How to Build a Butcher Block Counter Top


A butcher block counter top can be shaped to sit on either side of an oven, or act as the top of a kitchen island. The counter top is made utilizing the same basic methods used to make a butcher block cutting board, only on a larger scale. Measure your space and adjust the process to suit your custom requirements.

Pasta on top of butcher's block
(Thomas Price/iStock/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Glue
  • Cloth
  • Oil
Step 1

Purchase a hardwood, such as maple or mahogany. You can mix and match hardwoods for a striped effect. Hardwoods are available at all national home and decorating stores.

Planks of woods on shelves
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Step 2

Determine the length and width of the butcher block counter top. Adhere to the measurements of your existing counter tops, or make the space longer, shorter or thicker, depending upon your needs and design preferences, such as curved corners. Add 5cm to the final measurements each way. It is better to have a little extra wood to work with than not enough.

Men measure kitchen counter
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Step 3

Determine the number of 1-by-2 pieces of wood you will need to suit you width and length measurements and cut to length. Use a circular saw and clamp table (wearing safety goggles, gloves and a mask) to cut the pieces, or ask for them to be cut at the time of purchase at the hardware or home store.

Circular saw
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Step 4

Perform a dry run with the wood pieces and arrange them in the final design without gluing them down. Check for bumps and lumps that may require a little hand sanding with a piece of sandpaper. A small number penciled onto each piece may assist in keeping the pieces in the desired arrangement.

Hand sanding a piece of wood
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Step 5

Attach the wood together using a FDA-certified wood glue. Glue the 2-inch sides together to create a sturdy finish. Smear glue over both pieces of wood before fitting them together; any additional glue that squeezes out of the seams can be cleaned up later on.

Glue being applied to a piece of wood
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Step 6

Secure the counter top together using wood clamps placed at least every 10 inches along the length of the block. As the clamps are tightened, expect glue to seep out from between the wood seams.

Wood clamp
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Step 7

Use a damp cloth to wipe away any glue that appears on the wood’s surface after clamping. Place the block in a warm place to dry. Avoid placing the block near a window or other draft source to prevent dust and debris from sticking to the surface as the glue dries. Adhere to the instructions on the glue container when it comes to determining the drying time.

A cloth wipes wood
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Step 8

Sand the surface of the dry block after removing the wood clamps. A medium sand paper is adequate for removing glue debris from the block’s surface.

A woman uses sand paper
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Step 9

Use a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the dried block. Always wear goggles and a dust mask when sanding.

Woman wearing goggles and dust mask
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Step 10

Wipe the surface of the block with an oil treatment using a clean cotton cloth and linseed oil or mineral spirits. This will feed the wood and create a waterproof seal. Soak and rub the oil into the surface until it is no longer absorbed. This will ensure that the wood is saturated and ready for use.

Woman applies oil to wood
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