Many people ask what is the difference between end grain and straight grain cutting boards? Here is the answer.
Straight Grain Boards
Most cutting boards are straight grain, this is grain is essentially the long side of a board or of a tree. These cutting boards can be assembled and joined with contrasting wood species creating something useful and visually pleasing. These boards are light and I put a hole in mine for storage or display. The disadvantage with straight grain boards is that wear and tear will become apparent over time. However these boards are capable of withstanding decades of use with the proper care.
End Grain Boards
Wood is a fibrous material and end grain boards have been machined and processed to have the ends of these fibers facing up. Typically end grain boards require three to four times more machining and processing than straight grain boards. The reward is that this gives you a board that is self healing with proper care. Additionally combining contrasting species in patterns can produce truly spectacular boards. End grain boards end up being heavier and this creates a very nice base for slicing and mincing.
Cutting Board Care
Care for wood cutting boards is pretty simple: wash with warm soapy water, rinse and dry immediately. Do not use the dishwasher. If stains appear on your board from cutting meat or produce, wet the board and apply salt to the surface. Then using half a lemon scrub the board. Repeat as needed to bring out the stain.
Treating or refinishing: twice a year I wipe my boards with either mineral oil or olive oil. This reseals and expands the grain. The expansion and then drying process will help to close scratches and knife wounds on the board. You will notice that this also brings back the deep colors in the grain.