Finishing Butcher Block with Wood Bowl Finish, A Dark Walnut Stain for the Craft Table

I’ve been working away at reorganizing the office recently.  It didn’t quite get finished before our new baby arrived…but it is nearly there!

Butcher Block shipping and craft table in the office. Wood bowl finish and dark walnut stain butcher block sealing tutorial

I was looking to try something different with finishing the butcher block shipping table in the office. If you’ve read about our kitchen already, you know we adore our dark tung oil butcher block countertops. But, this time I wanted a dark walnut stain, and a finish that would cure or dry very quickly. No tacky oils near my ribbons and supplies, thank you! And while I wasn’t concerned as much about it being safe for slicing and dicing, I still wanted a non-toxic finish. Post may contain affiliate links.

I looked into Wood Bowl finish when first exploring options for finishing butcher block. It is a great product and very durable. If you happen to have a wooden salad bowl or tongs…you already have an idea of how bowl finish looks. There was just one main factor that put me off using it in the kitchen.

The Positives:

  • bowl finish dries to a non toxic and food safe surface
  • creates a very durable, glossy finish
  • can apply the bowl finish on top of any stain color of choice

The Downside:

  • It is not recommended that you cut or chop on counter tops sealed with bowl finish.

So, If you do not want to use your butcher block counters as a cutting board… this finish could be perfect for you! Or, if you are making a butcher block desk or worktop, it could also be a great finish to use.

I’m pretty sure most people don’t chop on their counters. To put it kindly, I am a free spirited, messy cook…and I may chop an onion or slice an apple willy-nilly without the proper cutting board. I try not to go crazy, but when I’m rushing around at dinner, I just don’t even think about it sometimes! That’s why for the kitchen, we went with dark tung oil. You can read all about our kitchen butcher block here.

Okay, back to the worktop shipping table. No chopping necessary. Salad bowl finish was the perfect thing for finishing butcher block in the office!

The butcher block worktop is an inexpensive island slab from Lumber Liquidators. Since the wood tone is very pale, I wanted to use a nice dark walnut stain.

Finishing Butcher Block with Wood Bowl Finish


First, I sanded the surface lightly with a hand sander.

Lightly sanding butcher before applying stain. Applying General finishes salad bowl finish on a Butcher Block Island top

I did this mainly because I was using the butcher block several months without sealing it, and there were some marks here and there in the surface. There were also a few planks in the island that had a rough texture. Once it was nice and smooth, I wiped the surface clean and let dry. Try to sand evenly over the whole surface, because the more you sand, the darker the stain will be. I can tell the stubborn marks where I over sanded because the countertop came out darker!

Next, I applied a dark walnut stain with a sock.

Apply stain to butcher block. Create a beautiful butcher block finish. Staining and finishing butcher block with General Finishes wood bowl finish

I applied it lightly with one sock rag, and wiped gently with a fresh one as I moved across the worktop. It only took one light coat to get a nice dark finish!

After the stain cured, I applied the wood bowl finish with a rag.

Use wood bowl finish on butcher block

It is very quick and easy to apply. I simple wiped on  a thin coat with a rag, being careful to wipe up any excess. This photo shows the first coat being applied.

Finishing butcher block with wood bowl finish. Apply the wood salad bowl finish with a rag, gently wiping off any excess.

General finishes recommends 24 hours between coats. So I sealed the butcher block with three coats 24-36 hours apart.

They also recommended sanding with a very fine grit (220-320) sanding foam between coats.

The finish felt completely dry when I checked it after 24 hours. General Finishes states the product takes 3o days to fully cure, and to avoid placing any heavy objects on the finish during that time.

The table was used every day during the curing period. I was just careful to treat it gently for the first couple weeks.

Stain butcher block dark walnut amd seal with wood salad bowl finish on thw offoce shipping amd craft table #homeoffice #butcherblock #homediy #officedecor

I really love how this finish turned out. It was a breeze to apply and requires virtually zero maintenance. I wouldn’t hesitate to use bowl finish again for butcher block. In fact, I’m going to use the rest of the can for the wet bar counter in the basement, and my husband’s work table.

Finishing butcher block with wood bowl finish, our butcher block shipping craft table. Feminine farmhouse home office decor. #homeoffice #girlboss #workfromhome #homediy #officedecor#budgetdecor

Now, the shipping table is finished! It is so functional now, and I enjoy shipping orders much more! I can’t wait to complete the last few projects in the office!

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