water safe

*What Finish Would You Recommend for a Butcher Block Counter Top?

It depends on the type of use you plan for your butcher-block top and the look you want.

If it is a statement piece and not intended for high use, almost any finish would work. General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Topcoat is a good choice. If you intend to prep or chop food General Finishes Butcher Block Oil should be applied.

However, neither product will withstand continuous water use or standing water, or hold up to knife cuts. We always use a cutting board just as we would on a standard kitchen counter. Basically, all horizontal wood surfaces in a kitchen must be maintained, and will easily wear with high water use.


  • Butcher Block Oil is a maintenance product that should be reapplied over time. It has a lovely matte finish that soaks into the wood and is an excellent protectant for wood surfaces that come in contact with food. Simply wipe on, allow 5 minutes to penetrate and wipe off the excess. It can also be used on cutting boards, utensils, or bowls. It is one of our most popular finishes for butcher-block counters.
  • Arm-R-Seal is a fine furniture finish, offers several levels of sheen and is a durable finish. It has been successfully used on home bar projects with this caveat: no fine furniture finish is impervious to water. Spills must be wiped up in a timely manner.

For a more water-resistant finish, we recommend visiting a finish dealer that carries lines specifically designed for high water use such as an Epoxy or a professional two-step catalyzed finish such as General Finishes Conversion Varnish.

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