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1.   Which species of wood countertops are available from Butcher Block Co.?

2.   How do different types of wood countertops compare on appearance and hardness?

3.   How do these wood types compare on price?

4.   What’s the difference among BBC’s edge-grain, end-grain and plank-style counter tops?

5.   What makes quarter-sawn oak plank countertops the strongest?

6.   What’s the appeal of hand-scraped countertops?

7.   Can I order a wood countertop with a Bevel (Chamfered), Radius or Cove edge?

8.   Which finish is best for wood countertops? Oil, varnish or unfinished?

9.   Can I order a wood counter or island top in whatever custom size or thickness I need?

10. Can I buy a backsplash that matches my wood countertop?

11. Will I be able to install my new countertop myself?

12. What’s the warranty on Butcher Block Co. countertops?

13. Can I cut a hole in the countertop for a sink or appliance?

14. How long does it take to get a new countertop delivered?

15. How will my countertop ship? Will I need help offloading it from the delivery truck?

16. What if I need to change or cancel my order?

17. Are Butcher Block Co. countertops made in the USA?

18. Are wood countertops affected by temperature or humidity?



Answers to Your Wood Countertop FAQs:

Which species of wood countertops are available from Butcher Block Co.?

BBC makes counter and island tops in 15 different species of wood: American Cherry, Ash, Beech, Birch, Brazilian Cherry, Hickory, Knotty Alder, Knotty Pine, Mahogany, Maple, Poplar, Red Oak, Spanish Cedar, Walnut and White Oak.

Countertop Wood Species

How do these different types of wood countertops compare on appearance and hardness?

In the image below, samples of the 15 different wood species that Butcher Block Co. makes are arrayed on the dimensions of appearance (from neutral to striking on the vertical axis) and hardness (from soft to hard on the horizontal axis). So for example, if you are seeking a very hard and visually striking wood for your countertop(s), Brazilian Cherry should be at the top of your list. On the other hand, if you want a very neutral-looking countertop and can live with mars and dents, you might consider Poplar. Samples are available at a nominal cost.

butcher block hardness & appearance

Here’s more information on hardness by species. The accompanying graph shows each wood type’s hardness compared to every other. Janka scores measure a wood’s relative ability to resist denting. In the Janka test, force is applied to a steel ball until it becomes embedded in the wood.

Countertop Wood Hardness 

How do these wood types compare on price?

This table shows the relative affordability of the 15 types of wood used in the making of BBC countertops. Most affordable are Poplar, Knotty Alder, Knotty Pine, Beech, Ash and Birch. Least affordable are Mahogany, Brazilian Cherry and Spanish Cedar. In between the two extremes are mid-priced varieties: Red and White Oak, American Cherry, Hickory and Maple.

Wood Countertop Prices

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What’s the difference among BBC’s edge-grain, end-grain and plank-style counter tops?

In making edge-grain-style butcher block, craftsmen bond together long rails of wood - with their edge grain facing up - that run the full length of the block under construction. This provides the resulting butcher block with a fairly clean and consistent look. Each wood strip is 1 inch wide.



In contrast, the surface of an end-grain butcher block displays, of course, the wood’s end grain, which features the growth rings of the source tree. They utilize much shorter wood rails that range in length from 1-1/2 to 6 inches that are arranged in rows that run parallel to the width of the countertop.



Plank-style countertops are made by laying wooden planks side by side and running parallel to the longer dimension of the block (i.e., its length). The pieces of wood used will vary in width from 3 to 6 inches. The surface of these countertops will be face grain.


Here's more info on the differences among grain styles.

types of wood countertops


What makes quarter-sawn oak plank countertops the strongest?

Quarter-sawing involves first cutting a log into quarters, then sawing each quarter into planks. If you look closely at the accompanying image, you will see in the quarter-sawn image that more of the tree’s annual rings run perpendicular to the faces of the resulting boards, as compared to the plain-sawn image. This makes quarter-sawn boards sturdier and more stable - better able to resist warping or cupping.


