An example of a wisely placed wood cutting surface.
Even a small wood countertop in any kitchen can become a great focal point as well as one of the most functional items in the room. Not everyone wants a whole kitchen full of wood countertops. Stone and various other surfaces have their place without doubt. But, every cook needs a place to chop and do other food prep that just isn’t compatible with many kinds of tops. Cutting and chopping areas can be integrated into the kitchen as anything from a small piece of butcher block added with stone to an island housing a sink or range. A little or a lot. Wood can be extremely practical or just a beautiful accent.
There are a couple of guidelines to know when planning a wood addition to your counters. Generally, it’s not a good idea to use end grain construction in a top that will be housing a sink. Think of a flower stem and the way it wicks water up to the bloom. The tree your wood was milled from functioned on the same principle making the end grain more porous and susceptible to soaking up moisture. Other wood construction styles don’t have this issue, so if you want a top to house a sink go for plank or edge grain rather than end grain.
The second thing to consider is the type of finish that will be applied. If the top is going to used for direct chopping and cutting the finish should be mineral oil. Other products such as varnishes can be damaged if cut on. Mineral oil keeps the wood healthy, is food safe and is easy to maintain.