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Old 08-03-2008, 01:00 PM
 
822 posts, read 2,678,139 times
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Hey, It's me again. You all are sooo helpful and this is one I've been dying to ask. I have a large kitchen island - sort of a French country style with a thick wood top. I think the previous owners may have ordered it from that one Home Collections catalog (there are similar ones in there). It's very pretty and when I was viewing the house (as a prospective owner) I did a big "wow" with the island. The wood is thick and in a cherry finish in a beautiful design with an overhang for barstools, etc. *But* once I was in my house, it seemed insane. The first time I cooked using flour, I ended up with tons of flour in the spaces between the wood planks. [I sealed them]. And then any slips with a knife ended with cuts in the wood, not to mention spills [I've actually sanded and refinished it once already]. My counters are Corian - wouldn't it make sense to replace the wood with granite or something else? And what is "in" right now (as in good)? And does anyone agree that a wood top is insane, not that it's bad looking ... ? And ... (sorry to ask so many questions), how much would an island top run in a high end quality material, just a ballpark, maybe 4.5 feet by 3 feet or something like that? (I know, it's difficult to say, but hundreds or thousands?)
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,500,183 times
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If it's a solid maple butcher block top you should not 'finish' it with anything other than mineral oil or another non-degradable oil.

Hard maple is a wonderful surface to work on (we have one and have used it for years). Yes- knife marks will show up on it, but that's its purpose- it's a work surface. If the top is properly maintained with oil it should never have gaps in the block. My wife makes bread on it, slices veggies and I use it for butchering (as intended). Deer, hog.. whatever wild or domesticated animal we choose to put in the freezer.

All you have to do is wipe it down with some diluted bleach and you're done. If the knife marks start to make a rough surface, simply sand it down and re-oil.

It's as simple as that.

If you put poly on it then you just made it a piece of furniture. I wouldn't want ANY poly sliced into my food at all.

Edit- and mine was built new for less than $300, and it was 3'x6'. If I was in your shoes, I'd confirm if its maple or another suitable wood and sand it down to bare wood and re-coat with plain mineral oil. But that's just me, an 'ol country boy.

Last edited by Threerun; 08-03-2008 at 01:45 PM..
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,247 posts, read 20,773,448 times
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IF you decide to sand it down and re-finish it, go to a woodworking store (or on-line) and get Salad Bowl finish. It is an oil that is made specifically for wood that is used in food preparation. I used to make cutting boards using exotic hardwoods and used that as a finish. It penetrates better and dries better, and will not leave a sticky residue that can happen when using some other oils.

iF you don't have a woodworkers store near you, you can go to places like Woodcraftsupply.
I just looked it up. Go to www.woodcraftsupply.com and type in salad bowl finish. It's $14.99/quart. A quart will do a lifetime of finishing for you

Last edited by Barking Spider; 08-03-2008 at 01:53 PM.. Reason: added woodcraft info
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:54 PM
 
3,191 posts, read 8,245,681 times
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threerun...yes! sand her down fresh, mineral oil, little bleach tlc now and then. It is probably a good wood? How could blossom maybe tell?

I luv my 'built in' chopping block.Actually turned it over and got a fresh new side, the old was 27 yrs. of who knows I think it is maple or oak.

Enjoy it!
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,500,183 times
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Should be able to tell by the grain and hardness.

Even a good knife on hard maple won't leave much of a dent. Pine? It should sink in pretty good. Plus- if you sand down pine, you can usually tell right away- it's soft and will eat away quickly.

Best thing is to get a picture of it, maybe I can tell on the grain.
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,475 posts, read 20,202,458 times
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My only concern would be the germ factor, but the bleach idea mentioned above would/should solve that....
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,500,183 times
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It's not a concern at all (at least in my house).

Heck, my dad had a block table when I was a kid and he cleaned it with just warm soapy water and we survived.

I think too much media hype has put us on this 'sterile' fringe. A good block top will not destroy your good knives, lasts a lifetime, can be smoothed with a good sanding, is from a renewable resource, looks good and....

What's not to like?

Granite shall never meet my knives. Why on earth would I want to dull them or break the edge?
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:04 PM
 
822 posts, read 2,678,139 times
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thanks folks for the replies. Let me try to get a picture. I'm just not sure it's the maple block you are talking about. When I moved in, it already had a shellac finish (dark) and it had real spaces between the planks of wood. I can't remember what, specifically, prompted me to sand and refinish it. I mean, there were a lot of things and I did a slightly lighter (cherry) finish. I'm guessing it's just pine, but I'm not sure. I had seen a similar one in the Home Decorators Collection catalog - the whole island for about $1400, but I have the summer catalog in front of me and I don't see one. Let me see about getting a photo ...
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,500,183 times
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For $1,400 bucks it had better not be pine, lol.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,500,183 times
Reputation: 12147
If it's a shellac finish then alcohol should take it right up.

I have a pic somewhere of our top (actually it sits in the basement of our current house, it was the ONLY thing I removed from our last house when we moved).

A good maple top will be dense, no noticeable grain or very tight, and if properly constructed and cared for no gaps in the block strips.
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