Archives for October 4, 2018

Coffee Table Design Takes Butcher Block Out Of The Kitchen

Coffee Table Design Takes Butcher Block Out Of The Kitchen

John Boos butcher block has been around for over 130 years and has been used in residential gourmet kitchens and commercial kitchens alike. But butcher block is not just for kitchens anymore! It’s finding its way into other rooms of the home. Perhaps it is the current DIY craze shared through Pinterest lovers that inspire people to create differently. And maybe it is the rise of the rustic-chic and mid-century modern influences that affect home décor now. But whatever the case, no one is going to stop you from taking butcher block out of the kitchen and into the rest of your home.

Looking around my house, I see I have more butcher block in other rooms of my home than I do in my kitchen! Sure, I have butcher block cutting boards, and a while back we featured our DIY walnut butcher block kitchen table. But I also have 15 feet of walnut edge grain butcher block countertops in my home office; over 8 feet of maple butcher block workbench in the garage; and a lovely walnut end-grain butcher block table in a guest bedroom. I know I have access to more butcher block than the average person, but the point is that with a little imagination you can easily design butcher block into other rooms of your home.

butcher block

Our most recent project is this hunky end-grain butcher block we made into a handsome coffee table for our living room!

INSPIRATION

The impetus behind this project started with our 68 pound dog, Kirby, who jumped on our leather sectional and put a huge hole through the cushion. Now granted, it was an old couch, but it happened to fit perfectly in our living room; so much so, that we had it re-upholstered and re-stuffed three times over the years. We did end up replacing the sectional with two new mid-century modern couches.  But then it was clear that our coffee table did not match, was very beat up and was 4” higher than the new couch cushions. So, we needed to replace it, too. Inspiration for our new DIY coffee table came from a number of places, one of which was from our customer, Kaleb, who built a coffee table for his home from a 4” thick end grain butcher block. For our project we used a 7” thick standard size John Boos maple end grain butcher block, 36” x 25” that had been returned with some shipping damage on two corners. The damage did not affect the integrity of the piece, but it made the block unsightly and not saleable.

PREPARATION

If you are going to make a DIY butcher block coffee table, we recommend you purchase it unfinished, to save yourself prep time. In our case, we had an end grain block that already had a mineral oil finish. Because we didn’t want to oil our table every month, we needed to eliminate as much oil as possible from the wood. We let it dry out and then wiped it with denatured alcohol. We also spent a fair amount of time sanding the block with both a belt sander and an orbital sander to lessen the crushed corners. That also helped remove some oil and our sanding was successful in removing/hiding most of the damage. We decided to router all edges, including the top, bottom and corners with a ½” beveled (Chamfer) edge which removed enough wood to even out the damage. The most challenging part of this project was in trying to maneuver this 175 pound block!

FINISHING

The existing furniture in our living room is cherry stained and we wanted our natural maple end grain coffee table to blend in, so we chose a cherry finish Danish oil (DeftOil). Then we applied urethane finish to seal and protect (General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Oil & Urethane Topcoat – Satin finish). Given this butcher block weighs 175 pounds we needed legs that were not only stylish, but also strong enough to support it. We like the look of hairpin legs and think the style blends nicely with our mid-century modern couches. We determined a 9” leg would bring our table to the exact height we needed and we sourced them from DIY Hairpin Legs, ordered a set of four  ½” thick steel hairpin legs in jet black color, and were very pleased with the quality.

Here is the completed table.

Butcher Block coffee table

Feel free to comment and share with us your ideas for incorporating butcher block into other rooms of your home!