Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sealing butcher block counters.

Moving on with the butcher block countertop process {see how we removed our old boomerang counters & cut the Ikea Numerar Oak butcher block here}, I stopped by a local woodworking store {Woodcraft of Dayton} to purchase Waterlox sealer for the butcher block. While I was there, a super helpful & knowledgeable employee explained a different option to me. Every blog I’ve read about DIY butcher block used Waterlox, and I haven’t read of a different option anywhere; however, the employee explained that General Finishes Enduro-Var was a better option. It’s water-based and gives the same result that Waterlox would, except it dries in just 2 hours for re-coating, as opposed to Waterlox’s 24 hours. Also, it has less toxic fumes. With my short timeline and little one breathing in the kitchen, using General Finishes’ product was a risk I was willing to take.


That risk paid off. So far I absolutely love the Enduro-Var sealer. I finished 9 coats {four on the bottom, five on the top, and 9 total on all edges} in just two days. That would have taken me over 4 times as long with Waterlox. Plus, it didn’t smell toxic at all. I felt completely safe letting the little one play in the next room while I was sealing the counters. It went on very smooth and left no streaks. {Love it.}

I used three different sand papers, with that blue sheet being barely rough at all. I would just rub over the counters between every coat except the first {I used the rougher sandpaper after the first coat.}


Also, the brushes I bought at Woodcraft were fabulous.





I picked the “Gloss,” and I love the shine. :)


Next is the install. So close!



  1. Jane,
    We love hearing about (and seeing) a success story! Your kitchen transformation is exactly that!!
    Glad that we could help you out w/guidance on products to use toward this transformation! Thank you for your recommendation on General Finishes' Enduro-Var, as well as the Woodcraft foam brushes. Your countertops turned out simply gorgeous!!
    Thanks for your vote of confidence in Woodcraft!
    --Allen Ryan
    Woodcraft-Dayton, OH

  2. Hello! thanks for all this information - I'm planning on installing the exact same counters into our kitchen as well. I had a few questions: 1) What were the different grit sandpapers you used between coats? 2) How much of the Enduro-Var did you end up using (a quart, a gallon)? and finally 3) Is the Enduro-Var food safe? Thanks for your help - I'm starting this project in a few days so any info is much appreciated! - Erika

  3. Erika, Sorry for the delay in my response. To answer your questions, 1) you can see the sandpaper details in this photo: The one in between coats was hardly rough at all (I've heard of using a brown paper bag as your sand paper, but I didn't try it.) I used a "soft touch sanding sponge P1500-P1200. It smoothed the surface perfectly without leaving any dents or scratches. 2) I used a quart of Enduro Var. That gave me a total of 9 coats among the top, sides, and bottom (4 bottom, 5 top, 9 sides). That covered the two full 9' sheets of butcher block that we used. I'm pretty cautious about the water on the butcher block, so I probably would've done more coats if I had extra, but the quart was plenty. Water just beads up on the counters. 3) the General Finishes seal is not food safe. I don't prepare food directly on my counters, so that wasn't a deal breaker for me. I'm sure there are food safe options out there, but I wanted a sealer rather than an oil. Good luck!

  4. If you don't mind my asking, how have the countertops held up after a year? General Finishes is available in my area, but Waterlox is not. It will cost me a fortune to have it shipped here (it's not readily available in Canada), so if the General Finishes is just as good, I'd love to know. :) Jodi

    1. Jodi - I still LOVE my countertops. The General Finishes is holding up absolutely perfectly! I'm not very careful about wiping the counters like crazy, but they are still as waterproof as day one. Water just beads on top of it - just great. I highly recommend it! :)


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