jimrutherford.com 1990-2016
Home Improvement:
Kitchen Electrical and Lighting The Computer Modeling Basement

End Result

The functionality of a substantial end-grain countertop somewhere is really pretty nice.  Slicing and chopping feels more sure and the knife marks pretty much disappear if the block is kept oiled like a cutting board.  On the other hand, glasses with cold liquids leave water rings and regular oiling is more maintenance than granite.
We had a few trees cut down on the property and noticed that two of them  were maple and in decent shape.  I put some white paint on the ends within a few days to slow the drying and checking that would otherwise naturally occur. 

Butcherblock from

My Own Tree

I’ll never do this again...

As usual, it starts with an instructional book - this one a bible of wood.  Armed with the knowledge that a tree can be slabbed, dried and turned into something useful, its just a matter of having a not- completely-rotten hardwood tree need to be cut down for whatever reason. 
These pinching tow hooks were useful to drag the tree up the driveway.
And then each pass will be parallel to the top at whatever thickness is desired.  I used roughly 2” thick slabs for this countertop.
I have no idea why I took no pictures of the many stages of milling, gluing long strips of maple together, cutting them into short lengths and rotating into position, and re-gluing. 
We start off getting a reference flat top...
I hated every part of this.  The amount of waste filled entire garbage bags of sawdust.
It kills me that I have so few pictures in this section.  At every stage, I wasn’t sure it was going to come out good enough and many days I’m still not sure that I like the look.  It takes a tremendous amount of wood to make an endgrain anything.  Wood doesn’t like to be worked across the ends of the grain and so getting things flat is time consuming.  At a couple of inches thick, endgrain surfaces can move at different rates (and the amount of wood movement is unbelievable), making the entire surface dish concave or convex like some giant wooden barometer.
The chainsaw in the foreground is outfitted with the “Alaskan Saw Mill”, which is guide that allows you to slab fairly large logs