After many years, I finally restored my mom's old butcher block and it has a new home in our kitchen.
The natural wood tone is so beautiful, but it wasn't always like this!
As I have mentioned before, my mother passed away many years ago. My father put many of her things in storage at their farm. This butcher's block sat in a shed for about a decade, before he cleaned the shed and gave it to me. (I begged the stove delivery guy to move it in for me, and here it rests on it's side. You cannot imagine how heavy this is!)
I found some 'Butcher's Block' oil at Lowe's and applied several coats; allowing it to dry for a day between each application.
In an attempt to study some of the major artists, I sketched with the kid's sidewalk chalk Picasso's Femme en Vert et Mauve. Not one of his most famous works, but it was one I thought I could manage! I'll post on the chalk board and our art projects later.
These radishes make for a lovely 'still life' to paint.
I believe the block is maple wood, but I am not sure about the legs.
Previously, I had a tall book shelf in this space. The old French wicker trunk gives some needed storage.
Before my 'Picasso,' my daughter drew a self-portrait. I had an early 1900's New England decoy on display with a box of my mother's, grandmother's and great-grandmother's rolling pins; such treasures to me!
Here is the kitchen in progress with the butcher's block on it's side.
I started by scraping off the dirt and cobwebs after years of storage.
Next, I poured Clorox all over it and scrubbed it.
I have such faithful helpers. Poor kids...they have no one out here to play with, so projects seem like fun, I guess. I am not complaining!
After many attempts to clean the block and to sand it with a small hand sander, I made a horrible mistake. The block had lots of dirt and old blood stains that I couldn't get clean, so I stained the block with a dark stain...horrible, horrible. Back into storage it went, until I could figure out plan B.
When we had the floors sanded, I had my husband drag the block to the front of the house and begged the floor people to sand it down for me. They did a great job, and I was able to restore it the right way!
"The modern butcher block was developed in the 1880s and was called at the time ' The Sanitary Meat Block.' It was developed to address a need by the meat cutting industry for a more sanitary and stable cutting surface. Prior to the invention of butcher block, butchers cut on tree rounds or a section of tree trunk set on legs. Butcher block, because of its construction, was fundamentally more stable. Tree rounds were susceptible to cracking creating an unsanitary condition. Butcher block minimized this cracking. Solid northern hard maple was used because it is the proper hardness. This was important because the butchers cutting tools needed to be durable and a harder wood would blunt the edge of these tools and a softer wood would degrade quickly.
The modern butcher block was always solid and usually very thick. The thickness was important for the longevity of the block and also for the stability the mass provided. Butchers needed a block that was stable insuring that the block would not move as large pieces of meat were placed on the block. Additionally, the blocks were usually very thick to allow the butcher to work on the block for a long period of time. A butcher would buy a block as an apprentice and use the block his entire career. When the block became worn it would be planed down to create a rejuvenated cutting surface."
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