Plank style construction is the lamination of wide planks of wood together to form the width of the countertop. Each board is the entire length of the countertop with the only glue joints running length wise. The individual boards range from 2 inch to 6 inch wide.
Upsides to plank style construction
It is considered the most decorative construction style because of its grain movement. Some people consider this almost a furniture style countertop, though it is very durable and holds up well in even harsh kitchens.
It is priced the best because it requires less work and less scrap than the other two styles.
Downsides to plank style construction
It is limited to 1 3/4 inch thick for many species, though some can go up to 2 1/4 inch thick.
Mineral oil can not be used on this style of countertop as it puffs the grain and makes the surface feel furry.
Does not make a good butcher block.
Edge grain construction is when the counters width is made up of 1-3/4 inch wide laminated strips. Many people also call this type of construction butcher block. The wood, in this case, has been rotated to a vertical position making the grain structure different than a plank style top. It produces a more linear look. Like plank style construction the wood slats are the entire length of the countertop.
Upsides to edge grain construction
It has a harder work surface than the plank style top because the grain structure is tighter. This makes for a great cutting surface and food prep area.
Thickness is not dictated by the available thickness of the available lumber. We can make tops from 1 1/4 inch thick up to 5 1/2 inch thick.
Downsides to edge grain construction
It is more expensive than a plank style top because more scrap is produced in the making of it and there is more labor involved.
End grain construction is made up of small blocks of wood turned on end and laminated together. This too is often referred to as butcher block because of it's durable work surface. It is the most intricately constructed countertop.
Upsides to end grain construction
It has a very tight grain making it an extremely hard work surface. Excellent for chopping on and heavy use.
Again this construction style is not dictated by available wood thicknesses. It can be produced from a minimum of 1 3/4 inch thick up to 5 1/2 inch thick.
Downsides to end grain construction
The demanding fabrication of these countertops makes them the most expensive of the three.
Breadboard ends add a unique look to any countertop or table top. They can be applied to plank style and edge grain style tops but not end grain.