Woodworking Articles

Wood Grain: Edge Grain, Face Grain & End Grain (Pros & Cons)

When dealing with wood, it is essential to understand the differences between woodcuts and the need to maintain moisture management and monitoring in your wood.

Regarding the direction of the wood grain, there are three surfaces on every piece of timber:

  • End grain
  • Edge grain
  • Face grain

In today’s post, we will lay the groundwork for a better understanding of the distinction between the Edge Grain vs. Face Grain so that you can make an informed decision when decorating your kitchen or selecting your kitchen equipment.

Continue reading if you want to have a deeper understanding of the differences between them.

To begin, it is essential to acquire basic knowledge about wood grain in order to comprehend the following, which will be discussed further:

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What Is Wood Grain?

Let’s get started with this portion by asking you two questions, which are as follows:

  • Are you preparing fruit by cutting it?
  • Are you cooking veggies for dinner?

No matter the situation, you have a cutting board in your kitchen. You cannot do without one. The selection of a board requires thoughtful deliberation.

Wood is by far the most popular material for use in the construction of cutting boards, and for a good reason.

It outperforms plastic in terms of hygienic qualities, durability, and abrasion resistance. Cutting boards made of wood are not only more minor on the wallet, but they also need less maintenance than their marble or granite counterparts.

On the other hand, the quality of a wooden cutting board and the length of time it will last are both contingents of how the wood was cut. This pattern is what’s known as the wood grain on the board.

The term “wood grain” refers to the alternating portions of darker and lighter wood that appear on a cut or split piece of wood due to different growth factors taking place in consecutive seasons.

In its most fundamental meaning, wood grain is an aesthetic term.

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Edge Grain, Face Grain & End Grain: what are they?

The “side” of the board that has edge grain is called the edge grain side.

When determining the “thickness” of a board, woodworkers often measure it along one of its sides. The last kind of grain on a board is called end grain.

When making cutting boards with face grain, the edges of thin planks of wood are glued together to form the board.

Therefore, now that you have a broad understanding of each of them, let’s look at how they vary from one another:

End Grain vs. Edge Grain: what are differences?

The end grain cutting board is crafted from scraps of wood that have been chopped off during manufacturing.

If it is an end-grain cutting board, it will often have a checkerboard pattern, which is the most distinctive characteristic that will help you determine this.

Some people feel that the additional cost is justified since these cutting boards made of wood are advantageous for knives even if they are more costly.

Cutting boards made from end grain have a fantastic property that allows them to mend quickly after being cut: the fibers in the wood seal back up after being severed by a knife.

On the other hand, according to the definition of edge grain, an edge grain cutting board is made by fusing many parallel pieces of wood.

This is the most common kind of wood cutting board, and it looks to be exactly as you imagined the appearance of a wood cutting board to be.

Maple and walnut are the most common types of wood used in its construction, although they may also be built of pine or bamboo.

The longevity and affordability of edge grain cutting boards have contributed to their widespread adoption in the culinary community.

On the other hand, blades wear out more rapidly than end-grain cutting boards.

The elegance of the wooden cutting board will be diminished after lengthy usage since it will acquire cut marks, which will seem unsightly.

Regular use of beeswax or mineral oil can help prevent this from happening.

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Is end grain cutting board better than edge grain?

Yes. Cutting boards made from end-grain wood can be attractive and easy on the blades.

So, when cutting on an end-grain board, the cutting surface is highly fibrous, making it easy for a knife’s edge to get embedded in the wood fibers.

This type of board is also superior to others in its concealability.

Are end grain boards more expensive than edge grain ones?

Yes. Cutting boards with end grain are often sold more than other types.

They usually have a much greater thickness as well. The production of edge-grain panels involves pressing wood boards that have been glued along their edges.

Comparing various wood grains 

Face Grain

Face Grain ( PROS & CONS)

Pros

  • They are the most beautiful and sophisticated cutting boards imaginable. The beautiful patterns in the wood are immediately apparent because the face grain displays the most important grain. As a direct consequence, these cutting boards have the most pleasing appearance.
  • It works well on counters and other flat surfaces. Face grain is used by woodworkers when crafting worktops and tabletops due to the natural beauty it has and the ease with which it can be smoothed.

Cons

  • They have the lowest durability possible because of their softness and capacity to absorb moisture. The majority of user complaints concern fractures.
  • Marks left by knives are readily apparent, and the texture of these cutting boards is more delicate than that of edge grain, making them sensitive to cuts and scratches.
  • They are not suited for cutting harsh ingredients or dense food products.

