Kitchn Love Letters

I Splurged on One of Those Super-Popular Wooden Cutting Boards — And I Wish I’d Gotten One Sooner

published Dec 13, 2021
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Credit: Kelli Foster

Like many of you, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. And since I began working from home in 2020, the hours logged chopping, prepping, and cooking have only increased. Earlier this year, I noticed that my four-year-old bargain buy wood cutting board was looking a little, well, haggard. It didn’t smell great, either. Worse still, the wood was starting to split apart. I decided to upgrade to the ultimate cutting board: One of those ultra-thick, end-grain Boos boards I always see in professional kitchens. Was it worth it? In one very enthusiastic word: Yes.

First, What Is an End-Grain Cutting Board?

Unlike my old, overworked board, the Boos board I chose — a rectangular maple chopping block — is made from end-grain wood. You’ve likely heard that term before, but what is it? There are three types of wood cutting boards: face-grain, edge-grain, and end-grain. 

  • Face-grain is inexpensive and attractive; it really shows off the natural designs of the wood. It’s just the wide and broad side of a piece of wood. Unfortunately, it does wear and tear easily, and quickly becomes marred by knife marks.
  • Edge-grain is a little hardier, and a good entry point. Edge-grain cutting boards are made of wood that’s been cut vertically and look like they’re made up of the sides of a 2-by-4.
  • End-grain is the ultimate wooden cutting board. End-grain boards are made of the cross section of the trunk and look like they’re made of little blocks (see the photos above). These boards hides knife marks and keep your blades sharper, longer.

How Much Do End-Grain Cutting Boards Cost?

End-grain boards will cost you more than edge- or face-grain. I got my maple board from one of my favorite retailers, Williams Sonoma, where it currently retails for $204.95. (You can add a monogram for an extra $12.50, which would be nice if you’re planning on gifting it!)

The type of wood used definitely factors into the cost; the maple board is less expensive than Boos’ walnut board, which is an impressive $549.95. Why? Because walnut tends to be “easier” on knife blades, and has a more striking look than maple.

Edge-grain cutting boards cost a little less (typically in the $100 range), due to the grain type used and their thinner profile. If you’re planning on using your board to carve up roast chickens and the like, you may want to spring for an edge-grain carving board, which comes with a juice trench — the ones from Boos tend to run in the $200 range.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

My Honest Review of the Boos End-Grain Chopping Block

The day my Boos board arrived in the mail, I was performing an emergency procedure on my stinky, worn-out board; I’d rubbed it with half a cut lemon and left it in the sink with a thick coating of baking soda. It was a sad sight, and made the unboxing of my new luxe board even more exciting.

My first reaction to the board was, Whoa, this is heavier than I thought. My second reaction was, Yikes, this is taller than I imagined. It clocks in at 21 pounds and stands a full 3 inches tall. I knew that chopping blocks came with chunkier dimensions than traditional cutting boards, but it was still a bit of an adjustment; this board dominated my countertop like a total boss.

After just a single day of use, I was fully in love with my Boos chopping block. Because it is so large and sturdy, it has become more than “just” a cutting board — it’s a real-deal workspace, which allows me to stay organized during meal prep. It’s so roomy that using it feels luxurious; almost as if my entire counter was made from wood.

My kitchen is pretty ugly (it’s retro in the non-Pinterest-y way), and I think that keeping the Boos chopping block on the counter upgrades its aesthetics. It’s my way of saying, “Yeah, I have vinyl countertops, but I’ve also got style!” I trust that this baby would look spectacular in one of those open-plan kitchens, or on an island. 

Now that I’ve got the chopping block of my dreams, it’s my responsibility to keep it looking sharp with weekly applications of board cream and board oil — that’s one thing I neglected to do with my old board, and it’s the reason it stunk, split, and eventually got trashed. The thing about that board: It was super cheap and junky, and I wasn’t inspired to take care of it. I may have even left it in the sink once or twice overnight. This Boos board was an investment and I love it, which, in turn, makes me want to care for it. I’m happy to clean it each night (careful, it is heavy!) and oil it once a week. It’s been more than a month, now, of heavy, daily use and my board looks better than the day I got it. It looks used, yes. But that’s actually part of its charm. Plus, I love that my chef’s knives aren’t dulled by the grain of the board. My only regret is that I didn’t get one of these boards earlier.

Do you have a favorite cutting board? Tell us in the comments below!