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A Wood countertop can be built in many different ways but three distinct construction styles are the most prevalent – flat grain, edge grain, and end grain (butcher block).

Flat Grain Construction

Flat grain wood countertops are made with the face of the wood facing up/down. This is the traditional view of wood that is normally seen in furniture. The Southside Woodshop uses only the highest grade, premium boards for its flat grain tops. Great care is taken to select and assemble lumber that is similar in color and grain.  Individual board widths range from 4″ – 10″ and randomly sized boards will be used to make up any given countertop.

A countertop of flat grain construction style comes standard at 1 ½” thick and can be built from 1 1/4″ to 2.5″ thick. Thicknesses beyond 1 ½” are not available in all wood species (for flat grain construction – there are no thickness limitations when building in edge or end grain construction).

Edge Grain Construction

Countertops of an edge grain construction style are made with the edge of the board facing up/down. These long strips offer a grain pattern different than the face, or flat grain, of the board. These strips run the length of the countertop (no joints in the field) unless the overall length is unusually large (>12′). This construction style offers more stability against seasonal wood movement than flat grain construction.  Individual board widths range from .75″ – 2″ and randomly sized boards are used to make up any given countertop.

Countertops with an edge grain construction style are available from 1 1/4″ to 6″ in thickness.

End Grain (Butcher Block) Construction

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End grain wood countertops are made with the ends of the board facing up/down. This type of construction is often referred to as “butcher block” construction. Since the end grain is much harder than flat or edge grain, it is the best construction style for those looking to use their countertop as a cutting surface. It will not dull knives as fast as the other surfaces and will not show knife marks as easily as your knives cut with the grain of the wood rather than cutting across it, which causes more wear on the top as well as knives and cutlery.

The individual pieces of a butcher block are typically randomly sized but can be made square to form a checkerboard pattern. Randomly sized blocks are off-set so the individual joints do not line up and unintended patterns aren’t as easy to distinguish. The checkerboard pattern is particularly pleasing when contrasting woods are used.

Tops of an end grain construction style have a minimum thickness of 2.25″ (up to 6″) and are the most expensive form of wood countertop construction.

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