Butcher Block Kitchen Table #4: Mostly Done Except for the Top

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Blog entry by Jimi_C posted 05-06-2010 02:50 PM 1517 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: More Progress, and a Bandsaw Restoration Update Part 4 of Butcher Block Kitchen Table series Part 5: Breadboard Ends »

Here’s the dry-fit, the tape’s on there to keep it from falling apart when I adjust things/check for square. All the stretchers have been resized to match the shelf size:

Here’s a detail of how the leg holds the shelf:

I still need to clean that up a little since there’s a bit of a gap on all 4 legs, which means I may need to trim a little off the stretchers again (maybe just 1/16” or so from each end).

As for the top, I know this is supposed to be a butcher-block table, but I’m seriously considering just making a flat panel for the top instead, since all I have is poplar currently. My other option (since I do have a little maple left) was to make a butcher block top out of alternating pieces of maple/poplar. I figure the top will be removable with buttons, so if I made it out of some combination of poplar I could always remove it in the future and put a more durable top on it if I actually wanted to use it for cutting/etc.

I’m not really beholden to the original design (I’ve already scrapped the middle shelf), since this is all a learning experience for me. This piece is a first for me on many levels: first mortise/tenon joints (mortises hand cut, well at least after I used the drill press), first panel glue up, first time I’ve worked with 8/4 material… the list goes on. First and foremost – this is the first piece of furniture I’ve ever tried to build, so I’m happy as long as I finish it somehow :)

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

3 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 05-06-2010 03:36 PM

it looks great!

FYI: Butcher block is usually referring to a long grain thick panel made of thin strips. the End grain version is usually explicitly referred to as ‘end grain butcher block’ if thats what you meant.

one more thing- curios about the shelf – is there anything to allow for wood expansion on the shelf? it looks like flat sawn maple, and fairly wide which means it would be subject to some expansion/contraction (figured I’d ask this now since this is still dry fit…)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 2658 days

#2 posted 05-06-2010 04:57 PM

When I say butcher block, I was thinking of doing an edge-grain version – not the end-grain version. Now, however, I’m considering scraping that completely and just doing an edge-glued panel for the top.

As for the shelf, I thought of expansion, but wasn’t too worried about it. Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve seen tables with a similar design and assumed the legs would bow out with enough flexibility to handle the cross-grain expansion. I was considering just gluing the stretchers at the top and letting the grooves hold the shelf in place without glue. The shelf is made of edge-glued poplar boards, with the grain reversed for the middle panel to help avoid cupping.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3096 days

#3 posted 05-16-2010 01:47 AM

Nice looking table.

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