My favorite cutting boards are odd-size rather sculptural wooden boards that I’ve collected, or been given, over the years. Some are surprisingly small — 10-x-6 inches. I might use 2 or 3 at a time. There is just something about their “feel” that makes them fun to use, and they are wonderful to look at. Some have dedicated uses: like cutting garlic or fruit. Their use can be carved into the wood.
Photographer Maria Robledo also follows this practice in her kitchen. Her husband Holton (whose Wishbone Project we support) brings home beautiful chunks of scrap hardwood board leftover from his artworks. She props her various sizes on the counter in a stack leaning against a wall. They are lovely to look at. (They also make great trivets; place a longish board on the table to line up several hot pots.)
My personal cutting board favorites include the long odd slab of Arbutus wood that Holton gave me years ago, cut from downed logs from Cortes Island…
…and these two little guys, bought at flea markets, that I use daily for all sorts of tasks, including as a serving board for salamis and other foods that need to be cut a la minute for guests:
These odd boards are easy to find at flea-markets and Ebay. I wash them with bleach to “reset” their cleanliness, making sure to rinse well so that the wood itself doesn’t get bleached, unless that’s the look I want.
Unique cutting boards are easy to make. There are a lot of offerings on Ebay for and at lumber yards for hardwood wood plank. Dense woods like Walnut, Oak, Maple are all great. The only caveat is that the plank be flat enough to rest on the surface without rocking. You cut it to size and sand the edges and surface as necessary.
Here’s an interesting Maple slab I found on Ebay a while ago. Imagine what a dramatic “trivet” it might make placed in the center of a big holiday table.
At Maria and Holton’s home, their cutting boards seem like sculptures, perfect among the many artworks they display.