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Why my Butcher Block Countertops and Mineral Oil got a divorce

I know. You’re sitting there thinking “Is she seriously writing another post about her butcher block countertops?” This is my third one. Consider me your science experiment. No really. Take my mistakes and trial and errors and learn from them, so you don’t have to go through all of this with your countertops. I mean why else would I come up with a witty title for this blog post called “Why my butcher block countertops and mineral oil got a divorce”, if I didn’t have a reason to encourage you to try a different product as a treatment for your butcher block countertops. Possibly Google SEO, but that’s another story.

Now. If you search for Butcher Block Countertops and Mineral Oil, you’ll get a plethora of recommendations to use this on your counters. However having had butcher block countertops for over 6 years in two different homes, has led me to a very different conclusion about that combination. I’ve also had butcher block countertops made of different species of wood. That matters as well. 

So let’s begin. 

If this is the first time you’re here, may I suggest reading my first two posts on the subject of Butcher Block Countertops.

Adventures in Staining Butcher Block 

This where I talk about our previous IKEA butcher block countertops. I go over various ways of staining them, using Dark Tung Oil from the Real Milk Paint Company, why even though it’s a great product, it didn’t work for our kitchen. I link to about 10 other posts from bloggers using different things for their butcher blocks.

The butcher block countertops we owned when I wrote that post were the ones from IKEA. 

The Reality of having Butcher Block Countertops 

This is where I talk about our second and current set of butcher block countertops from Lumber Liquidators. I go over all of the Pros and Cons and the reality that comes with having them in your kitchen to help you decide if they’re right for your kitchen.

And this is the post where I talk about Butcher Block Countertops and Mineral Oil and why I finally give up on mineral oil as my preferred method of treating my counter tops. Now I get to explain why I switched to Fusion Beeswax Finish and Fusion Hemp Oil.

I was first introduced to Beeswax as a treatment method by Old Town Home and Sarah from the Ugly Duckling House. They both use different products but both use a combination of an oil with a beeswax on it.

For a long time I thought mineral oil was enough. And to tell you the truth, with the lighter IKEA counter tops, it really isn’t a bad choice still, even if it’s oily residue took forever to dry. FOREVERRRRR.  And it’s cheap and easily available.  However, when we got the new counter tops in our current house, the walnut wood which is obviously darker with more color variation, changed that completely. Butcher Block Countertops and Mineral Oil were no longer friends. 

Here is a very candid photo of what your Butcher Block Countertops can possibly look like after daily use *IF* you don’t properly maintain it.

I am talking strictly for those of you using mineral oil, not those of you who have sealed with a polyurethane style sealant.

Coffee spills. Patches of wood drying out. Food and flour being sifted into the grain. Water marks. Etc. On dark wood, this shows up WAY more than the light wood. It’s the same as your floors.

Dark wood shows every speck of dust on the planet. Light colored wood, is a lot more forgiving.

So I was fed up with how quickly our walnut butcher block was drying out and looking blotchy that I started looking into other solutions. I’ve debated on using Waterlox but I am not there yet. If I get there, I’ll write another post and then you can really question why I have butcher block counters to begin with.

That’s when I came across Fusion’s Beeswax products through my friend Laurie from Vinyet Etc. who is a big fan of the product. I figure why not? Let’s try it.

This is the best side by side photo I could get where I could see the wax line and the messy dried out part. Wax is very subtle and you have rub it onto the counters in a circular motion, then it starts to do it’s thing. This was the first run at the wax.

Fusion Beeswax is made of 100% pure beeswax and hemp oil. That’s it. It’s food safe, which is very important to me because I cook a lot and food is all over our counter tops during baking marathons.

But it also leaves a matte finish which is one of the reasons I have not used a polyurethane finish. I am not a fan of shiny wood counters, furniture, floors, you name it. I don’t want glossy butcher block countertops.

What did it look like after I finished applying it?


Those photos are the exact same parts of my counter top as the first series of photos. Just with the beeswax on it. Game changing.

I did wait a month before I wrote this post so I could live with it and see how it held up and how well it cured.

Here are some things I learned.

  • You can still get water rings (this happened more towards the end of the month) but that happens on any surface, wood or otherwise.
  • You will need to do spot touch up and reapply in high traffic use areas of your butcher block (i.e. around the sink where water tends to gather)
  • It is very durable and almost unaffected by scrubbing. I use my scouring pads on my counters to remove dried up tomato sauce and the spot still stayed the same shade as before. I still feel water is a butcher block counters worse enemy because my scouring pads don’t affect my counter tops as much as water does. Fusion’s paint line is also very good at holding up against scouring pads and I can attest to that because I painted our old kitchen cabinets with it.
  • The color is still vastly more rich than it was using the mineral oil and stayed that way for the month. With repeated treatments (you should treat your counter tops at least once a month to keep them in good condition) I can only see this product making them better over time.
  • The best benefit was the lack of greasy feeling. Mineral oil even after sinking it, can leave a residue so that if you put a piece of paper on your counters, it will seep through it and leave oil spots on the paper. With this, there were touches of that, but nowhere near as oily as the mineral oil.
  • It’s a very smooth matte finish that really makes the wood tones pop.

That means, for now, our Butcher Block Countertops and Mineral Oil got a divorce in favor of Beeswax finish. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. You can purchase Fusion Beeswax directly from Fusion Mineral Paint’s site or look up their retailer list to find a retailer near you. Better yet, go visit Laurie’s site and ask her what she thinks of it. I owe this find to her.


Since I wrote this post, I have alternated between Fusion’s Beeswax and Fusion’s Hemp Oil. I use the Hemp Oil on a regular basis and the beeswax when it needs a good polish.  I find the Hemp Oil way easier and it absorbs quickly, without that horrible residue that mineral oil can often leave behind.

