Butcher Block Refinish Question

Old 02-06-06, 08:44 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question Butcher Block Refinish Question


Does anyone have any thoughts?

Recently sanded butcher block kitchen island with random orbital sander - working through the grits - 100, 220, 400. Then, applied 7-8 coats of mineral oil over the course of a week.

Last weekend, applied last coat and then wet sanded with 400 grit.The block is VERY smooth, great color and overall looks great when you look across the grain width. Howerver, when you look at the block lengthwise (with the grain) in daylight hours, the block appears dirty, streaking and smudged looking. A few areas are shiny. We wiped down and buffed the block well. It would be embarrassing to have company over during the day as they might think our block is dirty as they enter our kitchen - it otherwise looks great at night.

What might be the cause of this - is this natural and are our expectations for the refinish too high? Are we just seeing the the top of the grain? Would beeswax "complete" the finish and do away with the smudgy appearance in daylight conditions? When we oiled, there were some areas that either soaked up the oil very quickly or just won't take it. Other areas simply can't take anymore. One person told us to keep oiling - another said there was bacteria in the block. Like I said, looks great other than this issue with aesthetics in the daylight. Was there a problem possibly with the sanding - it feels very smooth though...

Anyone who may understand what we are observing, your thoughts would be greatky appreciated! Thanks.
Old 02-09-06, 06:51 AM
George's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Hill, Va. USA
Posts: 2,817
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I would advise against beeswax - it's the softest wax available and if you're going to use this island as an eating/service area you'll be rewaxing on an almost dailey basis to maintain the appearance.

A good automotive paste wax is your answer - look for one with a high percentage of carnuba wax - much harder and more durable. It's also harder to apply, but will last a lot longer.

Another choice would be bowling alley paste wax - found in many grocery stores.
Old 02-11-06, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
If you "refinished" your butcher block, meaning it wasn't new when you sanded it, you are probably seeing the raised grain of the wood itself. As far as the areas that take the oil and the areas that won't take the oil, that is probably because there was an existing finish or wax that wasn't completly removed. The only way to remove an existing finish completly is to chemically strip it, which I wouldn't advise on butcher block. I would agree with George that you do not want to use beeswax, but I would try to find a wax that is non-toxic if you intend on using your butcherblock as a food prep area.
Old 02-13-06, 06:48 PM
mako's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wake Forest
Posts: 449
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Clean all that mineral oil off, wash good with a mild soap. Rinse well, allow to dry for a day.

Sand with some 180 grit paper, with the grain.

Topcoat with two or three coats of polyurethane.

Polyurethane IS food safe. All finishes are food safe once cured, which means a month.

Poly will outlast any wax or oil by eons and eons.

Don't waste cash on "salad bowl finish". It is only thinned polyurethane.

I have a fancy-schmancy walnut cutting block that is slices of end-grain glued side by side and it's coated with poly. Makes a GREAT cutting surface.

I used to be a meat cutter and a know a good cutting surface whence I seeith one.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: