In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.


End-grain butcher blocks are a great project for woodworkers. They’re a great way to test our milling skills and they make great gifts. But when it comes to finishing these cutting boards the traditional mineral oil and wax routine can be time-consuming, tedious and messy. In this video our resident Wood Whisperer, Marc Spagnuolo, shows how a few coats of thinned varnish can provide a quick low-maintenance finishing solution that is still food-safe.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recent Posts
Showing 5 comments
  • Jake

    Hm, I would like to see some more videos about end-grain butcher blocks for sure!

  • Nib

    Isn’t this the same dude that did the David Blaine parody on YouTube??

  • Drew

    Hey Brian,
    Make sure you have the latest version of flash player installed. You can download it from this link:

    And when you’re choosing what version to install, make sure whether you’re running an Intel or PowerPC Mac. To see which one you’re running, click on the apple icon at the top left of the screen and select "About this Mac." On the line that says "Processor" see if it has the word "Intel" in it. For example mine says "2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo" if yours doesn’t have Intel in there, you’re running a PowerPC Mac and should install that version of Flash. Hope this helps.

    Drew DePenning

  • Marc

    Hi Francois. The only testing I’ve done with this technique so far has been with straight varnish, and that’s what I recommend. Now there is nothing short of ambiguity with many products these days as to whether they actually contain tung oil or linseed oil, or if they were simply made FROM them. Waterlox Original, as I understand it, is really just a wiping varnish. So I think it would be fine for this application. But I recommend avoiding the finishes that are specifically labeled oil/varnish blends.
    If you are unsure or have doubts, go ahead and use the salad bowl finish. In most cases its really just repackaged varnish that’s been given a higher price tag.
    For me, I just use Arm-R-Seal out of habit. Good luck!

  • Francois Fournier


    I’m curious as to which wiping varnish to use. Is Waterlox a good choice? Or is it better to use a salad bowl type product?
    I look forward to your reply.



Start typing and press Enter to search