Undermount Sink Cutouts – What You Need to Know

Undermount Sink Cutouts – What You Need to Know

Undermount sinks, including farm and apron styles, are by far the more popular option for kitchen sinks these days. An undermount sink is any sink that mounts to the underside of the countertop, rather than dropping in on top of the counter. Besides looking beautiful, undermount sinks also have the advantage of providing a smoother clean-up process – simply wipe crumbs and scraps right into the sink, without getting anything caught in the rim like you would with a drop-in style sink.

While we love undermount sinks, they do require extra care when installed in a butcher block top… We’re here to help you before you install.

Your sink cutout can be done when your countertop is manufactured, so that it is installation-ready when you receive it. Undermount sink cutouts void the manufacturer’s warranty whether done at the factory or onsite, so it is important that the cutout is done right! Read our previous post, Custom Countertops from Start to Finish, to see the process involved in making your top.

An undermount style sink installed in a butcher block top will leave wood edges exposed to water, which means a higher potential for water damage than if you use a drop-in style sink. Before you install, it is very important that you are mindful of this potential damage, that you prepare the edges in advance, and do your best to avoid exposing those edges to splashes and standing water when in use.

No matter if your cutout is DIY or factory done, you need to take extra precautions when installing your sink to protect the exposed edges of the cutout:

undermount sink
  • If you have a polyurethane or varnish finished top, apply extra layers of finish on the underside of the counter, several inches around the perimeter of the sink cutout. This will help avoid any moisture damage if there are leaks in your sink or faucet. You must apply additional coats of poly to the exposed cutout edge itself to give it more water resistance.

undermount sink
  • For oil-finished tops, use an oil-based poly on the underside. For the exposed edges, you must apply melted beeswax or paraffin wax to repel water. It is important to reapply the wax occasionally to maintain water resistance. Alternatively, you may use an oil-based matte poly finish on these edges, but we recommend you test in an inconspicuous area first to be sure you are happy with the look.

Whether you choose to do it yourself or go with a factory cutout, we are here to help! Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns, and our experts will help you decide the best option for your home and lifestyle.

Feeling Knotty? Knotty Alder Brings Rustic Charm to Your Home

Feeling Knotty? Knotty Alder Brings Rustic Charm to Your Home

Knotty Alder butcher block has been one of our fastest growing species options over the past couple years. Because it is very lightweight, it is easy to move, and is therefore used mostly in furniture and cabinets. But recently we have seen a surge in its popularity for island tops, dining tables, and even countertops.

Knotty alder is an affordable and versatile wood that can be used throughout your home!

The rustic, natural appearance of knotty alder lends warmth and charm to many décor styles. Our customer Brandi, for example, has a gorgeous kitchen with modern appliances and more traditional cabinets. Her 2.5″ thick knotty alder island top somehow ties everything together perfectly, bringing a beautiful warmth to the cooler palette of her design.

knotty alder

Blending light tans to medium and dark reddish browns, knotty alder also stains quite well if you want to go darker. It even looks great with whitewashing, so the coloring can be quite versatile. Check out our customer Amie’s beautifully stained top! She used the plank style knotty alder with the hand-scraped treatment, then applied her own stain and finish to match her cabinets. The knot holes present throughout the lumber may be more apparent and frequent in plank style tops, with some holes going all the way through.

knotty alder

Knotty alder is on the softer end of the hardwood spectrum, and that softness combined with the knot holes mean it is not ideal for the rigors of chopping, but it is certainly durable enough to be used as a table, bar, or island top. For a smooth surface, you may choose to fill the knots with either a matching wood filler or a clear epoxy. Once finished and sealed, you will have a beautiful smooth surface suitable for just about any application!

We hope you are feeling knotty now, too! Check out our online custom quote calculator if you are interested in getting pricing for your own project in 1 of 15 different species!

Hickory Butcher Block Grows in Popularity

Hickory Butcher Block Grows in Popularity

Hickory butcher block has become increasingly popular over the last couple years, sliding in just behind maple and walnut to round out our top three best sellers. Known for its unique appearance, hickory wood is also very hard, making it an incredibly durable option for many applications. Its hardness level can also make it a bit difficult to work with, so if you need custom cuts, it is best to consult with us and have them done in our shop. Hickory is not just used as butcher block in the kitchen, though! It can be utilized in the bathroom, home office, laundry room…anywhere!

From countertops to cabinets, desktops to dining tables, hickory butcher block can add a beautiful and dependable surface to any room of your home or office.

The lumber for our hickory butcher block is readily available and sourced from Ohio and the surrounding area. The heartwood is a beautiful brown color that pairs nicely with the more creamy and light sapwood. The plank style hickory boasts large swaths of the beautiful grain pattern, whereas the edge grain style typically has a somewhat striped appearance.

Below on the left is a full kitchen remodel from customers Victoria and Mark, who used the plank style hickory with a varnish finish to revamp their countertops and center island. We were able to accommodate the unique shape of their island as well as the custom bump-out at the kitchen sink. On the right is a kitchen cart with an edge grain hickory top, highlighting the stripey pattern.

Hickory Butcher Block

Our happy customer, William, from California, installed this gorgeous 3” thick edge grain style hickory block to complete his beautiful kitchen. It looks stunning with those green cabinets and rustic brick backsplash.

Hickory Butcher Block

As you can see, hickory butcher block is an incredibly versatile material that adds function and beauty to your space. We hope you are inspired to bring some hickory into your life! Check out our online instant quote calculator to get pricing for your project.

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!