How to Build Your Own Butcher Block





Introduction: How to Build Your Own Butcher Block

About: There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would have thrown out or torn down!

I found that to build your own butcher block is not all that complicated! With the wonderful resource of our barn to pull from (my grandparents’ old wood working shop) I just keep finding more and more material to work with. In this case I knew several years ago exactly what I planned on using for the butcher block on my island – I didn’t yet have an island in mind but that wasn’t the point! To see the finished island check it out here: A radio stand converted into a red kitchen island. You can see that this butcher block still needs the final finishing step which will either be me sanding it for many hours or Joe and I finding a hand held planer to borrow. A planer would absolutely be the best choice here (there is no doubt) because the pine I was using (as you can see) has rounded edges.

Step 1: How To: Butcher Block

Building it took some time but was extremely easy. Most of the time people do not add brad nails (or any type of nails) to a butcher block, instead they either use biscuits or nothing at all. I wasn’t comfortable with that and don’t have thetools to do biscuits so I went ahead and put a couple of brads (here’s our brad nailer) in every board along with the glue (and here’s the glue I used). I put two 2x4s down for a flat surface, over a drop cloth in the middle of my kitchen. I took another 2×4 and used that as a flat edge to butt all of the boards up to so that I would remain as straight and flush as possible.

Step 2: Getting It Straight...

Because my material is a very odd choice for butcher block I knew this would be a rather “unconventional” butcher block counter top. However, I think it turned out nice and I didn’t have to cut anything down, I just used the length of the boards that I had on hand. (Why my grandpa had literally a pallet’s worth of these little pine boards in the barn I have no idea, I’m darned curious if he had some kind of plan for them). Once everything was nailed and glued together I took our two long clamps and clamped it as hard as I possibly could. I also had to do a little pounding on the whole thing to get it more straight as I didn’t do the best of jobs in making a perfect rectangle, however, the hammering on it worked and the whole thing turned out better then I thought it would. I left it clamped for over a day and then put it on top of our newly finished island (A radio stand converted into a red kitchen island) and attached it with a few brad nails from the underside. It’s not going anywhere.

Step 3: How to Butcher Block

Its going to be a messy long job if I’m going to sand this down so all the ridges are gone and its smooth but I do look forward to it (someday). I also really look forward to seeing it all oiled up, but, for now, we’re living with it as is until I have less pressing projects to work on – like, getting ourselves some inside doors! Make sure and see the final product here!



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    OH my, oh my!! All that work and you didn't use waterproof glue? White Elmer's glue. . . . ommmm. What oil are you going to use on it, Mineral Oil (I hope) ?

    2 replies

    Yes mineral oil, once I get it all sanded down and finished :) Or, if we have no plans on using it as a cutting board (still on the fence about that) we main just seal it really well with a water based polycrylic.

    it would be a shame to go through all that trouble to make it and then not use it for what it was made for.

    Isn't this more like a laminated breadboard than a butcher's block? I say this because I think a butcher's block work surface uses the end grain. Also, if you are using good glue and clamps, there may be no need for the nails.

    2 replies

    you are right on the end grain... but maybe for a big cuttingboard just for home use, this is super cool :)

    Your grandfather may have had all of those small pieces of pine to use as spacers for drying lumber. Very nice job.

    1 reply

    Now, that is not something I had thought of, perhaps! Thank you for commenting!