You can find both at your nearest Fusion merchant or Amazon.

However, I realize that not everyone has a Fusion Merchant near them or for that matter, just prefers the convenience of Amazon or something they can grab at their local stores.

So here are some other brands that can offer you beeswax, hemp oil, tung oil and other Non-Mineral Oil products, that are still food safe treatments for your butcher block.

Caron and Doucet – Butcher Block Conditioning Oil and Wood Finishing Wax

Real Milk Paint Company  – Tung Oil

Real Milk Paint Company –  Hemp Oil (whose products I reviewed in my previous Butcher Block posts and also is a great quality product.)

Block Bros – Block Oil

Tried and True – Danish (Linseed) Oil

Virginia Boys Kitchens – All Natural Wood Seasoning Wax

Virginia Boys Kitchens – Wood Seasoning Oil

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  • Reply
    Sarah | The Ugly Duckling House
    November 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Your counters look beautiful! I’ve been rethinking my own counters for when I resell (I love the look of my beeswax/oil but I’m not convinced the next owner will appreciate the maintenance, and I don’t put food directly on them when I’m cutting food, so I want something that will harden the wood itself). Still juggling my options!

    • Reply
      November 17, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      It’s a little crazy how much maintenance they require. I want a product to have that matte look but waterproof it at the same time. I’ve used stains like those on different wood projects and inevitably one area always wear down and you have to reapply. Then it’s patchy and you have to wind up sanding etc etc. I do like that the Beeswax does help the wood grain retain that variation and deep tone longer. So I completely get where you’re coming from.

      • Reply
        February 15, 2019 at 11:13 am

        Alex, we just installed American walnut butcher block as an island. I don’t really want the wood to get much darker – in your experience – would the oil make the wood darker than Beeswax?

        • Reply
          February 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

          Almost anything you put on it will cause it to become darker, even if it’s clear. Have you coated it with anything so far or is still untreated?

          • Tami
            February 15, 2019 at 12:19 pm

            It is currently untreated.

          • Alex
            February 15, 2019 at 3:47 pm

            If you have a scrap piece of it, I strongly recommend testing out anything you want to use on it first to see how it will change the wood. Both the beeswax and the hemp oil will darken it, but they’re two different finishes. Beeswax is a coating that is the equivalent to a waxing on a car the day you wash it. Whereas hemp oil is the uncomplicated oil you wipe on and go. It leaves a matte finish that sinks is really fast without a greasy residue, so I find since writing this post, I use the Hemp oil way more often. The butcher block will dry out on its own over time, but you won’t get it back to the color it is right now if you treat it without sanding. I too really liked the look of the light wood so if you want to go lighter, try out a limeing or white wax as it will lighten the wood. A quick google search for limeing wax should offer up several tutorials and show what this looks like. But again, I cannot emphasize testing out the products before you commit to the entire surface.

    • Reply
      Douglas Menning
      September 1, 2018 at 9:08 am

      I did my bathroom wood countertop with a matte finish Spar Varnish from MinWax (boat polyurethane) over a wipe on stain.
      We tend to wipe up splashes and spills quickly, but 10 years later with no other maintennance than a damp cloth for cleaning it still beads up water.

      • Reply
        September 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

        Polyurethane definitely works on wood. The concern with many using it in the kitchen is the food safety issue, which is why people try to find alternatives. If someone isn’t concerned about that, then they can absolutely use one.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    great post! you can talk about your butcher block counters all day in my opinion–i’m learning so much! we’ve just recently installed our counters and i am using the beeswax/mineral oil product as recommended by your references above. thanks! i was wondering what you do for daily upkeep? do you use any cleaners for the regular use/abuse of your counters?

    • Reply
      November 23, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Daily upkeep is really easy. I just use whatever cleaner I have on hand. I think the best tip (and I realize this may be common sense) is don’t use paper towels. I mean you can, but running it over wood is not that…umm, convenient? Paper shredding. I do try to polish them with the Beeswax/oil once a month but I’ll be honest I often forget. Until I get fed up with how dry the wood looks and go “Nope. This can’t happen.” I may be a year away from using a polyurathane finish on them but I can’t find anything that I trust not to wear down in certain spots and then have to sand and refinish. I will say the longer I have the counters, the more character they develop.

      • Reply
        November 27, 2017 at 12:19 am

        phew! i am thankful for your ‘cest la vie’ perspective. your easy-going attitude has been really helping me let go of my constant worry!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    You’re hilarious!

  • Reply
    Nicole Ostertag
    March 28, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    So what should I use to wipe down counters then when I clean up? Just a wash cloth with soap and water or a cleaner like you recommended?! And the water will break down the look overtime but not ruin them? Also–how is it holding up around your sink? Lastly–I haven’t commented on your blog before–how do I know when you respond? Otherwise I sent my email ! Thank you so much for so many great tips to read!

    • Reply
      March 29, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Once you sand then and oil them, use beeswax or protect them in the way you see fit, they should be fairly easy to wipe with paper towels and a cleaner. BUT for me personally, rags and dishcloths I find always just work better.

      I’ve sprayed ours with everything from natural cleaners to Lysol to soap and water to really deep clean. Hot water always works. Imagine cleaning a wood cutting board. It’s exactly the same.

      The area around our sink is great! But that’s due in part to the sink we chose where the IKEA DOMSJO sink doesn’t have the faucet going directly into the wood. Only the edges of the sink attach to the wood. Even then, absolutely no problems at all and I am not careful with wiping up water on time and so forth. That’s with these counters from Lumber Liquidators. I have a link in here that shares our experience with the IKEA ones and the faucet mounted into the butcher block – that didn’t work as well. So the butcher block counts and how you protect it counts.

