Return to the Woodworking Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Finish for butcher block countertops -- NOT for cutting

Posted by pasigal (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 5, 08 at 21:53


We're installing Ikea oak butcher block countertops, 1 5/8" thick. We're not going to be cutting directly on them, but I'd like a finish that is somewhat durable and water resistent. I'm considering pure tung oil, as that's what I've put on our walnut dining table (about 10 coats...), but I'm also weighing an oil/varnish blend like Watco Danish Oil or Minwax Tung Oil Finish (which I know isn't tung oil).

I think the blend would be more durable, but I already know how to apply and maintain a pure tung finish. Does anyone have an opinion? Or is there another finish I should consider?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Finish for butcher block countertops -- NOT for cutting

My choice would be a varnish. Waterlox original (a phenolic + tung oil varnish) would be as resistant to water as any choice. Flexner says the key to water resistance is film thickness -- not ideally suited to oil-varnish blends such as Watco Danish Oil (65% BLO), and will take a long time to get to with a wiping varnish like Minwax Tung Oil Finish.

Of course, if you will be doing cutting on it, a film finish is not what you want, but you are ruling that out.

RE: Finish for butcher block countertops -- NOT for cutting

Waterlox intrigues me, and I hear what you say re Flexner. My only concerns about Waterlox is whether it looks "plasticky" or not, and how easy it is to repair/rejuvenate.

On that note, what is a good application schedule for Waterlox? 3 coats, with 400/600 between? I plan on defurring first, and slapping on some sort of poly on the bottom and cut areas for a moisture barrier.

RE: Finish for butcher block countertops -- NOT for cutting

My opinion of "plasticky" is more at the handle end of the brush than the bristle end, if you catch my drift.

Waterlox Original has a dark amber cast to it. This would be the only disadvantage to choosing it, if you object to that. Last time I used it it was on a dry sink converted to vanity. It worked well, color wise, as the top (a new replacement piece) was stained and glazed to a burnt sienna red, so the Waterlox blended right in.

I used my standard varnish regimen:
- Two coats thinned 50-50 (Varnish to mineral spirits)
- Light sanding
- One coat thinned 60-40 more or less, light sanding when dry
- Two coats thinned 90-10

It's not going to burn in like a lacquer or shellac, but it sands well and you can clean, sand and recoat in the future.

RE: Finish for butcher block countertops -- NOT for cutting

Just a follow up.

I went with Waterlox after defurring and sanding to 220. 2 coats of original, then 3 coats of satin finish, with 400 in between to knock down dust nibs. I diluted the first coat about 60/40 so it would dry faster. i tend to be impatient with 24-hour drying times since shellac is usually my finish of choice.

Looks and feels great and water beads right up. I may rub it out a bit with white 3m pads, or not. It did darken the wood, however, not that I minded but it is a consideration.

RE: Finish for butcher block countertops -- NOT for cutting

Great to hear. Glad it worked out for you.

 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 Woodworking 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.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • 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