Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finishing the Butcher Block Countertops

Prior to staining, we did some stain testing to see which one would work best and would give us the desired color.  Beech is a dense wood, and it does not always accept stain well.  The oil based stain did very poorly.  Even after two coats, it barely stained the wood and the coverage was very uneven.  Luckily, the water based stain worked very well.  It did not have the strong fumes that the oil based stain had, so it was a pleasure to work with.

We first wet down the countertops to raise the grain, and then we sanded the countertops with a 150 grit followed by a 220 grit sandpaper.  We used a power sander because this was a big job and would have taken forever if we did it by hand.

The countertops are sanded and ready for stain.

This is the water based stain that we used.

Stained countertops.

The trick with getting the water based stain even was to apply it very generously and to very quickly wipe off the stain before it dried on the wood.  So one person applied the stain, and the other person quickly wiped it off.

We chose a water based polyurethane from General Finishes (the maker of the water based stain).  We applied three coats of polyurethane on top of the stain. The polyurethane made the stain look slightly lighter and brought out the colors of wood grain in the wood.  It was a pleasure to work with the water based polyurethane; it has almost no smell at all and cleaned up easily with soap and water.

Water based polyurethane in semi-gloss that we used for our countertops.

Finished countertops.

Finished counter tops.
We are quite pleased with the results. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Are you still liking the finish and polyurethane process? I just got new butcher block counters and am vacillating between finish vs. mineral oil. Love to hear your thoughts.