      In terms of my reply, it should show up as soon as I press reply on this comment in your In Box. If it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll have my tech guy take a look at it as I should have it set up for notifications that way.

      Any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Hello, very much enjoyed your insights. I am putting in new butcherblock countertops as we speak… I thought they would look beautiful… apparently most websites your read regarding the product don’t bother to point out the pitfalls of this?? Now im nervous 🙂 So do I oil them before starting the beeswax? What order of things do you recommend? Thank you

    • Reply
      May 17, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Sand the whole surface first to get rid of any jagged or rough edges. Then use Oil for about a week, every evening to condition it. Then Beeswax and Oil as needed. I have found that with repeated coatings of the Beeswax, I don’t have to work as hard or apply as much as I did with the first coat. If you’re totally against dealing with monthly maintenance on it, definitely look into something like Waterlox or Fusion Mineral Paint’s Clear Stain and Finishing Oil (it’s food safe) to coat them once and be done with it. I may be going this route in the future, but for now I don’t mind the Beeswax. Don’t be nervous. We’re going on year 2 with these counters and they just look better and better as they age.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    I have just sanded one side of my butcher block counter top and plan to do the whole thing. I’m not super happy with mineral oil and conditioner that I did to my island 6 months ago so looking for something else for the counter top. It’s the first time they have ever been sanded and re-oiled. So in the comments you mention oiling before using this product for a week? Mineral Oil then use the Fusion product?

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 11:25 am

      If you haven’t done anything, I would just use the Beeswax first OR Fusion’s Hemp Oil. I found that mineral oil just didn’t soak in and penetrate the wood the way I wanted it to, whereas the Beeswax is mixed with Hemp Oil (Fusion also sells that separately so I would give that a try over mineral oil) and I’ve found the more you apply it, the less you need to over time.

  • Reply
    Sabrina Harvey
    June 24, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I’m so glad I found this site! I just installed walnut countertops, haven’t moved in yet, have oiled them twice over the last 2 weeks, but have been disappointed in the results. After reading this blog, I think I should 1) sand the countertops, 2) oil them every day for a week, and 3) start using beeswax. Is that what you’d recommend?

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Yes! Do a light sanding and then wipe any dust residue clean. Then you can go straight to the Beeswax or Fusion’s Hemp Oil. The Beeswax is mixed with the Hemp Oil but you can use it as a stand alone as well. You will find the first time you use the Beeswax, it will take a long time to get everything covered. Then with repeated treatments, it won’t be as often or everywhere, just in places where wear and tear shows up more (think around the sink, or where you place pots and pans). I am toying with the idea of permanently sealing it with SFO (Fusion’s Stain and Finishing oil) in a Clear coat. But when and if I get to that, I’ll write another post and then I’ll really be the crazy butcher block lady.

      • Reply
        July 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm

        What grit sand paper? Then wipe clean. Then use the beeswax every night for a wk? What did you use to apply the beeswax-what kind of cloth etc? I also think somewhere it said apply in circular motion? How long before i can put stuff on the counter after the week of waxing?

        • Reply
          July 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

          I would use a light/fine grit sandpaper as most of the butcher block is already fairly smooth, you’d just need a light sanding to remove any little pieces of wood with the goal of making it smooth.

          Had I just gotten these counters today, I would have used Hemp Oil every evening for a week (though you may not even need a week as it is very rich) to fully penetrate the butcher block. Then I would use the beeswax on my final day. Then beeswax monthly or as needed after. You’ll know when it needs a new coat as areas will start to appear spotty on the places you use the counter the most. I didn’t use any fancy cloths, just old facecloths. Circular motion is good as it’s good for buffing but my counters are so long that towards the end I was like “Ok are we done yet?” so I don’t even remember what direction I was applying it.

          I wait less than a day before I put everything back on and I usually apply in the evening so that it gets a night to dry and then I put them back on the next morning.

          IF you go with mineral oil, you will find that the oil residue will still be there days after. That is, if you lay down a newspaper or paper towel, it will soak through. So don’t leave any papers you don’t want ruined on a freshly coated counter top. The beeswax will have a very different coat feel than the other oils and honestly, it’s not for everyone. Some people just prefer the hemp oil on it’s own, while others like the finish the beeswax offers.

          • Michelle
            July 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

            Thank you so much for the info! I appreciate it!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2018 at 1:05 am

    Just read all your butcher block diaries! I laughed, I cried and now my head hurts from all this education! So thank you for chronicling your experience for all us newbies 🙂 SO- question you may be able to help direct me in. I’m kind of drawn to lighter woods, and our contractor wants to use MAPLE… i know you mentioned every wood is so different and all your great results with WALNUT. Any resources you know of that would address the differences? Meh, in the end I can’t help but agree wood just looks so amazing! But now I’m toying with considering WALNUT. Thanks in advance! (can’t wait to read your post on SFO when you finally cave : )

    • Reply
      July 5, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      You’re asking the wrong person. LOL! I love Maple – it’s one of my favourite wood species, especially for floors as I love the grain. Honestly, it’s a matter of the look that you want for your colour cabinet. We didn’t do maple with black here because it felt a little too orange with the black and as much as I love Halloween, that’s not what we’re going for with this kitchen. So Walnut was a no brainer. Had I done white I would have no issues using a lighter wood. Every wood also has a different strength to it (Pine for example dings really easily) whereas Beech or Maple is really tough. We have a 20+ year old bar cart made from Maple that has been left outside during Canadian winters and it’s like nothing has gone near it. Also remember, you can stain your wood to the colour that you’d like but then you have to make sure you see what that particular species of wood looks like with that stain.

