• DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Counter Tops

    Posted on February 9, 2013 by in DIY Projects, Maggie's Country Home

    And on a budget!

    DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Counter Tops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    We spent around $500.00 on our counters and compared to spending $4000.00 at Home Depot or Lowe’s I’d say that’s a steal! We also looked into Ikea butcher block counters, but when we thought of the wide plank style we came up with the idea of making them ourselves.

    Tools and materials you’ll need:

    • Nail gun or hammer and nails
    • Palm sander or just sand paper (rough and smooth sand paper)
    • Screw gun
    • 2 Paint brushes for stain and poly
    • Circular saw or a Table saw and Miter saw
    • Jig saw or Hole saw
    • Tape measure
    • A Square or a straight edge
    • A box of 1/2″ wood screws
    • 1 1/4″ screws or nails
    • Angle brackets
    • Wood glue
    • Polyurethane
    • Wood stain (optional) we used Dark Walnut
    • We used 8″x 1″ and 6″x 1″ Red Oak boards
    • 2″x 3/4″ Red oak trim pieces
    • 3/4″ Plywood
    • Sand-able and stain-able wood putty
    • Clamps
    • Saw Horses

    I know it’s a long list, but these counters will last you a long time and they look like expensive counter tops and you’ll be glad you bought all the right tools and materials when all said and done!

    Start by measuring your cabinets that the counter will be sitting on and cut the plywood with a 3/4″ overhang on the front. Use the same measurements for the oak except add on 1 1/2″ on the sides for your counter top overhang, now cut the oak boards to those measurements.

    We used two different widths of red oak boards for variety. Some of them we even ripped down to 7″ wide to fit better. This all depends on personal preference and cabinet depth.

    Once you have all your boards cut to size you can sand the corners and edges like we did to add that worn plank look. (this is optional) Make sure not to sand the front corners and edge of that front board since you will be attaching the trim to the front and you want it to be as flush as possible! Sand with rough and then smooth sand paper

    This step was pretty time consuming, but for us was well worth the added character.

    Glue and clamp the oak boards to the plywood. Then nail or screw the boards together from the underside (with the 1 1/4″ nails or screws) for fewer visible holes.

    Now what we did to make the boards appear thick like butcher block is to attach the 3/4″ trim to the front of the counter tops. Flush on the top. On the sides we doubled up the oak where the plywood ends underneath.

    *TIP* try to match up the wood grain as much as possible with the oak boards and the 3/4″ trim.

    Cut and nail the trim to the front of the counters making the top as flush as you can.

    *This already has stain and two coats of poly applied*

    The front trim also makes your counter top have the correct size overhang.

    Once your counters are all assembled it’s time to patch the nail holes, then sand and stain!

    Start by sanding the counters with rough and then smooth sand paper.

    Then apply your stain if you choose to stain them. If you like the light look then feel free to skip the staining step. We applied two coats of dark walnut wood stain. Follow the instructions on the back of the can.

    Once the stain is completely dry it’s time to poly. Read the instructions on the poly can. We applied one coat with paint brushes making sure the bubbles disappeared as we went along and once that coat was dry we sanded with smooth sand paper. Then we dusted the counters and added a second coat of poly.

    Let dry in a non humid, non dusty place.

    We then attached the counters to the cabinets with angled brackets from underneath the counters.


    We decided to make our sink under-mount. This is personal preference. If you decide not to do this then simply cut your hole for your sink with a jigsaw and put your sink in place. Silicone around the edges for a water tight edge.

    If you do choose to do the under-mount then you’ll want to keep the plywood back a couple of inches and double up on the oak where your sink will be. That way you won’t see plywood around the inside edge of the counter tops.

    Once you have your oak doubled up, create a template to use when you cut the hole. Get out your hole saw that has the same diameter as the corner of your sink and cut out the corners with this and cut the rest with a jig saw or saw of your choice.

    If you are really good with a jigsaw feel free to use that on the edges instead of the hole saw.

    Now sand with rough and then smooth sand paper until the corners and edges are all smooth and evened out. This was a very time consuming task for me.

    Once you have stained and applied poly to the rest of the counters you’ll need to add a line of silicone to keep it water tight.

