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Q. I am considering installing a butcher block countertop myself on a kitchen island and I am wondering about maintenance and the type of wood I should use. I would also like to know what to finish I can use that is safe around food but also resilient.
A. Many chain hardware stores supply unfinished butcher block in standard sizes so you can either purchase a pre-manufactured butcher block top or make your own. When choosing the type of wood, select a hard durable wood such as maple. Scratches and cuts will be noticeable but can be reduced by treating with mineral oil periodically. Walnut, ash, and beech are also commonly used for butcher block. Water is an issue, so wood used for island countertops should be away from sinks and dishwashers.