What is the Best Wood for Butcher Block Countertops

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
John Boos R02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 24 Inches x 18 Inches x 1.5 Inches
  • John Boos Block CHY-R01 Cherry Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board measures 18 inches long, 12 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
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
Bestseller No. 3
John Boos Block RA03 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 24 Inches x 18 Inches x 2.25 Inches
  • John Boos Block RA03 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board measures 24 inches long, 18 inches wide and 2.25 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...

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
John Boos WALKCT-BL2425-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 24" x 25"
  • This walnut wood countertop measures 24 inches long, 25 inches wide, and is 1.5 inches thick
  • Penetrating Oil Finish: Natural wood surface is finished with the same food-safe oil John Boos uses on their world famous cutting boards, allowing you...
Bestseller No. 2
Oak Countertop 1-1/2" Thick, 25" Wide (12" x 25" x 1-1/2")
  • Wood Species: Red Oak
  • Lamination: Edge-grain
Bestseller No. 3
Forever Joint Tops Red Oak Butcher Block 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

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.

Bestseller No. 1
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...
  • ✅ 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...
Bestseller No. 2
Totally Bamboo 20-3050 Bamboo Big Easy Chopping Block, 19" x 13.5"
  • A big board that moves easily from countertop to table— clever hollow design keeps it lightweight
  • Beautifully built with a stylish inlay around the edge; doubles as a stylish serving board for charcuterie and appetizers; raised board with feet...
Bestseller No. 3
PROFESSIONAL Extra Large Bamboo Cutting Board/Butcher Block w/Juice Groove (17.7 x 11.8 x 1.5") Organic, End-Grain, Antibacterial, Reversible, Ideal for Cutting and Appetizers
  • ✅ LARGE AND CONVENIENT => This cutting board is large enough for anything you would like to chop or serve. At 17.7 x 11.8 x 1.5" and 7.2 lbs you...
  • ✅ EASY ON KNIVES => End grain cutting boards keep knives sharp longer! Aligning the softer side of the grain to face the knife's edge makes them...

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
Birch Workbench Top 1-1/2" x 27" x 60"
  • 1-1/2" x 27" x 60"
  • Sanded to 150 grit
Bestseller No. 2
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
Bestseller No. 3
Allwood 1.5" x 36" x 60" Oiled Birch Table/Counter/Island Top
  • Baltic Birch Oiled 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
Allwood 1.5" x 36" x 60" Oiled Birch Table/Counter/Island Top
  • Baltic Birch Oiled Island / Counter / Table top / Butcher block
  • Affordable yet elegant looking Island / Counter / Table top replacement
Bestseller No. 2
Daddy Chef Wood cutting board with Juice Groove - Large 16 x 12 Reversible Chopping block countertop - Wood butcher block - Kitchen Wooden chopping board (DSHK2X)
  • 🍅 DEEP JUICE GROOVES - The built-in juice groove will catch excess liquid during food prep and can hold up to 3.5 ounces of liquid - no need to...
  • 🌿REVERSIBLE ,VERSATILE, MULTIPURPOSE - The reversible design offers the use of either side for prepping and chopping with our multi-purpose...
SaleBestseller No. 3
John Boos R02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 24 Inches x 18 Inches x 1.5 Inches
  • John Boos Block CHY-R01 Cherry Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board measures 18 inches long, 12 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...

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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
John Boos CHYKCT2425-O Cherry Kitchen Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 24" x 25"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 24 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. 2
John Boos WALKCT-BL3625-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 36" x 25"
  • This walnut wood countertop measures 36 inches long, 25 inches wide, and is 1.5 inches thick
  • Penetrating Oil Finish: Natural wood surface is finished with the same food-safe oil John Boos uses on their world famous cutting boards, allowing you...
Bestseller No. 3
John Boos CHYKCT-BL3025-O Blended Cherry Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 30" x 25"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 30 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

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
Thirteen Chefs Food Grade Mineral Oil for Cutting Boards, Countertops and Butcher Blocks - Food Safe and Made in The US 64oz, Half Gallon
  • 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
Bestseller No. 2
Forever Joint Hickory Butcher Block Bar Top - 1.5" x 18" x 72
  • CUSTOM CUT SIZES AVAILABLE! We can make a top any size up to 36” x 96” long!
  • ALL OF OUR TOPS ARE EDGE GRAIN BUTCHER BLOCK. Face grain and Mixed butcher block tops are not as dense and long lasting as edge grain tops.
Bestseller No. 3
Cook N Home NC-00326 Bamboo Knife Storage Block, 19 SLOT
  • Made of natural Bamboo with 19 slots that is durable and looks great
  • Holds most commonly used knives and accessories up to 9 inches deep

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
John Boos WALKCT-BL1825-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 18" x 25"
  • This walnut wood countertop measures 18 inches long, 25 inches wide, and is 1.5 inches thick
  • Penetrating Oil Finish: Natural wood surface is finished with the same food-safe oil John Boos uses on their world famous cutting boards, allowing you...
Bestseller No. 2
Big Bison Blocks Maple Butcher Block 60 x 25 Wood Countertop, 1.5 Inch Thick, Made in USA
  • Solid Maple Butcher Block - Measures 60" long and 25" wide (standard countertop depth). Full 1.5 inch thick wood construction for stability and...
  • Premium Wood Countertop - Our butcher blocks all feature edge grain construction using full length wood staves, ensuring our blocks are truly high...
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.

One response to “What is the Best Wood for Butcher Block Countertops

  1. looking for a 8’x25″x2″ butcher block countertop that work with a mocha glazed maple cabinets. would like to know price also.

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