     And you’re DONE!

    Country Kitchen, Copper Sink www.SimplyMaggie.com

    Enjoy your custom, hand made, very inexpensive, BEAUTIFUL counter tops! I know I enjoy them every day.

    DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Counter Tops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Counter Tops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    Country Kitchen Remodel www.SimplyMaggie.com

    DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Countertops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    Under Cabinet Lighting, DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Countertops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Countertops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    DIY Wide Plank Butcher Block Countertops www.SimplyMaggie.com

    If you are in love with these DIY counter tops and kitchen ideas and are thinking about adding a personal touch of rustic charm to your living space, Shutterfly has some collections that can help inspire your creativity.

    Click the image below to see our complete kitchen renovation.

    Country kitchen before and after www.SimplyMaggie.com

    -Simply Maggie

81 Responses so far.

  1. judy says:

    I’d love to try this

  2. Annie says:

    Hi Maggie, I love this post. It’s exactly what I have in mind for my own countertops, so I’ll be following your directions rather closely, so thanks! The one question I have is I’m not sure what you mean when you say, “Double up your oak pieces”. Are you layering 2 pieces on top of each other? If so, you can’t see the seam (i.e two boards on top one another around the sink? Thanks!!

    • Maggie says:

      Hello there! Yes doubling your oak pieces means laying one on top of another. And not seeing the seam is a compliment!! haha. We worked very hard to sand that seam away. But yes, there is a seam there and also on the edge on the end of the counter as well.

  3. Plain Graces says:

    These are beautiful! I can’t wait to show my husband- although he will probably cringe when he finds out we can DIY! Thank you for sharing and all the hard work you put into a post while you were remodeling.

  4. Nicole says:

    I love the look but how durable are they? Have you had any problems with water or heat?

    • Maggie says:

      They have actually been very durable. No problems so far:) and I haven’t babied them like I thought I would. And you can put a seal around the back of the counter also around the sink if you’re worried about water issues there. They have worked out perfect.

  5. Viv says:

    did you remove the old counter top first??

  6. With Wings says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Over the years, I have always wanted wooden counter tops. Mine are 32 years old now and I just loved this and your tutorial. Maybe I can get my husband to do this one day. Along with some barn door-looking cabinets too. Would be great. Really love the cabin-look! Thank you for sharing!!!

  7. Leah says:

    I love the worn looking edges on the planks, but do you have problems keeping crumbs and dried liquids out of them?

    • Maggie says:

      Actually the crumbs do fall into the top of the cracks in between the planks but what I do is take the brush attachment on my dyson and vacuum the crumbs out of the cracks and that’ll fix that! :) Other than that I don’t have a problem with any liquids or moisture.

  8. MamaBekz says:

    Very neat!! Is it possible to seal this with a few coats of clear wood seal to avoid crumbs falling into the crack?

    • Maggie says:

      We actually used 2 coats of polyurethane over the stain. You may be able to use a sealer in the cracks, might be worth looking into. For now I just vacuum the cracks every couple of weeks. :)

      • Hartley810 says:

        Fill in the “cracks” with wood filler before you stain. After they are filled in, lightly sand until smooth and then stain it and then put several coats of poly on it.

  9. Michelle says:

    Just copied your instructions for a server in the kitchen!!! It looks so awesome thanks for all the great tips!!! Staining it tomorrow:)

  10. Elisha says:

    I love this idea. Was your sink originally under the counter? I would love to put mine under, but it currently sits on top.

  11. George says:


  12. Ashleigh says:

    Hi, I love the look of these counters and really want to make some for our kitchen, when I ask the wood guys they said oak wasn’t food safe. I don’t plan on cutting on the counter, I always use a cutting board. Did anyone tell you that? Is it okay to use if it has a clear coat on it? Any thoughts???

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  14. Matt says:

    You and your husband did such a great job on these countertops! I also love the plumbing fixtures you picked out and the under mount sink. Awesome job!

  15. Samantha says:

    Amazing job! I originally found your blog to learn how to arm knit… Now I may be doing home renos too lol. Really appreciate your hard work (ps I love your Danes :) )

  16. Rick Pettys says:

    I’m wondering if instead of completely removing the old countertop, if you could just remove the facial board and add the one bys on top of existing top since it’s already 3/4 me board and then add the 2″ trim to the front as stated.

