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#5: Style and Trends vs Functionality - Which Do You Choose?

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

My Army Buddy/Marketing Expert (He went from being an Armor Officer to a Marketing Guru…. sounds like a stretch to me, but it’s the best choice I ever made to start a business!)* He and his team are knocking it out of the park!

Anyhow, after some research, there are some 110,000 cutting boards for sale on Etsy and Amazon. They had a ‘super cool/secret’ marketing data base and typed in the words ‘Wooden Cutting Boards’ and showed me all the links. Then they narrowed it down to my price range and came up with over 40,000 options of different cutting boards.

Many were obviously mass produced from other counties that I don’t like to shop with…. Others were just large slabs of wood sanded down and called ‘Live edge cutting boards’. Another group was end grain boards - very cool but in a whole 'nuther category.… And then the last group, and likely the largest were edge or face grain boards made up of various colored woods, similar in style and size to mine.

The most common feature in all of these other boards were the features. There were none. The vast majority were just simply rectangular boards that seemed to be very nicely sanded down to an extremely smooth finish, and very nice photography capabilities!. Many had feet which meant they were only to be used on one side. There was a large amount that offered juice moats in the board as a standard feature. Hardly any had finger grips on the ends. I found none that had a carrying hole in one corner.

As I started building cutting boards, I modified my cutting board sizes and designs based on functionality. My sisters are arguably the best chefs/cooks known to mankind. Well, ok, to at least to everyone who has ever feasted on the meals and deserts. I would bet that they have worn out as many cutting boards in their lives as I have built so far. But their expertise was what added the functionality to my cutting board designs.

Finger grips are too shallow, add a little depth….. The boards need to be a little bigger to hold a whole chicken (medium size) or a whole rump roast or brisket (large size)….. A hole in the handle to hang the large boards would be better… All of these design ideas were tested by some smart kitchen folks (wife, sisters, neighbor ladies, (and neighbor guy who has a smoker the size of my truck) to come up with the sizes and features that I now have in each board.

Each of these designs/features all help make your time in the kitchen a little easier and more fun. Cutting the finger grips takes about 20 minutes to cut both sides of a small or medium board. Drilling, routing, and sanding the carry hole is another 15 minutes. A juice moat on the large boards is a setup, sample cut on scrap wood, then the final cut on the actual board (Measure twice, cut once theory….), and even then, there have been that critical ‘whoops’ that ruins the board with a slight zig instead of a straight line cut with the router…. End result: the scrap bin or a freebie to a friend’s hunting cabin….

Each of these options required a specific jig to be built in order to get them the same location and the same size on each board. And more time and more sanding.

I could make them faster and much more simplistic, but they would not be a cutting board that I would want to use. They wouldn’t be easy to handle or fun to use on the kitchen counter. And I want my boards to be used flat on the counter with a butcher knife laying next to it! They are not just for decorations against the backsplash near the stove!

So, I feel better at making a cutting board that takes a little longer to finish, that offers the chef in the kitchen a little better option to work quicker or the Mom who is hosting Thanksgiving for 16 people at her house this year.

So, how do you choose the best cutting board from the 40000 options you get lost looking at on the internet? Maybe I am too simplistic, but I will take functionality over the trendy looking cutting board all day. And besides, after the first two onions and the celery stalks that get chopped, and after the brisket that gets slayed over the board, it won’t have the glass like finish it had on the website ever again….

* My Army Buddy/Marketing Expert, Chris Kemper and Samie Worthington are co co-owners of Emily: Revolutionary Marketing Group in Newberry, SC. This is a shameless plug, but they know how to help deliver your message! And their name has one of the best stories behind it I have ever heard. Check out their story at:

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