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Face grain, edge grain, and end grain are common terms used to describe cutting board construction. What do they mean?

FACE GRAIN V EDGE GRAIN

Face grain is the face of the wood when laid flat. This part of the wood tends to be softer, will absorb moisture and tend to show knife marks. In my experience, when face grain timber is used to construct a cutting board, they tend to warp and split. Hence, we do not make face grain cutting boards.

 

Edge grain is the wood when laid on its edge. The edges of the timber are glued together to construct the cutting board. This allows the thickness (and the surface area when adhesive is applied) to be increased thus producing a more robust cutting board. The grain patterns and colours can be manipulated, and they manage knife marks better than face grain boards. They are a visually appealing no nonsense board that will provide many years of service.

Edge grain boards are less expensive than end grain boards. They require only one third the labour and approximately half the wood of a similar size end grain board.

END GRAIN

The end grain is the wood cut along the timbers length and when rotated, the wood fibre growth rings now become the face of the cutting board we see when construction is complete. This type of board is also commonly referred to as a Butcher Block. As your knife’s edge makes contact with the board, it creates a path between the fibres, and they tend to return to their original state after you lift the knife.

End grain cutting boards tend not to show knife marks as much as edge grain boards. They are kind to your knives and are the most robust cutting boards. They do absorb more moisture than edge grain boards and require oiling frequently.

End grain boards are an investment. With increased thickness options, multiple patterns and colours achievable, they are beautiful to look at, a pleasure to use and will last a very long time.

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