Warm and accommodating, butcher block is an affordable countertop material with a lot going for it. To be retained regularly and butcher block countertops will reward you by aging gracefully. But without proper upkeep, they can dull and cranny. Are butcher block countertops the right substance for you and your kitchen? Read our butcher block counter primer to find out.
Above: Good enough for a chef: a butcher-block countertop in the Manhattan kitchen of cook David Tanis; realize A Chef’s Low-Tech, Economical, and Beautifully Soulful Kitchen in the East Village. Photograph by Heidi’s Bridge. What is butcher block?
Butcher block is made from straight cuts of wood glued together into thick-witted slabs that render a particularly sturdy and stable task surface in a kitchen, whether as a cutting board, tabletop, or counter.
Above: A butcher block countertop in a British Standard Cupboard Kitchen by Plain English. Are there different types of butcher block?
There are three basic structure modes of butcher block: border grain, face grain, and objective grain.
Above: Butcher block counters are a durable option for a mobile, outdoor kitchen; verify Stockpot and Two Smoking Barrels: A Rustic Kitchen in a Shepherd’s Hut in England. Photograph by Emma Lewis. Edge Grain Above: Edge grain is the one most commonly used for counters because it’s strong, stable, and less costly than the others. It’s made by placing long boards on their sides and joining them so that their long constrict fringes form the surface. The committees is likely to be continuous sections of timber with no joints, or random-length boards that are finger-jointed( as indicated above ). Face Grain Above: Face-grain butcher block is erected from boards that are laid flat, their full widths forming a surface with a streamlined seem. Susceptible to recognizes when used for chopping and cutting, face grain is less suitable for working kitchen counters than the others. Aim Grain Above: End-grain construction is made from small-scale rectangular blocks arranged so that the ends( with growing hoops depicting) are visible on the surface. The strongest and most expensive type of butcher block, it’s great for surfaces dedicated to cutting, because it camouflages bayonet marks and is gentle on blade margins( they slip into the grain rather than against it ). What types of wood are used for butcher block?
Butcher block can be made from nearly any timber. Maple is one of the best and most popular for butcher block counters because it’s hard-handed and has a clear grain. Cherry and red oak offer rich coloring. Butcher block are also welcome to crafted from bamboo( it works best with end-grain construction) and sustainably farmed exotics such as wenge, zebrawood, and iroko.
Above: In a London kitchen by deVol, the designers paired iroko timber with marble countertops. Do butcher block countertops need to be sealed?
For kitchen counter applications, it’s important to use unsealed, oil-finished wood. Sealed countertops are not meant to be used as food-prep work surfaces-they’re not food or knife friendly. Mark Squire of Quality Kitchen Cabinet in San Francisco clarifies: “Using sealed lumber defeats the purpose of butcher block, because it encompass up the natural warm surface with plastic.” Sealed butcher block does offering reflect and can work well as a work table or saloon top in a kitchen that doesn’t involve food.( And when needed for food prep, pair it with a cutting board .) Note that unsealed butcher block is not recommended immediately around a drop: Over occasion it will likely discolor and rot.
Above: Designer Athena Calderone updated the brown laminate countertops in her rental kitchen with Karlby birch countertops from Ikea. Photograph by Sarah Elliot, courtesy of Athena Calderone. How do you best maintain butcher block countertops?
At a minimum, butcher block countertops necessitate oiling every six months to keep the wood protected. Different lumbers come with different finishing petroleum recommendations and it’s best to follow the instructions of your installer. Depending on tier of use, butcher block countertops may also require more frequent oiling and conditioning to prevent the wood from cracking and looking dull. N.B .: Avoid using cooking petroleum to treat butcher block; it can damage the wood. Because butcher block is soft, it taints more than other substances, conducting some people to use it for certain surfaces simply, such as work islands. Merely before oiling, you can softly remove scratches, burns, and other surface shatterings with penalty sandpaper, and your countertop will look like new.
Above: Christine craved a warm material for her open kitchen, so she selected edge-grain countertops of solid oak dealt with in several coats of Danish oil for a hardwearing finish. For the full tale, read Rehab Diary: Sleuthing for Space in My Kitchen. Photograph by Kristin Perers for Remodelista. Can butcher block be used as a cutting surface?
Yes, unsealed butcher block works well as a large stationary work surface and has been used this way for centuries( after all, it comes by its name honestly ). That said, it’s not as easy to cleanse a butcher block counter as it is a movable cutting board, which explains why many proprietors use cutting boards on top of butcher block. And, as referred to, cutting on butcher block over time leaves marks and scratches–character-defining to some, best avoided to others.
Above: In this kitchen by Melbourne interior architecture firm Hearth Studio, a kitchen island is segmented into American oak and Carrara marble for a work surface. What do butcher block countertops expense?
Prices vary depending on the type of wood, the grain building, and the thickness. In general, custom-made quality butcher block countertops range from $75 to $150 per square paw. In other terms, good butcher block is more expensive than mid-range granite but less expensive than top-of-the-line natural stone.
The good report is that several manufacturers offer off-the-shelf butcher block worktops in standard counter-depth sizes with variable durations. If your setup allows, this is the affordable space to go. And the DIY-inclined can cut butcher block slabs to fit around gadgets, corners, and other obstacles–not something you can pull off on your own with stone.
Above: In her cabin kitchen, Sarah Samuel of Smitten Studio installed Ikea’s affordable edge-grain, oiled-beech Numerar Wood Countertop( now discontinued ). Ikea now offers a similar[ product id= “6 15288 “] Hammarp Oak Countertop [/ product ], which comes in precut sections. Photograph courtesy of Smitten Studio. Above: San Francisco designer Mark Reilly used end-grain butcher block countertops in a kitchen in a turn-of-the-century house in Palo Alto, California. “The countertop was originally Formica, but the client craved a material that didn’t clink when glass or providing wares were placed on it, ” Reilly says. “After exploring several options, we decided on end-grain butcher block because of its warmth, soft feel, and vintage-inspired look.” Photograph by Mark Reilly. N.B. See how the architect created an open kitchen in a Victorian house in Remodelista Best Design Professional Space Winner: Mark Reilly. Butcher Block Pros and Cons Pros Butcher block counters add heat and natural colouring. It’s a soft material that’s easy on glassware and bowls: No clatter when you putting in place a stack of platefuls. Wood mingles well with many other countertop materials, specially marble. If maintained properly, it’s a long lasting and durable choice. Unlike laminate or solid-surface counters, timber countertops are repairable: Dents and burns can be softly sanded and the surface reoiled. It develops a lovely patina over period. Wood has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Wood counters are not heat or stain resistant. Hot pans can’t be set down on the counter without a pad or trivet. Timber can swell and shrivel in conditions of extreme dryness or humidity, which may cause cracking. Excessive wetness shapes the timber susceptible to rot and discoloration. It develops a patina over period( a detail that also falls in the Pros category; it’s a matter of penchant ). Butcher block involves some maintenance.
Above: Italian kitchen designers Schiffini application end-grain butcher block at the end of a kitchen island.
Researching brand-new countertops? For more on the subject, assure our Remodeling 101 Guide to Kitchen Countertops, plus our recent posts on the subject 😛 TAGEND
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Finally, get more notions on how to evaluate and choose your kitchen countertop in our Remodeling 101 Guide: Kitchen Countertops.
N.B .: This post is an update. It originally moved on November 19, 2013.
Read more: remodelista.com