white wooden kitchen cabinet with black pendant lamp

What to Know Before Buying Butcher Block Table Tops?

When it comes to a restaurant’s furniture and ambiance, your guests look for a cozy, warm place to relax, eat, and socialize with their friends, colleagues, or family. As a restaurant owner, you thrive to offer the perfect and wholesome experience to your guests. From metal to resin, from solid wood to plastic, from granite to butcher block, you have so many options to choose from while selecting the table top material for your restaurant.

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Things to Know before Buying Butcher Block Table Tops

Butcher block, being a warm, inviting, inexpensive, and natural material, continues to be a popular material for restaurant table tops. Made by assembling and gluing together the wooden boards, the butcher block has a rustic appeal and earthy element that goes with any theme and ambiance in your restaurant. Read on to know what butcher block material is, how it is made, and why it is so popular.

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1. Cost of Butcher Block Table Tops

Usually, the price of butcher block table tops works out to be cheaper than granite but more expensive than plastic or laminate. However, the overall cost of installing butcher block table tops in your restaurant depends upon the quality, surface finish, and location of your restaurant. While species and construction of wood decide the material cost, your restaurant’s location governs the labor cost. Overall, the prices of butcher block table tops are very competitive with alternative materials. 

2. How are the Butcher Block Tables Constructed?

Although it is not necessary or customary to know the construction details of table tops in your restaurant, understanding the basics can be quite helpful in maintaining them properly and getting the most from them. To construct a butcher block, you take pieces of flat lumber, turn them on their edge, and glue them together. This assembly of lumber edges is responsible for the visually appealing multiple strips of wood in the butcher block. Instead of using one continuous board, manufacturers often join two or more small pieces of butcher blocks end to end. Some of the most common kinds used for the construction of butcher block table tops are:

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Edge-Grain Butcher Block: Most common technique where wooden boards are arranged and glued in parallel with their edges visible.

End-Grain Butcher Block: Expensive technique in which small wooden pieces are placed in a checkerboard pattern and glued together.

Face-Grain Butcher Block: One of the most basic styles that uses wider wooden boards.

Blended Butcher Block: Wooden boards of different colors and lengths are joined in an irregular pattern.

3. What are The Different Types of Wood Used?

While making restaurant tables, the hardness of the wood matters as it decides whether the table will bend or dent easily. Hardwoods like maple, oak, walnut, and cherry are the most popular types of wood used for constructing butcher block table tops. Maple is a smooth material, while oak is more pitted. Walnut, occurring naturally in many colors, has the best finish to match any restaurant design. The red-tinted color of cherry makes them distinctive, attractive, and popular. However, if you want to create a rustic, worn look, you can consider softwoods like pine, cedar, and aspen as well. Whether you opt for softwood or hardwood, it is a smart move to request samples and see how that particular table top matches with other elements in your restaurant.

4. Proper Finishing of the Butcher Block Table is Important

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Ever wondered how some table tops retain their freshness and always appear new while others look old, dull, and worn out? When it comes to the butcher block dining table tops, its finish can be a crucial parameter that affects its appearance as well as cost. To limit the initial cost of the butcher block table tops, manufacturers sometimes use cheap, outdated techniques and processes. For example, catalyzed varnish continues to be a common and affordable finish for most of the restaurant tables. On the other hand, the latest finishes like two-part polyurethanes, although more expensive, can double the life. By investing in high-quality finishes and techniques, you can put off the expenses for re-finishing your restaurant tables.

5. Pros and Cons of Butcher Block Table Top

Like any other table top material, certain things go in favor of butcher tops while some don’t. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of the butcher block table top.

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Pros of Butcher Block Table Tops

  • It is inexpensive: While granite and marble table tops look premium, they are quite expensive and cost upwards of $100 per square foot. In comparison, butcher block table tops start around $35-$40 per square foot. By saving on the material cost for your restaurant table tops, you can splurge the extra cash on other appliances or decorative items.
  • Easy to clean: Just like any other table top material, cleaning your butcher block table top is easy. Make a mild soap solution in warm water and wipe your butcher block with it. However, ensure that it is completely dry before you put anything on it.
  • It is sustainable: Butcher block, being a natural material, is sustainable and eco-friendly. Since they are recyclable, you can get their surface re-finished when they appear worn. However, before making up your mind, enquire about the environmental practices and certification on the product from the manufacturer.
  • Can customize size and shapes: Depending on the dimensions of the hardboard tree, you can get the butcher block restaurant table tops in any size, shape, or thickness. Modern-day technology with diagonal, edge, and center cutting makes any shape possible for your custom requirements.
  • Goes with every theme: The natural appearance and warmth of butcher block material makes it an ideal candidate for restaurant table tops. Irrespective of your restaurant’s design, the evergreen, rustic charm of butcher block table tops enhances the visual appeal of any setup.
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Cons of Butcher Block Table Tops

  • Too much water can destroy the tabletop: Without proper sealing, if you allow water to sit for a long time on the butcher block, it can seep into the strips and ruin the table top. Therefore, you must ensure to reseal your butcher block table top regularly.
  • Need to pay more attention to upkeep: Butcher block restaurant tables require comparatively more care and attention to maintain. Although a well-constructed butcher block table top does not require much maintenance, paying attention and regular inspection can help you in noticing early signs of damage and take corrective actions immediately.
  • Butcher block is susceptible to scratches, dings, and stains: Butcher block, being relatively softer than granite or marble, is susceptible to dents, scratches, and chipping. Stains from sauces, juices, wine, etc., can settle permanently on the butcher block dining table. However, you can get them restored effortlessly and make them look like a new one.
white wooden kitchen island and cupboard cabinets near glass panel door
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Butcher block is more than a regular table top material. It is a style statement for your restaurant. The unparalleled rustic charm, affordability, and sustainability make it an ideal candidate for your restaurant furniture. More importantly, its warmth and inviting appearance goes with any restaurant theme, layout, or design, and helps in setting the right tone for the dining experience that might yield repeat customers.

This article serves as a guide to learn about the butcher block material, its construction, properties, pros, and cons. Hopefully, by taking note of the points discussed above, you will be able to make an informed decision while buying the perfect butcher block table top for your restaurant.


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