Hasegawa: The BEST Cutting Boards for Your Knives?
January 10, 20234 min read
If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you’ll know we’re HUGE fans of end-grain wood cutting boards, especially those from Larchwood, Canada. They show up in almost every video on our YouTube channel and are all over our social media. Until recently, they were really the only board most of us would consider using at home - until Hasegawa cutting boards showed up.
You've probably heard of these guys if you’ve spelunked into the world of knife nerdism online, especially in forums or on YouTube. I first heard about them in a video years ago from someone extolling the virtues of a soft rubber board, and I immediately dismissed them. I’d worked with plastic boards in restaurants for years, and I hated them for two reasons: they’re gross and boring. It turns out I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge because Hasegawa boards are about as rad as surfing (and their largest board is about as big as a surfboard!).
Hasegawa boards sold a lot of the issues with both plastic and wood, by blending them together!
Back in 1955, Hasegawa got their start manufacturing skis in Chiba, Japan. In the pursuit of making the best ski possible, they developed ways of laminating plastic onto wood, which eventually gave them the idea to make the cutting boards they’re now famous for. Hasegawa blends the best of both worlds: A solid wooden core keeps the board straight as a board, while the rubber coating protects the wood from moisture. This proprietary technology also makes the cutting surface super soft, much easier on your knife edges than wood, bamboo, or other common material. This led them to be prized by many Japanese chefs who found the rubber much easier on the edges of their delicate single-bevel blades, and eventually, knife nerds in the west got wind of these miraculous cutting boards. For a group of folks who are borderline obsessed with having a razor-sharp edge, cutting on a softer surface was a no-brainer!
Usually, I’m not a huge fan of soft cutting boards, instead preferring medium-density materials such as Larchwood. Remember how I mentioned that plastic cutting boards gross me out? After a while (or a short while in professional kitchens), they get all cut up, and those gashes act as little hidey-holes for debris and bacteria. Even if you drown them in sanitizer, they still look nasty. Hasegawa has solved this issue too! Your knife will sink in slightly, but I’ve found they don’t gash up the way plastic boards do. Even when they eventually get nasty-looking, Hasegawa makes a special scraper to re-finish your board! It works like a sanding block, scraping away the board’s top layer to refinish it.
But won’t those little gashes still harbour salmonella? The geniuses at Hasegawa thought of that, too. While you still need to wash your board with soap and water,they’re impregnated with ionized silver, which is completely safe for humans but essentially 'deactivates' bacteria on the board. The silver particles blast holes in the bacteria cell’s outer layer, then get inside and wreak all kinds of havoc, interfering with all basic functions. In the words of the kid in the Bill Nye theme song, “science rules!”. They’re also lightweight and dishwasher safe, so go ham on the sanitizing!
They make a wide range of sizes, which we’ve narrowed down to the best options:
Hasegawa 360mm x 200mm or 14” x 8”
This guy is designed for home use, whereas most Hasegawa boards are meant for professional use, and is slightly firmer. I find this size pretty tiny, but it’s great for travelling, camping, or just making a small meal.
Hasegawa 460mm x 260mm or 18” x 10”
Still pretty small, but great for your first apartment or working in a cramped kitchen! If you’re only ever cooking for two, it’s perfect.
Hasegawa 500mm x 300mm or 20” x 12”
Now we’re getting into what I’d consider for my home kitchen; not massive, but big enough to chop four onions on without them falling over the edge. Definitely the one board to rule them all.
Hasegawa 600mm x 350mm or 23.5” x 14”
This is closer to what most professionals are comfortable with. For a home cook it’s massive, but if you’re used to cooking in large quantities and having lots of workspace, you’ll love this guy.
Hasegawa 800mm x 400mm or 31.5” x 16”
Okay, this is the one I actually want. This thing is a BEAST! It feels like a surfboard, or at least a wakeboard, and is rad for butchering a giant salmon or carving a whole brisket. This guy will be my ‘summer’ board that I leave in the backyard kitchen I plan to build.
So there you have it; if you care about your knives, you probably need a Hasegawa board. That’s not to say wooden cutting boards aren’t fantastic; I prefer them. They’re way nicer looking, you can leave them on your countertop permanently, they’re great for charcuterie, and they’re much better to pass down to your kids, but Hasegawa boards are the best for your knives, hand-down. For me, it’s a question of “why not both?” and make no mistake; I will own both. If you’d like to compare the pros and cons of a few different board types, check out this article!
Nathan started at Knifewear in 2013, when he left the restaurant industry to slang knives. Nowadays, he handles our communications, social media, and YouTube channel. If you're reading words on this website or watching one of our videos, Nathan was involved. He spends his spare time growing food, cooking, fermenting food and booze, and enjoying the great outdoors.