Butcher Block counter top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-13-2015, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Butcher Block counter top

Hi all,

This is going to be my first project to build for our house. Looking for any advise, tricks, tips, or do not's. I am a complete novice and lack a full workshop, so I am trying to get all my ducks in a row.

I will be building this from the trees(Hickory) off our property. I know this is years in the making so I would like to give updates as I go.

My questions I have:

I would like to rough cut my slabs into 4" stock. Can anyone tell me how long I should expect the drying time to be. I have never done anything like this, but plan on drying in the attic.

Should I consider doing anything to the slabs to keep pests from destroying the wood...i.e. carpenter ants

As far as the milling procedure, I am looking into a cheap chainsaw style jig. What would you suggest. I have started my search with a Granberg Alaskan Mark lll saw mill with rails. Are there better options out there?

The only feature I have for the counter top in my mind is that I would like to install a removable cutting board that has a trashcan underneath . We might move the sink over to the island but not sure yet. We really have no plans but a build as I go. So any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

I will be off to search and read throughout the forum for all your work in the past. I probably only have one shot at this, so I don't want to screw it up. Thanks for any and all reply's.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-13-2015, 12:39 AM
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Haven't had experience with hickory, but I would consider milling into narrower widths, purpose being is to minimize bowing, checking, warpage in general. Narrow widths will help to accomplish this.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-13-2015, 01:47 AM
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I did something similar except with Bur Oak. I used a home brew chainsaw mill: http://bullfire.net/Lumber/Lumber.html

IMO, 4" is pretty thick. Air drying time will be extended. You should use a moisture meter, but the age old rule of thumb is a year per inch of thickness. I cut a couple of slabs at 4" for fireplace mantles, but mostly they were about 2-1/4. They dried to around 2", and I resawed some of them to nominal 1x stock.

You should seal the endgrain of the slabs, but as for pests, if you think you might have carpenter ants in your attic, you've got worse problems than the hickory lumber.

Most of the oak was used for baseboards and door and window trim in our house, but here is a workbench made from it:


For just a little more, you can do it yourself.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-14-2015, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_h View Post
but as for pests, if you think you might have carpenter ants in your attic, you've got worse problems than the hickory lumber.
Yeah we don't have any pests that we know of, but was just giving an example of something that could occur.

If I was to make a top with the end grain up, then the thickness could be thinner. But if we decide to not do an end grain top, then I thought by cutting my slabs at 4" thick would allow me the option of making a top that is the thickness we want.

Please share any thoughts.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-14-2015, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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This is what we are gearing for. How do you think hickory would turn out for something like this?




Last edited by OutdoorSeeker; 07-14-2015 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Adding text
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-14-2015, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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or this....


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post #7 of 12 Old 07-15-2015, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by OutdoorSeeker View Post
I thought by cutting my slabs at 4" thick would allow me the option of making a top that is the thickness we want.
Seeker-

The workbench I posted a pic of has a top a little over 3" thick, but it was built up of 2" stock on edge. For a long-grain top, you can get almost any thickness you want by gluing the boards "edge up".

An end-grain top is a lot more ambitious. Here is one I did quite a while ago in rock maple. It is almost 700 blocks cut from 8/4 stock.

Ed


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post #8 of 12 Old 07-15-2015, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Ed,

That is outstanding work. I would really like to see more of your picks of the top up close if you have them. That is pretty much exactly what I want to achieve. I have the trees laying down and about to mill them real soon. What would you suggest I cut them to?

Thanks
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-15-2015, 06:38 PM
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Seeker--

A couple of close-ups included below.

I didn't mill or dry the maple for this top, but if I had, I would have milled it at around 2-1/4", let it air dry outdoors under cover for at least two years, then bring it into my shop to acclimate for a few months. A moisture meter would tell me when it had stabilized to indoor moisture content.

Milling it thinner would reduce drying time, but there would be more waste, and, of course, more blocks.

Ed





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post #10 of 12 Old 07-15-2015, 07:27 PM
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O Seeker

If you're going long term and solid stock, (no ply backer) I'd say roughing the stock to 4X4" will be fine. Not knowing your intentions for final counter thickness makes it difficult to suggest what an initial rough cut should be.

With green wood you should probably count on at least 1/16" shrinkage per inch. I think in an unconditioned environment, sticked and rotated it could take something like 1" per yr to cure. With heat and a dehumidifier running you can cut some time off that figure. Regular checks with a reliable moisture meter.

If you're going for a thick top, (2 1/2" and higher) I hold off till I was around 8-10 mc 3" or more and I'd consider threaded through rods.

Work smart not hard!
Never bite the hand that looks dirty
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-15-2015, 10:26 PM
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Ed
It's really really nice work. We all wish our wives adored and wanted wood tops like this.

Al


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post #12 of 12 Old 01-17-2017, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thought I would share a few pics to show where this Idea stands.

These are some milled hickory logs from our property. This will supply my butcher block top. I am about to build an island top with oak panel board and experiment with burning grain with a torch and pouring an epoxy resin finish.
This will be all practice so i can do the custom top right.

Boards probably have another year and a half to dry. Just a guess.
Can't wait to get started!!




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