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Should I brother oiling the underside of my butcher block countertop?

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Forum topic by AM420 posted 08-04-2019 02:00 PM 7734 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AM420

355 posts in 1720 days


08-04-2019 02:00 PM

I’m putting a cherry edge grain butcher block countertop in my kitchen and finishing the top right now. The pieces are3/4” wide and the countertop I 1 1/2” thick.

I may do a sealer finish eventually but for now it’s just going to be oil and wax due to time and other limitations. Do I need to worry about oiling or otherwisefinishing the underside or can I just leave it bare?

I just can’t to any sealing finish now because I don’t have time and the smell and fumes would not be good for my 7 months pregnant wife

Thanks.


17 replies so far

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therealSteveN

9391 posts in 1911 days


#1 posted 08-04-2019 02:08 PM

I’m a huge supporter of whatever you do to one side of a piece of wood, you do similar to the other side. The bottom of a table top need not get 3 coats, with meticulous sanding between, just a simple splash on works for me, but I’m a both sides guy, and I have never had an issue I felt was due to both sides being covered. I have however seen damage done where only one side was covered, and most who looked at it, felt that was the probable cause.

On cutting boards I’m seeing complete immersion much more often that ever before. Allows the wood to drink until full, as it were. I do know when putting oils on wood, some areas absorb it like a sponge, while others stay wet for a long time. Submersion allows the wood to decide I suppose. I’ve not heard, Ohhhh that’s too much oil before.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Gene Howe

12475 posts in 4765 days


#2 posted 08-04-2019 05:30 PM

I’m with Steve. Do both sides.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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AM420

355 posts in 1720 days


#3 posted 08-04-2019 10:30 PM

Thanks. I was thinking along the same lines, and since mineral oil isn’t too expensive, why not! The cherry is drinking up a lot of oil too! I agree with letting it soak until it can’t take any more. Too bad a submersion of a 12’ countertop isn’t practical. I’ll just keep pouring on instead.


I m a huge supporter of whatever you do to one side of a piece of wood, you do similar to the other side. The bottom of a table top need not get 3 coats, with meticulous sanding between, just a simple splash on works for me, but I m a both sides guy, and I have never had an issue I felt was due to both sides being covered. I have however seen damage done where only one side was covered, and most who looked at it, felt that was the probable cause.

On cutting boards I m seeing complete immersion much more often that ever before. Allows the wood to drink until full, as it were. I do know when putting oils on wood, some areas absorb it like a sponge, while others stay wet for a long time. Submersion allows the wood to decide I suppose. I ve not heard, Ohhhh that s too much oil before.

- therealSteveN


View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3899 posts in 4281 days


#4 posted 08-05-2019 09:36 PM

If you can, yes.

Wood loves oil. The more oil you can get deep into it, the less it’s going to shrink, which causes joint separations and cracking/splitting.

The oil does not evaporate, it keeps wicking to the adjacent, dry cells. Get enough oil in it and, even if it was a shingle roof, it’d outlast you.

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pottz

22353 posts in 2321 days


#5 posted 08-05-2019 09:55 PM

the two cutting counter tops ive done in the past i never oiled the bottoms and had no problems,but if you can why not,it sure wont hurt.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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nkawtg

302 posts in 2588 days


#6 posted 08-05-2019 09:59 PM

I say both.
Moisture can enter from the bottom and push the finish off the top. Checking, flaking, etc.

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Adhoc

5 posts in 383 days


#7 posted 01-04-2021 01:16 AM

How is it working for you?

Ever look into painting the underside with Redgard? I’m considering this on Ikea Pinnarp butcher block.

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AM420

355 posts in 1720 days


#8 posted 01-04-2021 02:52 AM



How is it working for you?

Ever look into painting the underside with Redgard? I m considering this on Ikea Pinnarp butcher block.

- Adhoc

After a year of trying to keep up with oiling my countertop and still getting water stains and sanding, I discovered Rubio monocoat, which has turned out to be an excellent choice for finishing my butcher block countertop. It applies super easy, isn’t smelly, doesn’t take weeks/months to cure, and leaves the countertop with the natural wood feel rather than the shiny plastic feel of a film finish.

I have gotten a couple of water marks but only after about 6 months. And I only think that may be because I had to try to sand away as much oiled surface from my counter before applying the Rubio monocoast because it’s supposed to be applied to raw wood and I could get rid of all the oiled surface. But the good news is that it’s super easy to spot sand and refinish bad spots. With film finishes you have to redo the whole counter.

