A butcher block is a type of wooden surface commonly used for tables or countertops, often reminiscent of the cutting surfaces used in butcher shops and meat processing plants. These blocks, also known as chopping blocks, are usually several inches thick and are constructed to have either end or edge grain on the surface. The positioning of this grain gives the butcher block its unique appearance and strength.
End grain butcher blocks are made up of hundreds of square wood pieces that are glued together, forming a durable surface with a checkerboard-like pattern. Professional butcher blocks are often thicker than those used in home kitchens. On the other hand, edge butcher blocks are made from small planks joined together, giving the surface a striped appearance. Although end blocks are stronger, they are also more expensive. The most common types of wood used to construct butcher blocks include Sugar Maple, Teak, and Walnut.
One of the main advantages of butcher blocks is their durability. They are also easily resurfaced through sanding to maintain a smooth, hygienic surface. To be used for food preparation or as a cutting surface, the surface of a butcher block is typically finished with non-toxic oil.