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Can You Put Epoxy On Butcher Block? (How To)

Many of us are proud of the butcher block we have in our kitchen. It’s a great place to prepare food but sometimes, we want it to be even more of a showpiece. Can you put epoxy on the butcher block to make it look better?

It is possible to apply epoxy resin to a butcher block but you have to use the right type of epoxy. It has to be food grade and sealed properly or it will not be safe to prepare any food on it or to eat off of it.

Fortunately, there are some food-grade epoxies on the market that do a good job of covering butcher blocks. They can really bring out the natural beauty of the wood and in some cases, you can even mix and match the colors to make a very unique countertop for your kitchen.

As we mentioned, however, most epoxy is not safe for eating. Regardless of whether it is in a liquid form or if it is cured, you need to be cautious that you are not preparing raw food on an epoxy surface. In addition, if you cut on the epoxy surface, you could introduce some of the finish into the food.

That is why it is important to verify that you are using an epoxy resin that is safe for use with food. Not only is this type of epoxy good for butcher block, but it can also be used on any countertops, as well as on aquariums, and even for the inside of food storage bins.

You can generally verify that a type of epoxy is food safe by looking for a seal on the container. Some of them are specifically approved by the FDA, but they are few and far between.

Can You Put Epoxy On Butcher Block? (How To)

This may make you wonder what having food-safe epoxy actually means. In reality, something is food safe when it is able to be worked with using raw foods and as a surface for food preparation.

That being said, there is not any specific definition that would be applied in this case. You need to be cautious that you are using something that is safe or you could be introducing something harmful to yourself and your family.

Even if a type of epoxy is food grade, that doesn’t mean that it is going to be non-toxic. Regardless of whether it is food grade or not, the resin is always going to be toxic when it is in a liquid form. It is only when it is in a cured state that it becomes non-toxic.

In this article, we will consider a number of different factors that will allow you to make the most out of your butcher block by applying epoxy. This will include more than simply choosing the right type of epoxy, it also has to do with the preparation of the surface and using the right tools along the way.

Should You Put Epoxy On Butcher Block?

Understanding that it is possible to put epoxy on a butcher block is one thing. Considering the possible problems and how to avoid them is quite another. Should you put epoxy on the butcher block?

As long as you’re using food-grade epoxy, there is no reason why you should avoid using it on a butcher block. It works quite well in bringing out the beauty of the wood or changing its look entirely.

There are also some other things to look out for and this can also make a difference in how successful the job will be.

Mixture – In order for the epoxy to be at its hardest and workable on the butcher block, the mixture needs to be put together properly. Any variation outside of what is recommended by the manufacturer is going to cause problems.

The last thing you want is for the epoxy to be soft. Epoxy should cure to a very hard finish and that is one of the benefits of putting it on a butcher block. If you end up with soft epoxy on your butcher block, it could be introduced into the food and become toxic.

Preparation – We will discuss the proper way to get the butcher block ready for the epoxy. This is important to consider because the epoxy may not adhere properly if the surface is not prepared in the right way. If it begins peeling or cracking, it could become toxic and would not be suitable for food preparation.

As you can tell, most of the potential problems for putting epoxy on butcher block have to do with putting it on properly. That is why it is important to follow the steps and to ensure you are doing things right from the start.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Epoxy On Butcher Block?

There are a few tools that are necessary for applying epoxy on a butcher block. It would be better if you had these tools available in advance so the job started and completed without any delays in the process.

Have the following tools available:


Paint Roller

Orbital Sander

Belt Sander


Wood Stir Sticks



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Painters Tape



More than likely, you’re also going to have some tools that you enjoy using on any DIY project. You can add these to the list but it is still important to have them available before the job gets underway.

What Preparations Do You Need To Put Epoxy On Butcher Block?

You really can’t underestimate the need to prepare any surface before you apply epoxy. This is especially true of butcher block because you want the epoxy to adhere properly and to harden as much as possible. What are some things you can do to prepare the butcher block in advance?

1. Clean – When it comes to putting epoxy on any surface, it needs to be free of contaminants. This could include wax, grease, or oil. If there are any contaminants on the surface, then the epoxy is not going to adhere properly.

The easiest way to clean butcher block before applying epoxy is with a solvent, such as lacquer thinner. You can also use acetone. Apply the solvent to a rag and wipe the surface. You may need to do this multiple times in order to remove as much of the contaminant as possible.

It is important to take this step before you do any sanding. Don’t assume that you will remove the contaminant when you sand the surface. More than likely, you would just push the contaminants into the surface further.

2. Dry – Before you go on to the next step, you need to allow the butcher block to dry thoroughly. Since some of the solvents may have soaked into the butcher block, you should give it enough time so that it dries from the inside out. This would require more than just waiting an hour or two. Wait at least 24 hours.

You can also speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer or a hot-air gun. Some people also use a heat lamp to warm up the surface as that will facilitate the drying process. If you do use it for this purpose, allow the surface to come back to room temperature before proceeding.

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3. Sand – Use some 80-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface and remove the top layer. This will give an opportunity for the epoxy to adhere and it will also remove some of the old coatings that could keep the epoxy from sticking.

4. Clean – Finally, give the surface a good cleaning. Use a vacuum to remove most of the dust and after wiping the surface thoroughly, use a tack cloth to remove the rest of the dust and any remaining debris.

How To Put Epoxy On Butcher Block

After the surface has been prepared properly, it is now time to apply the epoxy. Here’s how to do it.

1. Mix – You will have to mix the hardener with the resin. There will be specific instructions associated with each different type of epoxy but generally speaking, you will be mixing equal parts.

There are epoxy mixing cups that make this process much easier. After mixing them together, use a paint stir stick, and don’t be too quick to finish stirring. You have to stir it by hand to keep air bubbles out of the mix. It may take up to 10 minutes or longer worth of stirring before it is mixed properly.

2. Apply – Although you will have some time before the epoxy sets up, you should begin working with it almost immediately. Apply it to the surface by pouring it into the middle of the butcher block.

A plastic spreader can then be used to move the epoxy over the entire counter. Don’t allow the epoxy to be too thick and you don’t need to be perfect. Eventually, the epoxy will find its own level before it cures.

As you work the epoxy toward the edges, it will eventually pour out over the edges. If you have plastic in place, it will keep it from getting on the floor. A foam paintbrush can be used to work the epoxy into the edge of the butcher block.

If there are any bubbles, you can use a heat gun to smooth them out. Make sure that you don’t keep the heat on one spot or it will cause the epoxy to burn. You have to get rid of the bubbles while it is wet.

3. Cure – The final step in the process is to allow the surface to cure. You can apply a second coat if necessary while it is still tacky but after that, you should allow it to sit for at least three days before you begin using the countertop.

You can use epoxy on butcher block but you have to use food-grade epoxy so it is safe for food preparation. Otherwise, it will just be a decorative piece that doesn’t serve any other purpose in the kitchen.

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