  17. Pam W. says:

    Love this!!! I saw this on Pinterest and tried to follow the link, but Pinterest blocked it and said that it may lead to Spam, Nudity, or other inappropriate stuff. I thought you might want to know.

  18. Amanda says:


    We are working on ours right now! Did you poly the bottom also? How are they holding up? We are debating on going with a pklyurthane vs waterlox?

    • Maggie says:

      That’s awesome! I would love to see a picture when they are done if you want to post one on my Simply Maggie fb page. Ours have held up great! And we’ve had a few spills on them and no issues. We pollyed the bottom by the dishwasher but doing the whole countertop on the bottom isn’t a bad idea. I’m not sure how waterlox works but I’d research it first to make sure it doesn’t finish streaky :)

  19. Heather says:

    Do you have any issues with dents or problems with knives? I want to do these but I’m scared I will make scratches. I’m very bad for cutting on the countertops. It will not help that the counter tops remind me of a cutting board.

  20. Garrett says:

    Maggie, we have recently purchased our first home and would like to do this to our counter tops but what I am worried about is the bacteria from raw foods would soak into and stain the would and bacteria would end up making us sick and causing the food we prepare to be bad my question is how do these counter tops keep from doing this?

  21. Adam says:


    Just curious how your countertops are doing after a year or so? We’re thinking about doing this ourselves.


    • Maggie says:

      Hello! It’s kind of funny, just a few nights ago my husband and I were saying that even a couple years after using the countertops we still absolutely love them! No bad scratches, nothing has shifted, no stains, they are still the same as when we first put them in. One of my favorite projects we have done.

  22. Anna says:

    This is fantastic, and just that bit more elegant than simple, everyday butcher block. I am going to do this, with two changes: I am going to stagger the boards at the corners to create a sort of herringbone effect, and also do a slight angle on the top of the trim piece to give it an easier time in blending together the plank and the trim – I am not so good at seamlessly attaching end trim as you are, Maggie!

  23. Jody says:

    I planning on doing this as my house project this week. My only concern is if the kids put a wet cup on the cabinet will it leave a ring? Did you have any problems with this over time?

  24. Geoffrey says:

    Glad to hear this project went so well and has maintained itself. I’ll be mimicking your efforts shortly. Quick question to which I think I already know the answer….I’m better off putting the dollars into a good hardwood vs a softer wood, right?

  25. […] Find out how we built our counter tops for dirt cheap! […]

  26. Misty Brooks says:

    I see what looks like a homemade kitchen island… did you make that?

  27. Marc says:

    Hi Maggie, thanks for sharing this great example. Could you explain how exactly one can “keep the plywood back a couple of inches and double up on the oak where your sink will be ” ? since the counter is assembled on an intact sheet of plywood and the hole is cut afterwards, how can you keep the plywood back ? thanks !

  28. […] I “kreg”ed 3 of the 2 x 4’s together to make a depth of around 10 inches. I’m not going to include a tutorial of how to kreg 2 x 4’s together to make a plank style top. There are so  many out there: Manhattan Nest, Simply Maggie […]

  29. Kerstin says:

    I love this look…want to try in my own home. My question though…How are they holding up? Have you had any problems with cracking, water damage or damage in general?

  30. Regina says:

    No doubt it looks so beautiful, but over the years I believe water would take a toll on it, wouldn’t? And about scratches by knives, etc. How to fix them?

  31. Krystal says:

    I love seeing these DIY wood countertops. I’m curious about possibly using a bar-top epoxy instead of poly to seal them up. Commercial grade, food safe, glossy or matte depending on your tastes, durable as heck … and though it takes some know-how, probably not all that much more labor intensive than brushing on several coats of poly. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for ages for if/when I ever do my own wood countertops, but for some reason on the DIY countertops I am always finding online, nobody ever uses these. Anybody have any ideas why that is? Has anybody ever thought of using or actually used an epoxy coating for their countertops?

