Butcher Block Countertop Repair

admayDecember 18, 2013

We had butcher block counters installed almost a year ago and had no issues so far. They were finished with Waterlox. The block pieces were not long enough, so we had to use two pieces joined together and the seam is right under the faucet and by the sink. I recently noticed that the ends of the boards at the seam are splitting/swelling. I hope that the pictures are clear enough to show it. Is this something that we can repair? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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Another picture

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 1:22PM
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And another ...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 1:24PM
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You probably don't want to hear why but it's important to understand because it is a basic woodworking/furniture building issue that can be avoided with a little forethought.
Moisture is absorbed by end grain much more than face grain. The seam should have been located away from the sink if possible. Where the two pieces meet should have the end grain treated before instatlation. Slow set epoxy glue would be a good choice. Urathane or type II glue would be my secound choice and simply applying multiple coats of same finish used on top would prevent this problem in most applications if fit is near perfect.
I would consider routering as small of cove that removes discolored wood then apply as many coats of waterlox as the exposed end grain would absorb or coat cove with clear epoxy. If having the cove bothers you,the cove can be filled level with clear epoxy.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Thank you very much for responding! I also contacted Waterlox and they advise to sand to bare wood and re-coat. The wood is not really discolored; it looks more like the block is starting to split.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 3:47PM
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I don't normaly question wisdom passed out by manufactures but this is an exception. Unlike instructions on thier containers and web site,your advise came from an individual rather than a group of experts in the field. There is no approved procedure for handling your problem simply because it's not supposed to happen when everything is done right. I am not telling you sanding and refinishing will not work. However,I am questioning how the wood is any better procected than it was origionaly.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 4:18PM
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the ends of the boards at the seam are splitting/swelling

That's what laminates do when they get wet.

Sanding and recoating will not fix the problem of water getting into the wood from under the sink edge and down into the seam.

How did you protect the cut edges of the sink opening before you installed the sink?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 7:50AM
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I'd work a Japanese pull saw between the joint, tape the sides, and work some epoxy into the seam until I was sure it was saturated. Over fill it and sand it flush after it has set up. Refinish and keep the water off as much as possible.

Here is a link that might be useful: pull saw

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 7:20PM
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