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Butcher Block Kitchen Islands

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider · 8 min read


The cost of a butcher block kitchen island will depend on the species of timber used and the size of the island. Some can be finished with an oil finish or polyurethane can be used. Some typical prices for a butcher block island including the base may be:

$2200 for a smaller 100mm thick butcher block island

$2750 for a larger 100mm thick butcher block island

$4750 for a large 100mm thick butcher block island

What is a butcher block and why would you want to have a butcher block kitchen island? Butcher blocks can be a stylish addition to the kitchen and a butcher block kitchen island can be a standout feature of the kitchen.

Chopping Block

The typical timber benchtop is put together in lengths of timber with the grain showing. A butcher block is not the same because the end grain of the block is exposed. Originally, butcher blocks were used by butchers because they were sturdy and stood up to repeated blows. They were often called "chopping blocks" because they served a specific purpose as a chopping block. The look of a chopping block made them popular as kitchen islands and kitchen tables.

Butcher block kitchen islands may not be used as chopping blocks, but they have a unique look that can be better than the standard benchtop. Because the end grain is showing, they can use more timber than a standard timber benchtop. Chopping blocks were much thicker than kitchen island butcher blocks or kitchen table chopping blocks, but the construction of them is similar.

Because the end grain is showing, a butcher block island or table will have dozens of end grains showing. The end grain is usually square or rectangular and sometimes it can be both square and rectangular. In some cases, a butcher block island can be as thick as a butcher's chopping block, but that is not usually the case. They can also have different species of timber to look like a chess board, with a light timber next to a darker timber.

How much does a butcher block kitchen island cost?

Butcher block kitchen island

A butcher block kitchen island can be considerably more expensive than a standard timber kitchen benchtop, but can be less expensive than some granite benchtops. In general, butcher block islands are between 40mm and 60mm thick, but some can be as thick as 100mm. They are more expensive than standard timber benchtops because of the glue that has to be used and the difficulty of getting a flat surface.

Typically, a butcher block island will have a timber base with a rustic look. The base may be painted or may be timber. A 100mm thick island will have all of the 100mm showing or it may be set into a liner, but most of the thickness will remain. The liner is there to keep the butcher block in place. If it doesn't have a liner, the butcher block will be attached to the base to keep it firmly in place.

A butcher block kitchen island may have drawers or open shelving. Open shelving can be less expensive than drawers. A open shelving island may cost $2200 while an island with drawers may cost $2750 to $3000.

The prices above are approximate and some suppliers may charge less or more. Shipping charges of up to $200 may apply to some states because butcher block kitchen islands are made by specialists in the field who may have to charge extra for shipping and butcher block islands are heavy, so will incur higher shipping rates.

How much does a butcher block table cost?

Butcher block tables are also available. They can be ideal for smaller kitchens and some have wheels and can be moved around the kitchen. In many cases, a butcher block table can be more elaborate than a butcher block kitchen island. It may have turned legs and have a larger liner, which may house two butcher blocks. Some prices for these types of butcher block tables may be:

A small trolley might cost $700 to $800. It will have wheels to make it easy to move around the kitchen

$1250 for a 65cm or 74cm table with one drawer and open shelves

$1700 for an 85cm to 94cm butcher block table with one drawer and an open shelf

$2500 for a 135cm to 144cm ornate butcher block table with turned legs and more detailing

$2260 to $2360 for a 145cm to 154cm butcher block table

The table height can be between 85cm and 94cm depending on preference.


Larger butcher block tables may have two butcher blocks, turned legs, three drawers and shelving. They are often rustic looking and can have timber bases or be painted in any colour. As with butcher block islands, costs may be different from different suppliers and shipping charges may apply.

Why buy a butcher block kitchen island?

Butcher block kitchen islands are relatively expensive, but can make any kitchen look much better. You may have a traditional timber kitchen or a modern kitchen. A butcher block kitchen island can make a traditional kitchen look more traditional and it can be a perfect addition to a modern kitchen, giving it an old world charm while retaining the modern kitchen appearance.

Should you choose an oil finish or a polyurethane finish? That will depend on the look you want to achieve. An oil finish is more traditional, but you will have to oil the butcher block regularly because the old oil will be removed or be absorbed into the timber. If oil is not applied, the butcher block may crack, so it should be done regularly.

A polyurethane finish will bring out the highlights of the grain and may be perfect for some islands, but you may have to have the finish sanded off and reapplied if scratches appear. If a hot pan is placed on the surface, you may scorch the surface.

Both oiled and polyurethane finishes must be maintained, but only periodically and maintaining them will bring out the best in the butcher block surface. Most butcher block kitchen island builders can supply you with either finish and the price will probably be the same.

Why buy a butcher block table?

Butcher block tables are less expensive than butcher block kitchen islands, but that may not be the only reason to choose a butcher block table over an island. Tables are smaller in size and can fit into almost any kitchen. Some tables are more ornate than islands and can be a stunning addition to the kitchen. They can have turned legs and more ornate features and a larger table can be almost as large as a kitchen island.

Have a look at your kitchen and decide if you want a butcher block kitchen island or a butcher block table. Either one can be perfect in a kitchen, but if you have a large kitchen, a table may not look the right size unless it is a large table. A trolley may be perfect in some kitchens because it can easily be moved, but a butcher block table may be perfect in a kitchen where you don't want to move the table. Whatever you choose, a butcher block kitchen island or butcher block table can make a kitchen a feature of the home.

*Costs and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces.

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