Strange Butcher Block Top Knot Treatment?

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My neighbor is an incredible baker and her dream has been to open a retail shop, which they just recently acquired. I'm helping her and her husband get the space ready for opening. He bought some cheap butcher-block top from an outlet store for use as the countertop on the checkout cabinets. (They also have some nice work tables made of BoosBlock butcher-block which are really incredible. This cheap stuff he got does not even compare to the BoosBlock.)
Anyway... has anyone run into this phenomenon before? The Taiwanese factory seems to use some sort of wax of other treatment on all the knots in the wood. I don't know if it's a wax or something else injected deep into the wood or what. But it definitely will not accept stain. After my neighbor stained the top, there were blank/blond spots around all the knots, which you can clearly see in the photos at the link below.
https://goo.gl/zKA0pB
I know that knots are prone to seeping sap long after the lumber has been cut and dried, so I suspect that is what this process is trying to stop. But it sure as heck makes it difficult to finish. Good thing she is going for a rustic look. :-)
--

-MIKE-

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On Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 2:32:56 PM UTC-7, -MIKE- wrote:


One traditional way to treat knots, was to seal them with shellac before applying any other finish. That, can be removed with some alcohol or maybe glycerine, and a scrub pad. The knots, being endgrain, will then take stain (as if you'd want that).
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On 7/30/16 4:44 PM, whit3rd wrote:

Shellac makes perfect sense for sealing knots. The problem with whatever this process was is that it got so messy. There are other knot-less spots on the top where obviously spilled whatever they were using.
I used a pre-stain conditioner on the end-grain sides of the top so they wouldn't darken up more than the top and that worked well.
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-MIKE-

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On 7/30/2016 5:44 PM, whit3rd wrote:

Shellac would accept some stain if you roughed it up. I suspect it's not shellac. Try some acetone to see if it loosens it up.
either way, try some dewaxed shellac, Zinsser sanding sealer. see if it then accepts stain.
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Jeff

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On 7/30/16 9:03 PM, woodchucker wrote:

I think they're going to run with it the way it is. They like the rustic look for the historical part of town where the shop is located.
However, I like the education for future projects.
The entire surface was "roughed up" when it was sanded and still did that in those spots. What would acetone do? In other words, what uses acetone as a solvent? Do you suspect something specific was used to seal the knots which the acetone would disolve?
Are you suggesting dewaxed shellac or Sadning sealer because those two things would accept stain?
Thanks.
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On 7/30/2016 11:07 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

Hoping the acetone will disolve whatever around the knot. Shellac or zinsser sanding sealer (which is dewaxed shellac) will accept some stain. Not much, but it may get you a little closer, and it will seal the problem area.
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Jeff

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wrote:

Mike if it came from China who knows, I am betting on an epoxy though and a sloppy job applying.
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On Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 11:14:49 PM UTC-5, Markem wrote:

I would agree, it's likely some sort of epoxy or epoxy-like product.
As is, I would not consider it a "rustic" character.
In the second pic, the left "repair", where two "slats"/boards are mated, t he blemish on one board is different, than on the adjacent board. That's a little odd. If all the boards are of the same wood, I wouldn't expect tha t much of a difference in the effect, shown there.
You say they will settle with it, as is. If you have a chance, maybe tone , with dark walnut, some shellac and apply with a Q-tip.
Touching up with a brown felt pen or Marks-A-Lot might be an option, also. Testing any of these options, at least on one spot, can't be as unsightly as what's presently there.
It's not uncommon to do touch up repairs with artists paints and the like, so a spot testing may be available.
Is there similar repairs on the underside of the countertop? If so, do the testing, there.
Sonny
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On 7/31/16 7:55 AM, Sonny wrote:

They do, that's all that matters. :-)
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wrote:

UV curing?
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On Sun, 31 Jul 2016 10:06:52 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Probably not, five minute epoxy from a dispenser and a piece of scrap for a scraper. But that is a wag.
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On Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 7:06:52 AM UTC-7, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Nowadays, that'd be a good possibility. If the knot were sappy (like knotty pine) it could ruin epoxy (dissolve into the epoxy before it cured). UV curing finishes are so fast, that would be less of a problem. Shellac (alcohol thinned) dries fast, too.
Epoxy is used to treat loose knots, where expense is unimportant. Wouldn't expect to see mass-produced tabletops held up on the assembly line while epoxy cures. Wax is unlikely, because it would just dissolve in any spirit-based stain, lacquer, paint.
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On that note, let me nit pick and say that the top is not butcher block. Butcher block is end grain, not face grain.
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On Sunday, 31 July 2016 11:29:26 UTC+1, dadiOH wrote:

Yep, I agree.
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On 7/31/16 2:17 PM, snipped-for-privacy@googlemail.com wrote:

I agree, too. It is indeed nitpicking. :-p
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Hey, SOMEBODY has to do it :)
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On 7/31/16 4:01 PM, dadiOH wrote:

It would be the Wrec room without it!
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On 7/31/2016 3:58 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

LOL
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On 07/30/2016 4:32 PM, -MIKE- wrote: ...

...
As someone else suggested, I'd wager it's an epoxy dribbled on to stabilize the knot area and as such probably no chance to dissolve it or otherwise get it to "accept" stain; you'll have to essentially paint those areas.
Talk to these guys for ideas/products...
<http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse.asp?ictNbr >
How much time/money/effort are they/you willing to invest in this?
--


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On 7/31/16 8:24 AM, dpb wrote:

Not much.... more. Not my project.
The husband is a former marine so he definitely has a gung-ho attitude about doing things himself. I'm helping, pro bono, with the things he can't do or doesn't have the tools to do, like cutting and joining the top at a 90 like in the picture.
After he stained it, I noticed the spot and was curious enough to post about it.
Now I know I will not be buying any of those cheap tops for my own use unless it's just for a workbench.
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-MIKE-

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