Cutting boards. Functionality vs Art

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Forum topic by UncleStumpy posted 12-20-2015 06:30 AM 1408 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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736 posts in 2509 days

12-20-2015 06:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cutting board art

I have made many cutting boards, some pretty basic and some that are really, really nice.
Some for a customer, some as gifts, some for family.
The one comment that I have gotten alot and drives me nuts is “It is too nice to use as a cutting board”.

Is it just me? My sister who is a business executive had me make a cutting board for her “right hand gal” for Christmas.
The lady loved it and said it is too nice to use as a cutting board so she is going to hang it on the wall.

I told my sister, you wouldn’t take a Picasso off of the wall and use it as a cutting board would you? So you don’t take a cutting board and hang it on the wall. She said that the lady told her she considered it a work of art.

So my question is – can a really nice cutting board be a piece of art but still be a useful every day cutting board?
I mean you wouldn’t buy a new car and think it is so beautiful that you just left it in the driveway and never drove itould you?

Your opinions might help me know what to say the next time someone tells me this.

Thank fellow LJ’s and Happy Holidays!!!

-- "They don't want it perfect - they want it SPECIAL"

21 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2728 days

#1 posted 12-20-2015 07:29 AM

That sounds suspiciously like a.stealth gloat. :-)

My response would be one of two things:

“It was just scraps that didn’t make it to the burn pile.”
“Make sure you use the heavy-duty wall hangers.”

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Andre's profile


2196 posts in 2003 days

#2 posted 12-20-2015 07:34 AM

Took a look at your cutting boards, yup real nice, but I would cut on them! But then again I have been called a Redneck on more than one occasion! And I refuse to drink beer from a can! Maybe a bottle?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Fallout's profile


3 posts in 1086 days

#3 posted 12-20-2015 07:53 AM

I have a car I keep in the garage and don’t drive very often :(

1996 Camaro SS with 3000 miles on it.

lol that aside, I believe a really nice cutting board can be both functional and art. If you made a cutting board, it should be used to chop up your chicken on, not on a wall collecting dust. If you wanted to make art, you’d have put a nice frame on it.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4760 posts in 2506 days

#4 posted 12-20-2015 08:24 AM

This is an easy one. Once a gift is given it becomes the sole property of the receiver and they can do as they wish. Don’s say anything. Well maybe …...............enjoy your cutting board.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View oakwood's profile


327 posts in 2266 days

#5 posted 12-20-2015 11:16 AM

Art is in the eye of the beholder. You perceive the cutting board as pieces of wood that you cut, arranged, glued, sanded and oiled to be used practically and for the purpose it was intended. Your recipient sees it differently. I would say nothing and take it as a compliment. It is her board now.

View ellen35's profile


2739 posts in 3629 days

#6 posted 12-20-2015 11:34 AM

When I sell my cutting boards at arts festivals, I always tell people that there are no feet on the cutting boards so that you can cut on one side and show the other. Everyone likes that idea,
I also give customers a set of “How to Care for Your Cutting Board” instructions. The first line is “My boards are made to be used and will last a lifetime if properly cared for.”
And yes… there is an art to the board. Woodworking is half skill and half art. For me the design is the part I enjoy most and then making my design reality.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21712 posts in 3302 days

#7 posted 12-20-2015 01:13 PM

Ellen, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe they should say cut on this side only!
I made a tangent cutting board that took a lot of time to cut and assemble. I made it to use and it is cut on both sides. I figure that it can always be sanded and oiled and look brand new someday! I have a corian one I made and I won’t use it because I think the corian is too hard for a keen knife edge. It is strictly a Picasso!!

I guess they can be a work board or a Picasso or both depending on the owner!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View cracknpop's profile


333 posts in 2546 days

#8 posted 12-20-2015 01:28 PM

Made my first cutting boards from scrap wood out of the burn box last year while waiting for glue to dry on my “real Christmas gift”. Gave the boards to family members. Asked them recently how the boards were holding up. They all said “they are too nice to use”

I think oakwood nailed with; we see it for the wood we made it from, they see the time and effort (love) you put into it.

I agree, it is theirs to use as they wish. But I have used the phrase “When a very good chef presents you a artistically plated meal, you probably wouldn’t save it for display. But then again, its their meal….

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View doubleDD's profile


7870 posts in 2240 days

#9 posted 12-20-2015 01:55 PM

On one hand you feel flattered since they think it looks like art. On the other hand you want them to use it cause you put a lot of work into it just for them. What do you do? As others have said, just wash your hands from it.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1427 days

#10 posted 12-20-2015 02:52 PM

This is one of those areas where you need to say:

“look, Pablo, I’ll do you a solid here. When you get too many marks-of-character on that to be beautiful any more, bring it by and because you bought it from me ill redress the top for the small fee of $XX (X).XX. Bring it in a couple weeks before [insert holiday of Christian/Jewish/Muslim origin], before [insert people they are desirous to impress] and I’ll make it look nice again.”


“So, pablo, you don’t cook?”

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Ronald G Campbell 's profile

Ronald G Campbell

981 posts in 2201 days

#11 posted 12-20-2015 03:07 PM

Stumpy just wait until you see what I did with a very nice cutting board. Yes I have heard it many time over so I have decided to make a bowl, pepper grinder, salt shaker from one of the cutting boards. From the next one I am going to turn it so it can hang on the wall.

Great cutting boards or block make great gifts and once given I don’t care how they use it.

-- Ron Campbell

View bondogaposis's profile


5086 posts in 2548 days

#12 posted 12-20-2015 04:05 PM

I’ve had a similar problem, a couple of years ago I made both my daughters cutting boards for Christmas. When I went to visit my oldest daughter she had destroyed hers in the dishwasher, even though I warned her about that. My youngest uses hers as a “radio stand”, yup she sets it on the kitchen table and puts a radio on it. All the while using a really nasty piece of plastic crap for a cutting board. So my plan is to keep making cutting boards for my youngest until she decides to use one. For the oldest I’ll make something else.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View abie's profile


878 posts in 3968 days

#13 posted 12-20-2015 04:21 PM

My Cutting boards( Drunkin) are so curvy that many complaints are” too Curvy to cut a straignt line on”
must be ART instead!!!

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View DocSavage45's profile


8715 posts in 3039 days

#14 posted 12-20-2015 05:52 PM

Don’t really have a concrete answer? “Is it in the eye of the beholder?” John Kirk wrote several go to books for furniture collectors. It categorizes furniture for comparisons, relating to collecting antiques and modern pieces. There is a primitive category which enlightened and changed my thinking.

It’s like boxes to me. I use to think they were functional until I saw Greg the Cajun Wood Artist (use to be woodworker) do his thing, and Andy…The man is a maker of ART. but he makes breadboards for his wife to sell on Etsy with her cheeses.

Oh yeah cars….They pay designers really well to make that functional machine. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1772 days

#15 posted 12-20-2015 08:14 PM

Once they buy it who cares what they do with it.

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

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