Butchering my butcher block plans

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Forum topic by yosemitesamiam posted 12-02-2011 07:50 PM 3336 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2566 days

12-02-2011 07:50 PM

Hey guys…been snooping around here as well as wood whisperer for quite some time. I’m ankle deep in my first butcher block project, a free standing piece for my wife for Christmas…going in to waist depth today hopefully.

I have my height and all laid out. Been working on the bench portion first, which is solid cherry.

The butcher block itself I’m planning on a 24×24” piece at 5” high/thick of 6/4 rock maple. I’m dealing with materials at the moment for this and want to be sure I get this right. With 6/4 maple, one board foot I’m figuring will be 1.5”x8” boards. I should be able to get 5 clean rips out of each board…meaning I’m going to need 48 board feet of maple lumber for this project. Can anyone please confirm or deny this for me? This project is going to get pricey quick if so.



6 replies so far

View RONFINCH's profile


143 posts in 3123 days

#1 posted 12-02-2011 08:19 PM

Hmm, not sure, but I figure 24×24 is 4 board feet. 4 board feet times 5 inches thick = 20 board foot plus blade width to cut…...... 20 cut board foot????

View ShaneA's profile


7052 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 12-02-2011 08:35 PM

Yeah, I am with Ron, I was answering the question the same, when my computer went pyscho. There will be waste so you will need more than 20bf, and that does not take into account base requirements for wood. However, at 5” thick, this will be a substantial piece that is worthy of some investment. Good Luck and Welcome to LJs.

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3249 days

#3 posted 12-02-2011 08:41 PM

Also keep in mind that if you want it to be exactly 5”-thick, you’re either going to have to make each board a little longer than 5”, or glue everything up perfectly flush. I’d cut them to a bit over 5” personally, then sand or plane it all flush.

Whatever stock thickness you go with, measure to see that 6/4-stock is actually 1.5”-thick. And definitely take into account 1/8”-blade thickness/per cut (or however thick your blade is).

Ron’s math results are the same as mine, with the measurements you gave above.

I’d definitely buy a little extra, as you might run into an issue or defect somewhere, although you should be able to fairly easily put the minor defects into the middle of the block, assuming they’re minor defects. I’d avoid burying any major defects in the middle of the block.

Welcome to LumberJocks and keep us posted!

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

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3280 days

#4 posted 12-02-2011 09:13 PM

Also, if you have an 8” wide board, you’ll have to make 4 cuts to get 5 pieces. If you have a full kerf 1/8” blade, you’ll end up exactly at 8”. So if you need trim some of to clean up the edges I would shoot for a little over 8” wide or else you will only get 4 strips out of it and one a tad short.

With that said, are you doing this as an endgrain top? If so, it would (16) 1.5” x 1.5” squares for both the length and width or 256 all together at 5” a piece in length to stand on end. So, to cut 256 1.5” x 1.5” x5” pieces you would need 1.5” x 8” x 260” since you’d get 5 pieces for every 5 inches. That’s 21.66 bd ft. Now that doesn’t take into account for the crosscuts. That would be about another 7” or 8” or so. But I would agree that you should get about 20% more than you calculate to be safe and pick better pieces if some have flaws.

-- Matt -

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3142 days

#5 posted 12-03-2011 03:03 AM

I am with ROn as well. 20 bf of rock maple @ 4 pounds/bf equals 80 pounds.

SUre you need 5” thickness

Welcome to LJs

-- Back home. Fernando

View yosemitesamiam's profile


2 posts in 2566 days

#6 posted 12-03-2011 09:03 PM

Hey all! Thanks for the great replies! Working this slightly different…but first, to answer a question, yes I’m going end grain. That said, using 4/4 S2S…instead of squares, going with rectangles. I’m playing with design patterns now. I’m going to go with a brick type pattern for strength…got my 1/2 gallon of Tightbond III ready to roll, going to be cutting today. The legs wound up around 3” instead of 4 like I hoped…caused by the huge block of cherry I had already having to be milled much farther than we planned to get it straight. It was a sale piece after all…in sticking with the rule of 5:8 I’m thinking of cutting back to 4” thick instead of 5” so that it doesn’t over power the legs visually. legs just need some final sanding, but they are all routed out and ready.

I wound up purchasing 42 board feet of Rock Maple. 10 count of 7’ board that vary between 6-8” in width and are 3/4” on the width…going to cost me about a 1/3rd doing it this way than would have doing 6/4 or even 8/4 lumber…material cost always an issue!

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