Chipped and beat up butcher block table help

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Forum topic by MissouriBoatRide posted 04-27-2018 02:22 PM 810 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MissouriBoatRide's profile


2 posts in 634 days

04-27-2018 02:22 PM

I managed to get my hands on a couple of old high school shop tables (64”x54”) in hard maple about 2.5 inches thick.. I want to turn them into a kitchen table and kitchen island, but the are beat up. A few fairly chips 1-2 inches long and 1/4-1/2 inch deep, scratched up pretty bad, welding burns, random nails beaten into it, male genitalia etched into the surface, you name it. I can get most of the burns and scrapes out with a lot of sanding, but I am not sure what is the best way to replace the large missing chips. If possible, I do not want to epoxy the table, I want to put a food safe finish on the tables and reapply monthly. Any help would be appreciated.

11 replies so far

View TechTeacher04's profile


418 posts in 2136 days

#1 posted 04-27-2018 02:33 PM

What does the underside of the tables look like. If the table tops were only used on 1 side you will only have to worry about plugging a few lag holes from the vices and the attachment points from the bases.

I was given a similar top, but several of the joints had failed. I ended up ripping it on each glue joint and re-gluing it up after squaring the parts.

If you want to keep it intact, you could rout out recesses and install dutchmans to create a more seamless appearance. If you square the ends of the recesses it could appears as though it was there the entire time.

View OSU55's profile


2500 posts in 2594 days

#2 posted 04-27-2018 03:32 PM

Sounds like it might be easier to flip and use the bottoms. Cleaning up the surface is a perfect hand plane smoother application. Epoxy, along with varnish/poly, lacquer, shellac, are all food safe once cured.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 04-27-2018 03:49 PM

If using the bottom doesn’t work, I would use a router to cut out pockets around the bad areas and just glue in some new wood to match.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Andybb's profile


2353 posts in 1207 days

#4 posted 04-27-2018 06:36 PM

If using the bottom doesn t work, I would use a router to cut out pockets around the bad areas and just glue in some new wood to match.


- bbasiaga

Or just use a chisel to source wood from the underside. Then use Rich's technique to match it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View BigMig's profile


473 posts in 3217 days

#5 posted 04-27-2018 10:09 PM

use a router and bushing and have fun with routing out the offending areas and insert a different species.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View LesB's profile


2307 posts in 4047 days

#6 posted 04-28-2018 12:44 AM

Patches could be made as indicated by BigMig using a template guide on a router to cut out the offending spots and cut an identical patch to fit. You can make templates to almost any shape you want….even just decorative ones.

Check this web site for better info:

-- Les B, Oregon

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2090 days

#7 posted 04-28-2018 01:04 AM

You said genitalia…

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View GrantA's profile


2116 posts in 2012 days

#8 posted 04-28-2018 01:05 AM

My shop countertops are 24” deep butcher block (1-3/4 thick) that were removed from a school, I’ve used them for years in the condition I got them in but just last weekend sanded them and put Danish oil on, followed by paste wax. Here are a couple pictures to give you an idea what you might have on your hands (one shows before and after sanding) – I love it!

View MissouriBoatRide's profile


2 posts in 634 days

#9 posted 07-05-2018 05:23 PM

Thanks for all your help so far. I finally got a chance to start working on the tables and I decided to use the top because I wanted to keep the scarring in the wood to give the table more character. Which brings me to my next question there are four well worn bench dog holes in the corners of the table. I have attached pictures so you can see what I am talking about. I would like to keep the holes in the table without sanding them down to show off the old characteristics but my wife insist that they have to be filled. Which would look better epoxy resin in the holes or should I use a Dutchman to or should I use a router to remove the low spots and put in a Dutchman? I have never used epoxy before so I’m not exactly sure how it will turn out. If you think epoxy is the best route, Should I use some type of dye or just leave it clear? just in case you were wondering I was able to remove all of the genital engravings.


View ocean's profile


196 posts in 1437 days

#10 posted 07-05-2018 07:21 PM

Tape off the bottom of the bench dog holes and pour in the epoxy. A little at a time – max 1/2” thick let cure and pour in another layer and so on until you fill the hole to the top. Leave it clear. Most holes that deep will look dark, even with the clearest epoxy. Pouring in a the whole depth of the hole in one shot run the risk of to much heat build up and possible cracking the epoxy as it dries.

-- Bob, FL Keys

View bonesbr549's profile


1586 posts in 3671 days

#11 posted 07-05-2018 07:36 PM

That’s an easy fix. Plug it with another wood. Make a patern for a butterfly patch or other design, and rout it in , and make the mating pattern out of a dark wood like ebony or walnut and inlay it in.

Looks loveyl and the character makes it. If it’s got a percieved flaw, don’t cover it, accentuate it.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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