End Grain Butcher Block Countertop: Finish
The last two steps are to apply finish and install the countertops.
The problem with brushing or wiping finish onto this end grain countertop is that the red dust from the padauk will run over the white maple, turning it pink. I know this because I’ve done it. So – my solution is to flood the surface with finish and move it around by tilting the countertop – or very lightly using a brush to push it around the top. This worked really well for cutting boards (which were much smaller), but less so for this countertop. I did have to use some light brushing and that unfortunately caused some running of the dust. It’s not enough to notice, particularly in such a large surface. If I were to do it over, I’d probably spray on some shellac as a sealer first, and then finish from there.
I put on about six or seven coats of General Finishes HP Top Coat, sanding in between. It went quickly – no trouble. I started with around 220 grit and moved up to 320 and 400 for the final coats.
Installation went without a hitch. There are base cabinets on either side of the range, and two countertop sections sit on top of those. The third strateches between them, along the back behind the range. There’s some plywood stretchers, attached to each cabinet, that support the third countertop across the back. All three are cantilvered about 12″ off the back and with the plywood sub-base, there is almost no flexing and no need for additional support. I simply screwed through the cabinets into the countertops to hold them in place. A little clear silicon along the joint between sections.
I ripped a single straight cut across the back where all three countertops align. Then applied the 1″ padauk edging all the way around. Cutting each piece to length as I went. Once that was all in place, it was taken back off, rounded over, sanded, finished, and put back on. Then a couple more coats of finish over the entire surface plus edging. Finally finished with some wax.
The whole thing looks absolutely gorgeous in place. It’s now ready to be put to use.