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End Grain vs Edge Grain – Which One is Better?

Last Updated: June 21st, 2022

Cutting boards are a necessity in the kitchen. Many people are under the misconception that all cutting boards are the same. However, they are wrong. Cutting boards come in many forms and shapes. Depending on your usage and preference, you can choose to buy any one of them.

This article will deal with a competition between two of the most popular cutting board types- end grain vs edge grain. Their manufacturing method is the most significant difference between the two. End grain is made from the ending piece of wood, while the edges make edge grain cutting boards.  

However, that is not all there is to the subjects. Wondering which one would be worth your purchase? Well, scroll down and keep reading to get your answers.  

End Grain vs Edge Grain- Quick Outlook

Before we can delve deeper into the competition, you should look into some of the core differences between the two. Below we have compiled a list of these differences. These are as follows:

End Grain Edge Grain
It is manufactured from the end pieces of wood.  The board is manufactured from the edges of the wood.
The board exposes its grain to all external conditions. As a result, it can expand or contract after some time. Hence it requires frequent maintenance.   The grains in these cutting boards are only partially exposed. While it does require some degree of care, the frequency is not as high as the counterpart.  
Cutting boards with end grains are trickier to make due to their composition and density. Therefore, they are expensive most of the time.  Edges of different wood species can be mixed when making edge grain cutting boards. It is a far cheaper option than end grain boards. 
Strips of wood are attached side by side to create end grain boards. Blocks of wood are attached together to create an edge grain board. 
End grain boards can get dry very quickly if unused for some time. As long as the environmental conditions Are right; edge grain boards do not dry out quickly. 
Have a smooth texture that can reduce the amount of friction on the subject to be cut. A coarse surface improves the grip you can get on the meat while slicing it apart. 

End Grain vs Edge Grain- Key Differences

Now that we are done with the short outlook, we can move deeper and explain these differences. It would be possible to understand more about these cutting boards with further clarifications. 

1. Manufacturing Material And Method

End grain is made from the end pieces of wood. However, that is not there is to it. No end pieces can be big enough to be cut into a wooden slab. That is why the end pieces are attained from different logs of the same species and then attached to give the required form. 

On the other hand, edge grain boards are far more straightforward to manufacture. Blocks of wood from the same log or even different log species are used here. These blocks are then attached to give an appropriate shape to the slab of the board. 

2. Expenses

We have already mentioned the manufacturing methods for these cutting boards. It is these methods that determine how expensive the board will be. The overall cost might be higher for both of these boards. However, if you want to enjoy a good chopping experience, buying one of these should be more than worth it. 

If you consider the cheaper of the two, edge grains might be lower priced in most markets. This is because edge grain allows blocks from different species, whereas you need to use wood from the same species when manufacturing end grain boards. But at the end of the day, the cost of labor will determine the final selling price. 

3. Maintainance

The thing about end grain boards is that they can get dry incredibly quickly. The grain of the wood is exposed to the outside air. So as time passes without any use, the grains could lose all moisture. Eventually, the board contracts and loses its original shape and size. That is why oiling the board properly at regular intervals is a necessity. 

On the other hand, edge grain boards only partially expose their grains. That is why they manage to retain their moisture over elongated periods. However, if you store edge grain boards in a dry environment for years, they too will dry up and contract eventually.

4. Orientation And Texture

Since we are making these boards from different parts of the limber wood, these boards will inevitably have different textures and cutting orientations. 

End grain boards tend to have a vertical orientation with a smooth surface. This allows you to lower the friction on the object you will chop. That is also why most butchers prefer to use end grain boards for the ideal grain butcher block experience. In addition, end grains have some degree of flexibility. As a result, if you dut through the wood fibers, they will shortly return to their previous position. 

On the other hand, edge grain is far more coarse and has more friction. It allows you to slice through the subject with minimal force and efficiency. Many butchers specializing in slicing briskets and similar meat parts prefer edge grain boards.

What Is End Grain?

Now that we are done with the key differences, it is time to go for the definitions and further clarify each cutting board’s parts. Well, we will start with end grain cutting boards since this is the more popular of the two. 

