Wood Countertops

Wood Countertops

To many, when the subject of kitchen counters made of wood is brought up, Maple butcher block immediately comes to mind. While maple butcher block counters are still being used in today’s kitchens, there is a seemingly limitless variety of wood species now available, each with its own aesthetic and performance characteristics. Wood counters are now being made in domestic favorites such as Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Hickory, and Maple among others; Additionally options include: exotic hardwoods like cocobolo, Rosewood, Mahogany, Teak, Iroko, and Wenge, to name only a few.

In addition to the wood selected, a great variable is your specification of grain orientation. A wood counter’s look and durability varies greatly based on the wood’s grain orientation. For instance, counters made with end grain wood have a classic checker board look, which  is a fabulous work surface that will not dull knives and hides damage done by knives. In contrast, counters made with Flat Grain orientation offer a clear view of the wood's beauty and the look of fine furniture, but are better thought of as a table top, and not as a heavy work station. In between these extremes is Edge Grain, which combines beauty with practicality and is a popular compromise between End Grain and Flat Grain.

The finish applied to your wood counter should reflect how it is to be used. The Chef’s choice for a work surface is no doubt Food Grade Oil Finish. This oil protects the wood from moisture while being FDA approved for human consumption. This makes it the perfect finish for food preparation. This oil is low sheen (not shiny) and requires ongoing application. In contrast, a high gloss varnish (Durata) offers a beautiful, maintenance-free surface that is ideal for kitchen tables and bar tops. Durata is waterproof, Formaldehyde free, and is not affected by condiments and common household cleaners.

Plan a visit to our showroom to discuss other variables like counter thickness and edge profiles. Wood counters are no longer simply Maple butcher blocks!

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