Can you use butcher block as a cutting board?

The only countertop that can actually be used as a cutting surface, butcher-block won't dull your knives like stone or concrete counters. The soft surface also makes for a quieter kitchen.

Butcher-Block Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know

It's no wonder butcher-block countertops are a constant in cozy country cottages and rustic farmhouses alike. The surface, made up of assembled wooden boards, is warmer and more inviting than other materials and never goes out of style. Taken directly from nature, butcher-block is biodegradable and eco-friendly—and it brings a bit of an earthy element into any kitchen.

Since wood is so neutral, many homeowners mix with other materials: You could install all butcher-block countertops, incorporate a built-in cutting surface, or opt for a butcher-block island instead.

But butcher-block has its drawbacks too. We cleared through the sawdust to uncover the choices available, as well as the price and pros and cons.

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There are so many options for butcher-block countertops, starting with the various species of wood, including maple, cherry, walnut, and oak.

"Hard rock maple has the highest density and is a closed-grain hardwood which makes it the overall surface of choice," National Kitchen Countertop Sales Manager

Happily, it's also more affordable than its closed-grain counterparts, cherry and walnut, which also make great countertops. And then there's oak. An open-grain wood, oak isn't ideal for direct food preparation. However, when lacquered or varnished, the material is just fine for general purposes.

Beyond the type of wood, you should also consider the kind of construction: edge grain (in which the boards are laid parallel with their "edges" showing), end grain (in which small square pieces are are lined up vertically with the "ends" showing), and blended (in which different lengths are joined with no particular pattern).

As for finish, homeowners think about the way they see themselves using their butcher-block countertops. For food prep areas, you'll want to apply (and periodically reapply) an oil finish. But if it's just a general or dining surface, choose a lacquer finish, since an oil finish could come off on clothing or paper.


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