How to: Oil, Wax & Buff Butcher Block

Well we have survived the frankenstorm that was Sandy, without flooding or loosing electricity. That was the best part of the hurricane. Another neat bit of freak weather events –all public transport typically shuts down in DC, which means that the offices are closed as well, and we get to telework from home. Which means that I got to oil, wax, and buff our beautiful island top during my lunch break. Read Part I and Part II of Making Reclaimed Wood Countertop.

The oiled and waxed wood just kicks it up a notch. Although the counter had looked pretty awesome without the treatment as well, I felt that it may be better to seal the boards. Although these were planed, sanded and cleaned, who knows what kind of residue has seeped into these over the last 100+ years. Given that the island will be heavily used for food prep and eating, the decision was easy.


HOW TO: Oil, Wax, and Buff Untreated Butcher Block

The steps were very simple, and the whole process – including gathering the materials – took just about 30 minutes.

Sand: To start off, sand the butcher block. Since we had used a planer to shave off probably a quarter of inch of the wood to ensure we didn’t have anything too old and grimey in our countertop, this step was super quick for me. I used my electric orbital sander with 150 grit sanding disk to just do a light clean up, followed by 220 grit for smoothness. You may want to start with a coarser grit if the wood was not planed like ours. Dust off the residue.

Prepare Mineral Oil & Beeswax: First mix the mineral oil and the beeswax. I purchased mineral oil at CVS, I don’t think the brand matters at all. It’s also available on amazon. I ordered organic bees wax on amazon that came in bars for easy measurement. The following formula worked well for me:  4.5 oz (9 tbsp) of mineral oil to 0.5 oz of beeswax. The amount was plenty for our 4.5′ by 3′ counter. Then heat in pan on the stove at low-medium temperature until wax melts.

Apply: Apply the mixture with a clean cloth. Buff. Do a good job and spend a bit of time on the buffing as it really gets the mixture to penetrate the wood.

Wait and Repeat: Let soak for 24 hours and repeat. I did a few coats, eventually phasing out the wax.


To see how we made the the Reclaimed Wood Countertop, read Part I and Part II.