Butcher block cutting boards & countertops make a beautiful and functional addition to any kitchen, but also require some TLC.” Fortunately, caring for and maintaining butcher block only requires a few simple steps and they’ll stay beautiful and functional for decades. While I certainly wouldn’t stick them in the oven (cutting boards are not roasting planks ), or leave them sitting on a burner (my mom branded” the pig shaped cutting board I made in junior high by leaving it on the electric stove burner), a quality cutting board will hold up to a range of temperatures. When I was 14 years old I made a cutting board for my parents from alternating strips of teak and alder. This will provide a blank backdrop for your cake, protect your board, and make it easier to wipe up any wild frosting spills.
Cutting boards should be made form a closed grain hard wood that is not too hard and that produces edible nuts, fruits, or syrup – this helps to identify those woods that are safe for contact with your food and contain no toxins that can leach out. Since upgrading to a 15-by-20 board for the first version of this guide, I would never go back. Prior to the invention of butcher block, butchers cut on tree rounds” or a section of tree trunk set on legs. But there are also a lot of concerns associated with butcher block in a kitchen because, well, it is just wood, after all.
All wood has some movement due to its ability to soak up airborne water or shed into a drier atmosphere – this typically occurs in different rates in various portions of the board(s) due to the differing density of cellulose fibers that makes up the composition of a tree. Purchasing through these links helps support the site AT NO COST TO YOU and lets me build and share more projects and plans! You will need one square, smooth side to place against the table saw fence when cutting the boards into your 1 -1/2” cutting board pieces.
The general rule of thumb is a new Butcher Block cutting board should be oiled once a day for a week, once a week for a month and once a month forever. My last piece of advice – If you need just one fantastic cutting board that you can use for the rest of your life and even pass down to the grandkids, I would suggest a three or four inch end grain product in whichever dimensions you require and if you look after it properly, it should last mutliple generations. Cook’s Illustrated and our own testing saw an OXO board scar under hundreds of knife marks, but so does any board. It is a cutting board, so it’s important that you make sure it’s a flat surface.
Note: If you are considering an end grain cutting board, I really wouldn’t go with a 2 inch or less version as there have been reports of them splitting if the were not cured properly (let dry out after harvesting) or were moved from an extremely wet climate to an extremely dry one. Where the square’s have been glued together are separating I love the cutting board and really don’t want to get rid of it. You can save money on the expensive butcher block oils and conditioners that you see in stores by making this simple DIY version at home. Our instructions and tips make it easy to give new life to an old bookshelf that needed just a bit of freshening up.
Ideally, you would, eventually, turn the board over and see wet spots where the oil soaked through. To begin cutting the boards, make sure the straightest side is toward the rail when the board is lying flat. Before you make a cut, look under the damaged area to find out whether any supports or braces would be damaged if you cut a hole in the counter. Take as many passes as you need until the board is square, smooth, and without defects.
Ikea has fairly inexpensive butcher block that seems to be well loved by those who use it, according to some Internet sleuthing. With proper care, a butcher block table can last forever, so it should not be impossible to find an antique table. I say to a woodworker because I also have found some cutting boards and especially countertops described as butcher block when it was simply made of wood in any grain orientation. Wood cutting surfaces will wear faster and can potentially crack if exposed to too much moisture, or if they are too dry.
Research has shown that bacteria, such as the salmonella often found on raw chicken, will thrive and multiply if not removed from plastic boards (because germs that cause food poisoning can hide out in the knife-scarred nooks and crannies that develop on the surface of a plastic cutting board). While the reasons why wooden cutting boards are less prone to contract bacteria are somewhat unclear, it may be due to wood’s water absorbency and the ability to dry faster, meaning less time for bacteria survival. This puts a protective coating on the board and makes it easier to clean and work with.
