Butcher block tables

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Project by vanisle posted 01-13-2011 09:32 PM 2834 views 11 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After making many cutting boards, making a full blown butcher block table seemed like the next step. All the tops were made from the same tree…a huge western maple from my backyard. The legs of the black one are made from yellow cedar with a black milk paint finish. The legs of the white one were turned by a master turner (wish i could take credit for that, but I did make the top). Thanks for looking!

Thanks for comments, much appreciated. These took a long time to make and weren’t easy or I should say light to move around. All of them are 4” thick tops. The process I used for construction was exactly the same as for a normal end grain cutting board.
I milled the maple boards to a uniform thickness, jointed the edges trimmed them square. I glued up boards that were about the same length (3 feet) until I had around 24 inches wide. I glued up enough of these so that when I cross cut the pieces to stand up straight, I’d have enough to get the length of the table I wanted.
After glue up, I sanded the boards as flat as I could. I then started the process of cutting the 4” strips using a large cross but table saw sled. Using a stop-block allowed me to get very consistent pieces.
The tricky part is gluing all those up without the top having gaps or twisting or getting out of square. After arranging the boards in the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement, I would glue up several at a time, making sure they were as close to perfect as possible. I used tite bond III.
The next step was to hand plane the surface flat…not easy. I used every method I had available: hand planes, belt sanders, orbital sander, scrapers etc…
I used watco butcher block oil for the white one…little to shiny for my tastes. I used a natural mineral oil beeswax for the other two blocks. They really drink up the oil. I love cutting on them.

7 comments so far

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#1 posted 01-13-2011 09:46 PM

Those look great. I’d love to read a post detailing your method. (translated: I need to make one)

-- Galootish log blog,

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3049 days

#2 posted 01-13-2011 09:50 PM

Nice and sturdy! How thick are the tops, 4-5”?

I’m with swirt… I’d like to read about your process as well.

My personal tastes are more in line with the black one, but they are both nice blocks

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2996 days

#3 posted 01-13-2011 09:53 PM

Now these are cutting blocks ! Some details on how you joined your blocks inside please !
I especially like the white one. Those legs are similar to the old buther block tables of years ago.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4272 days

#4 posted 01-13-2011 10:15 PM

Very well done. They all look terrific!! Get them in place and you won’t want to be moving them…

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 2830 days

#5 posted 01-13-2011 10:32 PM

INSPIRATION!! Thanks for sharing!

-- GX

View adowker's profile


4 posts in 2690 days

#6 posted 01-13-2011 10:36 PM

Agree with GabrielX…inspirational! I have some scrap maple that I think I’ve found a good use for now.

View Tom Pritchard's profile

Tom Pritchard

163 posts in 2690 days

#7 posted 01-14-2011 03:26 AM

Great looking project. Hoping too build something similar some day.

-- Tom in Madison, Indiana

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