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The world`s best cutting board

We mentioned in a previous entry that there are many types of cutting boards.
Discarding glass boards (which all the experts agree that will dull your knives in no time), we have to choose between wood and plastic types.
Each material has different features, strong points and weak points.
But which chopping board should we use?
Actually, the reason for the “dilemma” is not the variety of the offer but rather the fact that for the most important feature of a cutting board the western world experts do not have a clear winner.
Of course we are talking about HYGIENE and the fact that a cutting board may harbor dangerous patogens such as salmonella and E. coli. and contaminate our food just as we are preparing it?
Are the micro indents left by the knife a potential receptacle of bacteria?
Many studies have been done with controversial results.
It seems that wood cutting boards do not show signs of bacteria after 60 hours of use compared to plastic boards that if not washed become colonies of microorganisms.
The antagonists object that wood is porous and the bacteria may not be present on the surface just because they find a better environment deeper into the wood…
This debate is going on at least since Feb. 6, 1993, when “Science News” published an article on cutting boards. Their point was that the wooden boards could assure better hygiene but could not provide an objective proof.
Today the advocates of wood and plastic are still impugnating old studies and experts opinions.
We are glad we can now solve the dilemma.
Wood is safer than plastic, but not any wood.
Japanese have been used cutting boards made of hinoki wood for centuries and the reason is that the “hinokithyol” natural resin contained in the wood fibers have a high bactericidal property.
Hinoki is a coniferous soft wood, making it the best choice both for the sake of your knife`s blade and for your health as it would actually disinfect food as you are cutting it!
See this entry for a desctition of hinoki essential oil properties
If you are looking for the world`s best cutting board, here it is:

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Plastic or wooden cutting board: how to choose.

The culinary and sanitary world seems to be split in a dilemma:
Is it better to use plastic cutting mats or wooden cutting boards?

    The advantages and disadvantages of both are easy to outline:

  • cutting boards: a wooden chopping board is more stable and offers a good support for the blade
  • acryl cutting boards are similar to wood in weight with the extra advantage of being dish washer washable.
  • Light weight plastic boards are economic and can replaced frequently. They can be bent and used as a funnel. Some people find it convenient to overlap them on a traditional cutting board and differentiate them for cutting vegetables, meat etc.

The different qualities make it difficult to define for sure which type makes for the ideal cutting board.
Most of the cooking experts make an obvious recommendation: you should keep both types in the kitchen! Plastic cutting boards may be preferable when cutting meat or poultry. For cutting vegetables or bread, be sure to go for a wooden chopping board.
The experts have one more piece of advice that you should never forget: keep your cutting board clean to avoid food contamination and infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella.
Plastic boards are apparently easy to wash, but you should be aware that microorganism tend to remain in the tiny indents created by the knife and proliferate.
Wooden boards are porous but almost all laboratory test would show low bacteria content on the surface of a wooden cutting board. Is it just because the bacteria penetrate inside as opposed of staying on the surface?
It may be, not all wooden boards are the same. You can span from walnut, bamboo laminated boards, cherry or japanese hinoki. Of course the experts recommend the hinoki wood as its natural bactericidal property offers the best guarantee for the hygiene of your cutting board.
Hinoki products are used as a base for many disinfectants used in hospitals, especially for preventing nosocomial infections. As a matter of fact hinoki oil is one of the few treatments for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other resilient patogens!
If you are looking for the world`s best wooden cutting board, find it in our shop (available in three sizes)

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hinoki tub and lumber for switzerland

At first we were contacted by the architect but went on finalizing the details directly with the clients who are a splendid couple. Despite the time difference, we had several phone conversations as -like sushi- every information is even better when is consumed fresh.
All the important matters were communicated in English and the jokes in Italian which was very natural…
The project is new construction, a refined minimalist residence.
They were looking for hinoki lumber to build doors, cabinets, the stair and even the kitchen counter.

Added: here is the link to the photos of the bathroom (in construction) and of the completed project

Here are two pictures of the bold knotty hinoki ofuro.
– size: L1615mm x W800mm x H715mm (ext. dim.) 610mm (deep) –

We were quick in building the tub, but it took time to assort the lumber for the cabinetry and fixtures. Wide sections of hinoki are becoming rare and we wanted to assort a lot of top grade material, with stable knots and uniform quality.
Then, the wood needs to be kiln dried to fulfill the phytosanitary requirements of the swiss forestry department.
We asked the client to wait one extra month and they were very nice and understanding.

over 10m3 of knotty hinoki planks up to 70mm thick and

one cubic meter of knotless hinoki lumber in 3 meters length fit miraculously the container…!

We are looking forward to post here an update of the completed project!!

oval wooden bahtub for Holland

In the beginning of march we received a quotation request from an architect based in the Netherlands.
Their client was interested in a japanese bathtub and we provided some drawings and installation information. Few months passed and we started to think that they gave up on the ofuro project when the order confirmation arrived in november.

Here are some pictures of the tub and accessories:

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The tub is made in Sawara wood AB grade (quarter sawn).
Option: stainless steel metal straps, ball-type drain plug
Dimensions are: L1300mm x W680mm x H700mm (ext. dim.) 590mm(deep)
The tub is equipped with a cover split in two halves. and an internal seat.

