Briefly delurking - I need to advice on making a butchers block and a
kitchen trolley for it to sit on. Whilst my general diy woodworking
skills are ok, I've not made much furniture before. So questions.
The butchers block is going to be in beech but what should I use for
the trolley? Depending on the costs, can I use beech as well?
When I'm gluing up the blocks, can I glue them all up at once or do I
need to glue them together in say blocks of four and then glue those
together into larger areas etc?
The trolley is going to be fairly simple - 4 legs and 2 shelves (I've
leave trying to make draws for another project). But I'm a bit clues
as to how to join legs and shelves together. As it's going to be in a
kitchen it needs to look reasonable so the long-screws-through-the-
legs technique isn't going to work.
Any other pointers appreciated, thanks.
On Sat, 5 Jul 2008 01:06:37 -0700 (PDT), matthelliwell
Assuming you are talking about an end-grain butcher block, I would
first glue up planksthat are several inches wider than the narrowest
dimension on your butcher block. When the planks are dry, run them
through the planer or the thickness sander to get them smooth. Cross
cut the planks for the thickness of your butcher block and then stack
the cutoffs on end. Use the extra width on the planks to stagger the
joints when you glue everything together. You may want to limit your
final glue up to 3 or 4 sticks at a time as the wet glue will act like
a lubricant and allow the cutoffs to shift around when you tighten the
1. Not sure how porous Beech is but the only US govt approved material
is hard maple because it is not very porous so the bacteria has a hard
time living in the wet pores. I would find some way to be sure Beech
is going to be OK or you may be making a dangerous kitchen item.
2. If you are doing true Butcher Block where you have end grain
blocks, this is very adventourous and requires quite some skill and
set of tools. If so, square up you stock, super square and in some
multiple in lenght of the thickness of your board. For instance if you
want a 6 inch thick board with 1 and 1/4 inch squares, then make up
many 1 inch square sticks say 2 feet long, plus some extra. Then glue
those up in groups of 4. Re-square those down to a perfect 2 inch
square, then cut them into 6 and 1/8 inch deep pieces. Now glue those
all up into your block. Takes lots of clamps and best to build a jig
or cauls of some sort.
3. Now walk over to your wide belt sander and flatten both sides. Or
get out your hing angle hand plane, say your prayers, and begin to
4. Legs, any material you want. Common would be to put a spreader
across one inner dimension of the legs (front to back is most common.)
This should be done with a mortise and tennon joint. Then the shel can
span the spreaders, over top, M&T or pocket screw into the missdle of
the stretcher or hanging under the spreader and screwed up into it.
You can also do intermediate shelves in the same manner or notche them
around the legs and do a pocket type screw angled in to the lgs from
the underside. Or make them inside the legs but as wide or wider than
the spread and pockect screw underneath into the legs.
The laegs to block connection should use standard table construction
with an apron M&T or pocket screwed to the legs and some movable joint
connection to the botton of the block loke table buttons or other
The Forest Product Laboratory offers a guide on cutting blocks. I
don't believe that 1) they approve materials, or 2) that Maple is
the only viable material.
Any of Beech, Maple, Birch, Cherry, Apple will work just fine.
Best finish, per FPL, is to melt paraffin (canning wax) and apply
liberally, removing excess once hard.
I didn't quite follow Sonoma's technique (admit I didn't read it very
carefully, only skimmed) but here's a link to a David Marks video that
describes/illustrates the way I go about it...
For the drum sander part, I have on occasion glued waste pieces to the
edges and used a thickness planer for the flattening step--one simply
sacrifices that last edge.
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