Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Butcher Blocks Galore

As I mentioned in my last post, our last house had a rolling island with a butcher block top. Although we never used the island for an island since the kitchen wasn't big enough, we did use the butcher block top all the time. We used it chopping all our vegetables, home made pizza making and other assorted baking. It was great. So when we moved to this house and it didn't have any butcher block surfaces, I knew I would have to remedy that.

The kitchen at our new place is horribly old and decrepit looking. It doesn't have any of the more modern features that make better use of space like lazy susan corner cabinets, pull out drawers, etc. It also has old laminate counter tops full of scorch marks, chips and tears. There is a peninsula on one side of the kitchen where we do most of our prep work and I thought about tearing up a chunk of laminate counter top and replacing it with a butcher block one but that seemed like a lot of work to a kitchen that I plan on redoing sometime in the near future. So I decided that I would be better served making a thinner butcher block service that I could sit on one end of the counter top that wouldn't be too high to use and would cover one of the worst burn marks.

I searched around and got a good deal on some Goncalo Alves hardwood that is sometimes called tigerwood or zebrawood. It looks really awesome with a natural finish which I want for anything I'm eating off. I jointed up the strips, glued it together in sections, planed the sections, jointed the sections, glued the sections together and after some decorative routing and lots of sanding, applied a coat of mineral oil and beeswax over it. I can't believe how much trouble it is to find mineral oil. The local box store showed me mineral spirits which aren't the same thing and tried to tell me it was. I finally went to a small drug store and they had it in the colon lubrication section. I wasn't aware that was what it was used for besides protecting butch block tops.

The final result looks awesome and I can't wait to have our first stir fry where I can chop up all the veggies on the same board which out using our small plastic ones and doing a lot of transferring to various dishes to find room to get everything chopped. I had some leftover pieces that were quite a bit more uniformly darker than all the rest of the pieces and I made a small cutting board out of it when it isn't lifting our dish strainer up so the water drains over the sink lip instead of all over the counter. My next project is to take up my butcher block making skills and make a huge butcher block wooden bench like of days gone by where I can do some assembly projects that require a large flat space up off the floor not currently found in my garage. I hope to take a few more pictures of it in process than I did for this project.


warren said...

That looks AWESOME! You did a heck of a job on that thing...almost a shame to ever risk cutting on it and damaging it!

Ron said...

It looks really nice, big enough to get a lot of use out of.

Does the hardwood hold up well over time?

Ed said...

Warren - Fortunately it is easy to make with the right tools so in fifty years when it is trashed, I can make a new one.

Ron - The one we had at our old house held up great. It looked no worse for the wear after eight years of use than the day we moved in. I probably could have spent ten minutes sanding and it would have looked as good as new. For me, the bigger a cutting board the better because I like to have room to get a lot of chopping done when I'm doing it.

edifice rex said...

The board looks great! Beautiful.
I get my mineral oil for my cutting boards at the grocery store; they sell it near where they keep the bamboo cutting boards.

Anonymous said...

It looks absolutely lovely.
Still, you'd better quit messing about with wood and start doing the needful with paints&solvents and chemicals since you are under a bit of a time cosh, while the babe is out of the building 80% of the time. Wood isn't urgent, it isn't going to bother little lungs overly much. And it's basically pure fun. But I'd say you are very correct in doing the kitchen. It's a question of when you'll get any chance to do it in the next five years. Every other room can be taken out of commission and left out for ages if necessary, the kitchen can't. Glad I'm not making the decisions in a personal way like you are. It's very easy for me to stick in an oar on a design question but I've not the ancillary worries though. You have my very best wishes.

Ed said...

Edifice Rex - Had I known it had medicinal purposes, I might have tried there first. Oh well, I know now.

Vince - My problem is that I really need a flat surface to work from for my next indoor project which is why I am making a workbench. The butcher block cutting boards was mostly done in spare moments while waiting for paint or glue to dry.

geri said...

It does look awesome. Makes my fingers itch to roll dough on it or chop up lots of veggies!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Even the box stores have Mineral Oil in the Pharmacy section. I buy it to mix with lanolin and herbs for my neuropathic feet. When I was younger and did a lot of fly fishing mineral oil, paraphin and white gas were the primary ingredients of my fly dope (to make the flies float on top of the water)