      The SFO…oh that’s coming. I legitimately laughed so hard when I read that because I am currently staring at the counter tops like do I really want to oil these again?

    • Reply
      September 15, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      So we’re installing our butcher block today, well we’re tying tho install them 🙂 Question, you’ve used bees wax for about a year have you reconsidered using Waterlox?

      • Reply
        September 16, 2018 at 7:41 pm

        For myself, no. I really like the look and matte aesthetic that Beeswax and Hemp Oil offer. Waterlox from what I’ve seen, tends to be quite glossy and shiny which is not my personal aesthetic preference for butcher block. But I have friends who have used it and really enjoy it. What really dissuades me from trying it is this post from Kristi:

        I am extremely hard on our counters. I drop hot pans, knives, forks, you name it. I cook a LOT and Lemon juice (as per Kristi’s post) would be the least of the issues to cause me problems, as I am constantly wiping and cleaning our counters. So I know personally I would have to wind up retouching it way more often than I need to and I do not have the patience needed for that. With the current products, I just spot touch and go, no complicated sanding needed. I’ve also previously used Watco Butcher Block oil it was just awful. Dried up the wood and then began fade from the counters on different areas and ball up like wax.

        If you want to use Waterlox, definitely do some research on it as apparently they have different formulas now that are not all created equal. Then there’s the issue of staining them and then using Waterlox. It’s definitely not a one size fits all category. I do stand by the fact that butcher blocks are high maintenance and you need to love them to have them. I appreciate every ding and nick and cut in them and it’s just nice to see them aging over time.

  • Reply
    Jacquelyn Hazelton
    July 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I just had cherry countertop and island top installed a little over a week ago. I’ve. Been. A psycho. Water spots are going to kill me. The fusion beeswax finish arrived in the mail and I’m going to apply it today based on your recommendation, wish me luck!

  • Reply
    Deb Woollen
    July 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for all this information. I am thinking of butcher block counters. Im wondering if that oil stain product you mention would be good. I plan to use the butcher block to prep food on and was hoping to not use cutting boards. Help!

    • Reply
      July 24, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Do you mean the SFO (Stain and Finishing Oil)? That is not food safe that I know of. Your best bet is honestly Hemp Oil or the Beeswax or one that is a mixture of both. There are food safe stains on the market but it really depends on the finish you want for your counters, as a lot of the ones that you can stain and leave alone, leave a sheen that *I* personally don’t like the look of but others don’t mind at all.

      • Reply
        August 4, 2018 at 12:14 am

        I just applied my 4th coat of mineral oil on my new butcher block countertops. I am not happy with the process so far. Mainly the oily feel even after I buff them with a soft rag. What do I do now if I want to go with the beeswax method? Do I need to sand then now before applying the beeswax?

        • Reply
          August 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm

          That’s one of the reason I stopped using it too. I just couldn’t stand how long it took to soak in and it always felt greasy for days after. It never gave me that finish that I wanted. As for the beeswax, you do not have to sand down anything. Just let the mineral oil be and when it’s dried up a bit, apply the beeswax over it. The first time you use it, it will take longer than subsequent applications. I go between the Hemp Oil and the Beeswax depending on how much time I have as both are applied differently. Waxing takes a bit more effort with the buffing.

  • Reply
    August 11, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks so much for the treatise. My dream of butcher block counters is coming true…we just picked them up! I’ve ordered the fusion but it will not be here for a bit. Am I okay to start with mineral oil daily (what I have on hand already) and then switch to fusion in two weeks? I see that you prefer hemp oil to mineral but just to get the conditioning process started will mineral suffice? And will the fusion go over it without problem? Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Sorry for the late reply. You don’t need to re-sand anything. Just let the mineral oil soak it and dry out, then just use the Hemp oil. I find the two are very different and it’s one of the reasons I can’t go back to mineral oil.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 8:58 pm


    wanted to offer a question and adivce

    1. advice.
    if you’re starting with a new raw piece of wood counter, i would suggest doing your first week of coating with the mineral oil, THEN switch over to a butcherblock conditioner, THEN switch over to the Beeswax – this is so that you can get plenty of penetration first; the wax will inhibit this if you start out with it.

    1 question:
    how often do you do touchups in areas around the sink and such? and could you describe the process in a bit of detail to get it looking new again?

    • Reply
      September 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Wax definitely changes how the oil absorbs but this particular wax is a combination of beeswax and hemp oil, so the end result is different than that of a wax stick. We’ve been very happy with it. I wish I had never used mineral oil on all our previous counter tops and definitely would have started with Hemp Oil first.

      In terms of touch ups, not as often as I should but in many ways that’s a testament to the actual walnut wood. It’s been pretty incredible this past year. Durable, no wood splitting like the IKEA counters.

      All I do when the areas start to appear dry is use either the Hemp Oil and using a cloth just rub it over the counter top. I use the Beeswax more so when I have more time as it does take a bit longer to buff in wax that slather oil everywhere. I don’t know if I prefer one over the other, as much as it’s “Ok that’s showing some wear and tear, do I have time to get this done now or can I just do a quick touch up?” If I use Beeswax, I put aside time.

  • Reply
    Catherine R
    September 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Hi! I’m about to remodel a home and love the look of a butcher block island with white cabinets and quartz around the perimeter. The primary prep area will be the island as there won’t be an excess of quartz perimeter. Also, the island will have barstools and serve as an eating area/bar. I’m concerned about having to always be handing out coasters and chargers to anyone who sits at the island in order to protect it. Does a hot dinner plate, coffee mug or sweating glass of ice water leave permanent marks? I don’t want to have to be always thinking about my main worktop/eating area, especially in the middle of entertaining, but I’m willing to do monthly oiling. Can you help me?????

