Easy step-by-step to build a butcher’s block
Gather your supplies
• Legs 95 x 70 x 730mm (4)
• Side rails 95 x 50 x 765mm (2)
• End rails 95 x 50 x 380mm (2)
• Leg cross rails 60 x 30 x 355mm (2)
• Blocks 95 x 50 x 100mm (90)
• Shelf 195 x 45 x 780mm (1)
You’ll also need
Belt sander; random orbital sander and sandpaper; circular saw with fence attachment; hammer; chisel; square; drill and long 5mm bit; 85, 100, and 150mm batten screws; Sikabond PVA glue; power plane; mitre saw; plastic sheet; paintbrush; scrap timber; clamps; aluminium swivel castors (4); vacuum; kitchen timber oil; matt black robe hooks (3)
Here’s how BUILD THE FRAME
STEP 1 Use sander to remove roughness and splinters off timber for frame. Start with a belt sander to quickly remove roughest material, then switch to a random orbital sander.
STEP 2 At one end of 1 leg, mark out for 90mm high and 30mm deep rebate for rails on 2 adjacent faces. With circular saw set to cut 30mm deep, make multiple passes through area of rebate to be removed. Reset saw to cut full depth and run down sides of rebate.
STEP 3 Use hammer to knock out waste timber, then smooth bottom of rebate with a sharp chisel.
STEP 4 At other end of leg and on narrow face that has the rebate cut into it, mark for a 30mm deep and 60mm high notch for leg cross rail. Make bottom of notch 70mm from this end of leg. Cut notch using circular saw and chisel as you did for rebates at other end of leg.
STEP 5 Repeat Steps 2–4 to make 3 more legs. Position rebates to get 2 pairs of legs the mirror image of each other.
STEP 6 Cut side and end rails to length. Cut ends on a 45° angle, ensuring it goes through timber in opposite directions.
STEP 7 Lay side rail on bench so angled end cuts face up. Sit rebate on wide face of leg over rail, making sure rebate at other end of the leg is on same side as the angled cut. So side and end rails will be neatly mitred at corners, make corner on inside of rebate meet the angled cut on the rail. Use a square to make leg perpendicular to rail, then predrill and screw through leg into rail using 85mm batten screws. Repeat to attach second leg to other end of rail.
STEP 8 Sit leg and side rail assembly on edge. Spread PVA glue on 1 angled cut of 1 end rail and butt into angled cut on side rail. Make mitred join tight then predrill and screw through leg into end rail with 100mm batten screws. Repeat to attach second end rail to other angled end of this assembly.
STEP 9 Repeat Steps 7 and 8 to create second leg assembly and attach it to end rails.
STEP 10 Use circular saw with fence attachment to cut timber for leg cross rails to width, then cut to length. Place in rebates at bottom of legs so ends of rail protrude past outside faces of legs evenly. Predrill and screw through legs into leg cross rail. Repeat to attach second cross rail to legs at other end of bench.
MAKE THE TOP
STEP 11 Dress lengths of timber for blocks with the power plane then smooth with a sander. Use mitre saw to cut lengths into 100mm blocks.
STEP 12 With a sheet of plastic on your bench, start laying out blocks on their end. Use a paintbrush to spread PVA glue on the blocks where they meet adjacent blocks. Check the width of the timber you are using to make sure the blocks line up in a symmetrical pattern.
STEP 13 Fold the plastic up the sides of the blocks and put lengths of scrap timber along each side. Place clamps over the scrap timber and tighten. Leave for at least 24 hours to allow glue to set.
STEP 14 Remove clamps, scrap timber and plastic. Use belt sander to remove excess glue and smooth variations between blocks. Run sander along direction of blocks and also diagonally across them. Do sides and underside of blocks too.
STEP 15 Use random orbital sander to further smooth blocks. Start with a medium grit paper then move to finer grades for a smooth finish.
FINISH IT OFF
STEP 16 Lay blocks upside down on bench and sit frame on top so it is centred. Predrill through middle of rails into block using a long 5mm drill bit. Screw through rails with 150mm batten screws to attach block.
STEP 17 Screw castors to bottom of each leg.
STEP 18 Lay unit on its side and place shelf on top edge of cross rails. Make ends of shelf overhang cross rails evenly. Predrill and screw up through cross rails into shelf.
STEP 19 Vacuum to remove dust then apply kitchen timber oil to entire unit. Leave to dry for 24 hours then apply a second coat.
STEP 20 Screw the 3 black robe hooks to 1 end rail.
STEPS STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 STEP 9 STEP 10
STEPS STEP 11 STEP 12 STEP 13 STEP 14 STEP 15 STEP 16 STEP 17 STEP 19 STEP 20