Butcher Block FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Penetrating Oil: If you wish to use your butcher block top as a cutting surface, this is the only finish to purchase. Just like cutting boards and butcher blocks, the natural wood surface is protected by oil, which is actually absorbed into the fibers. It is advisable to periodically re-oil your butcher block tops to preserve their beauty and durability. If, after heavy usage, you wish to remove cut marks, just sand off the top and re-oil. It will look like new.

Varnique: This beautiful semi-gloss finish is virtually maintenance-free. It is impervious to most household chemicals. Cleans up easily with mild soap and water. The fine furniture look makes it the choice for kitchen island bars and eating counters. Cuts into the finish should be resealed immediately to prevent the exposed wood from absorbing moisture. John Boos EZ-DO a wipe on poly gel is recommended for use.

Q. What type of sink is best to be for my countertop?
A. There is no warranty for any sink with the oil finish because it is not waterproof so discoloration and even possible splitting can occur. With the varnique finish the surface is waterproof and therefore either sink option will be fine as long as the sink cutout is sealed with the varnique finish.

Q. Do you use finger joints or full length strips?

A. Our countertops use full length strips and we recommend this as the most stabile method. For those who like the appearance of staggered but jointed strips and do not care quite as much about the longevity of the top we do offer one line of finger joined tops with the actual finger joints hidden and but joints exposed on the top for a natural and traditional staggered appearance.

Q. Can a butcher block top be glued down?
A. NO, never glue down a butcher block because it cannot expand and contract.

Q. Do I need an underlayment to mount the butcher block to?
A. No, the top needs to breath. Underlayments cause the top to sweat and have expansion issues.

Q. Does the butcher block have a lip or self edge?
A. No, lips and self edges are only used in formica or corian type countertops to cover the underlayment. Butcher block is a solid slab like slab granite that mounts directly to the cabinet base.

Q. How do I clean my butcher block?
A. Just use soap and water. If it is a mineral oil finish you will need to re-oil once ever six weeks.

Q. Does the butcher block stain?
A. The varnique finish is highly stain resistant but the oil finish does not prevent stains. To remove stains you can lightly sand the area then re-oil.

Q. Can I cut directly on my butcher block?
A. Yes, if you have the oil finish. If cut marks start to get too deep lightly sand or scrape and re-oil. If you have the varnique finish you will need to use a cutting board.

Q. Can I sit anything hot on the butcher block?
A. You can sit hot coffee cups or hot plates on it but nothing scorching hot because it is wood and it will burn. There is no countertop surface that you can sit hot frying pans on without it leaving some kind of mark other than concrete.

Q. Is the butcher block sanitary?
A. YES! “Researchers were surprised, however, to find that when they applied large quantities of disease-causing bacteria (those commonly found in raw meat and seafood) to both wood and plastic cutting boards, in the end the wood boards were actually more sanitary than the plastic boards. One study reported that more than 99 percent of the bacteria applied to the wood cutting board died within three minutes, while the bacteria on the plastic cutting board actually multiplied.” (Information courtesy of Butcher Block Co)

Q. What’s the difference between edge grain and end grain?
A. Edge grain is made with 1.75 wide strips that are as long as the butcher block glued together with the quarter sawn face or edge grain up. End grain is made up of many little squares of wood with the ends (where you would see the rings) up. The edge grain is the most stable glue up available for a sturdy long lasting top. The end grain is not very stable so it has size limitations and thickness requirements but it is great for cutting on.

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