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.

Bestseller No. 1
Wood Welded Maple Butcher Block Top (48" x 24" x 1-3/4)
  • Made from Solid, Hardened Sugar Maple.
  • Edge Grain Design.
Bestseller No. 2
Grizzly Industrial G9912 - Solid Maple Workbench Top 36" Wide x 24" Deep x 1-3/4" Thick
  • 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
John Boos WALKCT-BL6025-O Blended Walnut Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 60" x 25"
  • This walnut wood countertop measures 60 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...

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
HOMCOM Rolling Oak Wood Drop-Leaf Kitchen Island Cart with Storage and Butcher Block - Grey
  • ADDS SPACE TO YOUR KITCHEN: The drop leaf countertop can be expanded when you need more counter space and folded when you need more kitchen space or...
  • PLENTY OF STORAGE OPTIONS: With its oak wood topper, two large drawers, and two spacious cabinets, you won’t run out of room for food preparation or...
Bestseller No. 3
d-c-fix 346-0168 Decorative Self-Adhesive Film, Butcher Block, 17" x 78" Roll
  • This decorative self-adhesive film transforms flat surfaces and is safe to apply to walls, kitchen cupboards, furniture, shelves and more creating a...
  • D-C-Fix films are ideal for DIY home décor renovations making them simple and affordable with minimal equipment required

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 can...
Bestseller No. 2
Grizzly Industrial G9912 - Solid Maple Workbench Top 36" Wide x 24" Deep x 1-3/4" Thick
  • 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
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

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
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 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. 3
Workbench Top - Birch Butcher Block Square Edge, 48"W x 30"D x 1-3/4" Thick
  • Kiln dried, electronically glued, then cured and sanded smooth for an even finish
  • 48"W x 30"D x 1-3/4" Thick

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
Teak Counter Top With Oil Finish 1.5inch Thickness, Kitchen Counter & Island Tops, The Modi (24 x 25)
  • Gorgeous and perfect standard teak oil finish, this carving countertop has various colors due to its blend of premium grade teak construction.
  • Eco-friendly teak – this high-quality teak makes for an eco-conscious choice. This makes the cutting surface a safe choice for you and everyone...
Bestseller No. 2
Teakwood cutting chopping board 20 x 15 x 1.75” reversible edge grain THICKER 1.75 inch Rectangle Carving Board slight imperfection reduced price
  • SLIGHT IMPERFECTIONS ON SURFACE MAY NEED BIT OF SANDING REDUCED PRICE TEAK HANDCRAFTED THICK DURABLE Our 1.75 inch thick teakwood board allows for...
  • SUSTAINABLE TEAK HARDWOOD - Teakwood is Ecology Friendly 100% sustainable plantation grown close to Equator Rainforests of South America. We harvest...
Bestseller No. 3
Villa Acacia Extra Large Wood Cutting Board 30 x 18 x 1.5 Inches Thick with Premium Edge Grain Construction
  • Premium Wooden Cutting Board - Features beautiful Acacia wood, a tropical hardwood with walnut and gold highlights. Durable and long lasting, this...
  • EXTRA LARGE Chopping Area - Measures 30 x 18 inches, providing ample room for preparing family dinners, carving roasts or just cutting fruit and...

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 CHYKCT-BL3625-O Blended Cherry Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 36" x 25"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 36 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 CHYKCT-BL3627-V Blended Cherry Counter Top with Varnique Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 36" x 27"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 36 inches wide, 27 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
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
HomeProShops 1-1/4" x 12" x 19" Reversible Solid Mixed Hardwoods END-GRAIN Wood Butcher Block Cutting Board with a 4 ounce bottle of Mineral Oil
  • MADE IN THE USA WITH AMISH HAND CRAFTSMANSHIP: Each and every one of our beautifully finished cutting boards are hand crafted by skilled Amish...
  • BEAUTIFUL END-GRAIN LAYUP: Made by cutting hardwood to blocks and assembling individual end piece together that displays the natural beauty....
SaleBestseller No. 3
Large Walnut Wood Cutting Board by Virginia Boys Kitchens - 17x11 American Hardwood Chopping and Carving Countertop Block with Juice Drip Groove
  • RICH CHOCOLATE HUE: When seasoned, the board carries an attractive dark brown shade, making it an attractive piece of home decor to go with its...
  • KNIFE-FRIENDLY SURFACE: The porous, soft straight grains of walnut wood make it an cutting surface that won’t dull your knives. And with the...

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-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 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 - Bison blocks all feature edge grain construction using full length wood staves, ensuring our blocks are truly high quality...
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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