End Grain Versus Edge or Face Grain Cutting Boards

Published: 22nd September 2010
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End-Grain Construction also know as butcher block
This type of board helps maintain the sharpness of your knives because the blocks are glued in such a manner that keeps the wood fibers parallel to the direction of the cut. Instead of your knife cutting the wood fiber, it goes in between adjacent fibers. This causes the surface to show less cut marks than a regular edge or face grain cutting board. As such, end grain blocks are the preferred choice by professional chefs and for applications that require heavy chopping.

Edge/Face-Grain Construction
This type of board is made by gluing pieces of wood with the wood fiber parallel to the surface. When the edge grain is up we have an edge grain cutting board. If the face grain is up we have a face grain cutting board. As a result, edge/face grain boards will show knife marks faster than end-grain boards and are not recommended for heavy chopping use. Edge-grain boards generally feature full length wood rails that span the length of the board. These boards are great for average every day use and also make excellent bread boards, cheese boards and presentation platters.
Oiling your Board

Olive oil or other vegetable oils are often suggested for use on cutting boards, but I do not recommend them because they can eventually go rancid. Mineral oil avoids this problem, but only use food grade mineral oil. You may also use one of the many fine cutting board/salad bowl oils available on line or in kitchen stores that are specifically formulated to protect wood and comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.

I have no strong preference for one type over the other in my experience the differences are personal preferences. If you keep your cutting boards sanitized and well maintained with a mineral oil and beeswax treatment they will last a lifetime. Just remember your board loves oil.

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