Edge Grain (PROS & CONS)

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As was said before, an edge-grain cutting board is made by fusing fragile slabs of wood so that the side edges of the pieces protrude from the cutting board’s surface.

The surfaces of these hardwood slabs have been glued together, and the edges are used as the cutting surface.

Regarding quality and durability, edge grain boards fall somewhere in the middle between face and end grain boards.

Pros

  • These are much lighter in weight than several other kinds of cutting boards.
  • The price is reasonable for most individuals, and because of their straightforward construction, they cost less than end grain alternatives.
  • However, they are more prone to breaking than face grain cutting boards, even though they are more durable overall.
  • They may be used for the preparation of vegetables as well as the cutting of meat and are appropriate for usage in most kitchens.

Cons

  • The drawback of using edge grain is that your knives will become less sharp over time because of their more durable cutting surface.

End Grain (PROS & CONS)

end-grain

This is the side of the wood that is believed to be the strongest, as stated in the article. It also has the most significant level of durability.

Creating an end grain chopping board requires slicing a large piece of lumber into smaller blocks and then gluing those blocks back together.

The blocks’ end grain serves as the finished board’s working surface.

Because it is sturdy, this configuration produces boards of the highest possible quality. This is why end grain is used in building butcher blocks.

Butcher blocks are distinct from cutting boards because of their superior durability and purpose-built design for chopping and slicing meat.

end grains have a higher degree of complexity, excellent durability, and better conceal cuts.

Hardwoods with a high density, such as maple, walnut, cherry, beech, and teak, are used to make the longest-lasting cutting boards.

Because these woods have fewer holes, germs cannot permeate the board’s surface, and it is more difficult for blades to create creases in which microorganisms may hide.

Another aspect that must be considered is the thickness of the end grain cuts. The thickness of a cutting board is typically between 1 and 2 inches.

Build it considerably thicker if you want to make an old-fashioned butcher block or a countertop made of entire end grain.

Wider boards generally are more stable when cutting, less likely to warp due to exposure to moisture, and better able to resist several refinishing after hard use.

Pros

  • Because of their fibrous nature, they provide the most resilient cutting surface possible and swiftly remove any knife marks that may have been left behind.
  • As a result of the use of a wide variety of wood species in their construction, these cutting boards offer stunning aesthetic qualities and recognizable patterns on their surfaces. This guarantees that your board is one of a kind and no other exists.
  • They are instrumental in commercial and manufacturing environments. For example, end grain structures are used in building butcher blocks, which are used for chopping, deboning, and filleting meat.
  • It has a more uneven and granular texture than edge grain or faces grain. When chopping food, the knife will maintain its sharpness and grip better.
  • After slicing, end grain cutting boards undergo a reshaping process that involves making short, superficial incisions. Because of this, minuscule pieces of food can’t get securely ingrained in the board’s surface.

Cons

  • The first drawback of end grain cutting is that it comes at a much greater cost than edge grain and face grain cutting. This is because each board demands a significant amount of labor. The more extraordinary expenses may be attributed to the components being hand-built.
  • End-grain cutting boards can only be constructed from the wood of hardwood trees. Some of them, like the teak, hard maple, and beech trees, are uncommon species that can only be found in particular jungles.

Factors to consider

Every cutting board has a unique set of benefits and drawbacks. The following is a list of some of the most important criteria that should be thought about while selecting the ideal cutting board:

  • Durability
  • Being knife-friendly
  • Facility of cleaning
  • Simpler maintenance
  • Cost
  • Size

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Conclusion

As you learn there are three surfaces on every piece of timber that called the end grain, the edge grain, and the face grain.

Also we tried to talk about all this surfaces and compare the end grain, the edge grain, and the face grain.

Most of us are under the impression that there is only one kind of woodcut, and we do not pay enough attention to detail when selecting the wood for our kitchen countertops.

The fact of the matter is, nevertheless, that different types of woodcuts are best suited for varied applications.

You can make the most of your kitchen top and give a beautiful design for your kitchen if you make an informed decision considering the sort of use you have in mind.

Keep in mind that the woodcuts that are the most long-lasting and pricey will also be ideal for most homes.

We really hope that you find this information to be helpful and that you are able to take full use of it.

Be sure to leave a message in the comments box if you have any questions or if there is anything unclear, and we will get in touch with you as soon as we can.

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