Customizing Butcher Block Counters

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

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        We recently built the  final piece to our kitchen cabinets, it is a simple bookshelf that backs up against the breakfast bar and opens into the adjacent fireside room.

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

In order to shake things up a bit we took a detour from the rest of the granite counters and made this countertop out of butcher block.

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

I was aiming for a little contrast and as the styles change decidedly every decade, I won’t have any qualms about replacing this one section of counter.  Unlike granite, which will last for literally thousands of years and initially cost me a small fortune, the butcher block will be not make me feel so bad to replace when the time comes.

We designed the end cap bookcase to be slightly higher than the breakfast bar. One reason is so the bar can be messy, but not visible throughout the entire downstairs- and even from the driveway!

Good thinking, Mama.

I had found a huge piece of butcher block, still in the box at a garage sale this summer and had gotten a great deal on it. But, I had wanted it for our laundry room remodel and if we cut a piece out of it for the kitchen it wouldn’t leave me with enough left for the laundry room countertop.

In the end, we decided to just bite the bullet and pay full price for a smaller piece of butcher block from IKEA. It stung a little, paying four times as much for a much smaller piece than what I found garage saling.  But, sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. If you average the prices maybe that’s a good way to look at it.

When we went to cut the counter down, I decided I wanted a softer, more detailed edge to it than just the standard square edge.

The original edge on my granite counters had been a simple bull nose (rounded) and I had my stone cutter change it by adding in what is called an ogee cut on top of the bull nose.

I guess you could say we were living on the edge.

 Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

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Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

I have really loved the edge on our granite, so we continued that look on the butcher block.

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

The following pictures were taken by my husband.

He loves photography for its journalistic capabilities and I love it for artistic reasons. Hence, before blogging I rarely took before or in process pics.

Its a good thing he’s around.

First, you router along the top of the counter edge with a 1/2 inch roundover bit, setting it at a depth of 1/8 inch. See the little step down there?

Flip the counter over and router along the bottom with the same bit to get two rounded corners.

Do not set any depth this time.

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

Then, finish with a 1/4 inch round nose bit to complete the ogee cut.

Note, only half of this bit is making contact with the butcher block because you are just taking out that little 1/8 inch strip you left before.

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds DearlyCustomizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

Give everything a good sanding with 80 grit, 120 grit and 220 grit sand paper. In that order.

And finally, seal with Miss Mustard Seed hemp oil for a customized and beautiful butcher block counter top.

 Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

farmhouse breakfast bar

Customizing Butcher Block Counters by She Holds Dearly

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  1. March 11, 2016 / 4:21 PM

    It looks beautiful!! What a brilliant idea it was to ogee the edges! That edge turned a basic Ikea butcher block top into a true custom top! I love it! What did you use to finish the top? Is that stain and urethane or something else?


    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2016 / 7:07 PM

      Thank you, Melissa! I didn’t do anything besides Miss Mustard Seed hemp oil to the finish this piece. If I were going to be using the surface to prep food on I would finish it with a coat of Waterlox.

  2. March 13, 2016 / 8:10 PM

    What a beautiful kitchen! Thank you so much for linking up to The Creative Circle. Happy blogging 🙂

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 15, 2016 / 4:11 PM

      Jen, What a sweet thing to say, thank you so much! And thank you for hosting The Creative Circle.

  3. March 17, 2016 / 12:34 PM

    Hey Sarah, the butcher block looks great! I like the contrasting textures you now have in your kitchen….the granite and the wood. Great work, and thanks for such great inspiration!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 18, 2016 / 8:01 AM

      Thank you, Kelli, I tend to love layers and textures. So far, we have been very happy with this new design.

  4. December 1, 2016 / 5:40 PM

    That looks great! I actually had no idea Ikea had real/full wood butcher block. We just installed some but they were particle board with an outer wood layer – this would have been much better

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      December 4, 2016 / 9:43 PM

      Ikea is so funny like that, there are some really high quality treasures in there!

  5. Lea
    July 26, 2018 / 6:47 AM

    So, I don’t remember what your brekfast book looked like before, you just added that whole bookshelf with the butcher block top to the back of the existing kitchen cabinets? We homeschool, so I so love this idea! Mess hiding counters are THE BEST EVA!!!!

    • Lea
      July 26, 2018 / 6:49 AM


    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 28, 2018 / 4:10 PM

      Actually, there was a mistake with our cabinets and there was no back to our cabinets, so we built the bookshelf.So fun to meet another homeschool family!

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