"Blended Grain" Butcher Block Counters

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Forum topic by mision56 posted 01-23-2017 08:55 PM 727 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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48 posts in 752 days

01-23-2017 08:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: countertops butcher block

Hi All,
I have a twofold question. First is how to describe a butcher block style counter-top, and the second is advice on how to construct it.

I’m talking about the style where boards are cut to various lengths then ripped and glued up with edge grain sticking up. (Pictured below) Boos and some of the other manufacturers refer to this a “Blended” grain, but I can’t seem to find any info on this in the woodworking world.

My second questions is that I’ve made a few cutting boards this way with some success. Now I want to glue up a tabletop using this method, but was wondering about using a finish nailer, instead of clamping a few strips togther at a time. Is this a bad idea for any reason? I’ll need to make sure I avoid any areas that will be cut, and the outside strips will need to be clamped, but is there any reason to think I can’t put 2-3 finish nails in each strip to speed up the process?

8 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3885 days

#1 posted 01-26-2017 01:33 AM

Are you talking about using no glue and just nails to hold it together?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View mision56's profile


48 posts in 752 days

#2 posted 01-26-2017 03:10 AM

Hey Mark,
no, I’m thinking more like norm :) using them as clamps for the glue. They would be concealed by the outermost strips.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 764 days

#3 posted 01-26-2017 06:27 AM

Nothing is pictured below

View jerryminer's profile


944 posts in 1614 days

#4 posted 01-26-2017 06:53 AM

Nails don’t make very good clamps, IMHO, but screws do.

But if it were me, I’d leave the metal fasteners out and just glue and clamp (steel turns to rust over time and moisture exposure. rust stains wood permanently).

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View EricTwice's profile


237 posts in 706 days

#5 posted 01-26-2017 12:11 PM

You might put a pin or two here and there to keep things aligned, but don’t expect nails to take the place of a clamp.

Personally I wouldn’t use any metal in it at all. There is always the chance that you will reveal them when you are cutting the piece to finished size. They aren’t good on an expensive saw blade. and I don’t like fixing the mess they make either.

I would glue it up in sections. If it is to be three feet wide I would make 3 pieces, 12 inches wide, or 4 at 9 inches first. and then rejount and glue those into the finished top.

The point of this is to not have 20 pieces sliding around with the glue acting like axle grease and then have the top be to thin because you couldn’t get it to line up right.

If I need to combine 2 pieces to get to the the right length, I would have some kind of joinery between them. (a dowel will work) whatever it is, be sure it will not show in the finished work. This is done to make your pieces easier to control in the glue up. also you should make sure you do not have 2 center joints lining up. Try to keep them a foot or so apart from each other. It will look better in the end.

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View mision56's profile


48 posts in 752 days

#6 posted 01-31-2017 05:25 PM

Hey All,
Thanks for the advice all around. I elected to avoid the finish nails and am looking pretty good so far. I’ve been cluing it up three strips at a time and am about 3/4 of the way through with pretty good results so far.

Thanks again for all the advice.

View ScottM's profile


689 posts in 2319 days

#7 posted 01-31-2017 05:47 PM

Looks nice. Have a question about glue ups in this manner. Do you put glue on the end grains of pieces or just the faces, since you have the edge grain up? Any issues with shorter pieces sliding out under clamp pressure?

View mision56's profile


48 posts in 752 days

#8 posted 01-31-2017 07:58 PM

Hey Scott,
I did put glue on the end grains. What I’ve done to keep them tight is to glue those then glue the faces. Than I put calls on and put 2 clamps across the strips on with low pressure. Than I have a 4 ft bar clamp that I use to clamp the end grain pieces together and then tighten up the original clamps.

I have to do another course tonight and I’ll see if I can get some pictures to outline it all.

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