The Genius Husband bought this sturdy old butcher block table some ten years ago at a school auction. It was, he thought, an ideal place to put the 20 quart Hobart mixer I used for mixing larger batches of soap. He sanded down the scarred top, then we sealed it with hot parafin and mineral oil. The heavy wax finish protected the surface from splashes and spills.
Now the table sits in the middle of my kitchen. It’s the ideal surface for kneading bread, rolling out dough, and a lot of other food prep tasks.
Now and then, it needs a bit of renovation. Any butcher block table will benefit from oiling now and then. An old one that’s known decades of hard use needs a bit more care. The surface dries out, and the seams need cleaning and resealing.
The seams are in good shape over most of the table, but one corner always needs extra work. First I scrape out the gaps, removing the old wax sealant and whatever dust and bits are in there.
The entire table gets a good scrubbing, and then is allowed to dry thoroughly. I heat a pot of four parts paraffin and one part mineral oil, grab an old measuring cup, and plug in the blow dryer.
I pour the hot wax liberally over the sections where there are gaps in the surface. Heat from the blow dryer keeps the wax soft so it’ll fill the seams that don’t fit together tightly anymore.
When I’m sure all the seams are filled, I scrape the excess from the tabletop.
Then the entire table gets a liberal coat of mineral oil. Taking my time, I spread it over the table, rubbing the wood gently with my hands. If there are any missed wax clumps, I’ll feel them and can deal with them, and I’ll feel any missed gaps that need another treatment of wax.
I like to give the oil several hours or even overnight to soak in. In the morning, I wipe away the excess . . .
then stand back and admire it. It’s scarred and imperfect, and not quite beautiful. I love it though. It has character. It’s functional. What more could anyone ask of a table?
Hey, looks beautiful to me! The fact that it was ‘recycled’ and a bargain to boot, makes it that much prettier.
I love this!
I wish I had somewhere to put a table like this. Great find!
I am guessing this maintnenace would work on old cutting boards…or not?
I use straight mineral oil on my cutting boards, though I suppose a bit of wax in the mix wouldn’t hurt if you had gaps to seal. I’d hesitate to cut meat on an old one with gaps though, and I don’t on my butcher block table. It’s just too hard to santize after and then it would have to be resealed so often.
Ooooooo–I LOVE this table top. Imperfections to me ARE perfect. I love distressing–the real kind from age and use, not the fake kind to hurry up something new to make it look old. Just the right kind of face lift! Thanks for sharing. ~Kathy
I will use your advice from now on. Jaap