Butcher Block Co. offers countertops in 15 different types/species of wood. They vary considerably on a number of dimensions, including hardness and appearance. The image above lays out those 15 types along two dimensions. The horizontal axis measures hardness, from SOFT on the left to VERY HARD on the right; and the vertical axis ranges from NEUTRAL in appearance/coloration (at bottom), to VISUALLY STRIKING (at top).
Think about how you will use your countertop. If you tend to be tough on your kitchen counters, you'll want to choose a harder wood, of course; perhaps white oak, maple, hickory or Brazilian cherry.
And be certain to give ample thought to how you want your counters to look in your kitchen. Do you want them to complement your current decor, or to stand out? Would you prefer a consistent look - either soft or loud - or a species that presents a higher degree of contrast (e.g., light and medium or dark).
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