Monday, February 11, 2008

Kitchen Island Butcher Block Countertop

This is/was our last big punchlist item. Oh for sure, we have other things to do, but at this point, the rest seems rather minor, ie we've become inured to the blight. Plus, have you noticed? The weather's turned the corner, well, at least in our neck of the woods. Goodbye winter, hello gardening!

So this may be the last post for awhile re the inside of our house. I may start posting garden stuff though :-)

Here's the island with the "temporary" plywood top. We just picked it up (it was never bolted down), moved it over to the Yellow Room and repurposed it as a sewing/cutting table.

Then we had to do a little prep work before we could top the island with the butcher block.

It's kinda hard to explain, but I think the cabinetmaker assumed we were installing a stone top, so on the two sides of the island where we have an overhang, they cut away the rim to allow for a piece of plywood to extend out and support the stone overhang. But since we were using butcher block, we didn't need the plywood support. That meant we had to build back up the two overhang sides of the island. We used scrap 1x4 that we had lying around and built a frame that sits flush with the rest of the island cabinetry. Now we had a large level surface for the butcher block to rest on and to bolt thru.

We used construction adhesive and glued the frame pieces to the cabinet. Then we drilled holes thru the frame and cabinet making sure the hole was slightly bigger than the bolt. This allowed for expansion/contraction of the wood butcher block.

Here's the beautiful butcher block that had been sitting on top of our dining table under cover for 2 months. Tristan and I moved it over and on top of the island, positioning it so that we had the right amount of overhang on all four sides. That thing is HEAVY; I don't think it would move a smidgeon even if it weren't bolted down.

Then it was a matter of screwing in the bolts from the bottom of the cabinet up into the butcher block. That was probably the hardest part of the job!

We had to remove some drawers to get in there, plus the maple was so hard, Tristan had to drill pilot holes to get the bolts started.

It took 8 months, but we finally got our island countertop installed. We have a mineral oil finish on it for now. At some point I may consider tung oil which is more water resistant and requires less on going maintenance. Right after installing the butcher block, I was oiling every day. I'm thinking the wood got kinda dry sitting on our dining table for two months. Lately though, I can get away with oiling once every 4-5 days.

Update:  6 years later.....Our butcher block counter is doing great.  I'm a bit lazy when it comes to housekeeping, so let's just say MAYBE I oil the counter 1 or at most 2 times per year.  Still just using the Boos Mystery oil, never switched to tung oil.  I am careful to wipe up things that might stain (tomato sauce, strawberries and the like) using just a damp paper towel, water only, no cleaners, bu other than that very low maintenance and we eat practically all our meals there, though we don't cut directly on it.


Marble and Granite said...

Hey the granite counter top is amazing. Very smoothly finished.

j9504 said...

Hi there. I am also putting a butcher block counter top on my island. I'm wondering, how thick is your top? 1 1/2 inches? 2 inches? Also wondering, if you ended up going with the tung oil or if you stuck with the mineral oil. Thanks for your help!

Pearl said...

Our butcher block is from John Boos and is 1 1/2" thick. I use their Mystery Oil which they say is "Made from a mixture of mineral oil, linseed oil and orange oil." They recommend oiling every 3-4 wks, but I oil based on appearance (starting to look a bit dry) which is more like every 3-4 months. We eat almost all of our meals at the island and cleaning up the butcher block is a breeze. Just wipe with damp sponge/cloth. No stains! But have to add, we don't cut directly on the island top which probably helps to maintain its pristine look.

house renovation said...

I looked at your pictures and it looks like you have a greater than 12" overhang from your island on the "long side" of the butcher block. How did you give that support?

I have an 18" overhang and using the Boos 2.25" maple with a 48"x72" countertop.

They told me something about anything over 12" requires support, but wasn't clear on if it was via corbels or if I could support with steel.

Any advice is appreciated.


Pearl said...

I found this on the internet re overhangs for butcher block:
"If your butcher block counter is installed so that the overhanging portion runs along the length of the piece, parallel to the wood rails, the maximum allowed overhang without additional bracket support is 8 inches.
If, however, your butcher block counter is installed so that the overhanging portion runs perpendicular to the length of the wood rails, the maximum allowed overhang is 12 inches...overhang greater than 12 inches must be stabilized underneath by brackets."
Hope that makes sense.
OK, so our overhang is 11" and runs parallel to the wood rails. Basically we exceeded their 8" rule and didn't use support brackets. We haven't had any problems, but of course we don't sit on the overhang :-)
On the other hand, with an 18" overhang, I think you should use a corbel or bracket. They have some pretty hefty wood ones that would no doubt do the trick.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Where did you buy your John Boos countertop? Did you order it online? Is there anywhere to find one around here? We were looking at Ikea, but they look so tacky compared to the Boos.

Pearl said...

Yes, we bought our John Boos countertop online; I can't remember the online source, but just google John Boos Countertops and click on Shopping (left hand side column). You'll get a list of suppliers.
I also considered IKEA, but in the end I needed a specific size and they didn't have it, so I went with John Boos. We've been very happy with the countertop. We're on year 5 and it's been easy to maintain and easy to keep clean.
Good luck with your project!