How to Install a Butcher Block Countertop | Ask This Old House

In this video, carpenter, Nathan Gilbert helps a couple replace their laminate countertop with butcher block. Then, he demonstrates how to apply a mineral oil finish to it.

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What is the Best Wood to Make a Butcher Block?
Butcher block is made from slices of wood that are all glued together into thick slabs, made to withstand heavy daily use. They can be made from nearly any wood, but Nathan chose maple as this is most popular for butcher block counters because it is hard and durable.

What is the Best Finish for a Butcher Block?
Butcher block cannot be left unfinished as it will stain very easily. The only finish Nathan uses on butcher block is mineral oil, a food-safe option that is a must in the kitchen.

It will take about 2-3 layers of finish to start and after that, it needs a layer applied about once a month. Butcher block countertops will give your kitchen a unique, rustic feel while making for a budget-friendly option.

Time: 4 hours to over two days
Cost: $75 to $150 per square foot, not including delivery costs (plus $8 per square foot for professional install)
Skill Level: Moderate

Utility knife []
Prybar []
Track saw []
Circular saw []
Forstner bit []
Chisel []

Shopping List:
Butcher block []
Wood glue []
Joint connectors []
Food grade cutting board oil []

Where to find it?
Nathan installed Unfinished Maple Butcher Block Countertop, which is manufactured by Hardwood Reflections ( He ordered an 8’ and 4’ section.

To cut the butcher block to size, Nathan used a TS 55 circular track saw [], which is manufactured by Festool (

To secure the two sections together, Nathan used Gorilla ( wood glue []and Zipbolt ( UT Joint Connectors [].

In the segment in the Barn after the project, Nathan demonstrated how to finish butcher block using Food Grade Cutting Board Oil [], which is manufactured by Howard Products (

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About Ask This Old House TV:
From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How to Install a Butcher Block Countertop | Ask This Old House


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