Butcher Block Countertops are timeless and never go out of style. Regardless of your personal interior design style, Butcher Block Countertops will go with everything. The natural wood creates warmth and a rich, earthy style for naturalists and outdoor types. Its simple beauty will not compete with the modern artisan’s one-of-a-kind signature pieces. And it goes with all colors, whether they are bold, subtle or neutral, making it easy to change the color scheme of your kitchen or bathroom anytime you want without having to change your countertops.
The term Butcher Block comes from the wood cutting surface used by butchers for centuries. Thick blocks of wood were fashioned with legs to allow butchers to cut and chop without dulling their blades. In fact, they were so durable that a butcher could use the same block for his entire career.
Butcher Block also refers to the pattern of the wood. There are two basic styles of butcher block, end grain and edge grain. End grain is constructed from hundreds of square pieces of wood glued together and resembles a checker board. Edge butcher blocks are made from small planks that have been joined together and create a striped pattern. End blocks are stronger but more expensive.
Butcher Block Countertops in homes became popular in the 80s and 90s, especially on kitchen island tops. Julia Child’s 1995 cooking show on PBS showcased Butcher Block Countertops and soon kitchens all across the country had wood countertops spanning their entire kitchen. Butcher Block competed with granite and other countertop surfaces for decades, but in 2015, interior designer Joanna Gaines and HGTV’s trendy Fixer Upper show helped country cottage and farmhouse styles make a resurgence and Butcher Block regained its popularity.
Durability and longevity are definitely at the top of the list. Butcher Block is hard enough to withstand years of cutting, chopping, and daily use. When properly sealed and maintained, Butcher Block Countertops will easily last for 20 years or more. They are ideal for commercial use in restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
And Butcher Block is soft enough that if you drop a dish on your wood countertop, it is less likely to break. The softness of wood also absorbs noise, unlike stone which actually amplifies sound. Wood is also warmer and softer to the touch.
For the environmentally conscious, Butcher Block Countertops are eco-friendly. They are made from natural materials without the use of toxic chemicals and they do not have waste byproducts that other types of countertops often have. Not only will wood countertops last forever, but they can also be recycled or upcycled easily, making them the perfect “green” product.
If you’re a DIYer, wood countertops are quite easy to install and they can be used for other DIY projects such as shelves, table tops, and cutting boards. Don’t let any leftover Butcher Block go to waste. We even offer some precut table tops and shelves in a variety of wood species such as Acacia, Hevea (also known as rubberwood because it comes from the rubber tree), Mahogany, and other exotic woods.
Butcher Block is still popular on a stand-alone island regardless of what other countertops are in your kitchen. It can also be inset into other countertops as a cutting area. And since Butcher Block is easy to cut, it’s easy to cut grooves for draining around you sink or add creative accents to a kitchen island.
Although Butcher Block can be used for cutting and chopping, it is always a good idea to use an actual cutting board instead so you don’t put as much wear and tear on your countertops. No matter how mindful you are about your countertops, over the years you will likely get nicks and scratches, but don’t despair. Butcher Block is very easy to refinish by just sanding with fine-grit sandpaper, like 220-grit. Also, remember that wood is not heat resistant so hot pans placed on your countertop can scorch the wood. Luckily scorch and burn marks can also be sanded out.
Another advantage to Butcher Block is it’s easy to clean and keep sanitary without chemicals and strong cleaning solutions. Warm water and a small amount of dish soap are usually all it takes. Tougher stains can be removed by putting salt over the spot and rubbing half of a lemon over the salt. White vinegar will disinfect your Butcher Block and baking soda will help eliminate odors.
The best way to keep your Butcher Block sanitary and protected, and prevent it from warping, is to condition it on a regular basis. Use a quality food-grade mineral oil which is tasteless, odorless, and does not go rancid like some plant-based oils. An excellent product is Howard Butcher Block Conditioner made with a blend of genuine beeswax, Brazilian carnauba wax (the hardest natural wax available), and pure USP food-grade mineral oil. The penetrating quality of food-grade mineral oil along with the water-resistant traits of beeswax and carnauba wax helps to rejuvenate the wood, prevent drying, and even repair knife marks in the wood.
Regular use of a mineral oil or conditioner helps season and protect the wood by keeping the oil in and the moisture out. Rub it into your countertop with a soft cloth and let it sink in for at least an hour, then apply another coat. For our 1” thick Butcher Block, apply at least 2 coats and let each coat soak in for an hour. For 2” Butcher Block, you might want to apply a total of 3 or 4 coats. And always re-oil after sanding.
So if you’re looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom countertops, consider Butcher Block. It’s a cost effective, one-time investment that will not go out of fashion. And there’s many creative things you can do with Butcher Block. Our customers have used Butcher Block for dining tables, desks, cutting boards, laundry rooms, mudrooms, pantries, bar sinks, even campers.
Photo Sources: 1. Green Door Homes | 2. Maggie Overby Studios | 3. Donald Latimore |
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