Tim’s Butcher Block Cabinet

Viewer Project - By Tim Tan from CA
Added on April 19, 2008

I have finally grown a skin thick enough to submit pictures of an end grain butcher block cabinet that I made for my parents. It just got shipped to Singapore; cost me $800 for the freight! I got the inspiration from watching Marc build his cutting boards, and have made up to about 20 so far. It’s a great way to use up scrap wood! Saw David Marks’ version on his Woodworks show and thought that it would be an interesting challenge to build one. The top is larger than David’s design; it’s about 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep–a nice size for a single person to work at and just enough counter space. You are probably wondering why I would put a semi-gloss finish on the top? Well, my parents want it as a piece for a corner in the house, so I thought I would spend a little time practicing my varnishing skills for a semi-gloss look.

I used 7 types of wood on it – purpleheart, black walnut, yellowheart, ash, mahogany, jatoba, maple and cherry. Flattening the top was a major pain! I have a 22-44 performax drum sander but still had to use router rails to slowly but surely flatten one side before drum sanding the other. Touched it up with a Lie-Nielsen 7 1/2 bevel up jointer plane. The face frame is made of purpleheart (a major pain to plane, I might add), and the drawer fronts are made of ambrosia maple. Made a little effort to match the grain on the drawers and doors as well. The cabinet is finished with shellac (3 coats) via my Apollo HVLP spray unit, and rubbed out to a satin sheen with Howard’s feed n wax.

And yes, I did use casters–double locking ones. They put a strong brake on the wheel plus a lock on the swivel. They actually cost about $20 a piece from Linco Casters at Clairemont Mesa Blvd (next to the San Diego Rockler). They really do look a little utilitarian, but those were the best I could find in terms of durability and stability. Those red shop-grade ones at woodcraft were too tacky for my taste. All in all, it was tiring but I have to give Marc the credit for the original inspiration via the cutting board! THANKS!