Making Butcher Block

CEFreemanNovember 4, 2011

Hi all! I'm back.

I have put together a 14' countertop of maple butcher block. I got the wood at a reuse center and it's beautiful. I'm thrilled.

However, I'm hesitant to stain or finish it. I'm not sure what to do. I would like a darker color, but want to see this beautiful grain.

I plan to use one end next to the stove for food preperation. Simply because I know I'll do something stupid and cut on it anyway.

So what type of finish? I've read about food grade wax, but also sealing it.

Does anyone have any advice for me? I'm continuing to read here and other places, but so far I'm a bit overwhelmed. You'd think this would be the easy stuff!:)


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Several coats of mineral oil for food prep side, if not all. You can make it look pretty nice with just good sanding and mineral oil.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 11:19PM
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Tell me. Twice-boiled Linseed oil has been recommended for the non-food-side of the kitchen. What's your opinion?


    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 12:25PM
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I don't know about your house, but in mine, food gets prepped on just about any available counter space. If there are teenagers, count on them eating right off the counter.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 2:39PM
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A non-film forming finish is best for anything where cutting will occur. Films will cut, then allow moisture (and dirt) then chip. Straight mineral oil, available at the drug department of any store, works fine. Refresh with more when it looks dull. Some people will melt in 1 part of paraffin (canning wax) with six or seven parts of mineral oil. Slather it on, let it cool and scrape off the excess with a plastic putty knife or old credit card. But really, the choice is up to you.

cutting board finish

Food safe finishing (the myths and hype)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 7:06PM
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A well made solid maple bench is remarkable in its ability to cope with abuse- I worked many years on Boos bakery benches and they rarely received anything other than a good scraping with a metal scraper (which bakers use constantly to cut and divide dough, lift things from the bench, and clean up little messes.) The benches are always a little light-colored after scraping but darken again as they oxidize and absorb oils.

In other words, just use it and forget it. If you feel the need you can wash it, but I don't think it's very necessary myself. (Don't chop up meats, fish, and chicken on them, though, without thorough cleaning.) The mineral oil option works great, Boos recommends something like the mix Bobsmyuncle receipts above) but they survive neglect very well too.

Congratulations on your great bench.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 9:32PM
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