Return to the Kitchens Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
direction of butcher block counters

Posted by amberm145 (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 16:16

Is there a reason that all the pictures I see of butcher block counters have the grain running lengthwise?

I want a butcher block top for my kitchen island. The island is going to be ~3'x8'. It's a solid top with no range or sink in it. I am having trouble finding a stock counter top in the right size, and custom tops probably aren't in the budget. If it's going to be more than stone, it's going to be hard to justify.

I've considered buying pieces and joining them myself. But it would be SO much easier if I could join several 3' sections rather than trying to work with a couple of 8' sections. But then you'd have obvious seams, unless you ran the pieces the short direction across the island.

But I've been unable to find a photo of an island with the grain running in that direction. So I wonder if there's a reason you can't do that?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

End grain is less durable than side grain. So in general it's preferable to minimize total area of end grain.


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

Have you looked at Ikea for butcher block? Extremely reasonably priced. I will probably do it in my own kitchen when the time comes.


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

I have looked at Ikea. They don't have big enough pieces. That's probably where I would have bought the pieces to fit together if there wasn't a reason to piece them together sideways.

Thanks for the answer, GauchoGordo.


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

Not sure I am following, can you just purchase 2 counters from Ikea that are 24 X 96 and take them to a local cabinet shop so that he can rip one of the 24" pieces in half and then glue that 12" piece to the other 24" piece to give you a 3 X 8?

Then he could take the remaining 12 X 96 piece and make up some cutting boards for you?


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

"End grain is less durable than side grain. So in general it's preferable to minimize total area of end grain."

Actually, the opposite is true:

Here is a link that might be useful: Grain


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

ajc71, labour is an issue in my city. If I could even find someone willing to do that, the cost would be as much as just having a custom top made. And the custom top would be made in another city and have big shipping costs involved.

If I'm doing it myself, it's a lot easier to work with 2'x3' sections rather than a 2'x8' section or a 1'x8' section. It's also easier to cut the 2'x8' piece widthwise (into 2 2'x3' sections) rather than rip it lengthwise (into 2 1'x8' pieces).


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

You want the grain running perpendicular to the orientation of the knife when you're cutting. Otherwise the wood will be more prone to splitting and chipping when cutting hard with a knife or chopper. Also wood expands and shrinks across the grain, so ideally you try to minimize the amount of wood movement which means having the grain run lengthwise along the longer dimension.

FYI, the type of counter you describe would more accurately be called "wood counters" since they're side or face grain, whereas true "butcher block" would be end-grain.


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

Plenty of places sell 96''x36'' tops as standard sizes. Look for someone who is a distributor of Michigan Maple Block.


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

How to define durability for a butcher block counter?

It depends on the presumed failure mode. End grain will ding less, so end grains edges will ding less than side grain edges. But in my experience the failure mode with butcher block counters isn't dings, but rather delaminating due to moisture content variation over time. Since end grains absorb more moisture than face grains, butcher block counters tend to expand/contract and eventually delaminate at the ends first. So to my thinking more end grain = more risk of delamination = less durable.


 o
RE: direction of butcher block counters

have you looked at Craft Art? they have wood tops in ready made sizes but im not sure if they have that size.

i have black walnut from them and it's waterproof because i used their waterlox finish that they had on their same site.

worth a check! i'll put a link to it so you can see if they have your size : )

Here is a link that might be useful: craft art wood butcher block countertops (DIY)


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Kitchens Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here