Butcher block countertops can be made from a wide variety of wood types and grades (or finishings). All butcher block worktops are made in a similar way, cutting the wood to shape, sanding and buffing it, polishing and then sealing it before proceeding to install it. But the type and grade of the wood is what will give your butcher block the desired look and feel, so it’s worth spending some time choosing one you love. Different woods also mean different butcher block countertop prices, and more exotic woods will carry a premium.

What is the Best Wood for a Butcher Block

There is not a single “best wood for butcher block” because depending on your tastes and priorities certain types of hardwood will be better than others. For example, if price is a priority then cheaper woods from quick growing trees like birch can be preferable, whereas for the eco-conscious customer bamboo or reclaimed wood would be the top choice. If your main thing is fair trade, then look for woods that are guaranteed to come from managed forests and with respect to the local people working them, even if it involves higher costs. Or you may prefer to choose based on the colour of the rest of the kitchen, such as the cabinets and floors. A small kitchen would benefit from a lighter wood, whereas a very large one can go for elegant, darker hardwood countertops without looking opressive. Here is a small overview of some of the most common wood for a butcher block countertop.

Maple Butcher Block Countertop Wood

Maple Butcher Block Countertop Wood

Maple Butcher Block Countertop Wood

Maple is a traditional choice of hardwood for butcher blocks, with fine grain and generally light colours. It has a smooth texture but it’s very resistent and durable, so a good choice for almost any kitchen and one of the most popular types of wood.

Bestseller No. 1
Big Bison Maple Butcher Block and Wood Countertop, 36 x 25 x 1.5 Inches, Made in the USA
  • Solid Maple Butcher Block - Measures 36" long and 25" wide (standard countertop depth). Full 1.5 inch thick wood construction for stability and...
  • Premium Wood Countertop - Bison blocks all feature edge grain construction using full length wood staves, ensuring our blocks are truly high quality...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Wood Welded Maple Butcher Block Countertop (60" x 25" x 1-1/2")
  • Edge Grain Design.
  • Made from Solid, Hardened Sugar Maple.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Edsal BB3060 Butcher Block Wood Work Bench Top, 60" Width x 30" Depth, Maple
  • Made from top quality kiln-dried maple strips
  • Solid laminated maple top resists damage by sharp tools and solid blows yet harmless to precision machined parts and dies

Oak Butcher Block Countertops

Oak Butcher Block Countertops IKEA

Oak butcher block countertop

Red oak is popular in the northeastern U.S. because it fits great with colonial style homes, whereas white oak has a medium tone and fine grain that make for beautifully neutral butcher blocks. Oak butcher block countertops with white cabinets look understated and classic, for example.

SaleBestseller No. 1
John Boos R02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 24 Inches x 18 Inches x 1.5 Inches
  • John Boos Block R02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board measures 24 inches long, 18 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick
  • Made in the USA: Each John Boos Butcher Block and Cutting Board is proudly made in Effingham, Illinois by skilled craftspeople using time honored...
Bestseller No. 2
Cutting Board Wax and Conditioner, Protects Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks - Made in USA with Real Beeswax
  • Premium Cutting Board Wax and Conditioner, Food Safe and Made in USA
  • Includes Genuine Beeswax, Brazilian Carnauba Wax and USP Grade Mineral Oil
SaleBestseller No. 3
20 Slot Universal Knife Block: Shenzhen Knives Large Bamboo Wood Knife Block without Knives - Countertop Butcher Block Knife Holder and Organizer with Wide Slots for Easy Kitchen Knife Storage
  • 20 UNIVERSAL SLOTS: Our knife blocks hold up to 19 knives with an extra slot for scissors or a sharpening rod; please note you will receive the...
  • WIDE ANGLED OPENINGS: The horizontal slots put less wear on the blades and are angled with a wider opening for easier handling and to fit everything...

