End Grain vs edge grain in a cutting board

What is the difference between an End grain and edge grain cutting board?

Edge grain is what most all of us cutting board makers started out making. Edge grain is also generally one of the first high school wood-shop projects that comes home to be very proudly presented to a equally proud momma. I tread this comparison lightly because I am sure there are thousands of edge grain boards in service all across the country that have been tended to with loving care. If you don't mind either a bit of resurfacing now and then or just dealing with a board that shows its age quicker, they are a fine alternative.

However, if you are an aspiring Top Chef contestant or if you are a crazy wild knife wielding maniac you might want to consider an End Grain Cutting Board for its durability. Also, in my most humble opinion, End Grain cutting boards offer a more pleasing look. With alternating patterns and distinctive grains that are sometimes only seen from the end of a piece of wood. An End Grain cutting board can be considered a piece of "Kitchen Art".

This is how I explain it to my customers. 

"Remember the big paint brushes that we used to paint our houses with? If you were to cut on the end of the brush with a knife it would go in and out and the bristles (think of the wood grain) would close right back up. Conversely, if you were to cut across the the brush (think again of the grain of the wood, how it runs length wise of  a piece of wood). Cutting across the bristles/grain will sever the grain and you will see every cut that is made. At some point after repeated use it will be likely that gouges will appear and possibly pieces of wood will come out and end up in the salad."

There is an extra step involved in building an End Grain Cutting Board compared to an edge grain.  It involves first building an edge grain board then cutting it again into strips that are turned 90 degrees and then re-glued and often flipped to create beautiful patterns. Now that it is an End Grain Cutting Board a new approach needs to happen in the machining process that requires different machinery and or a more labor intensive approach.  

With proper care both edge and End Grain Cutting Boards can last many years. At Walnut Hill Woodworks we almost exclusively build End Grain Cutting Boards for the reasons of durability and beauty. Please contact us with any questions or requests for your Heirloom End Grain Cutting Board.