Quarter-sawn wood

What’s the appeal of hand-scraped countertops?

Hand-scraping wood leaves it with slight surface variations – essentially valleys and ridges that provide an aged look that connotes authenticity and a handmade origin.


Can I order a wood countertop with a bevel (chamfered), radius or cove edge?

Besides a lightly-sanded Square edge, six different, classic edge styles are available: Eased, Bevel, Radius, Radius & Step, Cove and Roman Ogee.


Countertop Edge Styles


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Which finish is recommended for wood countertops? Oil, varnish or unfinished?

If you plan to prepare food on your countertop, you will need a food-safe, natural oil finish. Note that you will have to clean up spills promptly and to re-oil it monthly. In contrast, tops finished with conversion varnish are easy to maintain, but should not be cut upon. The glossy surface delivers a fine-furniture look, but cuts in the hard-shell coating can make fertile homes for bacteria. If it’s your intent to oil, varnish or stain an unfinished countertop on your own, you must be sure to oil it daily for 7 consecutive days or to seal it within 7 days, in order to preserve the warranty.


Can I order a wood counter or island top in whatever custom size or thickness I need?

Generally speaking, Butcher Block Co. edge-grain and plank-style countertops are available in sizes as large as 15 feet long and 7 feet wide. For edge-grain tops, you can specify a thickness between one and 4.5 inches. Plank-style tops can be made in any of four thicknesses: 1, 1.25, 1.5 or 1.75 inches. BBC’s end-grain counters max out at 8 feet by 3-1/2 feet. You can specify a thickness between 3 and 4-1/4 inches. Please note


Can I buy a backsplash that matches my wood countertop?

Yes, you can order backsplashes to accompany your new countertops. Just give us a call for a price quote.


Will I be able to install my new countertop myself?

Installation is fairly straightforward. You can find instructions right here in our Help Center. A key point to understand is that wood countertops should not be glued down, since wood needs to be somewhat unconstrained so it can expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.


What’s the warranty on Butcher Block Co.-brand countertops?

If your BBC countertop appears to be defective or damaged in any way upon arrival, we ask that you call us promptly. It will need to be returned if it indeed has any defect in materials or workmanship, or if damage was incurred during shipping, or if any glue joints separate during year one. BBC will pay return shipping and exert its best effort to deliver you a repaired or brand new top. Note that the warranty will be voided in the event that the countertop was: not properly installed; materially altered; exposed to extremes or swings in humidity or temperature; damaged by splashes or spills; or not properly maintained.


Can I cut a hole in the countertop for a sink or appliance?

You certainly may, however doing so will invalidate the product warranty. As an alternative, you might want to consider ordering John Boos countertops with a factory-executed cutout. Boos tops altered at their factory are warranted.


How long does it take to get a new BBC countertop delivered?

Unfinished tops typically ship in two weeks. Oiled or varnished tops typically ship in three weeks.


How will my countertop ship? Will I need help offloading it from the delivery truck?

BBC countertops ship via either FedEx Ground or freight carriers, depending on size and destination. If your order will ship via Freight, you will be notified by email and supplied instructions for thoroughly inspecting the top(s) for any defects or damage. If you will need assistance offloading the top from the delivery truck, you might want to consider adding Curbside Liftgate service to your order for an extra charge. Using the truck's pneumatic lift, the driver will lower your countertop from the bed of the truck to the curb, where you can inspect it and take posession.  

pallet on truck liftgatepallet on liftgate lowered to ground


What if I need to change or cancel my order?

Since each countertop is made to order, you will have only 24 hours to change or cancel your order. We will make every effort to accommodate changes, but if you wait longer than 24 hours to notify us, you might incur a 20% change fee, depending upon where we are in the production processes. After 24 hours, you will not be able to cancel your order.  


Are Butcher Block Co. countertops made in the USA?

Yes, they are made in the American Midwest. 


Are wood countertops affected by temperature or humidity?

Yes, wood expands and contracts in reaction to changes in temperature and humidity. The ideal termperature range is 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Relative humidity should always be between 30% and 50%.


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