    • Reply
      September 21, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Argh! I just wrote a long reply to you and WordPress ate it. The very long story short is, if you’re not a fan of water marks and discoloring, then you have to use either a Polyurethane finish or Waterlox (which is a Tung Oil based product) on your counter tops. That being said, even if you do that, there is no 100% fool proof way of preventing them as these products do wear down over time (go see Chris Loves Julia’s post about refinishing their island with Waterlox:

      I personally do have the patience to re-sand my counter tops as I have over 21 feet of counter tops *one way*. So I let mine age and just oil and use wax as needed. I say this repeatedly, but if anyone isn’t a fan of nicks, dings cuts and imperfections, they will not be happy with butcher block over time. It’s wood. It will be affected. You will get water marks that you will have to touch up. You will get fading in spots that you need to touch up, especially areas that are always in use. Personally I think it’s part of the charm and after over a year, it’s been amazing to see the natural marks left on ours. I actually look forward to seeing it in 5 years.

      So if want a pristine island, I would look into a very good polyurethane finish and you should also see what yours would look like with them on it on a test spot, depending on the type of wood your butcher block is made from. All of them are impacted differently by different products and stains etc.

      • Reply
        Catherine R
        September 21, 2018 at 9:31 pm

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! Your insight is SO HELPFUL. Like you, i don’t like a shine on butcher block, so I don’t want to seal it. I think the fear of the unknown-how my particular cut of wood/conditioner/oil will respond to use-is what scares me. Will we like it, or regret it? So much to consider! But again, your insight is extremely, extremely helpful in our deliberation 🙂

  • Reply
    September 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I bought an acacia wood butcher block. We liked it and let the oil soak in for about a week. Then applied Howard’s conditioner. Every time we set something warm on it, it gets greasy. When we wipe it with a damp cloth, it gets “fuzzy”. Urghh what can we do?

    • Reply
      September 23, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      What oil did you use? Mineral, Hemp or Teak? I am actually familiar with acacia wood as I’ve had IKEA’s ÄPPLARÖ outdoor bench for over 7 years now and have re-sanded it and painted it etc. It’s a very durable wood and has withstood the Canadian winters, but does it ever need oil and sealing to keep it looking as new as the photos. I eventually gave up and painted mine black. I am however not familiar with acacia wood used inside as butcher block. Outdoor sealing of wood is not necessarily the same as indoor.

      If you used mineral oil, the film or fuzziness you feel is the reason I stopped using it on our counters. It felt like this grainy weird haze that just was constantly oily. Like a bad coat of unwanted grease and it just took forever to soak in and dry up to the touch. Howard’s Conditioner I believe is made with Beeswax and Mineral Oil and that is probably the problem. I would also recommend researching acacia wood as there are a lot of wood working forums that use acacia to build furniture and they could give you better advice than I can when it comes to using it as butcher block. As well, depending on how your counters were finished (with a stain, without etc.), the next product you put on them will impact them.

      • Reply
        September 23, 2018 at 5:21 pm

        I bought it at Lumber Liquidators and sealed it as they directed. The only thing they recommended was sand it, oil it and condition it. So disappointing.

        • Reply
          September 23, 2018 at 7:11 pm

          I’m sorry you are not liking your counters. I always say butcher block is not for everyone and I joke that it’s like being in a high maintenance relationship, because it really does require regular care. It’s a love it or hate it thing. My old ones drove me crazy whereas these ones do not. I would recommend sanding down your surface to eliminate the wax and mineral oil and then consider sealing it with a waterproof sealer like Waterlox. But before all that, I would go talk to the store where you purchased your counters and tell them your concerns and see what they say.

          Waterlox doesn’t require the monthly ongoing maintenance like oils do. But again, every product reacts differently to different wood. I don’t know what yours have been pretreated with, if they were sealed, if a stain was added on to it, etc.

          As well, please research acacia wood online as I am sure there are others out there with the same wood species who can offer care and maintenance advice on it. Our butcher block is walnut and I could let them dry and they still hold their shape and texture well.

          • Hope
            September 23, 2018 at 7:33 pm

            That’s the thing. I loved my old maple ones. I have no idea what they were treated with because they were here when we moved here. I love the look of the acacia. Just can’t find the right food grade finish.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t use butcherblock countertops but i do have 3 butcherblock wooden boards.I use mineral oil to saturate them and after that I apply a beeswax (mixed with mineral oil) finish.

    I don’t know hemp oil but it is always recommended that butcherblocks are saturated with oil (any food safe oil in this case) so maybe you should apply a lot of that oil and after that use that fusion beeswax finish. The oil that comes in that finish is just not ennough to have your wood full of oil all the time.

    • Reply
      September 30, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Oh, by the way, the recommendation of maintain butcher block saturated with oil is when you manipulate a lot of food on it (like a butcherblock chopping board) and wash them a lot. Maybe countertops don’t fall in this cathegory, but I suppose that all that extra protection can’t hurt

  • Reply
    October 23, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    I’m trying to decide what to use to treat our new birch butcher block countertops. My wife and I don’t like the idea of having to reapply oil every month, so I’m curious about the Stain & Finishing Oil that you’ve mentioned. Do you know how long it would last? Would you need to reapply it or would it be good for years? Is it something that you can just reapply over scratches or do you need to sand it down to bare wood again like polyurethane? Does this have the acrylic topcoat like the Fusion paints to make it waterproof? Thanks so much for your advice!

