Refurbishing and old Butcher Block - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-26-2015, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Refurbishing and old Butcher Block

I inherited an old butcher block from my father. It was original used in the meat room he worked in as a butcher. It has been in my fathers basement for the last 40 years. I believe the block is maple. it is 40"L x 30"D x 8" thick double dovetail end grain block. There are at least 4 rods through the block and they are covered by wood plugs. I want to clean it up and oil it so I can install it in my new kitchen.

Here is my problem. For the last 10 years it has been sitting on one side on his basement floor. As a result of a flooded basement or 2 there is some water damage on that side. The joints swelled and cracked because of the water. I have tried to clamp the block to see if glueing it was possible but I cannot get the gaps to close.

I was thinking that I might try a straight 1/2" router bit to cut out the cracked sections. Then glue in new pieces.


I have posted a few pictures of the issue. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Last edited by upsman90; 09-26-2015 at 08:09 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-26-2015, 08:10 PM
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Refurbishing and old Butcher Block

It's difficult to say. I'd clean it up and put a finish on it as is.

Al



Last edited by Al B Thayer; 09-26-2015 at 08:14 PM.
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-26-2015, 08:42 PM
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I would disinfect it by means of a Heat-Gun first. Just in case...

As for the gaps, you can use of-the-shelf or homemade wood filler or take apart the whole thing and rebuild it.
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-27-2015, 09:50 AM
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Be sure to use a food safe finish though. Some finishes might be and it just doesn't say on the label, but the ones that are, like butchers block finish( which I've used on all my tables and cutting boards and blocks) always works great.


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post #5 of 17 Old 09-27-2015, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information. I only plan on using food grade mineral oil and possibly bee's wax to finish it. Once I am done sanding I am going to clean it with a mild bleach solution and water. Then a scrub with salt and white vinegar.

Keeping the cracks concerns me as they are great breading ground for bacteria. Since I would like to use this for food prep bacteria is a serious concern. I have not found any wood fillers that are specifically food safe.
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-27-2015, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blake2shay View Post
Be sure to use a food safe finish though. Some finishes might be and it just doesn't say on the label, but the ones that are, like butchers block finish( which I've used on all my tables and cutting boards and blocks) always works great.


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Honestly. What finishes aren't food safe?

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post #7 of 17 Old 09-27-2015, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upsman90 View Post
Thanks for the information. I only plan on using food grade mineral oil and possibly bee's wax to finish it. Once I am done sanding I am going to clean it with a mild bleach solution and water. Then a scrub with salt and white vinegar.

Keeping the cracks concerns me as they are great breading ground for bacteria. Since I would like to use this for food prep bacteria is a serious concern. I have not found any wood fillers that are specifically food safe.

Good idea with the bleach. Guess what? Wood cutting boards with cracks are not a breeding ground for bacteria. They have actually been proven to be the best material for cutting boards. Plastic on the other hand do well with bacteria. The secrete is in the cuts where plastic will harbor bacteria but appear to be clean. For some reason wood just doesn't.

Al


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post #8 of 17 Old 09-27-2015, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Al B Thayer View Post
Honestly. What finishes aren't food safe?

Al

Oh I wasn't sure, I only just got the ones that like had a picture of a butcher block on it. Figured they were the only ones.


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post #9 of 17 Old 09-28-2015, 02:09 AM
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Honestly. What finishes aren't food safe?

Al
Pretty much all of them, with the exception of shellac. Most oils nowadays contain heavy-metal additives meant to speed dry time, save for pure oils, and pretty much any film finish isnt meant to be ingested, again with the exception of shellac.

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post #10 of 17 Old 09-28-2015, 06:57 AM
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Pretty much all of them, with the exception of shellac. Most oils nowadays contain heavy-metal additives meant to speed dry time, save for pure oils, and pretty much any film finish isnt meant to be ingested, again with the exception of shellac.

That's not true. Very few finishes contain anything harmful after they dry.

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post #11 of 17 Old 09-28-2015, 11:23 AM
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How about epoxy and tint to match, then dress the block.

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post #12 of 17 Old 09-28-2015, 12:43 PM
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I looked at the pictures again and if it were mine. I would saw off the offending splits. Looks to be not much more than a silver.

I also would either clean it up once and use it as is or go the full route and completely refinish the entire piece to brand spankin new.

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post #13 of 17 Old 09-29-2015, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer View Post
I looked at the pictures again and if it were mine. I would saw off the offending splits. Looks to be not much more than a silver.

I also would either clean it up once and use it as is or go the full route and completely refinish the entire piece to brand spankin new.

Al
That was my thought as well, before cutting it I would locate the rods and shorten them, one at a time, by drilling deeper holes to bury the ends, get them all back in place then make the cut.

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post #14 of 17 Old 09-29-2015, 03:50 PM
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saw off the split portion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer View Post
I looked at the pictures again and if it were mine. I would saw off the offending splits. Looks to be not much more than a silver.

I also would either clean it up once and use it as is or go the full route and completely refinish the entire piece to brand spankin new.

Al
It looks like the splits are about 3/4" or 1" deep all around. Rather than repairing each one, I'd just take 1" off all the way around, and get back to "good" wood. To make a cut that deep or thick, you would need a bandsaw or make two passes, one from the top an from the bottom with a circular saw. ... a bit tricky but doable. After some clean up with a hand plane it will back as good as new. As for a finish, I would use a mineral based oil.

If there are metal rods holding it together as mentioned, it would be best to remove them first.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #15 of 17 Old 09-29-2015, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer View Post
I looked at the pictures again and if it were mine. I would saw off the offending splits. Looks to be not much more than a silver.

I also would either clean it up once and use it as is or go the full route and completely refinish the entire piece to brand spankin new.

Al
That's what I was thinking too. Though at that size, it'll be a beast to get onto a bandsaw. If it's hard maple it probably weighs 250 lb.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #16 of 17 Old 09-29-2015, 04:54 PM
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Depending on how much has to be trimmed it could be done with a router just clamp a couple boards on each face and run a bit at a time down to them, flip and do next side.

Don't remove all rods at same time, you may end up with a big jigsaw puzzle when tension is released.

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post #17 of 17 Old 09-30-2015, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
It looks like the splits are about 3/4" or 1" deep all around. Rather than repairing each one, I'd just take 1" off all the way around, and get back to "good" wood. To make a cut that deep or thick, you would need a bandsaw or make two passes, one from the top an from the bottom with a circular saw. ... a bit tricky but doable. After some clean up with a hand plane it will back as good as new. As for a finish, I would use a mineral based oil.

If there are metal rods holding it together as mentioned, it would be best to remove them first.

I thought the splits were only 1/4" deep. Anything but getting them closed up would look hideous. Repaired. IMHO.

Al


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