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
Wood Welded Maple Butcher Block Countertop (60" x 25" x 1-1/2")
  • Edge Grain Design.
  • Made from Solid, Hardened Sugar Maple.
SaleBestseller No. 2
John Boos R02 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 24 Inches x 18 Inches x 1.5 Inches
  • Solid, reversible maple wood cutting board; measures 24 by 18 by 1-1/2 inches (LxWxH)
  • Hard maple edge grain construction with cream finish; two flat sides and slightly rounded edges
Bestseller 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.

Bestseller No. 1
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
Bestseller No. 2
John Boos Blended Oak Butcher Block Countertop - 1-1/2" Thick, 36" L x 25" W, Natural Oil
  • Blended Oak Butcher Block Countertop - 1-1/2" Thick, 36"L x 25"W, Oil Finish
  • Red Oak combines soft whites and light to medium browns with a reddish cast to exude warmth.
Bestseller No. 3
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

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
(Faucet cuts only ) in Teragren Bamboo Unfinished Butcher Block Sold By Sq.foot 1.5" Thick Unfinished Natural or Caramelized up to 96"long 36"wide (Faucet cuts)
  • This is faucet cut only
  • Choose Caramelized or Natural Color by clicking appropriate button with picture of bamboo on it
Bestseller No. 2
Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board End Grain Butcher Block Thick Heavy & Solid (18"x 13" x 2" Inch) Anti-Bacterial Wood Great For Wooden Serving Trays & Cheese Platters Great Kitchen Gift Idea
  • 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
Howard Butcher Block Oil, Enriched with Oils, Food Grade Mineral Oil with Vitamin E Butcher Block Oil & Conditioner, Bamboo, Butcher Blocks, Counter Tops, 128 oz, Gallon
  • Revitalizing blend prevents drying and cracking of hardwoods and bamboo Food Grade Butcher Block Oil. Food Grade Mineral Oil with Vitamin E.
  • Howard Natural oils provide another level of protection High quality pure natural food grade mineral oil Ideal for salad bowls wooden spoons and...

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
Unfinished cherry butcher block birch table / counter / island top with square edge 12"W x 16"L x 1-1/2"Thick
  • Unfinished cherry butcher block with square edge 12"W x 16"L x 1-1/2"Thick
  • This block is very thick & durable.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Custom options for Allwood Table/Island/Counter Tops (Rectangular sink cutout)
  • Have your item custom cut to your size
  • Add rounded corners
SaleBestseller No. 3
Allwood 5/4" (1.25") x 25" x 32" Birch Table/Counter / Island Top see all edge options (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.

Bestseller No. 1
John Taylor Butcher Block Conditioner Food Grade Mineral Oil and Natural Waxes, 12 fl.oz(355ml)
  • CONTAINS MINERAL OIL AND NATURAL BEESWAX: Food grade mineral oil penetrates deep into wood to prevent drying and cracking while beeswax restores the...
  • REPELS WATER TO PREVENT FUTURE DAMAGE: The best way to prevent damage to your wooden utensils, salad bowls and countertops is to keep harmful water...
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
Lipper International 1174 Acacia Wave Serving Bowl for Fruits or Salads, Large, 12" Diameter x 7" Height, Single Bowl
  • Generously sized bowl with a contemporary wave design
  • Large bowl is beautiful as a centerpiece bowl or serving bowl

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
Kobi Blocks Maple Edge Grain Butcher Block Wood Cutting Board 18"X36"X1"
  • Brown Hard Maple Wood Cutting Board
  • Wooden Butcher Block Various Sizes
SaleBestseller No. 3
John Boos CHYKCT4827-O Cherry Kitchen Counter Top with Oil Finish, 1.5" Thickness, 48" x 27"
  • This cherry wood countertop measures 48 inches wide, 27 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
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
Armani Fine Woodworking Calico Hickory Butcher Block Countertop
  • Custom Sizes Available - Contact us for a quick quote
  • Handmade in Colorado, USA by Armani Fine Woodworking

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
Wood Welded Maple Butcher Block Countertop (60" x 25" x 1-1/2")
  • Edge Grain Design.
  • Made from Solid, Hardened Sugar Maple.
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
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...

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.