The quality of a butchers block depends on the timber used in its construction.
At SMS we only use quality Canadian maple for our butchers blocks, which has been properly kiln dried and seasoned. When purchasing a new block it is vital to find out that this has been done correctly. The seasoning must be carried out by expert wood workers, as the stability of the block in its later life will depend a great deal on the success of this process. If not seasoned properly, the wood will crack and split, rendering the block obsolete after only a short period of time.
The second thing it's vital to know when buying a new butchers block, is whether or not the block has been reinforced with steel rods (see picture below). If it is just a block that has been pressed together and glued, then it will be far less robust, lacking in strength and once again susceptible to splitting and cracking when in use.
At SMS we sell only traditionally made butchers blocks. Our blocks are glued and clamped between side pieces and end panels, reinforced with solid steel rods. This gives the block the strength to withstand the heaviest commercial use, eliminating any cracking and greatly extending the life of the block.
Using Your Butchers Block
Having bought a top quality butchers block, you want to keep it in the best condition, so that you can enjoy many years of service.
One important consideration is to make sure the block you buy is reversible and can be used on both sides. It can then be turned from left to right and from back to front on a regular basis, so ensuring even wear and prolonging the life of the block. It is also vital that during use you refrain from standing in one position and instead use all sections of the block.
Having taken delivery of your new butchers block, you may wish to go over the wood with a cloth and a small amount of sunflower oil. This helps to seal the wood but be sure not to use too much oil!
The most important thing when using the block is to wipe up any blood or moisture as you work, keeping the wood as dry as possible. This again extends the life of the butchers block massively.
At the end of the working day the butchers block should be wiped with a damp cloth only and then thoroughly dried. NEVER throw a bucket of water over it or heavily soak with water. It is moisture that will cause potential damage.
Once thoroughly dry, then go over the surface of the block with a block brush. This removes the contamination that may be hidden in any grooves caused by chopping and will leave the block clean and dry.
Finally sprinkle salt across the surface of the whole block and leave it over night.The salt will absorb any moisture that's been left in the wood. Next day simply brush the salt away and this should ensure years and years of trouble free use.
Butchers Block Frames
It's important that the block is standing on a sturdy flat surface. For that reason we supply a frame which goes around the outside of the block, leaving the underneath open. This prevents the accumulation of debris and bacteria on the under side of the block.
The Butchers Block frames themselves are made from 40mm bright box aluminium, are expertly welded and come with one adjustable foot for stability on uneven floors.
Three rails on the base of the frame provide extra strength to the construction and act as a shelf for waste trays and tubs.