Butcher block (or can be called Chopping block) is used for heavy cutting for meat & bones in central kitchens and butcher shops. Also is used in preparation areas for fish & poultry (turkey, ducks, etc) as well as fish & poultry markets.

Although this item is one of the simplest items in catering equipment’s, but it should be carefully selected from well known manufacturer and with certain specifications as will be explained below.
  • Wood types: Special woods hard Maple, Beech, or similar approved quality should be used in manufacturing butcher blocks or cutting boards. Butcher block wood should:  
–  Be NON TOXIC (some types of wood include toxic materials).
–      Have small porosity, large pore size will allow meat particles & liquids (like blood) to be hold by wood, which increase contamination possibility where it will be difficult to clean properly.
–      Be hard, to resist cutting stresses which increase life time.
  • Construction methods: Three types of construction methods which are: Face grain, Edge grain and End grain. End grain is the best method as explained below:
Fig.6.6.1 shows face, edge & end of a wood board.


 Fig.6.6.1 Wood board

–     Face grain method: in this method wood pieces are glued together with special approved glue (glue is applied on edges and fibers will be parallel to butcher block top) as shown in Fig.6.6.2. This method is not suitable for butcher blocks because its hardness is small compared with the other two methods, also has a long span and where the knife will cut against wood fibers this will affect knife sharpness and knife will mark on butcher block top.


Fig.6.6.2 Face grain construction

–     Edge grain method: in this method wood pieces are glued together (glue is applied on faces and fibers will be also parallel to butcher block top) as shown in Fig.6.6.3. This method is better than the face grain & can be used for butcher blocks, but has less hardness compared with end grain.


Fig.6.6.3 Edge grain construction


Fig.6.6.4 End grain construction


–     End grain method: in this method wood pieces are glued together (glue is applied on faces & edges, fibers will be perpendicular to butcher block top) as shown in Fig.6.6.4. This is the best construction method for butcher blocks where it is harder than the other two methods also knife will go between fibers which keep it sharp, no knife marks will appear on block top. This method is the best one & the more expensive because of wood waste during manufacturing.

Butcher block is commonly finished with special oil (approved quality mineral oil).Accessories: Butcher block may be provided with drawers, knives holder, wooden or stainless steel legs, etc.

Selection factors:
Wood type, construction method (end grain), dimensions, top thickness (more thick is better), preferred to be approved by any independent international organization or authority, legs type, accessories, etc.
Market example:
As shown in Fig.6.6.5, a wooden butcher block of beech wood top, end grain construction, top thickness 300 mm, dims 600 x 600 x 900 mm height, manufactured by “Sacopisa” – Spain. (See manufacturers’ directory for more information about this company).


Fig.6.6.5 Butcher block – SACOPISA – SPAIN