The picture taken without flash evokes a Akira Kurowasawa movie atmosphere…

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And here is a picture of the interior. The client opted for a rubber-ball plug in place of the standard type.

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paradise is not for humans only

The resort chain “Caro Foresta” put special efforts in targeting clients with pets.
Of course dogs are allowed in the resort, are pampered with a broad choice of delicious menus and are babysitted so that the owners can fully enjoy their vacation.
But yes, since the resort in Nasu is in a hot spring area, why the best friend of man shouldn`t enjoy the hot water also?
There it is: they offer hinoki outdoor baths (rotenburo) for the joy of your dog.

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I can see the smile on their face!

“kadomaru” nostalgic hottub

We decided to replicate a wooden tub that was the standard in every japanese household before the WWII.
It is compact and reasonably priced.
High quality japanese handicraft, solid and durable. We use 100% japanese sawara wood.
The straps are in stainless steel.
Options such as overflow cut are available (about 6,000 JPY extra)
(see an example here: 7-custom_ofuro/happy-end_in_switzerland.php )

Here below are the details:

H740mm (external dimensions) 630mm(deep) natural
japanese Knotless Sawara “Oke” bathtub with covers:
(see also enclosed sketch)

1a) L930mm x W630mm : 235,000. JPY
-or-
1b) L850mm x W630mm : 212,000. JPY
2) Packaging (reinforced cardboard box): 17,000. JPY
3) Paypal commission: 7,000. JPY
4) Pick up and delivery to Tokyo port or Narita air port: 5,000 JPY
5) Shipping: please let us know your exact address for the estimate.

If you are making arrangements yourself for the shipping, you can purchase it in one-click! – Otherwise contact us by email for other payment/shipping options.
(Note that if you use ocean freight, a plywood crate will become necessary ->

-33% off hinoki tub waiting for you in London… or NY (sold out!)

sorry, sold out!

A client from the UK purchased from us this beautiful type tub.
Unfortunately, there was a mistake in coordinating the sizes and the tub could not be installed.

The cost of the tub inclusive of shipping charge to London was 9,000 GBP.
The owner is willing to sell it for 6,000 GBP to any japanese bathtub lover based in the UK or Europe.
The 6,000 GBP (6,900 EUR) is for the tub, boxed to be picked up in London (transport to your site is not included)

Sizes are:
L1480mm x W1270mm x H550 mm (ext. dim.) 440mm (deep)
The depth matches a wester style tub and is safe to be used by children.

Meterial in Kiso Hinoki AB grade.

Conditions are: brand new, never used or installed.


If you are interested please contact us at: japan@bartokdesign.com so we can put you in communication with the seller.

little Japan in London

We exchanged mails directly with the client for about 2 months before going forward with this well balanced ofuro with an top overflow facing the wall.
The carpenter choose a the nice pattern of knots running from right to left on the top plank.
Accessories include a Hinoki wood wall mounted spout, ladle with handle, stool and
floor grate panel.

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The specs of the tub are as follows:

Material: Hinoki wood K grade (knotty) tub
Sizes: L1350mm x W700mm x H670mm (ext. dim.) 580mm(deep)
Finishing: Wood dovels, copper apron, Iron brand at front top right

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The tub top plank had an wood inlay. This is a traditional technique used when a wood-knot is or may become instable. The knot is removed and an another piece of wood is inserted to match
the shape. Wood fillings are unavoidable when it comes to Knotty wood and usually it is performed with a white round wooden plug.
Wood fillings are not signs of faulty material but are a sign of care taken by the carpenter.
Said this, after a remark from the client, for a better visual balance we filled it with a red round knot.

BEFORE
AFTER

Ofuro in mosaic clad bathroom

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Our wonderful bath has arrived in perfect condition and it looks amazing.
Thank you so much for all your hard work.
A. from Australia

perfumed asnaro from the attic – outled tub (sold out!)

sorry, sold out!

A grumpy elder lumberyard of our network, finally decided to part from a vintage lot of asnaro wood he is guarding for some 30 years.
The wood is perfectly dry so there is no worry of cracking.
The cut is a plank cut, which is rare for asnaro. Plank cut shows well the pattern of the wood veins and probably it was originally sawn to make tables or maybe even “tokonoma” (the floor plank used in the niche of a tatami room which is used to display flowers or precious ornaments)

To use fully the planks width we built a tub some 90mm deeper than the average.

Here are the details:
size: L1300mm x W750mm x H685mm (external dimensions) 590mm(depth)
quality: itame (plank-cut) asnaro wood

  1. AB grade tub (itame cut) : 415,000. JPY
  2. Packaging: 1500x950x890 plywood box: 39,000. JPY
  3. Pick up and delivery to Tokyo port or Narita air port: 10,000 JPY

For the payment, we accept Credit cards thru PAYPAL or contact us for wire transfer the information to our bank account in Japan.

Click here: (outlet130620.pdf) to download it in acrobat format.

The wood itself is vintage, dry and aromatic.
We recommend to enjoy it with a 1997 Harlan Estate Bordeaux bottle and 2 glasses…

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