Making Butcher Block: Fine Craftsman Lumber Style

Making Butcher Block

Butcher blocks can be used for kitchen countertops, island tops, chopping boards, or even a durable workbench top. Butcher blocks provide warm tones from the wood, but also the durability needed in the kitchen or shop. An added benefit is that cutting and chopping can be done right on it: no cutting boards are needed. In addition to selling lumber, our team here at Fine Craftsman Lumber also makes and sells butcher block. What goes into making butcher blocks? Here’s a look into our process: 

The Manufacturing Process 

Step 1: Rip the Lumber into Staves

The first step is ripping the lumber into staves. Most butcher blocks are 1 ½” thick, so we rip lumber into 1 ¾” wide staves. The staves need to be free from any defects to avoid any voids in the surface.

Step 2: Chop the Staves to Length

After the staves are ripped to width they get chopped to length. We add about 3” extra to the finished length. We trim it to final length after it’s glued up. 

Step 3: Sand the Faces of the Staves

With the staves ripped and chopped, the staves are sent to the sander to get sanded. The faces of the staves are sanded to make a uniform thickness and prepared for gluing. We remove about 1/16” from each face.

Sanding butcher block
Sanding the Butcher Block Boards

Step 4: Glue It Up

Now enough prep has been done that we can actually glue the pieces together. Before any glue is applied, the butcher block is laid out. The lay out is important for a few reasons. First, the layout gives you an idea of what the butcher block will look like. Staves can be moved, flipped, and turned to make it look more appealing. Secondly, you double check you math and make sure enough staves were used to make the butcher block the right size. We always make it a little larger and trim it to final size later. 

With the layout in place, the food grade adhesive is applied to the staves and the whole butcher block is clamped together in the glue clamp carrier. It will stay in the clamps for six hours ensuring the glue has been cured. 

Butcher block layout
Butcher Block Layout

Step 5: Back to the Sander

After the glue is cured, the butcher block is taken the sander to be sanded to final thickness. This completely flattens it and makes a finish ready surface.

Step 6: Cut to Final Size

The last thing we do is trim the whole butcher block to final size. By doing this last, it guarantees it is square. First, we cut to final width. We make sure to remove an even amount from each edge. This makes the two outer staves the same size. Once it is at the final width, it is trimmed to final length.

Trimmed butcher block
Trimmed to Width and Length

Step 7: Edge and Finish

These last two steps are optional and depend on what the customer wants. If the customer would like, we can make a radius edge and/or apply a food grade mineral oil finish. Both of these options are customer preferences. Some customers like the butcher block to be ready for install. Others want to finish it after the install, or want to use a different finish. If you decide to finish your own and you plan on actually cutting on it, make sure you are using a food grade finish. 

Oiled butcher block
Oiled and Radius Edge

How to Order a Butcher Block through Fine Craftsman Lumber

If you are interested in a quote or want to place an order for a butcher block, all you have to do is contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-903-3133. We can answer any questions and make sure we make the perfect butcher block for you.

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