Advice on a Butchers' Block


I've been asked by a family member to build a butcher's block and as I know it won't actually be used for cleaving (it's for a BBQ and will be used more like a bread-board instead) I thought I might be able to pretty it up a bit.
I plan on using 6"x1"x1" lengths, framed and clamped with 1/2" endless thread. Instead of the traditional method of exposing the end-grain I'd like to make a chequer-board pattern alternating end- and side-grain. What I'm concerned about is timber movement as I can see it being left outdoors for days at a time. I haven't selected the timber yet, it'll probably be red-gum and/or jarrah as they're cheap here and methinks I'll be a love job. ie. a wedding anniv. present..
With only 1"x1" will movement be a problem, or would I be better to make it of alternating 6" and, say, 5 3/4" lengths oriented the normal way and then inlaying 1/4" thick squares in the ensuing gaps to give the pattern?
I hope I've explained this well enough for someone to follow; reading it back just confuses me all the more. [sigh]
- Andy
Std Disclaimer: All stated dimensions and materials are subject to change without notice.
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If you are going to alternate end grain and side grain,....Good Luck. Movement is going to be totally inconsistent and dependent on the way each piece of wood is laid.
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That's why I'm wondering about using the inlay method. Shrinkage I'm not overly concerned about, although it would look ugly, but I don't want expansion to occur and seperate the joints. By my calculations if the inlays are only 1/4" thick the strength of the rest of that particular square (some 5 3/4") having the grain parallel should be able to withstand the pressure generated. But I'm really only guesstimating...
- Andy
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IMHO you will be doing a LOT of work for a project that probably will have results that may not be desirable. Keep in mind that if the board is only used for cutting bread, it may still be placed under running water for cleaning and expansion will begin. The inlayed pieces may actually pop out or swell above the surface.
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This will be a butcher's block in all senses of the word. Think of it as 6" long x 1"sq beams bundled together into a roughly 2' square block and permanently mounted on 4x4 legs, possibly mounted on castors. If his missus can fit this into a sink she's a better man than I! <G>
But I take your point. It will very probably be rained on, possibly be hosed down, and I hadn't given any thought to the inlays popping out. Breaking the glue joints, yes, but popping out, no. I'm glad you mentioned it before I decided to go ahead; they're going to get a block that doesn't look as "pretty" but will be functional. Like most things I make! [sigh]
Thanks for saving me from a big mistake,
- Andy
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"First, catch a butcher...."
You'll need at least a DJ-30 for the initial prep. Place on the in-feed table, chest down, and make a pass across the cutters. This is "face" joining.
Squaring up the sides, is best done with hand tools -- a 'shoulder' plane.
On the back side, you don't have to do a lot of work. two legs are already attached, with a butt joint.
Further details would be counter-productive -- let your imagination run wild!
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