard to tell from the photos. In our new place which we will soon be converting, we will be using high ceiling space for some storage - drying racks on pulleys and the like. Could a pulley/cable system lift it out of the way overhead?

Insist on compulsory helmets for anyone working beneath.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Burra Maluca wrote:
Cj Verde wrote:Could we see a pic of the chopping block? It might inspire something like store it on its side so there's barely a surface to put anything on.



Oh! It's a table with a chopping block top - yes - an inviting surface! I think the only choice is to make it uninviting by storing it on it's side, locking the room except when in use (but now you're unstacking functions) or covering it with something benign like brown paper.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
O. K., a second suggestion, If you would be willing to move it up against a wall you can have a drop leaf shelving unit that can be pressed up flush with its wall,
kind of like those old built-in Ironing boards you sometimes see in old houses ! In the down position it would allow ventilation but block casual attempted use of
the Chopping block !

The shelf would be need to be water tight, have a lip on it, and could have a non see-through curtain across its front to hide the chopping block when it is down!
Or clear to let you see in a glance that the now nearly inaccessible surface is still clear and unused ! This could also be handy to keep flies off.

Or it could be be part of a built-in but larger bread safe or bread larder with good ventilation but built to be vermin proof ! The doors to be in sections to fold back
like bi-fold doors do ! $.02 Big AL
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Actually,

I think I have a different/better idea.

Why not just keep it in a food preparation-only area? I'm not an expert on chopping blocks, but I understand a traditional butchers block was cleaned using an abrasive wire brush to remove the top thin layer of blood stained wood. Over years you see blocks that wear faster in some areas than other and are no longer perfectly flat.

I suspect that you will be butchering animals once every few weeks/months at most for your own use, so why not clean it up and use it as a normal food prep area. Provided it is cleaned, dries properly and has time to air it should be sterile enough to use within 48 hours of butchering on (estimates, obviously. Your milage may vary).

At least under those circumstances it will be "contaminated" by food stuffs only.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


This is how an old well used butchers block can end up looking. The top surface wears down with each cleaning/abrading. If you are cleaning it down like this between uses the odd item left on the surface doesn't matter too much.



And this is the type of brush used to clean/abrade the surface to remove blood and dirt stains.
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My first thought was the same as Allen's - put it against a wall, and build a drop-leaf shelf that, in the down position, would be 8 or 10 inches above the block - enough room for air flow and some light, but inconvenient for placing random stuff. Plus a little sign that says "Nothing Down Here" or the like...

But I also agree with Michael - if the space is basically a commercial-style kitchen and not used for anything else, there should be no reason for folks to be putting their detritus in there. Unlike my kitchen, which attracts all sorts of cooking-unrelated stuff...
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jessica G. : 'the old saying about great minds thinking alike ! However, the self perpetuating Dept. of making you sad would have a field day if they saw
a non food item on a chopping block in a commercial kitchen, go from an 'A' rateing to an 'F' and Big Fines :p ! Big AL
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1953
Location: Maine (zone 5)
233
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can you build a second wooden top for it that can leave space for air flow? Like, put little wooden spacer feet between the "meat top" and the removable "stuff top". When it's time to cut meat, just take off the "stuff top" off and get to work.

My first instinct was a sign that said " Please don't kill this table by putting stuff on it."
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Cox wrote:Why not just keep it in a food preparation-only area? (...)I suspect that you will be butchering animals once every few weeks/months at most for your own use, so why not clean it up and use it as a normal food prep area. Provided it is cleaned, dries properly and has time to air it should be sterile enough to use within 48 hours of butchering
The non meat-eaters I know aren't too fussy about their food being prepared on the same board as meat has been
(as long as it's done separately and well cleaned beforehand of course!)
But I suspect even they might freak out knowing the block's designed specifically to butcher animals on.
 
Lorenzo Costa
steward
Posts: 801
Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
207
books forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
separate the block from the legs, or sturdy frame. make the block screwable to the frame when you want and attach the top on chains that you lift up to take the block high near the ceiling so no one can use it for else than meaty things. when you need the block you let it come down from the ceiling and screw on to the frame. it's a bit like what one uses to lift a motor off a car, I don't know how you call it in English. hope you got the idea though.
you could even just put a light top that the real sturdy one fits on or just leave the frame without top and it sit's a side until you need it
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22368
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just talked to tim about the idea of making a piece of wood cover that rides four inches over the top of the current surface. And the frame of this would not touch any of the wood surface. Instead, it would get it's structural integrity from the legs (below). So air would be able to pass under this new surface. And on the underside will be written something about how the butcher block surface is for building the right kind of bacteria for butchering meat. That the upper table surface is designed to allow air to pass over the butcher surface when the butcher surface is not in use. And the table needs a paper thin layer of salt when the butcher surface is not in use.
 
S Haze
Posts: 229
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
12
duck forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since the title of this sounds pretty general I'd like to ask how a chopping block or wooden cutting board should be initially treated and if it should at all. Does it depend on wether or not it's a general cutting board or one specifically for meat like Paul's? I've heard of rubbing it down with some mineral oil.

Here's my new (or 8 year old and never yet used) block made by my father-in-law from a piece of bowling alley I rescued. We finally have a kitchen to put it in!

ps

I hope adding my question here is okay and I wonder if the chopping block problem has been resolved?
butcher-block.jpg
[Thumbnail for butcher-block.jpg]
 
It runs on an internal combustion engine. This ad does not:
Composting Chickens Comic (e)Book - The Ulitmate Guide to Compsting with Chickens - Digital Download
https://permies.com/t/66064/digital-market/digital-market/Composting-Chickens-Comic-Book-Ulitmate
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!