Welcome to the End Grain Cutting Board care and information section. These cutting boards are known for lasting for a very long time but like anything else, they need to be cared for to help prolong its life. I made this comprehensive article that covers many different areas to help you take proper care of your end grain cutting board ensuring it lasts a long time

About End Grain Cutting Boards

End grain cutting boards are becoming more popular and make for an excellent addition to any household kitchen. These boards will meet all the needs of even the most discerning customer. They are more durable than conventional cutting boards and they look beautiful on your counter top. The end grain part of the wood is very dense and has a much greater tolerance for the chopping motion. Their surface is extremely resistant to wear and tear while being very gentle to your knives. The wood fibers in an end grain cutting board are oriented so that they stick up towards the surface. This creates the rock hard board but will allow your knifes sharp blade to slip between these fibers reducing the amount of times your blade will need to be sharpened. These fibers also close back up after the knife exits giving the cutting board somewhat of a self healing ability. 

12 by 16 maple and cherry end grain cutting board

Finding The Right Cutting Board

The first consideration for your new end grain cutting board is how much counter space do you have. Larger cutting boards give you more space to work and can chop a lot of vegetables before you have to clear it off. Think of how large of a meal preparation you will be doing most often. Larger cutting boards accommodate this much more easily while a smaller cutting board is more adequate to prepare a small sandwich or snack. The next consideration is what type of shape you are looking for. Does a long rectangular fit your work style better than a square one? Or vise versa? Cutting boards can be personalized to almost any size to fit any need. My cutting boards start at approximately 1 3/4" thick and I recommend going thicker when the cutting board reaches larger sizes for increased durability. This also adds weight which makes them a more permanent but beautiful counter piece.  I offer a large amount of sizes that I make and stock regularly. These sizes are:

4 by 6    6 by 8     8 by 12     9 by 12     12 by 16     12 by 18     14 by 18     16 by 20     18 by 24

I can make the cutting boards in variety of domestic hardwoods including Maple, Walnut, and Cherry. I like to mix these woods into the cutting board to create a "random pattern" which always has a very unique look as well as character that makes them really stand out. I also do make the cutting boards using only a single species of wood. 

All of the cutting boards I make will come with four black rubber feet on the bottom. This does several things

  • This gives the cutting board excellent grip on the table surface to prevent sliding 
  • They help absorb the shock while chopping
  • Allows for an easier grip or handle of the cutting board
  • Keeps a good flow of air circulation around the cutting board
  • Keeps the underside dry

Caring for your End Grain Cutting Board

Cutting board care is very similar to caring for almost any type of cutting board. Here is a comprehensive list of general ways to care for your board as well as things to avoid with your cutting board.

  • Wash your cutting board frequently in warm to hot soapy water then rinse thoroughly. Dry the board immediately after and let sit on the cutting board feet. The feet on the bottom of the cutting board help prevent moisture buildup and expanding the wood over a long period of time. 
  • The best place for the cutting board is on the counter top. This allows for good airflow around the board so that it can breathe.
  • End grain cutting boards need to be reconditioned with mineral oil and bees wax every few months depending on how often the board is used. For heavy daily use, re oil the cutting board every month or as often as desired. Cutting board oil can be purchased from a variety of stores such as home depot, chef central, or any store that stocks wood cutting boards. Look for mineral oil or a combination with bees wax as they will help to condition your board. I recommend heating the oil to warm before applying. This will allow for a greater saturation and will absorb more into the wood of the cutting board. 
  • If your cutting board retains any odors, there are a number of natural remedies to help mitigate any smells. Cutting a lemon in half, and rubbing the oil over the board does wonders. This also works with salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Apply your choice and let sit for a good 20 minutes. After wash in the sink with soap and warm water. Repeat if necessary. 

Cutting board being washed in sink

General things to avoid with end grain cutting boards are:

  • Do not leave soaking in sink for extended period of time
  • Do not clean in a dishwasher. The hot water and steam cycle can ruin the board. 
  • Do not recondition with anything but mineral oil. Vegetable oil, olive oil, and many other oils will turn rancid after a period of time and give off an odor. 
  • Do not scrub cutting board with steel wool or anything too abrasive as this can remove the conditioning oil. 
 cutting board being dried using a cloth

cutting board being dried using a cloth

 

Sanding Your End Grain Cutting Board

After a long period of time, you will notice that your end grain cutting board may start to show some knife marks. These knife marks do not effect the performance of the cutting board but can be reduced if the cutting board is oiled regularly. A cutting board that goes for a prolonged period of time without oil will begin to show knife marks much earlier than a well oiled one. 

Don't worry if you are seeing knife marks, there is a way of bringing it back to life and you can do it on your own if you like or it can be sent back to me for a similar treatment. These cutting boards can be sanded since they are made out of wood. One thing to remember is that these are end grain which makes the surface extremely hard so sanding by hand is not the most ideal method of doing so. I recommend picking up a cheap random orbital sander or palm sander which can be found for less than $40 dollars along with a small pack of sanding discs. Palm sanders are very easy to use and I use them to give the cutting board their final sanding.  Your end grain cutting board will last you a very long time and investing in keeping it looking brand new is well worth it. 

 using an orbital sander with rough grit sandpaper to begin removing scratch marks

using an orbital sander with rough grit sandpaper to begin removing scratch marks

I hope that this guide is helpful in the care and maintenance of your end grain cutting board. They are known for their exceptional beauty and extremely durability enabling them to last for decades. Like anything else, care goes a very long way in prolonging its life. For more information about end grain cutting boards, there is a lot of information on the web. Try googling "End grain cutting board care" for dozens of articles. 

 small maple cutting board showing large number of scratches after a few years of use

small maple cutting board showing large number of scratches after a few years of use

Remember, with sanding you may stir up some dust, so glasses and a respirator mask may be a good idea to reduce these effects. I recommend starting off sanding with 60 or 80 grit as it will make quick work of a lot of the scratches. This may take some time to do so be patient and let the sander do the work. After the majority of scratches are removed, move up to 100 or 120 grit and finish off with 150, 180, or 220 depending on how smooth you want the finish. The higher the number on the grit, the smoother it will be. 

After this has been done, Wipe down the cutting board well to wipe any dust that may be lingering and re apply mineral oil to season the cutting board once again. Once the board has been thoroughly oiled, a mineral oil bees wax combination should be applied as well. 

 cutting board after sanding and knife marks removed reveals a brand new cutting board

cutting board after sanding and knife marks removed reveals a brand new cutting board