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Input on Butcher Block Countertop Finishes

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Pugga, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Dec 1, 2011 at 5:56 AM
    #1
    Pugga

    Pugga [OP] Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    I'm looking for some input to those who have finished their own butcher block counters. I recently purchased an unfinished, maple butcher block and am torn on how to finish it. I've read lots of forums and DIY sites but they seem to be lacking pictures and have conflicting information. From what I can tell, if I want to use it as a food prep area, my options are natural (no finish, just diligently clean after use), veggie oil, olive oil, mineral oil, linseed oil, tung oil, walnut oil, beeswax or carnuba wax.

    I've ruled out veggie oil and olive oil because some sites say they can become rancid over time. I'm leaning away from walnut oil because no one will take a stance as to whether or not food prepared on the surface will cause an allergic reaction and leaning away from linseed oil because that has gotten people sick (vomitting) if it's not applied correctly.

    That leaves me with mineral oil, tung oil and the waxes. I think I want to go with tung oil and beeswax. Does any one have any input, suggestions or, even better, pictures?
     
  2. Dec 1, 2011 at 6:22 AM
    #2
    macgyver

    macgyver Well-Known Member

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  3. Dec 1, 2011 at 6:28 AM
    #3
    afd23a

    afd23a Well-Known Member

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    I've got a cutting board that I've used "wood oil" I've gotten from the hardware store. It says it's mineral oil on the label. I'd probably want something in a larger quantity for a counter top, but I've barely used any at all for a 1'x2' cutting board.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Dec 1, 2011 at 6:38 AM
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    afd23a

    afd23a Well-Known Member

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    BTW, mineral oil doesn't really "dry". After you apply it, you have to go back later and wipe off what was not absorbed by the wood. It's also colorless, odorless and tasteless. FYI, mineral oil is also sold as a laxative but I don't think you're going to get the runs from using it on a counter.

    If you decide to do Tung oil, make sure you get just tung oil and not a tung oil finish. The finishes may have other things in them like solvents. I've used tung oil (or tung oil finishes) to finish other wood projects but not anything using food.

    Beeswax blended with an oil sounds interesting. I've only heard of it mixed with mineral oil or linseed oil. I've never used it to finish anything. I like the idea of the water repellency it provides.

    If you've got a Woodcraft or Rockler store near you, either of them should have a few options and some advice.
     
  5. Dec 1, 2011 at 6:48 AM
    #5
    DEEVON911

    DEEVON911 Semi-Pro

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    X2 on the mineral oil. I use this on my cutting board. Usually once every couple weeks. And wife uses it alot. Its great for repelling water, which is what you want. Never got the runs from it. I just use a paper towel, pour some on, rub it in to the cuts from cutting on it and wipe off excess. Works great.
     
  6. Dec 1, 2011 at 7:04 AM
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    Pugga

    Pugga [OP] Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    Damn, that table came out looking great! I've used Tung Oil Finish on wood before, but the sites I've read very explicitly say to use raw tung oil so it doesn't contain all the other non-food friendly stuff. I do want to use it as a cutting board but I'm putting these on 3 counters, 2 - 1' sections on either side of the stove and a 4' section on another wall. The sections next to the stove will actually be cut on, the other one most likely will not be as we have our appliances set up on that area now.

    Thanks for the info! I'll have to look into those stores, I'm not familiar with them but I'll see if there's one around. From what I've read, you can use oils as a finish, or waxes as a finish by themselves but, if you want additional protection, you can rub on the oil, wait for it to 'dry', then apply wax over top of it. The wax eventually wears off, just like when you wax your truck, then just re-apply oil as needed and wax over the top. Supposedly the wax helps fill in larger voids that the oils can't span so it's kind of a 'belts and suspenders' finish. What I don't know is what the wax finish looks like. So many options... I might have to finish the bottom side of the counter in sections, using different finishes, then decide which one I like.
     
  7. Dec 1, 2011 at 7:25 AM
    #7
    kanuk

    kanuk Newbie

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    I used a tinted mineral oil from Ikea (1 bottle was $10) about 3 years ago on my new maple butcher block counters. It's not a dark tint, just enough to hide any imperfections and it suited our decor better. I applied 3 coats, as per the instructions, before I even used the counters. Now I apply twice per year and they still look fantastic (even with 3 kids!)
    Hope this helps
     
  8. Dec 1, 2011 at 1:13 PM
    #8
    Pugga

    Pugga [OP] Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    Thanks for the responses so far guys, any others with pictures of butcher block tops (and the finish you used)?
     
  9. Jan 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM
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    Pugga

    Pugga [OP] Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    Here's the results with a Maple top and a mineral oil finish. Came out pretty good I think. I still need to finish and mount the back splash but it's getting there.

    SDC11495.jpg
    SDC11494.jpg
     
  10. Jan 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM
    #10
    RV7Garage

    RV7Garage R.O.U.S.

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    That looks really nice. I would never cut on it. :)
     
  11. Jan 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM
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    DEEVON911

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    :thumbsup: looking good!
     
  12. Jan 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM
    #12
    Pugga

    Pugga [OP] Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    I know, I'm kind of scared to. I won't use them as an actual butcher block for a while until the novelty wears off. I still have a pretty large island that will be granite to work on though. I liked the butcher block because of the look, the price and I was able to cut and install it.
     
  13. Jan 15, 2012 at 2:53 PM
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    VanCity4x

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    End grain cutting boards, B walnut, birch, purple heart. Used Mineral oil and butchers block wax. Use A LOT of mineral oil. I put so much in that i stand it on its edge and its seaps down through the wood. Id reapply yearly or when a dull spot comes up.

    DONT cut any berries or food with lots of color. Mom ruined a all birch cutting board by cutting strawberries on it.

    photo (6).jpg
     
  14. Jan 15, 2012 at 3:01 PM
    #14
    Pugga

    Pugga [OP] Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    Wow.... those are nice looking! I keep applying mineral oil daily for almost 2 weeks before I mounted them. The guy at the hardware store told me the same thing, just keep applying til it won't soak in any more.

    Thanks for the tip on the berries! I've never had counters like these before so it's all a learning experience.
     
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