Zane Palmer's distinctive cutting boards are made from alligator juniper trees. Photograph by Jen Judge.

IN A WORLD OF production-line cutting boards, these freeform, inches-thick slabs from artist and woodworker Zane Palmer stand out. Palmer crafts the pieces from downed alligator juniper trees that he harvests in the Gila National Forest, outside his Glenwood home, which means that every piece is unique. He fashions traditional square and rectangular shapes, but it’s the organic ones with odd protuberances, live edges, and even the occasional hole that really show off the grain and artistry. Because alligator juniper is a softer wood, it’s best to use one side for cutting and the other for serving, though the pieces are so substantial that it’s also easy to sand out blemishes. The only drawback to these boards: They are so distinctive that it’s tempting to take them out of kitchen rotation and display them as art instead.

Raz-Wood alligator juniper cutting boards ($77–$120) are available at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, in-person or online. 

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