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Butcher Block Buying Guide

Butcher block can be made out of nearly any wood—or any combination of woods—configured with its grain showing on the flat, on the edge, or on the end. Here are some of our favorite looks and colors for a kitchen accent

Popular Woods for Your Butcher-block Countertop

Photo by Kolin Smith

Butcher block can be made out of nearly any wood—or any combination of woods—configured with its grain showing on the flat, on the edge, or on the end. Here are some of our favorite looks and colors for a kitchen accent.

All prices are per square foot.

Maple

Photo by Kolin Smith

With its hardness and clear grain, maple makes an excellent butcher-block material. Flat-grain maple, 1½ inches thick, around $83, from DeVos Custom Woodworking

Cherry

Photo by Kolin Smith

Popular for its rich red color, cherry butcher block is strongest with the end grain facing up. Four-inch cherry end grain, around $152, from John Boos

Zebrawood

Photo by Kolin Smith

This dense African wood has a dramatic mix of dark grain with golden highlights. Zebrawood flat grain, 1½ inches thick, around $72, from AWP Butcher Block

Bamboo

Photo by Kolin Smith

A sustainable wood source, bamboo works best as butcher block when oriented with the end grain showing. This bamboo has been steamed to darken the fibers naturally without a finish. Carbonized bamboo end grain, 2½ inches thick, around $123, from The Grothouse Lumber Co.

Wenge

Photo by Kolin Smith

The rich color of wenge, another dense African wood, will hide knife marks, and it won't warp even when laid on the flat. Wenge flat grain, 1½ inches thick, around $76, from AWP Butcher Block

Mixed woods

Photo by Kolin Smith

Santos mahogany, zebrawood, and wenge—set together in blocks of end grain—add pop. The combination also hides knife marks well and has superior stability for longevity. Mixed end grain, 2½ inches thick, around $123, from The Grothouse Lumber Co.