  32. John says:

    Nice overall look, however, as a professional woodworker I would be concerned gluing solid 3/4″ thick Red Oak boards to plywood. One of the “rules” of woodworking is that solid wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity. If one does not allow for this movement, one will most likely end up with cracks and or checks in the solid wood surface.
    Rather than face gluing the boards to plywood, I’d suggest edge gluing the solid Oak boards together to obtain the appropriate counter width,and then putting 3/4″ spacer strips under the solid oak to achieve the 1 1/2″ desired thickness. The 3/4″ X 1 1/2″ solid Oak edge would still be applied.
    Additional suggestion: use Titebond # 2 or Titebond 3 glue for water resistance.

  33. Martha Gruber Arntson says:

    I’ve been looking for this kitchen all my life! I found it! My husband is even excited now to start on our way outdated 1982 kitchen! He’s fabulous with wood working! Thanks for sharing what you did! Will try to take progression photos for you!

  34. Lee says:

    Great project!!! We are in the process of mimicking you right meow!!! Any chance you remember what brand stain you used?

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  40. Emily says:

    I just bought all the materials tonight to make this counter top, well two smaller versions of them and it cost me $500.13 so the price quoted above of “around $500” is spot on!

  41. Brian says:

    Did you biscuit joint the planks together? Have you had any issues with them warping and the planks no longer being level with each other?

  42. Felicia says:

    Hi! Your countertops are amazing and they’ve inspired us to try wood countertops in our kitchen. However, I’m scared of cleaning them and ruining the finish. What kind of cleaner do you use on your countertops for daily cleaning or even big messes?

    • Maggie says:

      Hello! Don’t be too picky. I’ve been using regular multi-surface cleaners for the past few years such as Method brand or a Windex. It works fine and the counter tops are holding up great.

  43. Beth says:

    Hey Maggie, this looks fabulous! Just wondering if you needed to let the boards “acclimatize” to your house, and if you did for how long? We have two joints in our countertop too, any chance you will take a close up of the corner and send it to me? I’m not sure exactly how you did that w/ the front trim piece. I was beginning to thing I would be stuck w/ my ugly laminate forever! Thanks for the great tutorial!

    • Maggie says:

      Hello. We didn’t. We made our counter tops in the Fall so the temperatures were mild and not humid. As far as the corners or joints, we just butted one end up to the other. You can KIND OF see in this photo here from the blog post. Close up

  44. Stephen says:

    What a great project. It really turned out nicely!

    I actually created a product specifically for keeping cutting boards and butcher blocks staying nice and fresh.

    Check it out, it’s 100% plant based as opposed to all the mineral oil on the market. goo.gl/6AMcxV


  45. KimP says:

    How are they holding up after 2 years?
    Has the stain darkened over time? What brand was the stain? I am getting ready to stain some butcher block myself!

    Lovely kitchen!!

    • Maggie says:

      They are holding up great! I haven’t tried to maintain them in any special way and they still look great after using them for a few years. It is Minwax stain. Good luck!
      Thank you!

  46. Kory says:

    Way to use the internet to help people solve preoblms!

  47. Matt says:

    I love these counters! I just finished staining mine, using your post for inspiration. I was wondering what kind of polyurethane you used? Oil or water based?


  48. Ashley says:

    Hi Maggie, I’m wanting to do this in our kitchen as well, but I’m unsure what you mean by “double up” the oak die doing an under mount sink? Can you clarify? Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Hello, We doubled up on the oak around the sink to create the thick butcher block look. Meaning layer two pieces of red oak on top of each other.

  49. Brittany says:

    Hello! You did such an amazing job and I am getting ready to do this in my kitchen as well… the only issue I am coming across is that the longest part of my counter top is 7 inches too long from the typical 8ft board… any advice what to do about this?

  50. Marilyn says:

    I know it’s been a few years since your post on the kitchen remodel, but I just have to say what a wonderful job you guys did. It’s just lovely!
    I would hire you guys in a minute…you should be so proud and I’m glad you are still loving them.

  51. Denise Anderson says:

    Wow!!! You guys did an incredible job transforming the kitchen! How did you remove the hindges off the old cabinets to make them look so new? Or are they entirely new cabinets?

  52. Ruth says:

    tables are gorgeous.

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