Butcher block love

Heya! I kinda feel like my head is about to explode this week – the house is a mess (again) – more on that in a bit, the kiddo was sick, I’m trying to tie up presentations for the Haven Conference (NEXT WEEK??) and did I mention we are hosting a party the night before I leave for the conference? Yeah.

I. am. insane.

Anyhoo, when I stress I either curl up in a ball in the corner and rock… or I try to be productive. Right now I’m trying to be more productive and spend less time in the corner. :) I finally finished up a little DIY project for the dining room turned library and it looks gooooood.

As you know if you’ve been around for a while, I’m using butcher block as a base for the bookcases:

I LOOOVE the look of butcher block and I’m planning on using it in a couple of places in the basement soon. We already have it on our kitchen island:

IKEA butcher block kitchen island

And it’s been surprisingly low maintenance. I love the warmth it brings to our kitchen.

Thankfully all of the butcher we’ve used is pretty inexpensive from IKEA. For both the kitchen island and the bookcases I’ve used the Numerar oak butcher block. Even the largest size they sell is well under $200 and considering the quote I got for our kitchen island years ago, that is fantastic.

I had one piece cut down the middle for the dining room and it was a perfect fit. It sat unfinished for months and it was high time to get that fixed. I left the kitchen island natural with just some Tung oil to protect it, but I wanted this one to be dark like our hardwood floors.

I set up the sawhorses in the garage and pulled out the sander:

I used a 220 grit sandpaper and it was perfect for this project – it only took a couple minutes to get the little bit of finish off.

It is easy to see where it’s not knocked down enough:

sanding butcher block

You just go over those spots till they are more of a matte finish.

Before I stained I made sure to get all of the sawdust off the block – a tack cloth is good for that but I cannot stand how they feel (kinda sticky) so I just use wet paper towels. Much better. :)

Our floors are a finish called Jacobean but I couldn’t find that, so I just went with walnut, which is very close.

I always use a foam brush to apply my stain – I find it gives great coverage and I barely have to use any stain with it. You want to make sure to leave a “wet edge” when staining, don’t let one section dry as you are applying or you’ll see where you started and stopped:

staining butcher block

It barely takes any time at all to stain – it really is super easy!

You can leave it to sit on the surface for a bit to let it really sink in – the longer you leave it (up to about ten minutes), the darker it will be.

Usually I’m pleased with it right away, so I rarely let it sit. I wiped it down immediately with a clean rag:

staining butcher block

You need to do this or it will NEVER dry. :)

Isn’t it just gorgeous?? OH my gah, I just love how it shows off all the details of the wood:

how to stain butcher block

This has me SO tempted to stain our kitchen island top as well. It’s just so rich and beautiful!

I finished it off with one coat of polyurethane to protect it and give it a nice finish. I used this clear satin that I used on my vintage rolling crate a couple weeks ago:

Unfortunately I don’t have a great after of the installed butcher block – I thought I had taken a pic, but I guess Dad and I moved too fast on the bookshelves and I didn’t get one.

You can see it installed in this photo:

Those are the start of the bookshelves, which I’ll show you soon! I still have SO much to do on them, but the progress is hampered a bit this week by this:yikes

I tell you what, I move from one mess to another, really. But I welcome this one – the pink(ish) walls that have been in our foyer, living room, hallway, staircase and loft for eight years are FINALLY getting painted. I. AM. THRILLED. I welcome the mess – at least for a few days. After that you’ll find me in the corner. :)

More on that project soon – but by next week I’m hoping the dust will settle around here and I can turn into my normal summer slug. :) For real.

Have you used butcher block in your home? If they are protected well I’ve seen them used successfully around kitchen sinks – I still don’t know if I would have it for every surface in my kitchen, but I do love it as an accent.

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