Butcherblock Countertop Construction

I'm planning on replacing the counter tops in my home with maple butcherblock tops that I want to build myself.
I'm still doing research to see what info is available. Any suggestions on sites offering info about construction techniques or hints would be appreciated.
One thing I'm considering is using biscuit joints to help hold the individual boards together when I glue it up. Any thoughts on this?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Something to consider, there are numerous sites and businesses that sell this already made up and IIRC for less than you can buy the materials yourself.

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On 3 Aug 2004 06:50:26 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@paonline.com (Dwight) wrote:

should work fine. it'll complicate the layup and slow you down- that's a lot of biscuits- and it's not really necessary, but if it makes ya happy, go fer it.
you'll still have to surface it when you're done.
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I built one and bought one. It was about the same amount of money but I like the one I made better. You can get them from Grainger ready to go for around $200 but they are oiled. I stripped it with mineral spirits and put poly on it. I used biscuits for the one I made. It does make it easier to keep things together while you are gluing it up but as the other poster said, I still needed to surface it. I used my belt sander.
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I applaud your efforts---but you might want to reconsider. I have found that high-quality pre-made maple countertops can often be purchased mail order for even less than (my) cost of the wood. We are re-doing our entire (smallish) kitchen for about $1200 in materials.
If you do it yourself, I agree with the biscuits.
Dwight wrote:

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I did a small butcher block table for our breakfast nook using white oak and walnut. SWMBO is real happy. I drilled each piece and installed 3 stainless steel threaded rods through all but the two outside pieces. Easier than a lot of biscuits but sanding was still required.
Rick

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Rick Gibson wrote:

Hey,
I tried doing that when I built my workbench, but it didn't turn out so well. I had hoped to avoid buying clamps. I used a homemade jig to position the holes so that they would line up, but it ended up pulling some boards higher than the others. Because I had to plane it by hand, I ended up just buying the clamps and laying the boards down on another table to glue them up. What was your secret? How did you get the holes aligned well? Extremely dull bits could have been my problem...
-Jonathan Ward
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Mine didn't line up as well as I hoped but I attribute that to an old and cheap drill press that had some play in it and not using brad point bits so they wandered a bit before biting in. Of course I didn't notice any of this until after the top was built. A little time outside with the 4 inch belt sander and some 80 grit paper and everything was as it should be.
Rick

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Are you talking real end grain butcher block or the pseudo ones made of narrow strips? I take it since you are talking about holding 'individual boards together' that it's the latter. The genuine end grain article is much more time consuming both in cutting all the little blocks and also surfacing when it's all asembled.
When I'm joining boards I generally cut groves on the TS to take plywood alignment strips, lower the stock onto the blade to start the cut and lift the stock before it breaks through the end. Much easier than fiddling with lots of bicuits when the glue is drying....
Bernard R
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I made a true (end-grain) butcher block counter top. It's 3 inches thick and about 10 feet long--nearly 500 individual blocks of 8/4 random width rock maple. I think the end grain stains more readily than edge grain would, but stains add character by showing it gets used, right?

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Ed, I did 2 3'x2'x2" with a 2'6" lump of granite between the two for pastry, finished with 'good stuff', but as you say stains very easily. Thinking about re-finishing with something a bit more resistant, any suggestions?
Bernard R
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The pastry setup sounds nice. Over most of our top, I just use liberal amounts of mineral oil--it's amazing how much it will absorb. There is a (home made) copper sink in the middle of the counter top, and I did apply two or three coats of Poly in the area where the fixtures come through the top. This was to protect the wood from the inevitable seepage from the fixtures. The color in the Poly area is lighter and less rich than the oiled part, but it doesn't look bad. This is a potting table for us, and it gets heavy use. I'm not sure a finish coating would survive. For your app, it might.
Based on the area I did Poly, it just doesn't look authentically butcher-blockish to me.

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I made a true (end-grain) butcher block counter top. It's 3 inches thick and about 10 feet long--nearly 500 individual blocks of 8/4 random width rock maple. I think the end grain stains more readily than edge grain would, but stains add character by showing it gets used, right?

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