Type of wood for butcher block island

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Forum topic by Elvin posted 10-20-2010 08:58 PM 10719 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Elvin's profile


72 posts in 3396 days

10-20-2010 08:58 PM

Hello all,
I am beginning to build a kitchen island with a “butcher block” top and I was wondering if there was one particular wood you wood choose for this project and why? Also, if you have any secrets to building the top, I would appreciate the help.
Thanks for the assist.

-- Elvin, Southern California, "How great would life be if we lived a little of it everyday"

7 replies so far

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2994 days

#1 posted 10-20-2010 09:09 PM

I would suggest Maple.
People have been using Maple for many years.
Google michigan maple and read for yourself.

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

View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3174 days

#2 posted 10-20-2010 09:13 PM

Hi El,

We have built hundreds of butcher blocks. The most common material is maple, followed by walnut, then cherry. Bamboo is popular because it’s considered green and we have done teak as well.

Most of what we build are decorative but when we know they are going to be used for cutting we typically make them from maple and also use a product called Good Stuff for the finish. It is food safe.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3283 days

#3 posted 10-20-2010 09:44 PM

I built my island from Hard Maple, which I feel is best also. We use ours for cutting all the time.
I think something like Oak would be a pore choice because of the open grain.

I usually glue them up with Titebond—-either II or III. They resist moisture as opposed to Titebond Original, Aathough I have evenused that in the past with good results. I cut strips from 3/4” stock a bit wider than the finish thickness I need. I use a glue roller to speed up that process. You either need to work fast, or maybe glue in sections if the top is large.


View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#4 posted 10-20-2010 10:01 PM

I recently had the good fortune to tour the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier Museum. In the galley was the original butchers block. It was at least 18” thick and about 36” square. It was made of solid Maple and was end grain construction. Besides the gigantic size, it was really special because each piece was about 2” square and fitted together with- what looked like- sliding dove tails!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rycollier's profile


5 posts in 2773 days

#5 posted 10-20-2010 11:49 PM

This is great information. I’m designing one too.

View Elvin's profile


72 posts in 3396 days

#6 posted 10-21-2010 01:15 AM

Thank you all, it really helps me. I look forward to showing you the finished product and I am sure I will have more questions as I proceed with this top. LJ is a great place to find out what you need and good people to talk to.

-- Elvin, Southern California, "How great would life be if we lived a little of it everyday"

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3186 days

#7 posted 10-21-2010 12:19 PM

I use maple all the time, along with walnut and others. I feel it’s important to make sure you make this End Grain no matter what wood you choose. It will longer and be better on your knives. Use Titebond III its water proof. Good luck

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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