Cutting Boards – Edge Grain vs. End Grain
All cutting boards are not the same.
Edge Grain cutting boards are made from strips of hard woods. They are recognized for their durability and lower price, but they tend to dull your knives faster than end grain cutting boards.
End Grain cutting boards are made with the end grain up. They usually come in a checkerboard type pattern, a common characteristic, mostly as ‘Butcher Block”. While these types of wood cutting board are a bit more expensive, some people deem it worthy, as it is better for your knives. End grain cutting boards have a “self-healing” factor, as the fibers close up after they have been cut by the knife.
Think of the wood fibers like bristles on a brush. End Grain is like the bristles facing up, you’re actually cutting between the wood fibers, keeping the board sharper longer and making it easier to clean and thus more sanitary.
After prolonged usage, wood cutting boards can have cut marks. However, this can be prevented by applying a wax conditioner on a regular basis, about every 6 to 8 weeks..
Which is better?
I don’t think one is “better” than the other as a cutting board. It really comes down to aesthetics versus functionality.
Both types of cutting boards and blocks are sanitary and long-lasting when hand-washed (not submerged) and dried after every use and regularly conditioned.