Best Readily Available Finishes for Butcherblock Countertops??

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Forum topic by OldSoulArtCo posted 04-18-2020 11:24 AM 359 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 1194 days

04-18-2020 11:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: butcherblock finishes oil polyurethane waterlox

Hoping to get some quick answers on this. Research gives me 100 opinions. I’ve ordered Waterlox, but it’s going to be another week before its here and I need to get these installed by next weekend. So here’s my criteria.

I’ve got 20LF of birch to finish both sides of.

Don’t Care if it’s food safe. I use cutting boards.
Not mineral oil.i can’t be constantly maintaining it. I need to be able to take the time before its installed and that’s that aside from cleaning and General touch-up/upkeep.
Needs to penetrate,.waterproof and HARDEN.
Not straight polyurethane.

I’ve used Waterlox in the past, so I guess I’m looking for something comparable but readily available So I can start coating immediately.

Thanks in advance!

4 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile


1869 posts in 2734 days

#1 posted 04-18-2020 12:46 PM

Sounds like you are grasping at straws. Maintenance free? Silestone, not wood.

View OldSoulArtCo's profile


13 posts in 1194 days

#2 posted 04-18-2020 03:27 PM

I know nothing is maintenance free.

View LesB's profile


2987 posts in 4527 days

#3 posted 04-18-2020 06:23 PM

Description from the internet: “Waterlox is an oil based varnish where the varnish is made using tung oil and a phenolic resin rather than alkyd.” With birch or maple the penetration of any product is going to be minimal. The grain of the wood is just too dense….that is why it is used for butcher block construction.

I would not consider Waterlox better than a good poly finish which is available at most building supply stores. The floor grade poly is very hard and durable. So for lower maintenance I would go with that. I have successfully used it on table tops and wood stairs and found it very durable. Also it’s clarity leaves the natural color of the wood.

-- Les B, Oregon

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4452 posts in 2579 days

#4 posted 04-18-2020 06:53 PM

I prefer to use Tried and True Varnish oil on countertop when I want a hard top coat that still looks natural.

My favorite in kitchen is Tried and True Original Wood Finish. Pleasant BLO/Beeswax blend. After 3 coats you get nice hard surface, easy clean up, and easy to repair when it gets damaged. Use it on my workbench and spilled dye stain didn’t leave a mark. I use it to seal grain on cutting boards, before using Howards oil/wax blend as top coat. Sister hasn’t managed to damage a kitchen cart with Original Wood Finish on BB top after 15 years or canning blackberry jam on it. :-)

These are both very low odor, unlike Waterlox and can be applied in house any time. Has a light sweet odor.

My local Woodcraft and Rockler, both stock it; so it’s readily available too.

IMHO – biggest obstacle is time and temperature. Takes me 3-4 days to put down 3 coats of T&T finishes, as long as temp is above 90° and humidity is below 50%. Longer if temp is lower, or more humid. Guessing you will have same issue with Waterlox?

If I needed a hard finish and wanted it fast on something large like a counter top; would spray post catalyzed conversion varnish (CV)?
It is about only hard/fast curing coating that stand up in a kitchen table top besides polyurethane? Can lay down 2-3 coats in day, and have both sides finished two days after you visit your industrial wood coatings distributor and pick it up.

Best Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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