I am going to need new kitchen counter tops in a few months. I'm not
too fond of formica and because I drop things a lot a tile or stone
counter top would not be practical. So I'm thinking that a butcher
block type of counter top might be the way to go. I know that the
softer wood will dent easier and that getting the right kind of
finish is very important. I'm a machinist by trade and though I'm
comfortable with metal working with wood is kind of a mystery.
Thanks for reading,
Eric R Snow,
E T Precision Machine
Just keep in mind that unlike metal, wood "moves" as the humidity
changes. Most countertops are either made of a solid material that
doesn't swell with humidity (e.g. granite, corian, etc.) or are
comprised of a surface (i.e. formica, tile, etc.) atop a plywood or
particle board substrate, which are both quite immune to humidity
changes. If you go with butcher block, you'll likely get significant
growth and shrinkage throughout the year.
That's not necessarily a problem, you just need to take it into account
when you affix your countertops to the cupboards. You'll need to use
connectors which allow movement, like what you'd find connecting your
dining room tabletop to its apron and legs.
One nice thing about wood countertops: If you ever get a bad scratch,
dent, burn, or whatever, you can always sand and refinish.
Greetings Josh, Brooks, Andy, Joe, gfretwell, and Ed,
Thanks for all the replies. The info was just what I needed to decide
if wood could make a good counter top. Now I have to see if my wife
likes the idea as much as I do. Josh, I had not even thought about
expansion and contraction of the wood. The final design will need to
allow for this. And I had no idea that Grizzly sold butcher block tops
Andy. Thanks Joe for the wide piece info. I'm glad Brooks that you saw
the very old top and related how it looked. It would be great if the
next owners really like the finished house and the special touches
like maple counters. And Ed, the end grain hardness is feature that
could maybe be incorporated into part of the counter for a good solid
surface to support a cutting board when using a mallet to thin chicken
breasts and the like. Finally, thanks to you gfretwell (what's your
real name?) for the Grainger suggestion. I order from Grainger several
times a year.
Eric R Snow
On Mon, 20 Feb 2006 03:15:42 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric R Snow)
If you seal this up with poly there won't be that much humidity change
in the wood. I only have my maple countertops fastened down with a few
drywall screws anyway. I suppose they can be growing and I don't
I remember seeing a wooden butcher-block countertop in a high-end
antique gallery once. It was definitely the sort of place that you'd
call a gallery, not a store. They specialized in architectural stuff
imported from Italy; much of it was things like stone fireplaces and
archways and that sort of thing. But they had this one wooden counter,
about six feet long, and something like four hundred years old, made out
of butcher block. It had obviously been smoothed off and resurfaced
whenever the surface got too cut up to be useful, and after a few
hundred years the top was worn down at least a couple of inches in the
middle from that. But it still had at least twice that much solid wood
to go, so it certainly didn't look "worn out" so much as simply making
it clear that it had been around since forever and was going to keep
being around for a good long time.
The "bmoses-nospam" address is valid; no unmunging needed.
I've sort of considered the same thing - check out grizzly.com and
search for "solid maple" - they have a variety of sizes of 1 3/4" thick
maple butcherblock bench/table/counter tops. Most of them work out to
$11-12/sq foot - less than most countertop surfaces. Probably cheaper
than you could build one yourself. Shipping costs add a good chunk,
but if you live near WA, MO, or PA, you could pick it up, and see their
showroom of wood- and metal-working tools.
Hope this helps,
If you need wider pieces, for an island maybe, try
http://www.hardwood-lumber.com/butcherblock-prices.html They carry 14"
to 48" sections from 3-10 feet long, but the prices are quite a bit higher.
On Mon, 13 Feb 2006 04:28:16 GMT, email@example.com (Eric R Snow)
I have them in my kitchen as countertops not cutting boards. They are
polyurethane coated. I am very happy several years later.
I made one and bought one. I say buy one, it's cheaper.
Edsal makes a "workbench top" sold through Grainger that sells cheaper
than I could buy the wood.
I wiped it down with mineral spirits to get the oil off and started
coating with thinned poly, several coats later I had a very tough
I built two 2-3/4" thick true butcher block rock maple countetops
joined in an "L" configuration. ("True" meaning end-grain up.)
It is a lot of work--almost 700 individual blocks in mine--and heavy.
Buying would probably be preferable, but I've not seen endgrain tops
for sale other than cutting-board size.
It is just about impossible to dent the endgrain maple, but it will
scorch and stain.
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