There are a number of different ways to go about building a butcher block. This project was created by Paul Hilgedick, Van Dyke's Restorers staff member. This method will produce a block that will provide good service over many years of use.

Final Butcher Block
There are a number of different ways to go about building a butcher block. This project was created by Paul Hilgedick, Van Dyke's Restorers staff member. This method will produce a block that will provide good service over many years of use.
Butcher Block - Step 1

Step One:

CUT THE LEGS TO THE DESIRED HEIGHT

The butcher block insert is 4" high, so cut the legs to 32" overall height. The legs attach to the apron and the top will rest on the top of the legs.

Step One:

CUT THE LEGS TO THE DESIRED HEIGHT

The butcher block insert is 4" high, so cut the legs to 32" overall height. The legs attach to the apron and the top will rest on the top of the legs.

Step Two:

NOTCH THE LEGS TO FIT THE APRON

The maple lumber used for the apron is 1 1/8" thick. The legs will sit on the apron, but not come flush with the outside of the apron. Using a band saw, notch 7/8" x 7 ¼" out of two adjacent sides of each leg.
Butcher Block - Step Two

Step Two:

NOTCH THE LEGS TO FIT THE APRON

The maple lumber used for the apron is 1 1/8" thick. The legs will sit on the apron, but not come flush with the outside of the apron. Using a band saw, notch 7/8" x 7 ¼" out of two adjacent sides of each leg.
Butcher Block - Step Three

Step Three:

FLATTEN/SQUARE THE SHANK OF THE LEG

Use a jig with a router to finish the shank of the leg so the cutout is flat and square.

Step Three:

FLATTEN/SQUARE THE SHANK OF THE LEG

Use a jig with a router to finish the shank of the leg so the cutout is flat and square.

Step Four:

CONSTRUCT THE APRON

Hard maple used in this project was obtained from a local lumber dealer. After the four panels are glued up, rip two (2) panels to 18" to match the width of the block and square one end. Leave these approximately 3/8" longer than finished height. Glue and screw the two pieces to opposite sides of the block. Rip the remaining two sides to 20 5/16" width and square one end. Glue and screw these to the block and apron. After the tops and edges of the apron are planed flush, clamp a straight edge to each side of the apron and use a router to trim the bottom of the apron to final length. Glue and screw legs to each corner of the apron.
Butcher Block - Step Four

Step Four:

CONSTRUCT THE APRON

Hard maple used in this project was obtained from a local lumber dealer. After the four panels are glued up, rip two (2) panels to 18" to match the width of the block and square one end. Leave these approximately 3/8" longer than finished height. Glue and screw the two pieces to opposite sides of the block. Rip the remaining two sides to 20 5/16" width and square one end. Glue and screw these to the block and apron. After the tops and edges of the apron are planed flush, clamp a straight edge to each side of the apron and use a router to trim the bottom of the apron to final length. Glue and screw legs to each corner of the apron.
Butcher Block - Step Five

Step Five:

SCREW HOLE PLUGS

Counter-bore screw holes using a 3/4" bit. Use a plug cutter to make plugs to cover the screw heads. If this is not available to you, plugs can be cut from dowel rod.

Step Five:

SCREW HOLE PLUGS

Counter-bore screw holes using a 3/4" bit. Use a plug cutter to make plugs to cover the screw heads. If this is not available to you, plugs can be cut from dowel rod.

Step Six:

FINISHING THE BUTCHER BLOCK

Stain the legs, and then finish with a polyurethane varnish. Seal the inside of the apron and bottom of the block with polyurethane. Finish the top of the block and outside of the apron with H. Behlen Salad Bowl Finish.
Butcher Block - Step 6

Step Six:

FINISHING THE BUTCHER BLOCK

Stain the legs, and then finish with a polyurethane varnish. Seal the inside of the apron and bottom of the block with polyurethane. Finish the top of the block and outside of the apron with H. Behlen Salad Bowl Finish.