Bamboo Butcher Block Countertop Wood

Bamboo Butcher Block Countertop Wood IKEA

Bamboo Butcher Block Countertop Wood IKEA

Bamboo may sound like a strange choice for a hardwood kitchen countertop, but it’s actually really practical and has impeccable green credentials. Bamboo is actually a herb that grows incredibly quick, so there is no damage to the environment. At the same time, bamboo countertops are naturally anti-microbial, resistant and durable.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Prosumer's Choice Bamboo Stovetop Cover and Countertop Cutting Board w/Adjustable Legs - Large
  • ELEVATED ADJUSTABLE FEET: Elegantly covers the stovetop to provide an extra work surface
  • LARGE WORKSPACE FOR YOUR KITCHEN: A large surface area means you have plenty of room
Bestseller No. 2
Home Soft Things Boonliving Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo Tabletop, Parallel Pressure, 30" x 60" x 0.875" H
  • SMOOTH ECO-FRIENDLY BAMBOO DESK TOP! Enjoy the use of pure green furniture. Fast -growing renewal resource, Bamboo matures in just 5 years, making it...
  • DURABILITY AT IT'S FINEST! Bamboo, sturdy and tough, does not break or scratch easily. Bamboo fibers are so strong and flexible that it literally...
Bestseller No. 3
EXTRA LARGE Bamboo Cutting Board Butcher Block By Neet - Thick Heavy & Solid (16.5"x 12" x 2" Inch) Natural Organic Wood Wooden Serving Trays & Cheese Platters Great Chef Kitchen Gift
  • A TRUE BUTCHER'S BLOCK FOR EVERY FOOD-LOVER. Stop chopping your pricey ribeye or T-bone steaks on flimsy cutting board that crack and dull your knife...
  • THICKER, HEAVIER & STURDIER THAN EVER. Our 100% organic bamboo butcher cutting block is 2-inches thick and weighs a whopping 8.5 pounds, so you can...

Birch Butcher Block

Birch Butcher Block Countertop

Birch Butcher Block Countertop

Birch worktops show off the rings caused by the quick growth of the tree. Fine-grained and pale, it has a satin-like sheen that will darken with age. It can be found at major retailers at relatively unexpensive prices.

Bestseller No. 1
Allwood 1.5" x 24" x 60" Birch Table/Counter/Island Top see all edge options (Sharp edges (no routing))
  • Genuine Allwood Baltic Birch Island / Counter / Table top / Butcher block
  • Affordable yet elegant looking Island / Counter / Table top replacement

Teak Butcher Block

Teak Butcher BlockIf you are after a centerpiece for your kitchen, teak is one of the hardwoods better suited for a dramatic statement, particularly against solid coloured countertops. The wood is highly textured with light and dark brown grain.

Bestseller No. 1
Howard Products BBC012 Butcher Block Conditioner, 12 oz
  • Exceeds US FDA regulations for direct and indirect contact with food
  • Revitalizing blend prevents drying and cracking of hardwoods and bamboo
SaleBestseller No. 2
CLARK'S Oil & Wax Large Block Applicator (New V2 Design!) | USA Maple Construction | Chef - Restaurant - Butcher Block - Countertops
  • REDESIGNED to fit your hand even more comfortably than our last version. ERGONOMIC HANDLE is specifically contoured to the shape of your hand, making...
  • STYLISH HARDWOOD MAPLE CONSTRUCTION and still MADE IN THE USA! (Windsor, Connecticut, to be exact). The quality and craftsmanship of CLARK'S...
Bestseller No. 3
Food Grade Mineral Oil for Cutting Boards, Countertops and Butcher Blocks - Food Safe and Made in the USA
  • FDA food grade - safe for use on wood and bamboo cutting boards, countertops, utensils, salad bowls and wood products
  • Pure USP mineral oil - highest quality white mineral oil for food contact with tamper seal, unlike lower quality bulk mineral oil for non-food use

Cherry Butcher Block Countertops

Cherry Butcher Block Countertops

Cherry Butcher Block Countertops

American or Black Cherry has a naturally deep red or light red-brown colour that darkens with age to a deep brown-red colour in a variety of textures, from straight to wavy or curly streaks. It’s not the most durable type of butcher blocks, but it’s definitely beautiful. You can also find it in a lovely light, creamy pink colour with dark wavy streaks.

