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Where to buy raw material for butchers block

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Raw69

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Hi new to all this, want to try my hand making a block, but struggling to find anywhere near me to buy the raw material. Any help or suggestions as to what to search for would be much appreciated.

Location, north Essex
 

Myfordman

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Firstly decide what species of hardwood you want to use, then use the extensive list of wood suppliers on this forum and ring round local ones to see who has stocks of that wood.
 

sunnybob

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Are you talking about a butchers block (6 inch deep x 2 ft square, Takes 2 strong people to move it, sturdy enough to chop animal carcasses on)
or are you talking about a cutting board (1" thick x maybe a foot square, for bread and sunday roast carving)

Theres a BIG difference in construction.
 

AJB Temple

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I have made two blocks. One 4" thick and one 7" thick. I also have bought ones to compare with.

I strongly recommend maple and a beech or maple edge board surround. If you are making a proper block, which is usually two feet deep or sometimes 30" and whatever length suits you (2, 4 or 6 feet usually) then you will definitely need a means of putting threaded rods through. Don't think that you can avoid this and rely on glue alone as you will regret it. DAMHIK. There are various different methods used for pulling it all seriously tight, including metal bars rebated in which the rods pull against, these bars being hidden by the side and end boards.

I buy most of my hardwood here (5 mins drive from me and their stock is good quality - they also sell online) https://www.exotichardwoods.co.uk

They give discount for trade and volume purchases.

Your biggest issue is exact sizing of the blocks used and the method you intend to use for staggering the joints. Your life will be made much easier if you do all blocks the exact same thickness in one dimension and variable in the other so that you can plan a joint stagger. Most commercial blocks these days use finger joint profiles on the 'same width' dimension and a flat face on the random one. This at least doubles the glue area and means that most of your rod pull only needs to be in one plane (usually the long side of the block).

You want to be certain that all of your wood is well seasoned and dried to exactly the same moisture content. It is a lot of work so don't skimp on top quality wood. You need a fairly long open time on your glue - I used cascamite but that was before the changed the formulation a couple of years ago. And plan ahead and make a softwood clamping frame so that you can exert plenty of pressure evenly spread, with plenty of heavy duty sash cramps.
 

topchippyles

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I have some nice slabs here if you can let me know what your looking for
 

AJB Temple

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PS: convention is to use a timber that produced edible output - hence maple is frequently used for pro blocks and it is kind to your knives and will take a lot of abuse. Abuse included daily bleaching in a commercial environment.

I know a lot of home board makers use oak, as it is easy to get hold of, but I would counsel against it. If you use oak, you have a much higher risk of seeing splits in the end grain (your working face on the finished block).
 

Roxie

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I agree with using maple. I made an end grain chopping board 1.5" thick, using Maple and Utile, and got my supplies from Hardwood Offcuts in Essex.
 
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