Sure you can run out and buy a butcher’s block, but what’s the fun in that? Aside from being expensive, there’s no guarantee that it will be the steady, stable piece of kitchen equipment you need it to be. If, on the other hand, you make the butcher’s block yourself, you can be guaranteed that it is well crafted and can sustain the cleaver blows it will be forced to endure for years to come. The process of creating a butcher’s block with a cool, multicoloured striped appearance isn’t the easiest process, but if you’re up to the challenge, follow these step-by-step instructions and you’ll be cooking in no time.
Size the butcher’s block according to your needs. You may choose the length and width, but the thickness needs to be at least two inches to give the board stability.
Cut the strips from the wood one inch longer than the intended length of the butcher’s block.
Set-up the table saw's fence and proceed to rip cut the wood one-sixteenth inch wider than the butcher block’s depth, remembering to combine the measurements from both types of wood so that you get the striped effect and a correctly sized butcher’s block.
Lay the pieces out on your work table, gluing the strips of wood in alternating colours and then clamping them together to make them adhere. Use the glue sparingly and remove any excess that may appear after the clamps have been applied. Allow the waterproof wood glue to set according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the clamps and proceed to use the table saw to cut the butcher’s block to your ideal size.
Use the belt sander to smooth and level the butcher’s block, then use the router to round over the edges of the block, making sure no sharp points remain.
Apply a coat of mineral oil to the butcher’s block. Let it sit overnight and wipe away any remaining oil the next morning.
Applying mineral oil to the wood will prevent the butcher’s block from drying out or cracking. The lumber you choose for your block should be dense and stable enough to withstand the constant pounding, cutting and force that a butcher’s block must endure. Good lumber choices include nut or fruit-bearing woods, such as oak, maple, cherry, or walnut.
Never choose a wood for your butcher block that would transfer a flavour to the foods that are processed on it.