Butcher Block Countertops

What you will need: Butcher Block of adequate size, Tape measure, pencil, sawhorses, drill, large wood bit (large enough for your jigsaw blade), small wood bit (for your screws), screws, circular saw, 60 tooth carbide blade (not standard blade), jigsaw with high tooth blade, adhesive, silicone caulking, polyurethane sealant, high quality paint brush.

A few caveats, this guide assumes that users will utilize their previous bathroom or kitchen cabinetry, the same sink, and the same sink positions. If you intend to purchase a new cabinet or sink, some steps will differ. However, if your base cabinetry is of a nonstandard size making your own countertop can be a way to save a lot of money.

Step 1: Remove your previous countertop (see previous post for tips). Make sure all glue, screws, etc are off the cabinet.  If at all possible, keep your previous countertop in one piece. It will make Step 2 a lot easier!

Step 2: Set your Butcher Block slab on your sawhorses. Place your previous countertop onto the Butcher Block. To avoid making more cuts, try to square the countertop against two edges. This means you will only have to cut one length, one width, and the sink.

Step 3: Trace the countertop with your pencil. Don’t overdraw the lines since your are tracing on a surface that will be exposed upon project completion.

Step 4: Remove the previous countertop. You now are left with the basic dimensions of your new countertop. Use your tape measurer to verify that the dimensions of your new countertop fit your cabinet. The standard overhand of a countertop will be 1.5 inches. Keep in mind, your cabinet might be against a wall on one or more sides. You do not need to account for an additional 1.5 inches on edges against walls, just exposed edges

Step 5: Cut the Butcher Block to the new width and length. For ease and the best outcome, use a carbide blade with 60 teeth. The high tooth count will make it easier to cut through the hard wood without splintering. I advise cutting the width first as it is shorter and reduces the cut length for the next cut. Take your time. If possible, use a metal guide so you can maintain a straight edge. For this project, I simply used my drawn line and my best patience to get the cut done.

Step 6: You now should have the correct dimensions of the countertop. Prior to cutting out the sink, do a dry fitting of the countertop. If you are satisfied with the fit, move to step 7. Keep in mind, your walls might not be perfectly square. You can fix any small fit issues with caulking in a later step.

Step 7:  Using the sink tracing, drill a series of holes along the inside of the sink tracing.  You need at least 1 hole to get your jigsaw into the sink area, however, the more you have the better so you can take breaks.

Step 8. Cut the perimeter of the sink using a jigsaw. Your blade needs to be longer than the thickness of the Butcher Block. Cut from hole to hole, erring on the side of cutting inside the traced line. You can always cut more, however, if you cut the sink hole too wide you risk your sink not fitting.

Step 9: Dry fit your sink into the newly cut hole. If it fits snugly and flush with the countertop, you can move on. If not, correct any issues by incrementally cutting away areas where the sink doesn’t fit. Again, slow and steady. Don’t over cut.

Step 10: Remove sink.  Using your polyurethane sealant (I used Minwax Polycrylic Clear Satin Sealant) and paint brush to apply coats of sealant. Follow the directions on your sealant to seal the entire countertop (including areas that won’t be exposed like the sink opening and the edges against the walls).

Step 11: Once dry, place your Butcher Block countertop onto your cabinet. Drill pilot holes with your small drill bit through the cabinet into the base of the Butcher Block countertop. Don’t go all the way through the countertop, just enough so you can drill a screw and not crack the countertop. Screw through the cabinet edges (the triangles shown in image )to the countertop.

Step 12: Using your adhesive, place a bead of glue around the top perimeter of your sink exposure. Gently set your sink onto the bead of glue and press down. Make sure to align the sink with the plumbing below.  Clean the edges of the sink to remove any exposed glue.

Step 13: Attach plumbing. Including drainage, hot water, and cold water. Turn on water and test to make sure everything is correcting aligned and attached.

Step 14: Use your silicone caulking around the perimeter of your sink. Clean and finish the edges. You can also use silicone caulking around the perimeter of the countertop to reduce any gaps that may exist.

Step 15. Let it all dry and enjoy your new countertop!

This DIY is a little more labor and time intensive than some others, but the outcome makes it worth it.  You can do it. Do it with Pride.


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