BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERS AND KITKEN COUNTERTOPS
Lafor Wood Products supplies butcher block counters and kitchen countertops 1, 1-1/2, 2, 3 and 4 inches thick.
Typically, the 4 inch thickness is reserved for the end grain butcher blocks solely. The standard widths available for our wood tops are 26-1/2 and 36 1-/2 inches and the standard lengths are 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 feet.
All the standard sizes are shipped or delivered the same day you place the order.
In addition, custom lengths and custom widths up to 48 inches are also available, upon request. The lead-time for these custom orders is about 4-10 business days.
The wood species that we currently feature include maple, beech wood, white oak, black locust, cherry, walnut and whitebeam.
African species: padauk, berlinia, avoura also available. Please visit our species section to discover the particular features of each of them and to find which one is the right one for you.
Keep in mind, however, that all hardwood species, not matter how different from each other, share common features, some of which we would like to highlight below.
Why the solid wood countertops?
Just how well is that going to look in my kitchen?
There is an unmistakable, unique beauty to a solid wood surface. It is a blend of warmth, character, and tenderness that no other material, either natural or man-made, can match. Yes, marble and granite countertops can be quite exquisite, but their beauty is distant and cold. And yes, you can have all those crazy colors of the plastic laminate but let’s be honest, don’t they just scream artificiality
Wood can be cozy, rustic, austere, or aristocratic, but it is all always honest. Full of character or overwhelmingly intricate, wood is always friendly and undeniably familiar. Like a good, old friend it is always nice to see it and always good to have it around.
O.K, it is called hardwood, but how hard should I expect it to be? It can’t possibly be as tough as marble or granite, can it?
Well, the hardwood is harder and sturdier than you might expect, because, unlike other materials such as stone, wood has elasticity, which allows it to absorb shocks much better. Think about this: You’ve seen martial artists breaking marble or granite slabs with their bare hands. Why do they choose stone for this demonstration of strength? Because stone lacks elasticity and therefore it is breakable. You’ll never see a karate master attempting to do the same thing with a piece of hardwood.
But wood scratches easier than stone, so it’s not very practical after all, isn’t it?
While it’s true that wood tends to scratch more than stone, scratches on a wood surface are less visible and can be easily removed by sanding the damaged area. By comparison, scratches on a granite counter top, however superficial, are quite noticeable, especially on high-polish stone. And removing these scratches requires special equipment, usually operated by specialized personnel. The same goes for laminate counter tops that scratch at the same rate as wood does, but repair by a more painful process. Solid wood is the only surface that can be renewed periodically with no costs or hassle.
Can I do it myself?
Not only does wood maintain and repair easily, but it also works and installs without special skills or tools. Any person with very basic carpentry skills can cut to templates and install a butcher-block top in just a few hours. No other material, man-made or natural, works, installs, and repairs similarly easy. Even if you make mistakes when cutting or installing, you can usually correct the error easily; wood is incredibly forgiving, hence being the best choice for do-it-yourselfers, seasoned and rookies alike.
But wood, unlike stone, is an organic material, therefore subject to old age and natural decay and consequently, not very durable, isn’t that so?
Well, consider this: The black locust wood, one of the species we currently supply, can remain buried in the ground for over a hundred years without rotting. The same goes for the European oak. And we are talking here about unfinished and unprotected wood.
As for the aging, it is well known that wood mellows with age and its appearance gets richer and smoother. Some wood species, such as black cherry and walnut, develop a very specific, antique-like patina that is highly prized.
But I’ve been told that wood surfaces are not sanitary because they harbor germs in their pores.
Step into any meat shop or restaurant. You’ll find they don’t chop the meat or prepare the food on plastic surfaces, but on the same good old butcher block made out of maple or a similar close-grained wood. What is their reason for that?
While some claim that plastic chopping boards are safer than classic wooden ones because their non-porous, homogeneous structure, would not allow microorganisms to persist and thrive, the research proved quite the opposite. It was found that, on plastic boards, bacteria hid comfortably inside the cut marks and prospered, whereas on the wooden cutting boards, the same bacteria vanished within hours. The research demonstrated that the chemical structure of the wood itself possesses anti-bacterial properties and further postulated the existence of “good bacteria” within the wood fiber that actually kills the germs.
One fact, however, is for sure: solid wood surfaces are a very good choice when it comes about food preparation. And, although wood countertops are not usually meant for cutting or chopping food directly on their surface, they display the same sanitizing properties.
Ok, so are you trying to say that solid wood will make the perfect countertop?
Each material has its pros and cons, and wood is no exception. It offers great value and undeniable advantages; but it also has its limitations.
Wood, for instance, is a combustible material; so don’t install a solid wood top too close to a heat source, such as a stove burner. For the same reason, it is also not advisable to place hot items directly onto your butcher block’s surface.
Wood is an organic material that can be damaged by acids and bases. Spilling corrosive chemicals on a wood surface can cause damages beyond repair.
Wood is a fibrous material that reacts to extreme moisture or dryness by expanding or shrinking, especially when unfinished. And finally, wood surfaces, when oil-finished need regular maintenance.
For each of these shortcomings, there are, nevertheless, specific remedies. But the point is, what makes a perfect countertop depends greatly upon your own needs and expectations.
We have offered this brief overview hoping it will help you understand what wood can do for you and what it can’t, and, thus, enable you to choose the material that best fits your requirements.