All About End Grain Butchers Blocks: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide
Butcher blocks are a specialised cutting surface which was originally intended for use in the cutting of large chunks of meat. They’re considerably thicker than normal wooden worktops and are designed to withstand the pressures of direct cutting.
Our end grain butchers block worktops are the perfect addition to any kitchen, and not only look fantastic in both modern and traditional settings, but also serve an important purpose for any serious chef.
Our end grain butcher blocks are available in oak – one of the most hard-wearing timbers available, but it goes without saying that aesthetic properties are important, too.
An oak end grain butcher’s block worktop has a subtle grid pattern that is perfect for a timeless, understated look. The variation in grain visible on the ends of the vertical staves creates a particularly pronounced and attractive abstract surface pattern.
If you’d like to see more pictures of our end grain butcher blocks, then visit our End Grain Butcher Block Worktops Gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD
End grain worktops are constructed from three different types of wood, so let’s take a look at the individual characteristics of each species:
Maple has a relatively straight grain, with attractive waves throughout and a fine, even texture. With small, evenly spaced pores and few imperfections, it creates one of the most uniform-looking worktops available.
Walnut has a great deal of character that visually sets it apart from more well-known deciduous trees such as oak and beech. Whilst the sapwood is usually lighter in colour and with a relatively tight grain, the heartwood has a more open grain and will often feature unusual ‘curly’ figures.
Oak has large pores and an open, coarse grain with plenty of character. Open grain patterns are more visible to the naked eye and give the surface a textural quality, adding to the rustic charm of the worktop.
To learn more about our end grain butcher blocks, we welcome you to read the following guide:
SOURCE AND MANUFACTURE
All the timbers used to construct our end grain butcher block countertops are from sustainable sources with active re-planting programs and trusted environmental credentials. To find out more about our environmental credentials, please visit the ’Environmental Policies’ page.
Since our inception, we’ve delivered large volumes of work surfaces – this wealth of experience has increased our expertise, and we are proud to be industry-leaders in the sourcing, fabrication and delivery of high-quality solid wood worktops.
We deal directly with our European manufacturer to eliminate any unnecessary costs that middlemen bring. At least every three months we visit each facility to ensure that our rigorous standards are adhered to and our environmental policies are being upheld.
Our ’Sourcing and Manufacture’ guide contains a more in-depth discussion of this topic; please do take a look if you have any queries.
Our standard wooden worktops are constructed from 40mm staves that have been quartersawn and finger-jointed together to create attractive, wide worktops.
End grain butcher blocks are slightly different. They still use the same high-quality 40mm staves, but they are arranged vertically to expose the end grain of the stave. Arranging the staves in this fashion makes an incredibly durable surface that can put up with punishment from sharp knives, mallets, and all other kitchen utensils.
Oak butcher block worktops possess all the charm you would expect from a timber with such a distinctive grain pattern.
These end grain butcher blocks are available in both a large, rectangular form which measures 1M x 620 x 100mm, or a circular butcher block with a 620mm diameter and 100mm thickness.
USAGE & CLEANING
You might think the usage of a solid wood butcher block is pretty straightforward, and you’d be right – but there are still some considerations to bear in mind. A few simple measures will ensure that your butchers block lasts for many years, and remains a safe and sanitary surface on which to prepare food.
There has long been a discussion regarding the safety of cutting raw meat or poultry directly on a wooden surface. Current thinking dictates that this is in fact safe –but that you must take care to clean and disinfect the block after such usage, as you would with any chopping board. However, if you’d prefer to add an extra layer of protection when cutting raw meat, why not place a cheap plastic board atop the butcher block? Plastic is easier to clean and – even if it does scratch – is considerably cheaper than a beautiful end grain butcher block.
You can cut cooked meats, fruits and vegetables directly on the wooden surface, but take care with sharp knives, as they can still score the wood, which makes it harder to keep clean. If your butcher block surface does become scratched, the beauty of wood means that it can be lightly sanded and re-finished with a new coat of Rustins Danish oil.
End grain butcher blocks should be treated in much the same way as our wooden worktops. With an oil finish applied, a damp cloth with a small amount of liquid soap is all that should be required. Avoid using excessive moisture and wipe up any liquid spills immediately.
If you’ve been very messy, or want to fully cleanse your butcher block, pop a drop of bleach into a quantity of water and rinse. Allow to air dry naturally. This mixture should only be used occasionally and must be heavily diluted – be very careful not to use high concentrations of bleach – as bleach can dry out the wooden surface, causing cracks to form where bacteria can then easily flourish. Finally, to keep your butchers block in prime condition, be sure to re-oil regularly.
Wooden worktops have enjoyed a long tradition as the favoured kitchen work surface, from the sturdy wooden trestle tables to the more refined side-board. Before the advent of the butcher block, wooden counters were often covered with sheets of metal, as they were simply not hard-wearing enough.
Butcher blocks were – as the name suggests – originally used for commercial meat cutting and preparation, but because of their chunky, natural aesthetic, became very popular in kitchens throughout the latter parts of the 20th century.
Originally, butcher blocks were little more than a cross section of a hardwood tree, such as sycamore, oak or maple, which was mounted on top of three or four wooden legs. In the 1800s, before use as a meat preparation surface, they were used to absorb the shock of a blacksmith’s hammer as it struck an anvil resting on top.
With the advent in more effective glues, construction of butcher blocks transitioned to the vertical multi-stave construction method that is still used today.
At Worktop Express® we have gone through great lengths to become one of the market leaders in the field of solid wood worktops. Because of this, we are capable of offering our worktops at an unrivalled price, complemented by top-class customer service.
We have over 5,000 worktops in stock at any one time, and so can quickly and efficiently deliver directly to the public and trade with our own 2Man delivery team.
Online stock ordering systems and state of the art facilities have allowed us to drastically reduce the quantity of dead stock we hold, and through our ‘direct-to-the-public’ e-commerce business plan, we maintain considerably lower overheads than many of our competitors.
Our butcher blocks are wonderfully thick, sturdy, and – therefore – rather heavy! So, whilst these worktop sections are ideal when used as a large chopping board and food preparation surface, they cannot be easily moved around a kitchen like our smaller solid wood chopping boards.
A fixed position is therefore worth considering. Fortunately our butcher blocks look fantastic as a feature set in to a kitchen island, or even as an overhanging breakfast bar feature. Alternatively, end grain butcher blocks make an ideal worktop for smaller, mobile kitchen islands.