How to Build a Butcher Block Work Table

What You'll Need
Approximately four 10-foot lengths of kiln dried Douglas fir 2x4s
Approximately 12-feet, 1-inch thick by 2-inch wide hardwood
Epoxy Resin and Hardener Kit
Wood clamps
Table or skill saw
Assorted sandpaper, 100 to 220 grit
Spar Varnish
Mineral spirits
Varnish brush
Respirator, latex gloves and safety glasses
Tape measure

Knowing how to build your own butcher block work table will not only save you money, it will last longer than so-called customized models that cost twice as much. Also, building a butcher block work table will ensure that it will withstand a lot of hard work and rough use. Although most work tables are very similar, the key to this project is in the details for the butcher block top.

Step 1: Building the Foundation

Using the 2x4s, cut each of the 10 foot lengths into 30 inch pieces for the legs. Essentially, the 2x4s will be paired together with a cut-out piece at the bottom to allow for cross-member 2x4s of approximately 60 inches. This will be the foundation of the butcher block work table.

Step 2. Building the Butcher Block Work Table Surface

The key to providing a strong butcher block work table surface is to use strips of hardwood placed side by side using the side grain as a work surface. This insures that the hardest part of the wood is taking the abuse of the work table. To begin building the surface cut strips of hardwood, either white Oak or Maple, into 1 by 2-inch pieces with the side grain facing the top of the table.

Step 3. Gluing Up the Top

Gluing up the top of a butcher block table is key to making a tough, durable surface that will stand up to hard work and years of abuse. Begin by carefully clamping and gluing the 1 by 2-inch pieces together using epoxy resin and hardener. The epoxy will add to the strength of the side grain of the wood being used. Begin by clamping two pieces together, and then glue these pieces to another pair until all the strips combined make up the entire 24 by 60-inch butcher block work top.

Step 4. Applying a Durable Finish

Be sure to wait until the epoxy joining the strips of hardwood together is completely dried before applying a final finish. Begin by sanding the butcher block work table surface with 100 grit sandpaper. This is to remove excess epoxy and to insure flatness of the work surface. Apply a 50-50 percent mixture of Spar varnish and mineral spirits. This mixture will soak into the wood and insure a waterproof seal. Sand lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Next, apply a generous amount of a 75/25 percent solution of varnish and mineral spirits. Wait until this coat is thoroughly dry and then sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Each coat will protect the butcher block top from chemicals, water and abuse from hand tools. Finally, apply a 100 percent solution of Spar varnish, allow it to dry and rub it out with 0000-grade steel wool for a smooth and lasting finish.