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Thread: End Grain Butcher Block For Counters?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI

    End Grain Butcher Block For Counters?

    Hey all,
    I have a customer who is interested in having all her new counters made of end grain butcher blocks. She also wants to seal it/finish it with poly cuz she wants the look and will never actually cut on it. My question: Do you think the tangential movement (movement across the flat sawn face) of the wood pieces in this end-grain-up orientation will cause a film finish any problems such as cracking? She is open to having wood strip counters, but would prefer end grain if possible.


    No longer associated with Woodcraft. That's right, I am now a full time woodworker!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    No experience with poly on an end grain cutting board, so I'm not much help there. I do suspect it'd be pretty stable as long as it was sealed on both sides.

    My parents had maple strip countertops in the kitchen when I was growing up, and they just periodically refreshed them with mineral oil. I don't recall any real noticeable movement in those, either.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    I would steer her clear of the polly But the rest of it will be fine.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    I'd steer her towards a traditional mineral oil finish (easily renewable), which would ensure that in case somebody else cuts directly on the counter it would still be safe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Hehe, I have a feeling she may not want to fuss with the oil. I found a picture of a large top like this which clearly had a film finish on it. Still, the job could get real fussy real quick. Hm, I have got some pondering to do.

    Thanks guys!

    - Hutch

    No longer associated with Woodcraft. That's right, I am now a full time woodworker!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    One of the first projects I did, was make an end table, with an end grain butcher block top.
    I remember there was an issue in one of the wood working magazines, that had a coffee table build on its cover, using end grain butcher block for top.

    I rubbed on 2 coats of BLO, then 2 coats of wipe on poly.(Im trying to remember, but I think thats how I finished it) Never had a problem, but its not a countertop used for anything.

    Maybe you can find that article, as Im sure it discusses finishes.
    Human Test Dummy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Dennison, MN
    I'd be curious how well the bar top epoxy would work. Its pretty soft, but its also self healing. So if there was movement, it might adapt well. Just thinking out loud. I did my island top with it, and it turned out okay with the top I made out of Mahogany scraps. (I was too cheap to pony up $800 for a granite island)

    This should be uber stable though. Its mostly MDF core material. Just the outside border is solid.

    Last edited by Karl Brogger; 12-14-2012 at 02:26 PM.
    "Do, or do not. There is no try."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Westphalia, Michigan
    I would think one would want to finish the bottom side of the counter top at least with an oil finish. Some woods will suck in an oil like mineral oil through the capillary tubes but in some the tubes are blocked. IF the bottom was unfinished and water did run down the ends or sides and get on the bottom it might cause some problems. This is just some thoughts with no experience to back it up.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

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