In this DIY Smarts project, carpenter Nathan Gilbert helps out a couple who want to replace their laminate kitchen countertops with butcher block.
What is the Best Wood to Make a Butcher Block?
Butcher block is made from slices of wood that are all glued together into thick slabs, made to withstand heavy daily use. They can be made from nearly any wood, but Nathan chose maple as this is most popular for butcher block counters because it is hard and durable.
What is the Best Finish for a Butcher Block?
Butcher block cannot be left unfinished as it will stain very easily. The only finish Nathan uses on butcher block is mineral oil, a food-safe option that is a must in the kitchen.
It will take about 2-3 layers of finish to start and after that, it needs a layer applied about once a month. Butcher block countertops will give your kitchen a unique, rustic feel while making for a budget-friendly option.
Steps for Installing a Butcher Block Countertop:
Step 1: Disconnect the kitchen sink from the water supply and drain lines
- Look under the countertop for clips or screws that might be securing the countertop to the cabinet and disconnect.
- Pry the laminate off
Step 2: Measure the cabinets
- Be sure to include any overhang you would like the countertop to have.
- There’s usually an A and a B side to butcher block countertops. The B side will have knots and wood filler on it. So make sure to face the A side up.
Step 3: Cut the butcher block(s) to fit your cabinets
- Nathan uses a track saw to cut the butcher block to size.
- To join two pieces together, Nathan creates a mortise using a Forstner bit. He goes in after with a chisel to clean up. A joint connector is used to connect the countertops.
- Carry the butcher block(s) back inside to install.
Step 4: Cut out a hole for the sink
- Nathan uses a circular saw.
- He added a piece of strapping on the butcher block that was being cut, this is to prevent it from falling below.
Step 5: Secure the countertop
- Use wood screws and glue to secure the countertop.
Step 6: Connect the sink
- Get a licensed plumber to come in and connect the sink.
Step 7: Apply a finish to the butcher block
- Nathan suggests mineral oil, as this is food safe.
- For countertops, 2-3 layers should be adequate before any use. After that, you should reapply every month.
- Apply a generous amount in one area.
- Use a squeegee to spread it out.
- Use a rag to buff it out.
To cut the butcher block to size, Nathan used a circular track saw.