I recently got an 18x13 birch end grain board at W-S. It was out in their selection of boards and had no tags or other info except for price. It looks like maple (but isn’t) so the price was a good bit better than Boos or Adams of similar size. It has a fairly wide bevel all the way around. I would have preferred less bevel. I am not sure how it was finished, but even after a couple of months use the mineral oil and board cream just sit on the surface rather than soaking in. Because the surface is as it is, it does not feel the way other end grain boards do. It feels more like edge grain, almost like bamboo. I’ll see if the surface gets better with more use. Caveat emptor.
Will respond. I always think cutting boards are underrated
I don’t know that I’ve tried any end grain woods other than maple. I take your description to mean that it feels harder? Have you seen any accelerated wear to your knife edges?
I have not noticed any change on knife edges, but I have not studied it. Maple is higher on the Janka scale, but, perhaps due to the way it was finished, the birch seems more impervious.
I can make a good argument that the cutting board is the second most important thing in my kitchen.
Most of my boards are plastic (2 small and 3 medium). I prefer them as they are dishwasher safe. I also have a large (actually huge) maple board I made from the leftover butcher block used for my island. It spends most of its time standing on its end in a two tier counter cabinet, but is useful when I occasionally work with large cuts of proteins.
My first cutting board in college looked kind of like this, but was way cheaper! It was a paddle bread board you could buy in any Woolworth’s, or any grocery store. Nothing like a “real” cutting board of course, but it was wood and I cut and carved on it. Even as a young know-nothing sprout I never cut on a counter.
I was just checking (unsuccessfully)on eGullet (apparently i haven’t posted there in 10 years - I have a different handle there) because I think that’s where I read about it 20 years ago, but IKEA used to sell very substantial end grain cutting boards for $25. I have one. I have a small collection of boards. I oil them, or use board cream, when I can remember to. My thickest one cracked very early on, despite oiling and no abuse (a JK Adam end grain). Others have wells or oval indents to hold various roasted dead animals or birds. In the old days of Formica countertops, I always kept one next to the stove to receive hot pans. But whatever I use, one is always ou right there in front of me. I hate plastic, don’t have any plastic boards. Contamination? I wash and scrape and turn my boards. Very carefully. Never gotten sick. Never damaged a knife that I know of. I love my wooden boards.
How many cutting boards do you have?
Three. I got a twelve by twelve from J K Adams that promptly cracked. Just as promptly they sent me another which is holding up well. I also have the birch board. I thought three boards might be overkill, but I really like having three. That way multiple chopped, julienned, sliced, or whatever can be ready as part of mise en place. I have counters that can handle hot pans so I don’t need boards to receive them. I also have a carving board with trench and well, but it only comes out for big things like large roasts or smoked briskets.
Here are my three cutting boards
A end grain circular pinewood block. (I have sand it recently, but I need to further flatten it more). I bought many years ago from SF Wokshop. It wasn’t too expensive. I want to say it was about $40-60.
An edge grain Hinoki wood board. It was a good deal. I bought it for $50, but typically it would be about $70-100 for this size. I am using it very often.
An edge grain unknown wood board bought from H-Mart. It was about $20. I don’t use it much but it is helpful when the other two cutting boards are not available.
Sani-tuff rubber cutting board. (I don’t really use it much. Knives cut into it too easily and tend to “grab” the knife edge.
Lately I’ve been using a couple of rubber cutting boards, Tenryo Hi-Soft from Korin. I like them. Seem to be soft and perhaps easier on knives than the plastic ones I was using before. Only minus so far is that you have to hand wash them. I also have a small Sani-Tuff natural rubber board that seems a bit harder.
This is great. I almost have the opposite preference for the rubber cutting board. They are dense and thus heavy. They do have have one major advantage that they can be sanded (and renewed) for use. By the way, Korin is a great store.