Butcher block is a type of wood countertop that is similar to a cutting board surface. This wooden surface used to be used in meat processing facilities and butcher shops, hence its name. A butcher block countertop can also be called a chopping black. It is usually several inches thick. The butcher block countertop is durable, strong, and has a unique appearance from the way the end or edge grain is positioned on the surface. While many might not consider butcher block to be the most sanitary surface, it is easily sanded to maintain smoothness and keep it sanitary. Butcher block countertops are typically made with Teak wood, Sugar maple wood, or walnut wood, though others can be used. If a butcher block will be used for food preparation, it is finished with a non-toxic oil.
There are two types of butcher block countertops: End Grain and Edge Grain. End grain butcher block countertops are made from hundreds (or thousands depending on the size of the countertop) of square wood pieces glued together. The surface of an end grain butcher block will look like it has a checkerboard pattern. The cut ends are facing up and form a strong surface for the countertop. End Grain butcher block countertops are more expensive, thicker, and stronger than edge grain butcher blocks. Due to the construction methods used to create them, they are also very labor intensive to create. They also tend to dull knifes slower than an edge grain butcher block.
Edge butcher block countertops are made from small planks of wood joined together. They are cheaper and less durable than End Grain Butcher block countertops. The hardwood positioned lengthwise on the block shows less damage from chopping but will dull knives faster as the cutting edge is working against a harder surface.
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