Choosing and prepping butcher block for decorative use.

MizLizzieNovember 4, 2013

I'm helping my sister design a butcher block countertop for the china hutch area of her all-white kitchen. She's getting ready to refurb to granite and stainless. But this hutch area, though its cabinetry and current counter matches the perimeter, is more of a separate area by the dining room, and not used for food prep beyond the fact that the toaster sits there. The catchall & car key dish is there, along with some oversized dishes.

New granite will be Neptune Bordeaux with as much red in it as she can find. Since Ikea Numerar is no longer available, she will order an 8' slab of either oak, maple or cherry from Lumber Liquidators and finish it herself to a deep, warm red-brown. Our question is how best to do this.

The area does not need to be food safe or even particularly water resistant. It is more like a buffet in terms of how it's used. The house is airy and dry, and no wood in it has ever warped. So, after the initial sandings, my inclination would be to pre-treat it with Minwax pre-stain and when dry, hand rub in a Minwax stain. Maybe English Chestnut #223. After a week or two, I'd rub it down with Howard's Feed n' Wax. For maintenance, I'd use the Howard's again a couple of times a year.

Is that enough? I know a lot about furniture. But I've never had butcher block counters except in rentals abroad.

Also, would you choose one wood over the other? Is maple harder than oak? Would cherry turn dark brown red more easily?

Many thanks for any guidance.

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Your finishing and maintenance plans sound just fine for the intended purpose. I would choose the maple or cherry over the oak though, simply because oak is such an open grain wood, and will require feed and wax much more frequently.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 12:00PM
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Thank you, ctycdm. I did not know that.

Cherry is lovely but I guess it will have more variant in the grain, whereas maple is kind of a blank slate.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Maple, on the other hand, is a PITA to stain because of its tiny pores and non-grain.

If you get alder from you will have a great grain for staining and an easy to work wood.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:30PM
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That's a cool site, lazygardens. Can't believe their price on mahogany, even the plantation grown. And I never heard of Mirvana, which they seem to recommend highly.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:38PM
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We *almost* ordered from perfect plank - had been in contact with them many times as we were approaching the point where we needed the product. They strongly advise to not order until you are ready to receive and immediately begin your finishing project. We followed their advise, and unfortunately, when it was time to order, they then had an issue with their supplier and couldn't manufacture what we wanted/needed. I was disappointed, but I also respect and understand that it's just one of those things that can happen. I heard about them from GW and we live close enough that we could have gone and picked it up to save ourselves on the delivery charges. Please share with us if you order from them - would love to know the outcome.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 5:24PM
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