The Wood Whisperer: Varnish on a Butcher Block? Yep!


There’s nothing wrong with tradition – but tradition is time consuming.
By Marc Spagnuolo
Pages: 30-31

From the November 2008 issue #172
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OK, raise your hand if you’ve made a butcher block in the last two years. I am willing to bet my best Fujihiro chisel that more than half of you have your hands up right now. Butcher blocks, more specifically end-grain butcher blocks, have become incredibly popular amongst woodworkers. And why not? They are fun to build, they help us hone our milling skills and they make great gifts. But despite the abundance of these beautiful boards, there is one lingering question that pops up at least once a month in the woodworking forums: “What’s the best finish?” This is a very sensible question, considering this is not your typical woodworking project.

Generally speaking, mineral oil is king! It’s odorless, tasteless, easy to obtain and safe. You can even drink it right from the bottle if you were so inclined. Just be sure to have a stack of your favorite woodworking magazines at the ready because you’ll need them (mineral oil is generally marketed as a laxative). For more protection, melted paraffin wax and beeswax can be added to the oil.


From the November 2008 issue #172
Buy this issue now