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Butcher block countertop - should I seal it?

1073 Views 29 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Sharon MH
We have this butcher block countertop and it is currently not sealed or varnished. I try to keep up with applying Howard brand oil and wax, but it seems to not last very long. Should I seal it, and if so, with what? Danish oil, or some type of polyurethane/varnish, or ? We do food prep on it (not directly on it of course) so that might be a consideration.

We live in the PNW so it is frequently humid during winters and then quite dry during summer, and I worry that this cycling will make the blocks separate or I will otherwise somehow inadvertently ruin this very nice counter. I did not install it, so I do not know what type of wood it is, where it came from etc.

TIA!


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I built these cabinets and tops for my home, sealed with danish oil but I've moved onto using only mineral oil to rejuvenate. I've used Howards before and also plain mineral oil on butcher blocks plenty, Howards gives things a bit of a orange warm glow, plain mineral oil just moisturizes and is a bit of a secret in the countertop biz. You'll have to keep re applying somewhat frequently with both those products. Danish oil DOES have polyurethane in it which is good to create a lasting seal, but its not quite durable enough for a countertop IMO for daily, hard use. You can apply a polyurethane over the danish oil also, read the instructions on the danish oil. A couple coats of polyurethane will be the most durable finish. I prefer to avoid any finish that is too glossy, consider satin/semi gloss etc..

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I was hoping you would chime in @MsNomer due to your woodworking expertise. This schedule is great to know, I was not oiling it this often.

Question: do you think this regimen will prevent the butcher block from separating, even with significant seasonal humidity and temp swings (40’ and 80% in the winter, 90s and 20% in the summer)?
Like you said, you have uncontrolled humidity and temperature fluctuations in a van, we all do. MsNomer, gave good advice, oil it up plenty and often, especially if you clean your tops often, like I do at home. Advice is a rule of thumb kind of thing. I use a spray bottle of vinegar/water and it does strip some of the oil away and buffing with paper towel does too obviously. We are non meat eaters 99% of the time, so no need to chemically sanitize in my situation, plus we use cutting boards.

You'll be fine, I can't imagine a situation where someone could over-oil there tops. Sounds like a #springbreakscenario
 
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