Kitchen Decorating: Butcher Blocks

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For anyone who wants to jazz up a kitchen of any size, butcher blocks can be a great addition for both style and function. Cooking enthusiasts will enjoy using these functional countertop spaces for all kinds of food preparation, and the exposed wood surface brings a touch of class to a kitchen. Small square standing butcher blocks can fit into tight kitchen spaces where larger installations are not feasible. Butcher blocks are really catching on as many consumers realize that having good workable counter tops is essential to a good kitchen experience. Many different styles and types of these installations are available from quality manufacturers.

What Is a Butcher Block?

A butcher block is a block of wood, generally manufactured from raw lumber, that is specifically designed for use as a cutting board. The difference between a butcher block and a cutting board is that the butcher block is generally stationary. It is part of a standing structure that may or may not be movable. The butcher block generally stands several feet high and includes spaces for knives, sharpeners, etc. underneath the wooden top.

Using a Butcher Block

The appeal of the butcher block is that the same authentic wooden surface that provides visual appeal when the kitchen is not in use also serves as a quality cutting board area for cooks. With the proper care and use, the butcher block can make many recipes easier to execute, and also help simplify clean-up.

Types of Butcher Blocks

A butcher block may be made out of many different kinds of wood. Oak and maple are two popular choices, but other darker woods like walnut and cherry are also used to make butcher blocks. Different styles are also available; though some butcher blocks are made of parallel single pieces, others are put together in staggered rows of short pieces for a more varied design. Some butcher blocks are called “end-grain” where the grain of the wood is on the plane of the surface of the block.

There are also variations of the butcher block that are made for more flexibility. Some are on wheels, making them easy to move. Others are like small tables that fit into the corner of a kitchen.

Caring For a Butcher Block

Some general guidelines apply to maintaining a butcher block. The wood surface has to be cleaned after use, and it’s also recommended that owners periodically apply some type of oil to keep the block surface in good condition. Vegetable oils and similar oils are not recommended, as they can become rancid over time. Mineral oil is one of the most popular choices for seasoning a butcher block.

Keep this kind of design choice in mind for accenting any kitchen, when the cooking space could use a little extra furnishing. Butcher blocks can be a good substitute for an island or table space, according to what is practical in any particular kitchen, and this versatile decorating aid is very popular in home and commercial kitchen spaces.

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