Teakhaus is offering one lucky reader a chance to win their own Rectangle Butcher Block with Juice Canal and Hand Grips 24 x 18 x 1.5 in , and giving everyone a chance to get 20% off their cutting board purchase with the coupon code commonsense” at checkout. Depending on the wear of the board and the sanding that was done, you will have to apply one or two coats of oil/solvent mixture. Moreover, most bamboo boards cannot be sanded and rejuvenated in the same way as good butcher block. These boards give a truly resistant cutting surface while being kind to the blade’s sharp edge.
Proteak warranties its products for one year against defects in workmanship and material,” but not damage resulting from neglect or misuse of the product”—a very standard warranty for a wood cutting board. Next you’ll cut the blank into sections on the tablesaw This part is very important because the width of the sections will become the height of the board. I use two cauls – pieces of wood with a very slight amount planed away from each end. After the board set up, I smoothed one side on a jointer, then ran several passes through a thickness planer.
And if I do get on a cooking streak, its not gong to last, so I end up with all of these random left over ingredients that I bought for one meal that just get thrown away because they go bad. If that bright white look makes you feel like you are in a spaceship, a warm farmhouse kitchen with a butcher block table might make you feel right at home. Seasoning your wooden board right after you buy it and oiling it occasionally can prevent all of that from happening.
So the process was (1) drill the pocket holes in the next board using the marks I made as a guide for pocket hole placement, (2) add a bead of wood glue down the edge of the board, (3) line it up edge to edge with the previous board and clamp the boards together, and (4) attach the screws through the pocket holes. To do this, we used a circular Skil saw and a straightedge clamped to Masonite (over scrap plywood for a cutting surface).
There are three different types of board construction: 1) Flat-grain: Boards that are glued with the grain side-by-side as the grain on your dining room table or other furniture. As years passed and I blossomed into an intermediate cook (and had a nominal spending account upon graduating and starting my first job), my cutting board collection was also movin’ on up: I bought new wooden boards and some plastic ones, too, because I’d learned you should keep your meats and produce separate when it comes to cutting surfaces.
I also interviewed Chad Ward, author of An Edge in the Kitchen , about many aspects of choosing and maintaining cutting boards, and specifically about how knife edges interact with boards. It’s important to make the panel as flat as possible to avoid too much sanding and planing later. Many experts strongly recommend having one board large enough to chop several ingredients at once: at least 15 inches along one side. If you take the time to clean and oil your butcher block about once a month, you can be assured it will last a lifetime. Practice on a part of the unit that will be hidden to make sure the stain or paint dries properly and dries to the desired color.
Wood Welded has also developed, Emmet’s Elixir, a product specifically for oiled cutting surfaces. I will have to make sure I check the seam from time to time, though, to make sure the silicone is in good shape. Hygiene and prevention of bacterial growth is one of the biggest areas of dispute for plastic and wooden cutting boards. Or you can use a router to make a shallow cut into the plywood in the counter, to make a base to support the cutting board or butcher block.
I actually created a product specifically for keeping cutting boards and butcher blocks staying nice and fresh. My stock sizes are 12 x 18, 16 x 22 and 18 x 24. Other sizes I make are 12 x 12, 14 x 18, 14 x 20, 16 x 20 and 24 x 36. So far I’m loving the butcher block counters and have been really good about using a cutting board. If your cutting board matches the definition above, then you should have no qualms using it as a butcher block (or chopping block).
It takes absolutely no craftsmanship or ability to simply screw a rubber tip to the bottom of the board. Rub the wax into the ends of the boards and then massage the wax into the end fibers with your hand. This is why there are even some softwoods that are used for making butcher blocks, as the benefit of end grain surpasses the benefits of using a hardwood with edge grain. This will be the most labor intensive part of the process- make sure you really get all old crusty bits off and gone.
Something as mundane as a cutting board can make your kitchen a happier place to be and it’s one more small detail that helps you be a better cook. If your wood is knotty, use your saw to trim your timber so that there are no knots on the surface of your board. So I used five coats of the well-reviewed Waterlox sealer and will make sure I’m maintaining the finish as time goes on, reapplying oil twice a year.