If you’re getting butcher block counters and want a nice natural finish that doesn’t take forever to cure and drink, go with Rubio monocoat or similar hard wax oil. The Wood Whisperer has a great video on it explaining why it’s so good and how to apply it.

Regarding the ikea counters, be sure it’s all wood and not just a veneer over a non wood core (unless that’s what you want) I think ikea only has one pure wood option, and it was too thin for my liking. Check out Floor & Decor of lumber liquidators. I got my counters from floor & decor. Very inexpensive and I’m very happy with what I got.

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Adhoc

5 posts in 383 days


#9 posted 01-04-2021 02:54 AM

Thanks, I had heard about Rubio but don’t know if I can get it here and things like that can’t ship to me. I’ll look around.

Ikea pinnarp is a veneer product 1.5” thick.

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LesB

3242 posts in 4779 days


#10 posted 01-04-2021 03:00 AM

”I just can’t to any sealing finish now because I don’t have time and the smell and fumes would not be good for my 7 months pregnant wife”

Yes, oil both sides.

If you put wax on the finish you will not be able to put a finish coat on later because it will not stick well. Also don’t use mineral oil as it never truly dries or cures. Stick witl BLO, processed Tung oil or my choice, Walnut oil (Mahoney’s is a good one. They all cure and can be top coated.

-- Les B, Oregon

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Andybb

3383 posts in 1940 days


#11 posted 01-04-2021 06:23 PM


the two cutting counter tops ive done in the past i never oiled the bottoms and had no problems,but if you can why not,it sure wont hurt.

- pottz


+1 Can’t hurt but I think a butcher block is too thick to really make a difference, but then again, what do I know. :0) It could probably be done in the time it took to write this reply. You’re not gonna sand and finish the bottom so a quick coat wiped on with a rag for your peace of mind is a no brainer.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Kelly

3899 posts in 4281 days


#12 posted 01-04-2021 06:29 PM

Sorry, but I would stay away from BLO. It’s one of the least protective finishes you could use, and it, like any so called sealing finish, will prohibit you from adding anything but more sealer.

It is true mineral oil never dries, but that is one of its characteristics that makes it one of the ideal treatments to stop wood from drying, which results in cracking and splitting. The oil, rather than evaporate, wicks to the next driest area, replacing lost moisture and keeping the wood dimensions more stable.

Another big advantage of that “old technology” is, it requires no real work to add future coats.

Generally, sealing finishes will not fully seal the surfaces, though with enough attention it can go far. However, it requires attending all six surfaces, and using thinned coats for penetration, before the final coat.

Another post about “butcher blocks” (jointed but not end grain counters) talks of a product I’ve never heard of or played with, but which may be worth looking into.

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Kelly

3899 posts in 4281 days


#13 posted 01-04-2021 06:45 PM

As I mentioned elsewhere, I was working a 5” slab for a table top using highly thinned poly. I kept adding as it soaked in, until it slowed down taking it a great deal. Then I would slather it on and go do something else. I only let it set long enough to soak in some more, then I’d touch it up, so it wouldn’t start the hardening process and block me from adding more.

Well into the project and my second gallon, I dropped the brush. When I bent over to pick it up, I looked up and large spots were damp where the thinned poly had soaked through.

+1 Can t hurt but I think a butcher block is too thick to really make a difference, but then again, what do I know. :0) It could probably be done in the time it took to write this reply. You re not gonna sand and finish the bottom so a quick coat wiped on with a rag for your peace of mind is a no brainer.

- Andybb


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seakuv

27 posts in 991 days


#14 posted 01-04-2021 07:54 PM

Interesting reading. I used a couple of 2.5” thick maple countertops (edge grained) as built in bench seating for a dining table. I finished the top, sides and ends with poly but left the bottoms unfinished. It was in a house, so generally climate controlled – i.e heated 9 months of the year – open windows the other three. Pretty high humidity environment, the rainforest of SE Alaska. Never had a single problem with the finish in eight years. Maybe I just got lucky.

-- DaveS, Montana

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Adhoc

5 posts in 383 days


#15 posted 01-04-2021 07:56 PM



Pretty high humidity environment, the rainforest of SE Alaska. Never had a single problem with the finish in eight years. Maybe I just got lucky.

Good to hear. I’m also in SE AK.

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