    • Reply
      October 24, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      You definitely sound like you would enjoy Waterlox (a tung oil), which is specifically made for people who don’t want to deal with the hassle of oiling every month. Fusion’s stain and finishing oil is a phenomenal product, but I have since learned, is it not food safe. So if you plan on laying any food on your counters on a daily basis, I don’t recommend it for that. Kitchen tables, floors and other wood furniture, absolutely. But for butcher block I would still go with Hemp Oil or Beeswax.

      You can find out more about Waterlox via Amazon as well: – please do read about it and pay attention to the wood type you have as different products can change the counter top colors. There is unfortunately no avoiding re-staining or re-sanding butcher block over time. It naturally will get knicks and cuts over time and even things like lemon juice, can alter the color and coating over the counter tops. It now comes in different sheens (satin vs glossy) and I always recommend testing out a product on either the underside or a scrap piece of butcher block so you can see the results. The reason I personally haven’t used Waterlox is that I am not a fan of the shiny sheen it gives off but otherwise, it is a very good product for butcher block. Especially around the faucets.

      • Reply
        October 24, 2018 at 5:05 pm

        Thanks for your reply! We had a wood countertop in our old house that we treated with Waterlox and didn’t really like it. We found that because it is somewhat “fluid,” certain things would leave marks that were really hard to remove. The feet on our appliances like the toaster left black marks and if you set a plastic bag, like from a loaf of bread, down for any length of time, the ink from the bag would transfer onto the counter. In that house we also had a small kitchen island that we coated in polyurethane and had no troubles at all, but that wasn’t directly next to the sink.

        If we don’t prepare food directly on our counters, why does the finish need to be food safe? Most kitchen tables are coated in poly, I’m sure, and we eat off of that if food spills off of a plate for a second.

        • Reply
          November 20, 2018 at 6:35 pm

          Hello again! I reached out to Fusion Mineral Paint to ask them about this issue (the Stain and Finishing Oil on Butcher Block counters vs Hemp Oil) as I was curious myself (and others who come across this post may be as well). And here is what they said:

          It is always best to use oil to saturate wood near water since it will repel water. Water base coatings will eventually fail. Traditionally finishing oils such as poppy seed or walnut oil was used but these oils now are quite expensive. Hemp oil is a great oil and a good one to use in this regard. Put a couple of coats on and you are good for months! NOTE – Perhaps he can try a cutting board with a Hemp oil and see how it does before he tackles a wood counter top. The SFO (Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil) is not considered toxic but it is totally up to them (the consumer) whether or not to use it. We are not recommending it for food surfaces for liability reasons.

          Hope that helps! I may just try it out on board myself and see how I feel about it. Could make for another post on Butcher Block because apparently I have not written enough of those. I think I am at 3 and counting…

          • Jason
            November 20, 2018 at 7:33 pm

            I reached out to Fusion as well and they said something similar – “IF you’re not prepping or eating off the surface then you can paint it as you wish, for liability purposes we have to state that SFO isn’t food safe.

            YES SFO is VERY waterproof. It would take many years to see any wear…. Of course pending not leaving 24/7 sitting water on it.”

            I like the idea of SFO, because it theoretically would last for years, not having to reapply oil every few months. And as opposed to poly, you can touch up scratches by adding Natural SFO coats right on top, without having to sand back down to the bare wood.

            SFO seems like the best of both worlds as long as you are ok with it not being “food safe” but honestly, my poly coated kitchen table isn’t “food safe” and I eat there everyday.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2018 at 8:51 am

    I wish you could say what you are saying without demonizing mineral oil. There ARE mineral oil products for cutting boards that ALSO contain beeswax (even at Lowe’s) that achieve the same quality of finish and durability. The issue with your fusion product is that the hemp oil goes rancid after a year. This is precisely why mineral oil and beeswax together are truly the superior natural finish. Mineral oil doesn’t go rancid ever. I appreciate your views and respect you very much. Thank you

    • Reply
      November 20, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      The reason I don’t enjoy mineral oil for our butcher block counter tops is because I personally did not like the film that it left on them. I find it too greasy and it takes forever to soak in. If I accidentally left papers on it, they would get stained and spotted even weeks later. Other people are more than welcome to use it on their counter tops if they find it is sufficient as I am only speaking from my experience. Also, the reason I link up to many bloggers in the original post (there are several linked together about our experiences with different Butcher Block counter tops) is so that individuals who are considering it, can read other people’s experiences with different products on their counters and decide what is right for them. I personally do not believe there is a one size fits all product for butcher block counter tops, as everyone uses their counters differently and has different expectations of what look they want to achieve.

      I actually state in this post that I don’t think mineral oil a bad solution for the lighter butcher block that we had in our previous home from IKEA, but it does not look the same when applied the current darker ones we have. When I say it leaves a film, as it dries down, it almost looks like a grey cast is left over the wood. It also dries blotchy and patchy on different spots, making the counter top look really bad about a week or so after application. Again, this is just my experience. Yourself and other individuals are free to disagree and use the product that makes you happy.

      As for the Hemp Oil, I reached out to Fusion to ask about the rancid issue and this is what they said: Hemp oil that is for food use (i.e. salad dressings) goes rancid. Hemp Oil for wood finishing does not go rancid as it has already been oxidized.

      Thank you for your comment. I am sure it will help others who have the same concern.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Hello, I’ve read this great blog and plan to use the product on new maple butcher block island. Which of the two should I use first, hemp oil or beeswax/hemp oil? Thank you!

