Introduction

a sleek modern kitchen offset with the warm tones of a butcher-block countertop
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Sleek granite and sharp stainless. It looks all luxe and modern—and maybe just a little bit, you know, cold. So what to do if you want more warmth in the heart of the home? Cozy things up with rich-looking butcher block. Not only are its well-oiled tones welcoming, it's easy to install, as This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows on the following pages. Just order it to size, and then fasten it down. In hours you can turn a chilly steel-and-stone room into a charming cook's corner.
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    Tools List

    • combination square
      Combination square
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • pencil compass
      Compass or scribe
    • hot glue gun
      Hot glue gun
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 1/8-inch drill bit and ½-inch paddle bit Caulk gun

    Shopping List

    1. Butcher Block Must be ordered in advance; plan six weeks for delivery

    2. Cardboard to make a template for ordering the butcher block. An old packing box will do, as will poster board—as long as it's stiff enough to hold up to scribing but flexible enough to be folded for mailing.

    3. Painter's tape

    4. Scrap wood to use

    as blocking on open-topped cabinets or as furring strips on solid-topped cabinets. Blocking should be 3/4-inch plywood or 1x material, but ¼-inch plywood will suffice for furring strips. 5. Kitchen and Bath Sealant for gluing the butcher block to the cabinets. Look for a 100 percent silicone product

    6. 1-Inch Fender Washers

    7. 1½-Inch Deck Screws to attach the blocking and the butcher block to the cabinets

    8. Mineral Oil or any other FDA-approved oil for food-prep surfaces. Walnut oil is a good organic alternative to petroleum-based mineral oil because it won't go rancid like other food-based oils.