Choosing and prepping butcher block for decorative use.
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.