How to oil and protect a wood butcher block counter top
Wood butcher block counter tops are a great way to add natural warmth, color and beauty to your kitchen. Not only do wood counter tops add character and timeless elegance to your home, they are also durable and easy to maintain. With the correct care, a wood butcher block counter could become a precious heirloom you could pass down for generations.
Always make sure you’ve read the label on the product.
Avoid vegetable cooking oils (such as olive or sunflower) for oiling butcher blocks, they will turn rancid and emit a foul odor. Steer clear of varnishes and polyurethane as these harden into a solid film which will eventually chip, flake and peel. The substances in the varnish can be toxic to humans, and bits of varnish may contaminate food.
Luckily, the process of oiling butcher blocks doesn’t involve extensive sanding and refinishing. To rejuvenate and revitalize your wood counter, follow these steps.
For Walnut and Oak butcher block counter tops, use WOCA Worktop Oil in Natural. For Maple butcher block counter tops, use WOCA Worktop Oil in White
Sandpaper 180 grit
WOCA Intensive Wood Cleaner Spray
WOCA Worktop Oil, Natural or White
Sandpaper 280-400 grit
Red or White Pad for Polishing
Cotton terry cloths
Step 1 – Sand the wood if necessary
If you are starting with a brand-new wood butcher block counter and it’s very smooth, sand the surface with 180 grit sandpaper.
If you have an existing butcher block counter, (like an IKEA butcher block counter) and want to refinish it with WOCA Worktop Oil, you have sand off any previous polyurethane or varnish finish and remove any stains or marks. Cautiously sand the butcher block surface (in the direction of the wood grain) until all the old finish and stains have disappeared and you have achieved the texture you desire. The final sanding should be 180 grit.
After you have finished sanding, remove the residual dust with a clean cloth.
Step 2 – Clean and prep the wood counter
Clean the wood surface with a clean cloth and the WOCA Intensive Wood Cleaner Spray. Let dry at least 6-8 hours. WOCA Intensive Wood Cleaner benefits:
- Removes any surface dirt or residue.
- Opens the wood pores to accept more oil, which gives you a more durable, longer lasting finish.
- Neutralizes and blocks surface tannins to prevent future water stains. Various wood species, particularly Oak, contain natural tannins which can cause discoloration when wet. Water drops and water spills can make the tannin move and draw it to the surface, creating a stain.
Step 3 – Oil the Counter top
The surface is fully cured after 24 hours. The overall look is a low sheen, matte finish.
Butcher Block Cleaning
Butcher Block Maintenance
- The most common cause of most problems with wood counter tops are when homeowners let them dry out. Regularly oiling the wood surface will not only protect, but also help it develop a rich patina over time. Keep in mind that winter time, proximity to air conditioners or stoves, can cause the wood to dry up faster and will require frequent re-oiling. If the wood appears dry or like it is “parched”, it is time to re-oil. Re-oil with WOCA Worktop Oil or WOCA Maintenance Gel.
- During everyday use, remember to keep the counter top dry and away from direct heat.
- Butcher blocks will collect blemishes from food or liquid spills. This can stain the surface of the wood. The simplest way to combat this is to not let spills sit on the wood surface and remove it as quickly as it occurs. This will go a long way in prolonging the durability of your butcher block.