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Second Guessing my Butcher Block Stain :: Seeking Assistance!

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Forum topic by Riggy posted 07-30-2018 03:46 PM 927 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Riggy

37 posts in 356 days


07-30-2018 03:46 PM

Hello Everyone,

This is my first post here and I wanted to reach out specifically to get some opinions from those that are well-versed in woodworking! – I’ve got some experience with wood on a basic carpentry/contractor level but need an honest opinion from the big dogs!

Here’s the rundown:

I’m remodeling upper/lower unit kitchens with maple Butcher Block counters. Advised to go Maple due to its strength/resiliency over time…..but the color is lighter than anticipated and I went ahead and stained a big scrap piece. – Now, I know that staining maple is in the “eh”/questionable category and difficult to do and/or with variance in outcome. My method was: orbital sand (150-180-200-220), raise the grain 3 times with distilled water and continue to 220 until smooth, pre-stain conditioner followed by some stain, and…, it came out to my liking. I love the hue and I really like the small grain variances that create a kind of rough look. I’m happy with it and would like to try the remainder kitchens this way….BUT, some feedback thus far has me second guessing myself.

I have a very close family friend who is an old school union carpenter and life-long contractor. This guy is a major pain in the ass, like MAJOR: Frenchman who is very stubborn, cantankerous, and very into HIS own way 99% of the time, highly resistant to alternative anything whatsoever in the face of what his learning/past experience has been…... BUT having said that, he really knows his shit and he’s known for doing high quality work.. so all in all I’ve learned to both highly trust this guy, but also to be open to research and use the ole’ internet university and my youthful nimble approach at times. Well… I sent a picture to him and he responded: “Never stain maple, ever. Natural always”.

Attached are the pics of the outcome of the stained block… I dig it. I like the way it came out in terms of hue and although there’s some pigment highlighting on areas of the grain, there doesn’t seem to be any off putting blotching or pooling to me. So all in all, what do you guys think? Am I dumb for doing this? Should I have done it differently? Or is it a roll of the dice situation that, if it come out ok, is justifiable in the end?

Sorry about the lengthy post, but I really appreciate anyone willing to chime in. – Cheers and thanks so much!!




12 replies so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1443 posts in 2531 days


#1 posted 07-30-2018 03:51 PM

I don’t know. If you like it then great! Who cares what anyone else says. I think it looks good too for what that’s worth. I think Chris Schwarz has a blog post somewhere that I can’t find where he says he stops listening to people who say ‘never’ and ‘always’ because they aren’t willing to learn.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4291 posts in 2188 days


#2 posted 07-30-2018 04:24 PM

I make things that I like and frankly don’t really care about others opinion about the way my home looks like. Make what you like and build up your confidence.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1417 posts in 3270 days


#3 posted 07-30-2018 04:30 PM

The reason we make stuff is so we do what we like, if you like it and your opinion is the only one that matters< (my wife gets final say for stuff in the house), than do it. Since you’re staining them I’m assuming you’ll not be using them as a food contact surface with knives etc. for food preparation. That said use a good hard durable top coat finish on ALL sides of the counter tops, because they are wood and can move, sealing only the top will increase your risk of the tops cupping. If you get another good sized scrap keep it natural and seal it with mineral oil or a block oil product, wood is really the best for your knives and properly maintained and sanitized is FAR better than any of the plastic versions.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

739 posts in 1523 days


#4 posted 07-30-2018 04:39 PM

I think that the main question is; who is this for? If it is for you and yours and you like it, then don’t pay any attention to what others think. If it is for a client, of course, it is their decision. If it is being done on speculation, then maybe the voice of experience should win. How the color goes with the rest of the decor should also have some bearing on the decision.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2360 posts in 2410 days


#5 posted 07-30-2018 04:55 PM

The customer is right not your pita friend, unless he is the customer. If you are your own customer, you like it so you are done. Personally I dont like light woods like maple without at least some color. Just a small amount can help show off grain that left “natural” would not show. Blotch prone wood can be easily colored it just requires the right process.

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 356 days


#6 posted 07-30-2018 07:28 PM

Wow guys thanks so much! It’s really nice to have support for the courage of one’s own convictions, when it feels well thought out and done with care… but then you talk to one guy who has that curmudgeon approach to life and you start to second guess your capabilities. Just a young guy trying to ramp up my competency and learn as much as I can! You guys are a big help.

I have another question or two, if anybody cares to indulge:

1) This might be a dumb one.. BUT does it make sense to stain the entire underside/backside or non-visible area of the butcher block too? I know it needs to be sealed all around, but should I stain all of it as well? Or is that a waste of time/stain?

2) Is there a length of time to keep in mind…. IE both minimum dry/cure time and maximum “don’t wait longer than this” wait time that should be factored in for the top coat?

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2321 posts in 2218 days


#7 posted 07-30-2018 07:38 PM

So this is what I see. You made maple look like hickory. I’m a believer in buying the wood in the color you like.
So I agree with the old frenchie never stain maple there’s simply no need for it.

It look okay to me

-- Aj

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1417 posts in 3270 days


#8 posted 07-30-2018 09:20 PM

No, just stain enough of the underside to cover your overhang, the seal coat on the entire piece will do the rest

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

17935 posts in 3427 days


#9 posted 07-30-2018 09:25 PM

I think it looks good and will look even better when top coat it. If you wanted a consistent look and color you wouldnt have gone butcher block. As long as you like it dont give anyone elses opinion much thought.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 356 days


#10 posted 07-30-2018 09:38 PM



No, just stain enough of the underside to cover your overhang, the seal coat on the entire piece will do the rest

- ChefHDAN

Thanks Man! – So this might be OCD but… is it necessary to sand full spectrum with the orbital on the unexposed areas getting sealant? or perhaps just enough of the underside for the overhang?

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5454 posts in 2771 days


#11 posted 07-30-2018 10:23 PM

I generally don’t stain maple either. There is nothing wrong with it of course, so if you like it, that is your taste.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1417 posts in 3270 days


#12 posted 07-31-2018 11:46 AM

I wouldn’t go beyond the 180 for the bottom side, maybe do the 220 on the overhang edges, but you’ll likely never notice them again once the counter is installed

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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