    • Reply
      March 12, 2019 at 10:57 am

      I would personally try the Hemp Oil first and then if you feel you need an additional top coat go for the Beeswax, as that contains a mix of it and the Hemp Oil. Both are different results for your surface and it’s a big personal preference as to which one you prefer (both looks wise and feel). I find myself using Hemp Oil and then maybe once or twice a year taking a day to buff out the beeswax over it.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Alex. I need your help, desperately. We have purchased the same countertops as you, Walnut from LL – and they are pending delivery. I am 80% excited and 20% stressed!
    I am struggling with several issues. First, we have a countertop fabricator that is going to sand, route the edges, and cut them for installation. He will not ‘treat’ them before installation –

    (1) Treating: I read in the comments section, Tyler on 08/30/18 advised, ‘I would suggest doing your first week of coating with the mineral oil, THEN switch over to a butcherblock conditioner, THEN switch over to the Beeswax – this is so that you can get plenty of penetration first; the wax will inhibit this if you start out with it.So treat with mineral oil’ – this raises several questions for me: Can we treat them after install? We will be unable to treat the side that is flush with the wall, should that be a concern? If yes a concern, how do we solve that?

    (2) Sink Installation: I am leaning towards an undermount, or was, until I read all of your experiences – Do I need to completely avoid undermount? My countertop fabricator/installer mentioned that the undermount will not be able to be installed until AFTER I have treated the countertops – which again, I am trying to determine length of time this would take considering we do not have the space for three huge slabs of butcher block to hang out in the house, and I also would prefer not to have no actual kitchen for weeks on end

    (3) If undermount should be avoided (I will go with your experience here) – the question still remains, how long after the countertops are treated do I have to wait to install even a drop in sink? Can we install the drop in sink and then begin the phases of treatment?

    (4) Faucet. OMGoodness so many decisions, including a faucet. So let’s say you advise no undermount, and we go with a drop in – do you recommend not installing the faucet in the actual butcher block, and choose a drop in that includes faucet holes? We will not be doing a farmhouse because we don’t want to go down the road of cabinet modification to house a farmhouse sink

    Girl – this should be fun, right? Ha. I am not currently having fun. I am stressed and concerned that we may have bitten off more than we can chew. I will follow any direction you can possibly provide! I am so grateful I found you and your experience! Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Reply
      May 17, 2019 at 6:08 pm

      First of all I am so sorry for not replying sooner. I am absolutely terrible with comments these days due to work and non-computer life. I am assuming you have already received them so if this is too late or redundant, again, I apologize.

      1) Yes you can treat them after install. No I do not recommend Mineral Oil at all anymore. It leaves a greasy film that is really annoying.
      2) You can do an under mount but you must treat the area with a proper waterproof sealer like Waterlox. We didn’t have any issues with water around the under mount sink at our old house in butcher block and it was treated after. We had issues around the faucet but that was due to my laziness in not cleaning the water enough and well, mineral oil and not such great IKEA counters.
      3) You can treat after. Under mount, top mount, doesn’t matter. If you choose something other than a product that offers water permanency, you will have to treat it repeatedly over the course of the year.
      4) You can also do a faucet in the butcher block. Many have done so but again, you must treat the wood or take very good care of water being left around it.

      As long as you silicone around the edges of the sink (under mount) and then just use the treatment (whether that’s hemp oil, waterlox etc.) on the inside edges you will be fine. I recommend clicking on the links of the bloggers I linked to in this post as a few have done undermounts:

  • Reply
    Nancy Eiland
    May 8, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Hi, just ordered the walnut butcher block from LL. What did you seal the bottom with especially above the dishwasher,….and thanks for all the info. I will be using the hemp oil and beeswax.

  • Reply
    Jackie Farina
    May 29, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Love, Love, Love the color and variations. What color and brand stain did you originally use on your counter tops?

  • Reply
    July 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Hi read through all the comments and don’t see this one. I have a new butcher block. I grabbed the hemp beeswax fusion you recommend but now I’m seeing for brand new you recommend starting with hemp oil. I’m guessing you mean this one
    but I’m nervous because it’s called a finish and seems to have a darker color, is it going to change the color of the wood? Thanks

  • Reply
    Bonnie Fuller
    September 30, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Hi Alex
    I hope you can help me. I used Fushion driftwood stain and oil in one on my bamboo wood island wood top. Now i have notice there are some scratches showing through. What can i do about this. Please help!!!!!

    • Reply
      October 1, 2019 at 9:45 am

      SFO – Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil is unfortunately not meant to be used on counter tops. “Technically” you can but it is not food grade safe so you can’t cut veggies and place food on it. It is meant for floors and pieces of furniture that are not near food.

      In terms of wood having scratches, any oil, even basic mineral oil, will show the woods detailing and imperfections as it penetrates. If you ever see an old dried out piece of wood that looks smooth and light, the knots and lines will automatically darken with any oil coating. If you do not want scratches your best bet would be to use a protective coating like Waterlox and then double down on using cutting boards whenever you place pots and such on the counter top. But inevitably, all wood does get dings, scratches etc.

      The only way to get rid of them is to sand them down and re-coat. I say this all the time (I have a series of butcher block posts on this blog) and that is, butcher block is not a low maintenance counter top and people are often really disappointed at that IF they are someone wants a smooth wood look surface. For those individuals, I recommend getting fake wood or veneer/wood blend counter top such as IKEA’s KARLBY.

  • Reply
    Mitchell Moriarty
    October 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Alex,
    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on butcher blocks! I have a quick question for you. I purchased the Baltic Butcher Block Birch Kitchen Countertop from Lowes recently and I am looking to use a stain or oil to finish the block. I am actually wanting to make this into a desk for my home office by attaching the block to some legs purchased on amazon. My issue with this is that I am not sure how to get a deeper brown color without using a stain and sealer combination. I am not even sure if this is possible since I have purchased a light birch wood instead of a darker walnut like you have above. Additionally, since this wont be used as a table or countertop, I am not sure if I need to use the food grade oils like you have used in the past, but can you give me some advice on what I should be using for this type of project? I was hoping to stay away from staining the wood because I think the oil or even the beeswax will provide the deeper tones and matte finish I am looking for. Also, I purchased the Watco brand butcher block oil from Lowes as well but I am hesitant to use it. Do you think this will suffice or should I ditch this in favor a different product? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      So I’ll do my best to help here. We’ve made a desk before using lighter wood and stained that with a Minwax polyurethane in a clear coat.

