I'm often asked what's the difference between edge grain cutting boards & end grain cutting boards. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest draw to end grain cutting boards is their gentleness on your knife's sharp edge. Think of the grain of the wood as the bristles of a paint brush. If you are holding the brush horizontally and try to cut, you will be cutting across the bristles and cutting them off, or, into the grain of the wood permanently damaging it. If you hold the brush vertically and cut, the blade of your knife essentially slips down in between the bristles and when the blade is removed they spring back to their original position unharmed. The benefit of this is two fold. It helps retain your blades sharp edge and also prolongs the life of the boards cutting surface by hiding knife marks.
Some benefits of the edge grain cutting boards is that they are very economical. You still get the benefits of the tighter grain spacing of the edge of the wood, but the labor required to create the board is approximately 1/5 that of what it takes to build an end grain cutting board. Edge grain cutting boards will require slightly less maintenance than an end grain cutting board. Since the ends of the grain are not exposed on the cutting surface, they will soak up less moisture, which make it less likely to warp or crack if not oiled on a regular basis.
End Grain cutting board Edge Grain cutting board