Bestseller No. 1
Armani Fine Woodworking End Grain Cherry Butcher Block Countertop
  • Custom Sizes Available - Contact us for a quick quote
  • Handmade in Colorado, USA by Armani Fine Woodworking
Bestseller No. 2
John Boos CHYKCT4825-O Cherry Kitchen Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 48" x 25"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 48 inches wide, 25 inches long and 1.5 inches thick
  • Penetrating Oil Finish: Natural wood surface is finished with food-safe oil, allowing you to use the countertop as a cutting surface
Bestseller No. 3
Unfinished Cherry Butcher Block Table/Counter/Island top with Square Edge 12"W x 12"L x 1-1/2"Thick
  • Unfinished cherry butcher block with square edge 12"W x 12"L x 1-1/2"Thick
  • This block is very thick & durable.

Hickory Butcher Block Countertops

Hickory Butcher Block Countertops

Hickory Butcher Block Countertops

Hickory has a warm, reddish tone once sealed that looks amazing. This is a very heavy and hard wood, and so very durable, with a lot of beautiful texture.

Other commonly used woods for butcher blocks are pine, poplar, beech or alder. Depending on your location some will be more available and affordable than others, as importing wood is generally expensive.

SaleBestseller No. 1
20 Slot Universal Knife Block: Shenzhen Knives Large Bamboo Wood Knife Block without Knives - Countertop Butcher Block Knife Holder and Organizer with Wide Slots for Easy Kitchen Knife Storage
  • 20 UNIVERSAL SLOTS: Our knife blocks hold up to 19 knives with an extra slot for scissors or a sharpening rod; please note you will receive the...
  • WIDE ANGLED OPENINGS: The horizontal slots put less wear on the blades and are angled with a wider opening for easier handling and to fit everything...
Bestseller No. 2
Forever Joint Hickory Butcher Block Top - 1.5" x 36" x 72"
  • To inquire about a custom size click on our store name "Forever Joint Tops, LLC", and then click the yellow button that says "Ask a question". One of...
  • 1.5" Thick x 36" Wide x 72" Long
Bestseller No. 3
Forever Joint Hard Maple Butcher Block Wood Countertop - 1.5" x 26" x 38"
  • CUSTOM CUT SIZES AVAILABLE! ANY SIZE UP TO 36" x 96".
  • To inquire about a custom size click on our store name "Forever Joint Tops, LLC", and then click the yellow button that says "Ask a question". One of...

Wood Grades For Kitchen Countertops

The grade, or quality, of a butcher block countertop depends on how the different blocks of wood are glued together. Wood is very strong when parallel to the grain, and the bonding is also stronger when using the face and edge grain, but less strong on the end grain.

Wood configurations edge end face grain

Wood configurations edge end face grain

There are 3 wood grades.

Edge grain is the cheapest, second stronger and most stable of the three, and as such the most popular. The surface is made with the long and narrow edges of the boards, so it has a striped pattern.

Flat grain on the other hand is arranged so the surface is formed by the width of the boards, which means less of a pattern than with edge grain.

Finally, end grain grade uses smaller blocks of wood placed so the front of the wood (the bit that would go at the end of a board) forms the surface. As such it shows a lot of pattern with the knots and grow rings, and since the pieces are very small it’s very strong. However, it’s also the most expensive and the one with more room to get damaged by water being absorbed into the wood and expanding it.

Bestseller No. 1
Big Bison Maple Butcher Block and Wood Countertop, 36 x 25 x 1.5 Inches, Made in the USA
  • Solid Maple Butcher Block - Measures 36" long and 25" wide (standard countertop depth). Full 1.5 inch thick wood construction for stability and...
  • Premium Wood Countertop - Bison blocks all feature edge grain construction using full length wood staves, ensuring our blocks are truly high quality...
SaleBestseller No. 2
John Boos WALKCT-BL6025-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 60" x 25"
  • Boos Block Walnut Countertops bring a sophisticated elegance to your kitchen
  • Solid American Walnut Construction
Bestseller No. 3
Grizzly Industrial H9687 - Solid Maple Cabinet Top 36" Wide x 25" Deep x 1-1/2" High
  • Since the first day grizzly started we have been using these maple workbench tops in our shipping and service departments we estimate that we have o
  • We estimate that we have over 200 tops in use and expect them to be in service for the next 50 years. our workbench tops are made of solid 1-3/4-Inch

As you can see, deciding what is the best wood for butcher block countertops is not easy because there is not really a bad or a absolutely superior type of hardwood. However, price and desired end result will help you choose the one more suitable for your needs.