butcher block countertop #1: finishing butcher block countertops

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Blog entry by metfan posted 11-27-2008 02:12 AM 17174 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I just installed and finished my beech butcher block countertops with WATCO Buthcher block oil. I need to know was this correct for countertops? Is there a polyurethane that is food safe? If the oil I used is not correct can I refinnish it know that I am done?
Thank You,

-- Ray Mastic Beach

8 comments so far

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 3981 days

#1 posted 11-27-2008 03:35 AM

There is nothing wrong with using Watco Butcher Block oil, except for maintenence. You will need to re-oil your counter on a regular basis. I do not believe you can go back & finish with any film type finish once you have oil in the wood.


View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4021 days

#2 posted 11-27-2008 05:24 AM

The product you used is essentially a dilute tung oil mixture. It is about 2:1 mineral spirits:tung oil. Once the tung oil is fully cured (7 to 14 days) then you could put poly over top of it but I would not advise doing so. Poly provides excellent surface protection but it is difficult to repair. With a countertop finish, since it is going to be subject to abuse, you should use a product that is easily repaired. The product you applied will do the job but as Tim said it will need to be reapplied regularly.

By the way any finish, once it is cured, is “foodsafe”. The toxic elements in the finishes are the solvents such as mineral spirits which compose the bulk of the product. These evaporate off pretty quickly. Once they evaporate and the residue “cures out” in 7 to 30 days the wood is safe for food contact.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Chris Cunanan's profile

Chris Cunanan

339 posts in 3679 days

#3 posted 11-27-2008 06:45 AM

is it really scott?? so you’re saying you can stain a butcher block ‘n cover it in poly ‘n that is ok? hmm….me thinks no cuz anytime you’d cut pieces/bits of the poly/finish dust would get on ur food?

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3989 days

#4 posted 11-27-2008 06:56 AM

I have used the same finish (WATCO Butcher block oil) on in my old house for years and never had a problem. Problem is you have to re-apply often to keep it protected.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View metfan's profile


2 posts in 3667 days

#5 posted 11-27-2008 12:23 PM

thanks for the information. Next question is how often do I have to re-apply Watco butcher block oil for maintnce of my countertop.

-- Ray Mastic Beach

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3989 days

#6 posted 11-27-2008 06:04 PM

I did mine every two weeks for a couple of months then was able to go to once or twice a month depending on the usage. You don’t have to go crazy. clean then wipe it on and let it dry.
Mine was Maple, I don’t know how the Beech will react.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4324 days

#7 posted 11-27-2008 07:17 PM

We went with polyurethane because after lots of research we convinced ourselves that once it was cured, polyurethane shavings and bits are as benign as wax. And, yes, my sweety is a “drinks only filtered water” sort of person, and we shop at Whole Payche… I mean… Foods and eat organic produce and avoid processed foods, so that’s not an easy bar to clear. We also decided that we valued the appearance over the ability to cut on it. We’ll be using separate cutting boards.

If it was my decision alone, we would have gone with oil, probably walnut oil, and re-finished it regularly. But then if it was my decision alone we probably would have gone with concrete countertops too.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View IppoJ's profile


28 posts in 2858 days

#8 posted 12-16-2011 09:55 PM

I know this is an old thread but, I have about 20 linear feet of Ikea’s oak BB counter top that I’m going to be installing and I can’t decide on a finish.

We are not going to cut on it.
We will have an apron sink installed.

I’ve thought about making my own walnut oil and beeswax finish. I’m not sure how much I will need to do 40’ of surface.

Is there a wipe on poly that would be suitable? I don’t want a gym-floor look.

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