DIY Butcher Block?

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claydowling's picture
Joined: 2011-01-26 17:28
Make vs Buy

For a butcher block, I'd suggest buying a pre-made butcher block. You'll still need to trim it to size, but the parts that require more advanced tools are already done for you.

To make your own, you'd need to buy 8/4 maple, which runs about $3.80 per board foot. A board foot is twelve inches by twelve inches, and one inch thick (or 4/4 in rough lumber parlance). You'd then rip strips, joint the edges, glue, and plane the final surface flat.

Butcher Block

I'm a part-time lurker here and finally found something I can comment knowledgeably. A few weeks ago I installed a butcher block / wood countertop. After researching, I ended up buying it at The prices were low and if you are willing to do the work yourself, you can save over $1000 doing it yourself.

Good luck!

arrowsbydish's picture
Joined: 2014-01-28 13:06
make vs buy

i think the whole point of building one yourself is to do all that. wheres the fun in buying one premade.

jim dishman

Joined: 2010-09-05 20:30
DIY butcher block is tedious,

DIY butcher block is tedious, because of all the gluing and clamping. Buy the top and make the rest.

I just ordered countertops from (they are west coast, so price with shipping to decide if it's a good deal). CraftArt - the other guy's link, is in Atlanta. if they have a local outlet for you

IKEA sells several sizes of birch, oak and beech

Cheap for the looks: Home depot sells panels made of joined wood strips that look like, but are not as thick as BB

Also look at thrift stores for used kitchen carts with BB tops. And look on Craigslist and on the Re-Store places by Habitat for Humanity ... travel with your needed measurements in your wallet and keep your eyes open.

kyo's picture
Joined: 2010-12-29 17:21
Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your advice. I guess I will just buy the butcher block pre-made and do the rest from there. :) thanks again

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Guest (also lur...
wood countertop

I used a craft art wood countertop, too!

Loved it and did DIY so I saved a lot of money but it doesn't look like a cheap Ikea wood counter top that's all "thrown together" looking. Mine looks high end aaand awesome.

Guest (also lur...
wood countertop

I used a craft art wood countertop, too!

Loved it and did DIY so I saved a lot of money but it doesn't look like a cheap Ikea wood counter top that's all "thrown together" looking. Mine looks high end aaand awesome.

fellow craft-ar...
wood countertop/seated island top

I used a Craft Art DIY wood countertop, too. Thanks for the advise fellow posters.

I sort of wanted to be a "true" do it yourselfer and build the whoel thing. But it was going to cost more (that surprised me, actually), be less stable (since I'm not a wood worker and in my research there's a lot to keeping the wood glued together properly) and take a LOT of time. Like.. a LOT of time.

So i bought one of the home owner version DIY wood counter tops. I love it. And so does the Mrs.

Overall work time was maybe 2 hours since I didn't need to make any cuts or add in a sink or anything. That probably would have taken longer. I had to allow for dry time between coats and so the project itself took about 3 days because of that dry time.

I used the waterproof tung oil finish they recommend. they had finishing instructions on the website so i just follow those. they are set up like a recipe pretty much so that was nice.

pleasantly surprised that it actually is waterproof.

oh - and there are a couple of coats that they list as "critical coats" that scared me to do. it was not hard though. They should probably take it down a notch with the bold font in red and naming them "critical"... b/c it scared me needlessly.

good luck wood countertop/table top/island countertop DIYers! This was s fun one. Took the least amount of work time of almsot anything in our kitchen but gets us the most compliments. Go figure.

Making your own Butcher Block

I made my own.
I got 10-12' 2" wide strips of maple at a reuse center. I paid $0.30 a LF. I glued, clamped and screwed them together with my Kreg pocket jig.

It's absolutely beautiful. I made one 14' 10" long x 24" deep, then a piece for the other side of my stove, which is 24" x 24".

I had to make it in place due to the weight and size, so there was a lot of sanding. At that point, I didn't own a planer. I do now, and know if I had it to do over again, I would have bought it before! Nonetheless, it was not difficult.

It's not hard. Just expensive if you don't frequent reuse centers.


Pine is a most common wood for building. And thats for reason. It is easy to work with and it lasts for ages.

Jake's picture
Joined: 2012-04-20 20:12
Butcher Block

If all you are looking for is a cutting board there are many really good kits. Build the cutting board and provide an insert in your island to hold it. It is portable also.


Joined: 2013-03-17 15:02
Butchers Block

I just made my own from PSE softwood I bought at the local diy store. I'm not using it for food preparation so I was happy to use softwood as it will be stained and varnished. I bought a few packs of 2" x 1.5" in 8ft long lengths and simply cut them into random lengths, cleaned the ends up a bit and glued them all together. It was a bit time consuming as I don't have any sash cramps yet so did it by gluing up in 3 narrow sections, narrow enough for my clamps, and then gluing them together and clamping up with some homemade temporary clamps. Once it had all dried I cleaned up the top & bottom with a plane & then a sander before cutting down to size and taking all the corners off with the router.

It was only after I'd done all that that I found out I could have bought a worktop, twice as long as I needed for not much more than I paid for the original wood I used! In fact, if I wasn't moving house soon I wood have ordered a few of those worktops for future use.

The butchers block effect isn't really that difficult to create, with very few tools needed, but the chances are you'll find some big, heartless superstore can sell you one for what you'll pay for materials's not as much fun buying them though.

Jake's picture
Joined: 2012-04-20 20:12
Building an End Grain Cutting Board

Go to the Wood Whisperer and watch his video on building an end grain cutting board. I bought my hard maple and purple heart from a place in AZ. You need hard wood for this kind of cutting board. Have a lot of clamps available and purchase the wood jointed. You will do a lot of cutting, gluing, clamping and waiting but the results are worth it.


AtlasRook's picture
Joined: 2014-03-26 12:24
Don't get discouraged about

Don't get discouraged about the cost! Most of the plans here call for construction grade pine, which is cheap, but can be made to look very nice. When you move away from that stuff, what you build isn't going to be inexpensive; but it will be cheaper than the same materials built by a professional. And you get to put as much craftsmanship you want.

When you start moving away from that stuff (to oak or maple), try to find a lumber yard to get a better price than the box stores. You get the best deals on rough cut stuff, but you'll have to finish it up a bit with a planer and a jointer to make it usable. The cost of those tools are usually offset after 2~3 projects done with rough cut vs. finished lumber.

Juanita_r's picture
Joined: 2012-04-26 05:49
Save your sanity and money

Save your sanity and money and go with premade. I understand the "but I want to do it all" concept, but it might just send you insane or broke, or both!

kitchenmama's picture
Joined: 2014-07-16 13:28
Wood top success

So I just created an account literally to share this one thing. The easy kitchen island was easy but I used a craft-art wood top instead of making my own. I swear it saved me hours. Just wanted to throw it out there since I got the idea from this thread. Thanks so much you guys!!!

This was the island:

and this is where I got the wood for the top and shelf:

Thanks ana-white users and thanks for recommending Craft-Art. huge success. I am going to share some pics of my work on the brag thing soon.