Olive Wood for Utensils and Cutting Boards. Functional Advantages?


(For the Horde!) #1

Recently I have noticed some olive wood utensils and cutting boards. There were olive wood salt pig, olive wood spatula…etc. In fact, I bought a tiny olive wood cutting board. They are beautiful, but they are not cheap.

This got me thinking: What are the advantages of using olive wood (compared to other wood types) for utensils and cutting boards? Beside aesthetic that is.


(The one you love to hate) #2

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(John) #3

Olive wood is prized for it’s beauty & scarcity. There are a lot of olive trees but it’s very hard to get much useable wood out of them. They are very gnarly, twisted & crooked trees. I’ve seen some really spectacular turnings from olive wood.


#4

Not only is olive wood beautiful, it’s also hard, durable, and tight-gained. Good olive wood utensils can last for many years. Worth it, IMO.


(Andrea) #5

Hard and right grained also means slow growing,which contributes to the scarcity.


(For the Horde!) #6

Good feedbacks from everyone. Thanks.


(Sherri) #7

I have several olivewood pieces - large-bowled spoons, spatulas, etc from 1962-63. They are wonderful tools as well as pretty to look at. Several of the pieces are quite worn and since they’re among my favorites, I would rescue them in case of fire. A slightly curved angled flat-edged spatula is one of my all-time favorites and I have not been able to replicate this shape in the US. There are plenty of flat spatulas but nothing with this sensuous curve.
I don’t do anything special as far as maintenance - wash & dry. Period. I use them daily. Never dishwasher and they’ll likely keep going for 50 more years.


(Kaleo) #8

Hi, Sherri:

Please post a photo of the spatula? If it’s like mine, I found it at The Pepperbox in Boulder, CO.

Mine is only about 5 years old, but it has held up remarkably well considering how thin it is–constant use and no cracks or splits.

Aloha,
Kaleo


(Wheat Meat) #9

Olive wood is a hard wood and tightly grained. This means it won’t swell up when exposed to liquid, and won’t ‘fuzz’ after being washed or soaked in soapy dish water. Olive wood is fairly dense, and has a relatively high moisture content (perhaps from its own natural resin?). You still need to oil olive wood from time to time to keep it from drying out.

The best olive wood utensils are made by Berard in France. I have a few Berard spoons and spatulas. They have thick handles and are beautifully made and finished to a high smoothness.

Bamboo is another good choice for wooden utensils. It is even harder than olive wood, but not as dense, and not as naturally moist, so you need to oil it more often compared to olive wood.

In my experience, all other types of wood are inferior to olive wood and bamboo for wooden utensils.

I have not seen or used an olive wood cutting board. I would imagine they would be very expensive.


(For the Horde!) #10

I only have a small olive wood cutting board for cheese. I have seen a few larger ones, but they are indeed more expensive than typical wood cutting boards. Maybe about twice? That being said, even the prices of the wood cutting board can vary a lot from brand to brand. Boos cutting boards usually cost at least twice as much.


#11

I also have some Berard spoons and spatulas, and they really are beautiful. A small set would make a great wedding gift, and you would be sure that the utensils will be passed down to their children – and maybe even grandchildren!


#13

I work in a shop that sells olive wood boards and other items. We have a wine bar and a small kitchen and have used the same two olive wood boards for cheese and charcuterie service for two years that I know of. They are washed in a commercial detergent bath and then in a commercial sanitizer bath several times a day, six days a week. Zero sign of wear.