To the common eye, all wooden boards are essentially the same. However, that is far from the truth. There are a lot of differences in the different kinds of wooden chopping boards that are available in the market, and it all boils down to the two distinct models: end grain and edge grain.
End grain is basically the grain of the wood which is seen when the wood is cut across the growth rings. In other words, instead of cutting the required plank of wood across the length of the trunk, end grain is cut at an angle of 90 degrees to the grain.
The advantages of doing so are plenty.
While cutting and chopping on an end-grain cutting board, the end grain wood fibers absorb the impact of the knife blade. This makes the block resistant to nicks and scratches. The specific angle of the cut allows the growth rings to resist general wear and tear, which then leads on to another major advantage of end grain: durability. Since end grain cutting boards have that desirable ‘self-healing’ factor attached to them (the fibers close up after having been cut by a knife); these boards naturally have a longer lifespan than their counterparts. Therefore, though an end grain chopping board will be more expensive than an edge grained one, it is totally worth it in the long run, since it is sure to outlast all others and won’t lose its charm or utility as a result of a myriad of cuts across its surface.
End grain chopping boards are also your knives’ best friend since these do not dull your knives over a period of time. Edge grain cutting boards, on the contrary, tend to do that, which means that though you are paying a lesser price, you are voluntarily signing up for a shorter lifespan for both your chopping block and your knife.
And of course, to a true wood lover and a kitchen accessory aficionado, a cross-grain is an ultimate eye-pleaser.
All in all, the highly aesthetic wood not only increases efficiency and practicality in the kitchen but also adds a lot of color and character to it!