End grain cutting boards are also often called end blocks or flat grain blocks because of their checkered flat edges that resemble the end of freshly cut lumber. The end grain construction involves fusing these strips together with glue or other adhesive like liquified straws.

To buy a good end grain board, you must recognize the tree’s growth rings’ checked pattern on its edges. This is the trademark for all end grains. Although end grain chopping boards are expensive, they are suitable for using butcher knives in the grand scheme of chopping meat.

The most significant feature of the end grain is its supposed “healing factor.” You won’t leave any knife blade or woodcut marks on the face grain cutting board if you cut on top of end grain boards. End grain boards have a high elastic limit. Therefore if you cut through an object, no marks will be left on the board. The wood fibers close up instantaneously after they have been cut. It is the perfect butcher block with the most ideal face grain.


  • It is durable and can withstand extreme chopping and carving.
  • When you cut through them y too much force, the knife cuts through the wood fibers instead of the wood itself. 
  • It is highly resistant to cutting mars and similar scratches. In fact, it can even “heal” itself.
  • The checkered pattern that appears on the board’s edges is aesthetically pleasing to look at. Besides, the varnish of the wood gives it a retro feel. 


  • Using an end grain cutting board can be heavy for some people, especially those who typically use plastic cutting boards or bamboo wood boards. 
  • It has a high labor cost associated with the manufacture. Therefore this board has a high selling price.

What Is Edge Grain?

While most people would prefer to use the end grain board, edge grain is just as popular, if not more. The thing about edge grain is that it is made from wooden blocks of the same size fused together parallelly for a suitable wood countertop or grain tops. 

Edge grain tops are usually made from walnut trees or maple grain wood, but there are no mandatory tree species. In fact, in edge grain construction, you can choose to use blocks from different tree species and fuse them. 

Edge grain cutting boards are recognized by the striped pattern on the front face of the board. On top of this platform, you will be doing the cuts and chops. These striped markings are wood fibers that reveal the tree’s natural grain construction through horizontal marks. That is why it is also often called a long grain or straight grain. 


  • It is highly durable and should last for a long time without damage.
  • It doesn’t require much maintenance when compared to the end grain. 
  • Although it is expensive, it is reasonably priced compared to end grain.
  • It is light and weighs moderately lower in the cutting board industry. 


  • Unlike the end grain, the wood fiber of this board isn’t knife sustainable. Therefore if you chop on top of the board’s cutting surface, you will leave knife marks.
  • It stains over time if you do not clean it up properly after every use.

People May Also Ask

1. What are the benefits of end grain surfaces?

The most significant benefit of end grain surfaces is their ability to “self-heal.” This means that once you have cut through the wood grain, the grain will attach itself back. This also allows the board to be sustainable to knives marks and scratches. 

 2. Why do butchers use end grain most of the time?

Butchers need to be able to cut through meat quickly and efficiently. The best way to achieve this is for thick meat is to cut them down in a platform with lower friction. End grains have a smoother surface which can achieve lower surface friction. 

3. How thick should an edge grain board be?

In the market, you could find edge grains of various thicknesses. However, a typical edge grain board ranges from 2 to 2.5 inches. If you opt for a thinner board, you might face severe disadvantages like breaking quickly. 

4. What kind of lumber is used to make edge grain?

While no specific wood species are fixed for making edge grain, most manufacturers obtain their wood from maple or cherry trees. As long as the block of lumber is from hardwood trees, all of them are accepted. 

5. What kind of wood is used to make end grain?

Only a few common hardwood trees lumbers were used for the end grain board. Typical end grain cutting boards are manufactured from walnut, hard maple, birch, cherry, and oak.


The final contender in the competition between end grain and edge grain can be hard to find. This is because they are both decent at what they are meant to specialize in. 

While you might have already made up your mind, we have got a verdict built upon our point of view. If you don’t cook often, you should go for edge grain boards. It is the perfect wooden cutting board for a beginner. On the other hand, purchasing end grain boards is an excellent choice if you cook a lot.

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Steve Thampson

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