So, you’re thinking about acquiring your first cutting board; or, replacing an existing one and you’re wondering which direction to go in regarding your purchase. You can rest assured knowing that purchasing a wood cutting board will be an investment that will pay off for years as well as provide a level of safety to you and your family that plastic boards cannot provide.
Before you purchase, you need to know not all cutting boards are the same. East type provides unique benefits, levels of safety, and require various levels of maintenance. There are mainly three types of cutting boards: face grain, end grain, and edge grain. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. But, for the most part, the drawbacks are minimal in nature, and can be easily addressed without too much inconvenience. Let’s look at the general characteristics of each type of cutting board and then you should be able to decide which one will work best for your unique need(s).
Face grain refers to the visual wood grain pattern you see when you look at a board. If you have wood flooring in your home, you are more than likely looking at the face grain, or a laminate that mimics face grain. Face grain boards look appealing because they show more of the attractive grain than any other type of cutting board. If you are looking for a board that will be used more for display, this is the one you should consider. Additionally, since they are safe to cut on, they will meet your everyday kitchen needs like slicing and dicing. You probably don’t want to chop on this one because chopping poses the greatest threat to damaging the face grain. However, with light sanding and mineral oil, and cuts and chop marks can be repaired. Face grain boards can be constructed with various types of boards, including exotics. When purchasing a face grain board, make sure the board is no less than one inch thick to allow for future sanding. To be safe, and ensure extra use, you would want to look at boards that are one and one half to two inches thick.
Edge grain boards offer great durability at an economical price. They tend to show fewer knife marks than face grain boards. Edge grain cutting board are constructed by gluing together the faces grains of pieces of wood so that the cutting board surface is made from the edge of the board. One of the key benefits to edge grain boards is that they absorb less moisture and require little maintenance as well. I a little soap and water after each use, and a mineral oil bath every now and then is all it takes.
End grain boards are the strongest boards and probably the most popular. End grain boards are made from lumber cut into blocks and glued together, keeping the end grain on the exposed sides of the cutting board. When you look at a butcherblock, you are looking at end grain. One of the key benefits to end grain is its ability to “fix” itself and even trap micro-bacteria inside the wood fibers. When you’re cutting or chopping on end grain, because of the direction of the wood fibers, they tend to heal themselves and grow back together. The best example I can provide is, if you are looking at a box of straws from the top, and separate the straws with your finger, remove your finger, and the straws will return to their original position – trapping any dust particles. End grain does the exact same thing with food particles and micro-bacteria found in food or on cutting utensils. An end grain board is one of the most difficult to sand due to the strong nature of end grain pattern. To maintain an end grain board, simply wash with dish soap and water and treat with mineral oil every few months. If you want to elevate your oil treatment, add a bit of beeswax.
I hope you find this information useful as you move forward with your purchase decision. Springfield Wood Art offers an array of options covering all the types of boards mentioned above. But, we would like to hear from you. What type of board do you feel will meet your unique need? Are you looking for a gift? Or will your purchase be for you? Please let us know how we can help you out.