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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Butcher block treatment


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We recently assembled the cart in the photo. (Got it as a kit from Big Lots.) It came with good assembly instructions but nothing about care of the butcher block or information about any initial finish that it comes with. It is quite smooth but I can'say what, if any, finish it has. I hope you can give me advice about treatment, such as linseed oil, that it should be given. Also please discuss frequency of such treatment and anything to avoid doing with it.

Thank you,

ANSWER: Hey Steve, it looks like this is Parawood (commonly known as Rubber wood), NOT the typical hard or Rock Maple we see here in the U.S....and it likely has a thin protective coating on it from the factory. If the surface will NOT be used for actually preparing food, cutting, chopping, etc., then an Acrylic or Gel urethane topcoat is probably a good bet, but it's impossible for me to tell what might be on there, best I can do is an educated guess.....I would stay away from Linseed oil, as it will darken over time, impart a brownish yellow tint to the wood, and by todays standards, is old technology....if it will just be used as a counter top, then you could add a finish to it, to give it extra durability and longevity...but being wood, you'll need to exercise caution with wet and hot items per usual...even with a protective coating on the unlikely event that they used a wax or wax based product, the you would have to be careful to remove that before using something else, but it's very difficult to know that...a trained eye might be able to tell... but only in person, not from a photo. If there's very little gloss to it, and you can see the pores and it looks vulnerable, then they likely only put a very thin sealer on it from the factory. If it looks like there's definitely a surface finish of some type on there, then it's likely a waterborne,Oil modified,Gel,or possibly Acrylic urethane, because they dry super fast (Waterbornes), don't alter the natural color, and are very quick and easy to apply before boxing up the product. But alas, given that it's like foreign made, it can be very difficult to establish what's on there without firsthand knowledge...some of these factories are still using solvent lacquers as way to contact the manufacturer?? Any of these more modern finishes need almost zero upkeep, and unless damaged by heat or water should last quite a while.If you want to use the surface to prepare food, and as a cutting board, then the thinking and maintenance would be different, and I would recommend a buthcher block product like one from Boos...but ONLY if there is NOT a finish on the surface, and because you will be washing it with warm soapy water regularily, the frequency of adding such a finish would be quite often.I notice that Boos is now offering a Gel varnish as well, but it's likely more expensive than the General product which are also non toxic when cured, and again, not for a food prep surface...... I hope that's some help...but post back- Regards- Greg

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


I tried calling the customer service number. Went straight to voice mail. After several days of no reply I've given up hope of info from them about factory finish. I notice one corner that appears to me to show that a finish was worn off in shipping. Luckily, that's the corner in the closeup that I sent with the original question. If you can zoom in on it, I think you will see it. It might look like it could be from the lighting, but that vertical streak at the corner is lack of finish.

Looking close at the working surface, I can see pores, but they seem to be covered with finish,  so they're not open pores. So from what your first reply said I'm thinking it's one of the modern finishes you referred to. Agree?

My only food prep use in which the food would come in contact with the surface, would be working with bread dough. Would you approve of that with the surface as is?

Thank you,

Certainly for that type of use it would likely be ok, and you can simply wash with a warm soapy water solution and hand dry after my experience these factory applied finishes amount to just a thin sealer, and therefor probably won't stand up to much, and when it starts to fail, you'll need to re-evaluate and decide what to do at that point. Sorry about the late reply...for some reason I did not get notice of your repost- Regards- Greg

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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