Chopping boards are today available in a dizzying variety of designs and materials, from the classic wooden butcher's block to boards that are made of slabs of polished steel or glass. All varieties are available on eBay and a little research using the site's advanced search tools should locate the ideal type for each individual customer.
About Chopping Boards
It's almost certainly the case that meat was being cut on hard flat surfaces like stones and rocks even in the Stone Age. But it wasn't until 1880 that the classic butcher's block appeared; before that, the invention of the circular saw allowed slices of tree trunk to be fashioned into household chopping boards, but they were often very large and bulky.
The butcher's block invention caught on and the humble chopping board became a worldwide phenomenon, with different cultures adding their own unique twists to the designs and materials used. Bamboo boards, for instance, flourished in the Far East. Highly polished, lightweight wooden chopping boards emerged from Persia, often beautifully decorated with tribal designs. Today boards come in all shapes, sizes and colours and are fashioned out of a raft of different materials, including wood, bamboo, glass, steel, plastic, rubber and even granite. They have become a virtually indispensable household item throughout the world.
Choosing a Chopping Board
Often rather beautiful to look at, wooden chopping boards are even "self healing" in that small score lines often close up naturally. They're also naturally antiseptic. Generally, the harder the wood (and the smaller the pores) the better the board will be for food preparation. Teak, for example, has such a tight grain and is so incredibly hard that it keeps score-marks to a minimum, and its natural oily resins repel moisture, warping, fungi and rot as well as having anti-microbial properties. Wooden boards do require a little love and attention, though, and need to be treated with mineral oil to prevent them warping.
Glass and Steel
Glass chopping boards, like their equivalents in steel, are undoubtedly amongst the easiest to clean but what they deliver in hygiene they subtract in excessive hardness. Both share a tendency to blunten and damage expensive knives and can eventually ruin them. Care must be taken to use glass boards only for cutting and slicing and never for chopping, because the impact can cause them to chip and release dangerous shards, even when made of toughened glass. Despite this boards made from either material often look very stylish.
Like wood, bamboo (which is technically a grass) makes chopping boards that are at once beautiful and practical. Like some of the woods, it has natural antimicrobial properties which resist bacterial contamination. It is not only free of any harmful toxins, it's also a highly sustainable material that should please green-leaning customers considerably.
A risk with plastic boards is that, when deeply scored, they may harbour food residues and become bacterially contaminated. They need thorough cleansing to remain hygienic. But provided well cleansing is practiced, they're safe and practical - and they never cause damage to expensive knives. Plastic boards are available in a riot of different colours, including the colour codes favoured by the food hygiene industry (white for bakery and dairy items, green for salad and fruit, red for raw meat, yellow for cooked meat, brown for vegetables and blue for raw fish).
Thick, solid pads of rubber, often artistically designed to look like slabs of wood, have recently been increasingly popular in restaurant kitchens and are catching on in domestic kitchens, too. Like plastic, they can be cleaned with chemical disinfectants and like wood, they also "self heal". Like both plastic and wood, they also spare knives from the nasty demise they often suffer on the glass and steel alternatives. They also resist moisture and bacteria.
Before bidding or buying it's worth doing a little product research on eBay. There is such a diverse range of different types of chopping board that they warrant a little browsing in order to work out which one is best for each particular customer and each particular kitchen. The search tools on eBay take all the effort out of this "spade work" and it can actually be very enlightening. To simplify things, on the left of the product results page visitors can select desirable features from a list of characteristics. Once the most suitable chopping boards have been located, check the asking price against the going market rates. eBay sellers tend to be pretty savvy about these things - they know that asking unrealistic prices will rarely lead to successful transactions.
Ask the Seller Questions
Because of the millions of items on sale at eBay every day, product descriptions can be very brief. If customers need more information about a product, they can put their queries directly to the seller via the Ask a Question link on the product page. Newcomers should not be reticent about this - eBay sellers are generally very happy to answer questions, largely because it's in their interests to acquire happy, satisfied customers. They most certainly don't want disgruntled purchasers returning an item, asking for a refund and posting negative feedback comments.
A Seller's Customer Evaluation
Beside the seller's ID in the listing page is a number in brackets, which refers to the total number of feedback comments from previous customers. Click on the number, and the comments themselves come up, giving prospective purchasers an instant snapshot of the seller's reliability and reputation before parting with any money.
When in Doubt, Go For Top-Rated Sellers
eBay sellers who have inspired the most confidence in customers by making the high numbers of successful transactions and resolving customer issues efficiently and rapidly are easy to identify on eBay. They get awarded the eBay equivalent of the quality kite mark - a gold rosette denoting that they have achieved "Top-rated seller" status. Visitors can be sure when they see this icon that they are dealing with a tried, tested and very reliable seller.
Find Chopping Boards On eBay
With eBay's advanced search capabilities, the most suitable chopping board for each individual customer can be located in moments. Customers who know that they only want a specific type of chopping board, such as bamboo or rubber, can simply enter the phrase into the search box. But those who would prefer to select from a broader range can go to the All Categories tab next to the search box and scroll down the list until they find Home Furniture & DIY from the dropdown menu.
After clicking Search, a vertical column titled Categories appears on the left of the new page. Just click Cookware, Dining & Bar, followed by Food Preparation & Tools on the next page. Look at the left-hand list again and click Chopping & Server Boards. eBay's complete range of chopping boards will then appear. Now to refine the search: study the vertical list of product criteria on the left and tick the relevant boxes under the main headings (Type, Material, Price Range, Brand, Main Colour, etc.). It's also possible to specify the type of seller (Private, Business or Top-rated) and where they'd and the region of purchase (UK only, EU or Worldwide).
eBay's advanced search tools make the hunt for the perfect chopping board fast and easy. And thanks to automated bidding, there will be no danger of getting carried away during an auction an impulsive throwing too much money at an item.