Butcher block cabinet

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Project by timtan34c posted 04-08-2008 05:49 AM 2050 views 7 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I completed this butcher block cabinet about 2 weeks ago, and got the inspiration from 2 sources – the wood whisperer (end grain cutting boards) and David Marks’ butcher block table featured in one of his DIY woodworks episodes.

The top is larger than David’s design; it’s about 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep – a nice size for a single person to work at, and just enough counter space. You are probably wondering why I would put a semi-gloss finish on the top? Well, my parents want it as a piece for a corner in the house, so I thought I would spend a little time practising my varnishing skills for a semi-gloss look.

I used 7 types of wood on it – purpleheart, black walnut, yellowheart, ash, mahoganey, jatoba, maple and cherry.

Flattening the top was a major pain!! I have a 22-44 performax drum sander, but still had to use router rails to slowly but surely flatten one side before drum sanding the other. Touched it up with a Lie-Nielsen 7 1/2 bevel up jointer plane. Planing end grain is difficult and abrasive on the plane blade.

The face frame is made of purpleheart (a major pain to plane, I might add), and the drawer fronts are made of ambrosia maple. Made a little effort to match the grain on the drawers + doors as well. The cabinet is finished with shellac (3 coats) via my Apollo HVLP spray unit, and rubbed out to a satin sheen with Howard’s feed n wax.

And yes, I did use casters – double locking ones – they put a strong brake on the wheel plus a lock on the swivel. They actually cost about $20 a piece from Linco Casters at Clairemont Mesa Blvd (next to the San Diego Rockler); They really do look a little utilitarian, but those were the best I could find in terms of durability and stability. Those red shop-grade ones at woodcraft were too tacky for my taste.

13 comments so far

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 2830 days

#1 posted 04-08-2008 06:37 AM

That looks really cool. I love the contrast.

-- Tyler, Illinois

View gator9t9's profile


300 posts in 2792 days

#2 posted 04-08-2008 08:05 AM

I love this …oh yes great job …..thanks …

-- Mike in Bonney Lake " If you are real real real good your whole life, You 'll be buried in a curly maple coffin when you die."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2909 days

#3 posted 04-08-2008 11:16 AM


This is a very interesting cabinet. You have a lot of different species of wood in it that create a visual interest. This piece will be the focal point of the room without a doubt.

Thanks for the post.

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

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 2796 days

#4 posted 04-08-2008 11:38 AM

Very nice! Couldn’t agree more on the PITA purpleheart. I have a LN 5-1/2 with the high angle frog. It’s the only one I own with a steep enough angle not to leave moon craters and even that needs cleanup from scrapers.

-- Use the fence Luke

View motthunter's profile


2142 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 04-08-2008 11:58 AM

looks great. interesting use of multiple woods

-- making sawdust....

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1193 posts in 3087 days

#6 posted 04-08-2008 12:08 PM

Stunning project, lots of appeal. Kinda screams, come over, look at and touch me! Tons of visual interest, shapes,colors, contrasts! The PITA purpleheart and other woods are tough to machine, but, boy, do theyever “deliver” now that the poject is done. I’d like to make one, how much time did you invest? I think this is now my favorite project in the past several weeks. Well done sir! Oh yea, one more thing, enter it into a woodworking art show.

-- Bob A in NJ

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 2994 days

#7 posted 04-08-2008 03:15 PM

A visually amazing cabinet.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View odie's profile


1684 posts in 2927 days

#8 posted 04-08-2008 03:23 PM

WOW… What a beaut. That top would make most of us say uncle when it came time to flatten.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3306 days

#9 posted 04-08-2008 04:25 PM

That will be a conversation piece for many years to come.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3334 days

#10 posted 04-08-2008 05:20 PM

Very unique cabinet, I like all the color. It makes a stunning visual contrast. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3076 days

#11 posted 04-08-2008 08:13 PM

That’s a great looking top on there!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2973 days

#12 posted 04-11-2008 04:05 PM

GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14037 posts in 3070 days

#13 posted 08-10-2008 02:38 AM

I like it very much

welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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