Butcher Block Top

I am a first time poster but, I have been reading the posts for the last couple of weeks. Several of you are very knowledgable about woodworking and enjoy making sawdust as well as myself.
I am finishing an island cabinet that I built out of red oak and I ordered a butcher block top made out of red oak. I used polyurethane on the cabinet but, I want something on the top that is a little more durable, will urethane provide a little more durability to the abuse that an island top will have to take? Also, should I expect movement with the top and make slots for the screws attaching the top to the cabinet to allow for any movement?
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On 6 Jan 2004 06:35:08 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@1access.net (Woodster) wrote:

if this is going to be used as a cutting board you should do something to seal the open pores of the red oak as a first step, and the finish shoule be easily renewed and food safe. oak isn't a great choice for cutting boards for this reason.
if it isn't going to be a cutting board, urethane should be fine.

yes and yes.
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Red oak isn't a good choice for a butcher block since the pores are open. Food juices and water will seep down into the wood and eventually lead to a funky smell. Hard maple is the traditional choice. No film finishes will hold up under direct assults from a knife for very long however. Oil finishes are prefered (they must be food safe!). Mineral oil or walnut oil are usually used.
If you are planning on it just being decorative and not used, then red oak is fine finished with urethane.
You will have to allow for seasonal movement for sure!
Frank
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I agree 100% Frank; I just want to add not as much movement will be expected if the top is made from 1/4 sawn boards, well in other words flat sawn boards turned up on edge. I agree with the others, Poly would be fine, but I would not use it for a cutting board. Tony D.
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Thanks for all the input on the top. I should of clarified that the top will not be used for cutting on. I thought about using only a food safe oil but, then I risk illness if the top isn't cleaned throughly. So, the top will be used only for decoration. But, it will get water spilled and food on it that is why I asked about urethane. The wood shop that is making the top will sand it but, I will have to finish sand it and stain to match the cabinet. Thanks again for all of your help. Mitch
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I bought a commercially made butcher block table, and when I refinished it a few years back, I found a product called Behlen Salad Bowl Finish, certified as food safe. I always put a plastic cutting board on the table for chopping food, but very often, the chopped food ends up being dumped onto the table while more gets chopped. Nothing has managed to stain this finish after several years. As others have mentioned, NO finish will protect against the mechanical savagery of knives, meat cleavers, etc.
Go to www.garrettwade.com, and search for the word "Behlen". It's twelve bucks a pint, or twenty for a quart. Went on easily, turned out nice.
-Doug
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    Greetings and Salutations.
On Tue, 06 Jan 2004 17:53:13 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

thick. Every so often a guy with a plane comes in and skims off the top 1/8" or so, leaving a nice, smooth surface again. One can do that a fair number of times before the block is gone when it is a foot or more thick.     As for food safety....once again, I want to remind us all that wood is SAFER than plastic...     http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/cutting_boards.htm

It IS a pretty nice finish.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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Interesting article, but it assumes you're getting a cutting board made out of a certain kind of wood. Some are marked, but there's an awful lot of crap coming here from China.
Anything I wash by hand is done in water so hot that it'll send you to the hospital. Obviously, I wear thick gloves. Any time I handle raw meat or fish on the plastic board, it's scrubbed with a brush and Comet powder. Plenty of chlorine. That's followed up 2-3 times, until I don't smell chlorine on the surface any more.
It's anal, but I've had food poisoning - the kind where you get your stomach pumped. Never again. :-)
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    Greetings and Salutations.
On Tue, 06 Jan 2004 21:59:37 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

study link NOW claims that plastic is safer. I wish I could feel that this was academic research and not the results of political pressures.     In any case, they make the very good point that all cutting boards are "safe enough" if washed well with very hot water.

microbiologist, used to say: "there are three stages... #1-You are afraid you are going to die. #2-You are afraid you AREN'T going to die. #3-You get better.".     The fact of the matter is that a small amount of common sense can keep the food prep surfaces safe enough. As you say...wash well, with hot water (A strong bleach solution is as good or better than scrubbing powder, as the cleanser CAN leave more scratches...)     Regards     Dave Mundt
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On Tue, 06 Jan 2004 23:12:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@esper.com (Dave Mundt) wrote:

But you aren't going to get botulism from a dirty cutting board.
And _two_ dirty cutting boards, one for raw and one for cooked, is a lot safer than a single "clean" cutting board.
-- Smert' spamionam
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Dave Mundt wrote:

Each test probably used a different method.

You know theres such a thing as being too clean? I have a 2'x3'x1.5" board and I'll be damned if I'm going to hoist that sucker into the sink.
It's been sealed with a bees wax and mineral oil concoction, gets wiped down with a dish rag with dish soap then a rinse wipe. When it starts looking dry it gets another sealer treatment. It's called maintenance.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Honestly, I think all the "safe handling" publicity is overkill, and it's not aimed at sensible people who got a B grade or higher in biology. It's aimed at the dummies who work with raw chicken right next to a drainer full of clean dishes, splattering the drinking glasses with chicken juice and leaving a pink puddle on the counter which they do nothing with afterward. Or, maybe they wipe it up with the dishcloth and leave the cloth in a lump on the counter, where a 4 yr old kid finds it and wipes her nose with it. Those people are out there by the millions, and they're allowed to reproduce, drive cars and vote.
From what I've read, if you put dish soap on a sponge, wipe down the counter and see bubbles, you've used enough detergent to change the pH sufficiently to kill germs. And, I think it was Consumer Reports that advised that Ivory bar soap was harsh enough that unless you're working in the health care field, you didn't need to waste your money buying germicidal hand soap.
What about a stainless steel butcher block covered, with a bank of UV lights mounted above it? Let's get anal retentive! :-)
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Doug Kanter wrote:

And I've heard the germicidal hand soap is actually unhealthy, especially for youngsters, because it reduces exposure to low level germs that tune up the immune system.
It seems people have lost common sense when it comes to cleaning. For some reason they think something has to be sanitary to be safe. It seems to be becoming a national obsession.

Don't forget the AutoClave!
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Listen to this: A woman I was seeing couldn't bring herself to move dirty dishes to the dishwasher more than once a week. But, she used to rinse the INSIDES of things like tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, melons, etc., after slicing them. Made for some very soupy food sometimes, and very moist BLT sandwiches.

Already have an autoclave. I run the silverware through it after it's come out of the dishwasher. Then, I seal each utensil with one of those heat-sealing things for packaging frozen food. You have to put a little cube of styrofoam on the tines of the forks first, but it only takes a few hours a day.
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Mark wrote:

Joe
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wrote:

Depends on what you mean by "germicidal". Hand soap is usually OK. It's a gross over-application of a very simple biocide.
The risky aspect is when treatments like Microban become ubiquitous, especially in places where they're entirely inappropriate like shower cubicles and cat litter trays.
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Mark wrote:

Yeah, I think it's ridiculous too.
That's why I'm happy to report that my house and environs are anything but sterile. :)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Chlorine is dirt cheap. I bought a plastic spray bottle and make up a solution of chlorine and water. I use different cutting boards for chichen, fish, raw meat, cooked meat, vegetables, and give them a good soaking when I have finished chopping. As I am the ONLY one who knows which board is for which I am the only one who can do the food preparation. I am very proud of my culinary knife collection and this cutting board arrangement also ensures I am the ONLY one to use my knives. <g> Ken
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While it may be nice to know that you're the only one that will ever be cooking a meal in your home, you may consider woodburning on an edge of the boards which board is for which type of food preparation.
My 2 cents
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