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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
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
SaleBestseller No. 2
Grizzly G9912 Solid Maple Workbench Top
  • Since the first day grizzly started we have been using these maple workbench tops in our shipping and service departments we estimated that we have
  • We estimated that we have over 200 tops in use and expected them to be in service probably for the next 50 years. our workbench tops are made of solid
SaleBestseller No. 3
Wood Welded Maple Butcher Block Countertop (60" x 25" x 1-1/2")
  • Edge Grain Design.
  • Made from Solid, Hardened Sugar Maple.

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.

Bestseller No. 1
Forever Joint Red Oak Butcherblock Wood Countertop - 1.5" x 26" x 60"
  • CUSTOM CUT SIZES AVAILABLE UP TO 36" WIDE AND 96" LONG
  • 1.5" Thick x 26" Wide x 60" Long
SaleBestseller No. 2
Cutting Board Wax and Conditioner, Protects Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks - Made in USA with Real Beeswax (1)
  • Premium Cutting Board Wax and Conditioner, Food Safe and Made in USA
  • Includes Genuine Beeswax, Brazilian Carnauba Wax and USP Grade Mineral Oil
Bestseller No. 3
Forever Joint Red Oak Butcherblock Bathroom Top - 1.5" x 26" x 38"
  • CUSTOM CUT SIZES AVAILABLE UP TO 36" WIDE AND 96" LONG
  • 1.5" Thick x 26" Wide x 38" Long

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
EXTRA LARGE Organic Bamboo Cutting Board & Thick Butcher Block w/Juice Groove - 17x13x1.5" Wood Cutting Board, Premium Quality and Professional Design - Antibacterial Bamboo Chopping Block
  • SIZE MATTERS - Professional chefs know, BIGGER and THICKER is better for wood cutting boards! Compare to other kitchen board and chop board products...
  • KNIFE-FRIENDLY AND DURABLE - This cutting board tray lasts longer than many kitchens! The advantages of a finely constructed bamboo end grain cutting...
Bestseller No. 2
LARGE Bamboo Butcher Chopping Block By Neet - Ultra Thick Heavy & Solid Cutting Board (16.5"x 12" x 2" Inch) Organic Anti-Bacterial Great For Wooden Serving Trays & Cheese Platters w/Handles
  • 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...
Bestseller No. 3
Boonliving Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo Tabletop, Parallel Pressure, 36" x 24" x 1.75" H
  • KITCHEN UPGRADE! Quickly spice up your kitchen by adding furniture-grade bamboo counter tops or island. Affordable bamboo countertops are...
  • BECAUSE WE LOVE OUR ENVIRONMENT! Bamboo, is it a grass, shrub, tree, or weed? Regardless of what you call it, one thing is indisputable: bamboo is one...

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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Allwood 5/4" (1.25") x 25" x 32" Birch Table / Counter / Island Top see all edge options (Routed edges 1 face)
  • Baltic Birch Island / Counter / Table top / Butcher block
  • Affordable yet elegant looking Island / Counter / Table top replacement
Bestseller No. 2
Allwood 6/4" (1.5") x 25" x 60" Birch Table/Counter/Island Top see all edge options (Sharp edges (no routing))
  • Baltic Birch Island / Counter / Table top / Butcher block
  • Affordable yet elegant looking Island / Counter / Table top replacement
Bestseller No. 3
Allwood 6/4" (1.5") x 36" x 48" Birch Table / Counter / Island Top - Classic Roman Edges
  • 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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
EXTRA LARGE Organic Bamboo Cutting Board & Thick Butcher Block w/Juice Groove - 17x13x1.5" Wood Cutting Board, Premium Quality and Professional Design - Antibacterial Bamboo Chopping Block
  • SIZE MATTERS - Professional chefs know, BIGGER and THICKER is better for wood cutting boards! Compare to other kitchen board and chop board products...
  • KNIFE-FRIENDLY AND DURABLE - This cutting board tray lasts longer than many kitchens! The advantages of a finely constructed bamboo end grain cutting...
SaleBestseller No. 3
Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board for Kitchen - NEW CRACK-FREE DESIGN - Best Wood Chopping Boards w/Juice Groove for Carving Meat, Wooden Butcher Block for Vegetables & Serving Tray for Cheese
  • FULLY PROTECTED w/ CRACK-FREE DESIGN & LIFETIME REPLACEMENTS - Imagine never having to buy another cutting board again! No more cracking,...
  • MOM & FDA APPROVED FOR FAMILY HEALTH AND SAFETY! With our antimicrobial, safe all-natural & antibacterial properties, you can rest assured that our...

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 CHYKCT1225-O Cherry Kitchen Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 12" x 25"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 12 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
SaleBestseller No. 3
John Boos CHYKCT-BL2425-V Blended Cherry Counter Top with Varnique Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 24" x 25"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 24 inches wide, 25 inches long and 1.5 inches thick
  • Varnique Finish: this countertop is finished with a virtually maintenance free semi-gloss Varnique finish

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.

Bestseller No. 1
Forever Joint Hickory Butcher Block Top - 1.5" x 26" x 84"
  • CUSTOM SIZES AVAILABLE UP TO 36" WIDE AND 96" LONG
  • 1.5" Thick x 26" Wide x 84" Long
Bestseller No. 2
Forever Joint Hickory Butcher Block Top - 1.5" Thick x 36" Wide (36" Wide)
  • CUSTOM SIZES AVAILABLE UP TO 36" WIDE AND 96" LONG
  • 1.5" Thick x 36" Wide x 36" Long
Bestseller No. 3
Forever Joint Hickory Butcher Block Top - 1.5" x 26" x 60"
  • CUSTOM SIZES AVAILABLE UP TO 36" WIDE AND 96" LONG
  • 1.5" Thick x 26" Wide x 60" Long

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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
John Boos WALKCT-BL3625-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 36" x 25"
  • Boos Block Walnut Countertops bring a sophisticated elegance to your kitchen
  • Solid American Walnut Construction
Bestseller No. 2
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...
SaleBestseller No. 3
Allwood 5/4" (1.25") x 25" x 32" Birch Table / Counter / Island Top see all edge options (Routed edges 1 face)
  • Baltic Birch Island / Counter / Table top / Butcher block
  • Affordable yet elegant looking Island / Counter / Table top replacement

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.