      That was fine for the desk so you don’t have to worry about food safe anything. In terms of the staining, Minwax, Rustoleum, Fusion and many other brands all have staining oils which work well. For a desk I think that’s fine but to this day I personally would not use them on our kitchen counter tops. Not because of the food issue but because I am very hard on our counter tops and I scrub them clean. Over time even without stain or coloring, they lighten in spots. So if they had stain, I’d constantly have to re-stain them because of how rough I am with them (pots, pans, knives, food spills etc). For a desk? No problem at all!

      We used Watco for the basement kitchenette we built in our hold home and I am not a fan. It takes too long to dry, feels very slick and plasticky when it does dry and then over time it still fades off. And when that starts to happen, it comes off in almost small balls that resemble glue. So if you ever needed to scrub the surface clean, it will come up.

      That’s the one thing people often do not think about when it comes to any wood surface and staining. The cleaning process. Imagine you spill lemon juice or food coloring and need to sand it out or scrub it out. It will impact the surface. Obviously “how” you use the surface (a desk vs a kitchen countertop vs a sideboard) will be the deciding factor in what you use on the surface to protect it.

      The best lesson we ever learned through all the years of butcher block counters is to buy the wood in the color that you want your wood to be. It’s just easier in the long run. Because then you can use Tung Oil, Hemp Oil or Beeswax and you’re good to go. But again, this is subjective based on how I used the kitchen and one of the reasons I link to so many other bloggers experiences, as everyone has their own preference.

      Side note, I should mention there is a product called Rubio Monocoat that my friend raved about that is both a stain, food safe and waterproof that you can look into as well:

  • Reply
    October 23, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    About to install butcher block on the secondary counter in my kitchen. I’m curious about your comment about IF you ever move on to Waterlox – I read another bloggers post about switching to Waterlox after using mineral oil; do you think Waterlox will work after the block has been treated with beeswax? Quite sure we won’t bother with mineral oil, but I’m thinking it might be worth it to try the beeswax IF moving on to Waterlox is an option down the road if we don’t like it.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      We have not moved onto Waterlox. Partially because we are in Canada and it’s not really available here. You can ship it in if you’re Canadian but you’re going to pay a fortune. But mainly because of seeing and reading about other’s experiences with it (especially Kristi’s from Addicted 2 Decorating: Given how I cook – I am extremely hard on our counter tops – I would be refinishing them every month. It just is not the right fit for how I use our kitchen but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice for someone else. Lots of people use it and are very happy with it.

      As of right now, I am strictly using Fusion Hemp Oil. Just the oil, not the Beeswax Hemp Oil blend. It’s so easy. Just pour, wipe, let dry and move on with your day. I love the finish it gives which is not oily, but rather a matte clean look. It won’t protect against dings and scratches though, but for me that’s a non-issue as I love the look of aged wood.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Hi… writing as much to say Bravo Zulu for not just the detail/help in the butcher block saga blog posts, but the willingness to continue the help with responding to comments as time passes after the original post. I just started on “how do we finish our little piece of new butcher block counter?”, and just waded through God knows how many websites before finally clicking on your original blog post… and kept reading.

    My wife, the passionate woodworker and architect, has just about finished our economy small kitchen reno, complete with a small butcher block section of northern birch as the prep surface next to the stove. As she’s away for a while, and I’m the one with too many hours over the years finishing/refinishing fine gun stocks (as well as the cook who liked the butcher block idea), the ball is in my court. With some input from her on resulting color.

    I don’t know which way I/we will go in the next few days with the finish. The floors are a medium dark wood finish; the Home Depot sourced cabinetry looks light to my eye. Thanks to your blog detail, the original default suggestion of mineral oil is out. Walnut oil will darken them up somewhat and apparently walnut oil is both food safe (no nut allergies here) and hardens over time as other oils don’t. Haven’t found too much detail on walnut oil yet (still looking). On the other hand, your coverage of using hemp oil followed by an oil based treatment is another, lighter alternative.

    However direction we go in the next few days as we scratch our heads and work on deciding, thank you very much for doing such a nice job. On both the original blog posts, and taking the time to respond to comments and questions about them over the following two years.

    Well done!

    • Reply
      October 24, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      You’re most welcome! Happy to help in any way I can. Good luck with whatever you decide to use and direction to go in. After several years with these counter tops, I feel like I need an updated post to show how they look like now, how often I “really” maintain them at this point and so forth. I love them even more now than I did early on because they’re starting to get that “lived in” look that you can genuinely only find as time goes on.

      The thing I always tell people about butcher block is that 1) they are not low maintenance in the sense that you’re dealing with wood and wood dries out and gets nicks, cuts, scratches etc and water is not its friend. 2) That if you’re looking for a pristine looking, magazine worthy wood finish, you either seal it with a durable top coat or accept that you’re going to have marks on it in some way shape or form. Especially with cast iron pans which are the only pans that have ever left a mark that I have had to sand down.

      Because every single person uses their kitchens differently, what works for one person won’t work for another and the same for aesthetics. And always, always, always test out a spare piece of wood or the underside with whatever product you want to use on a test piece before slathering it across the entire counter.

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