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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

How To Easily Seal a Raw Wood Butcher Block

Last year, I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect dining table. I scoured Facebook Marketplace for an affordable look-a-like to some high end tables I loved, and found a 1980's oak table for $25! You can find a step by step guide for how I stripped and refinished my table here!

Wood dining table.

During the refinishing process, I discovered that the table top was actually made out of MDF with a very thin veneer wood top. Some of the MDF was exposed and the veneer didn't properly take the polycrylic I used to seal the table.

Wood table with plates and silverware.
original top

While I was absolutely in love with the base of the table, the uneven tone of the top was not making me happy and I've been looking for a replacement every since. The beauty of buying inexpensive, second hand furniture is you can alter it and take your time transforming it into the right piece for your home without spending a lot of money!

Under wood table and chairs.

I recently found this butcher block island-size counter top at Lowe's and immediately fell in love with the herringbone pattern of the natural acacia wood. The butcher block measures about 3X6 feet which is a perfect size for our small dining room. Acacia wood is incredibly durable so while it makes an excellent choice for counter tops, it's going to make a really great table top too!

Allen Roth Wood Block.

Before attaching the new top to my dining table, the raw acacia wood needed to be sealed to prevent stains and damage. This simple tutorial for sealing wood can be used for any table top or butcher block!

What Products do I need?

If your butcher block or table top still has stain or a clear protective sealer on it, you will first need to strip all of the finish off. See this post for tips!

Polycrylic Crystal Clear Topcoat Bucket.

Selecting a water based product will prevent the wood from yellowing. I prefer a clear matte finish to achieve the look of raw wood, but you can also choose satin or high gloss.

This is a completely personal preference. Typically, I choose a foam brush, but for this butcher block, I used a good quality bristle brush because I was out of foam. You can also use a high density foam roller

How to Seal a Raw Wood Butcher Block

1. Start by making sure all surfaces are completely smooth

I used 320 grit sandpaper to soften a few rough edges on the sides, but overall, this butcher block was silky smooth!

A dirty rag.

2. Thoroughly clean all surfaces

Only use a small amount of water on your cloth or rag - no soap or cleaner! Allow the wood to dry completely.

A woman cleaning a butcher wood black.

3. Apply your first layer of polycrylic.

Make sure to brush/roll WITH the grain. You will end up with a much smoother finish. Also check for drips and runs before allowing the first coat to dry. Most sealers will advise applying at least 3 coats of finish. I applied 4 waiting the proper amount of time between coats as per the can.

A woman in a mask and gloves giving a thumbs up.

4. Lightly Sand Before the Final Coat

Use 320 grit paper for a silky smooth finish. As you apply your poly, the grain of the wood will rise. If you do not sand, you will end up with a rough final product! Also double check for any drips or thick areas. This your final time to sand away any imperfections. You can hand sand or use an orbital sander. Just make sure to mask up!

A smooth butcher block table.

5. Let it Cure

It know it's difficult to wait to use your newly sealed top, but allow the sealer to cure according to the directions on the can! This will prevent any types of blemishes on that beautifully wood top!

Should you seal the bottom of the butcher block?

Because this butcher block will be a dining table top, I sealed every single surface just to make sure it's protected. If there is a chance for moisture to be introduced, every single side should be sealed.

A smooth sealed butcher block.

Don't miss how we replace the top of our old table with this beautiful acacia wood. The end result is absolutely stunning!

A butcher block table with a floral arrangement.

Looking for more achievable affordable DIYs? Start here!

xoxo, L


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