Step 5: Prepare the cabinets

If you're working with open-topped cabinets, you'll need to install blocking so there's something to screw the butcher block to. Using a handsaw, cut plywood or 1x scrap to fit tightly within the width of the cabinet. Using a drill/driver fitted with a -inch bit, drill angled pilot holes, about ½-inch away from the edges, that go through the top of the blocking and out the cut ends. Fit the blocking in place at the front of the cabinet. Secure it to the cabinet with 1½-inch deck screws through the pilot holes.

If your cabinets have solid tops, it's best to glue down furring strips in order to create an air space beneath the countertop and prevent it from cupping in situations where humidity swings are an issue. Using a handsaw, cut strips of ¼-inch plywood to fit 2 inches shorter than the depth of the cabinets. Lay these strips every 16 inches across the cabinet tops, sticking each down with a bead of kitchen and bath sealant.

TOH Tip: To make an angled pilot hole in the blocking, first drill a little starter hole straight down, then pull the bit out and reposition it at an angle in the hole.
Ask TOH users about Kitchen Countertops

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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
    • 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.