For the last six months I have been pestering my husband at least once per week for a new island for our kitchen. The one we currently have is too short so I end up hunched over in order to cut things on it. It also doesn’t have a sink. We recently took a trip to Bend, Oregon where we came across this great little ice cream shop.
Instead of having a sealed counter top they had a beautiful butchers block made from a local hardwood. They used a simple beeswax to seal it. While it requires regular maintenance in terms of waxing it regularly, it absolutely glowed. I knew immediately that I had to have the same thing for my own kitchen.
Once we got back home I immediately started looking into cabinet makers in our area who might be capable of providing us with a similar solution.
The Wood Matters
I quickly learned that you have to use a very hard wood so that food doesn’t get into the grains of the wood. This keeps the counter top sanitary for food preparation. I decided upon a very hard variety of maple. It has a golden color that I absolutely adore and it’s not too terribly expensive.
The way a butcher block counter is made is to cut a whole bunch of pieces of wood to the same length and approximately the same height. Then all of the pieces are doweled and glued together. Once the glue has dried, the cabinet maker uses a plane to make all of the pieces the exact same height. This is what makes the counter top flat.
From there they proceed to sand down the surface until it is completely smooth. While some butcher block counters are sealed, I chose to only use wax on mine as well. Since the surface area is that big it’s easy enough for me to wax it once a week or so.
A Pan Rack Above
I had my husband build a rack above the island so that I could store all of my pots and pans above. This has cleared up a great deal of space in my counters that I can now use to hold all of my other gadgets! 🙂
This pan rack was custom built so I can’t really tell you where you might be able to get one that is comparable. I do know that he used a plasma cutting tool that he found on The Tool Reports Best Plasma Cutter guide to make it. Since he bought this kit he has been coming up with all sorts of handy ways to put it to use.
He even made some custom lighting that can go inside of the pan rack so that I get consistent lighting across the entire counter. The lights are a soft LED that is perfect for cooking. It has the yellowish tint of a standard light bulb rather than the blueish white of so many LEDs. I couldn’t be happier with the whole setup!