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Sealing Butcher block {Kitchen reveal!}

This post has been a long time coming! I want to show you the biggest change to our kitchen, and a huge help to my dinner making routine.

When we moved into our townhome 11 months ago, one of the biggest challenges was the kitchen. It has an L shape layout and a spacious floor plan, but the counter space was extremely limited. This is how it looked the day we moved in:

And now:

Can you spot all the changes? The star for sure is our new island!

Like I said, counter space was tight. The gray zones show where we eventually put things. Picture me, standing in front of the microwave, holding my arms close to my chest like a Julia Childs/ Tyrannosaurus Rex hybrid, trying to prepare dinner!
How to seal butcher block #polyurethane #kitchen #clever_nest

 I needed an island, stat. I did some browsing on Craigslist, and checked out some discount stores. Most of what I saw on Craigslist needed a lot of work, or didn't match the kitchen style, or wasn't big enough for the space. Then I saw this free standing island at Ikea, perfect! It has a huge work surface (57 x 25), and 4 really big drawers for stowing lots of stuff. And even better, the white drawers with chrome hardware was a perfect match for our kitchen.
How to seal Ikea Varde butcher block #polyurethane #clever_nest

After a quick chat with my sweetie that went something like, "I've found the one!" "are you sure?" "Yes, it's perfect! Can I buy it?" "Uh, sure?" "Ok, thanks Sweetie!", I bought a Varde base and butcher block countertop. The price was about the same as what I'd seen islands going for on Craigslist, except this one was brand new. Gotta love Ikea!
How to seal Ikea Varde butcher block #polyurethane #clever_nest

The reasons behind Ikea's great prices hits you in the face once you go to pick up your stuff. There's my island, in multiple flat boxes, all 12 thousand million zillion pieces just begging to be misassembled once we got 'er home.
How to seal Ikea Varde butcher block #polyurethane #clever_nest

 If you've ever had the joy of putting a piece of Ikea furniture together, you can imagine how the next few hours went once I did get it home- looking at the directions 10 times (no words, just pictures), putting things together backwards or upside down, realizing our mistake and taking everything apart again, and eventually rejoicing over our finally assembled island!
How to seal Ikea Varde butcher block #polyurethane #clever_nest

FYI- the #1 thing husbands love the most when they're stressed out, sweating, and trying to put something together, is to pose for a picture. It's for the blog, Baby, smile! :D

Sealing Butcher Block
Once we got the island assembled, we just lived with it for awhile. After a few weeks of use, I noticed stains and oils were starting to seep in and discolor the wood, and knew I needed to make it waterproof ASAP. 

I'd never done anything like this, and I was pretty intimidated. As usual, Pinterest came to the rescue, and after reading a few DIY posts, I was ready to get down to business.

There are several different ways to seal the wood, some all natural, some chemical based. Since we didn't plan to cut or prepare food directly on the surface, we felt ok going with a topical, water based sealer. Thanks to a helpful employee at Home Depot I decided to buy a small can of Miniwax Polycrylic and a high quality 3 inch brush.
How to seal Ikea Varde butcher block #polyurethane #clever_nest
The directions were pretty easy, 3 steps:
  1. Sand
  2. Wipe
  3. Seal (and seal, and seal)
To sand the top and sides of the butcher block I used a 120 grit sand paper on a sanding block*, swooshing it around in big circles all over the surface. Go ahead, picture it. It was very artistic.
How to seal Ikea Varde butcher block #polyurethane #clever_nest

 *Since I didn't have a real sanding block, or anything close, I used a dry sponge instead. Improvising!
steps to seal butcher block island #ikea #polyurethane #clever_nest

After my sanding the wood interpretive dance I wiped off all the dust with a damp rag. I kept folding it over as I went to make sure the surface was clean, leaving the wood dust free.
steps to seal butcher block island #ikea #polyurethane #clever_nest

I popped open the can and poured a good amount into a disposable paper plate I could toss when I was done, less mess to clean up later. I brushed the sealer on just like i would paint. I went in 2 foot sections, being careful to completely cover the wood.
steps to seal butcher block island #ikea #polyurethane #clever_nest

I recommend doing this in a well lit room. The strong afternoon light was really helpful to see when I missed a spot.
steps to seal butcher block island #ikea #polyurethane #clever_nest

I let the first coat dry, 4 hours according to the package directions. Then I sanded lightly and sealed again. I put on a total of 3 coats, all applied 4 hours apart and sanding between coats.
steps to seal butcher block island #ikea #polyurethane #clever_nest

Tip:
Always brush in the same direction. I tried applying the 2nd coat vertically instead of horizontally and wound up with a funky brush stroke texture. I let it dry then lightly sanded out the bumpy texture.

Here's my awesome island, all sealed, along with some other accessorizing I've done!
Kitchen island makeover, Ikea Varde. How to seal butcher block #clever_nest

Kitchen island makeover, Ikea Varde. How to seal butcher block #clever_nest

Lime, Aqua, Yellow kitchen #ikea #island

Turquoise plate: Homegoods, fruit stand: Walmart, sprayed with Krylon Apple Green, knife block: painted with Craftsmart Bright Yellow, dish towel: Kohls currently $3.39
Lime, Aqua, Yellow kitchen #ikea #island #clever_nest

Lime, Aqua, Yellow kitchen #ikea #island #clever_nest
Pots: Joann Fabric, Coffee pod holder: Bed Bath and Beyond, sprayed in Krylon Apple Green
Lime, Aqua, Yellow kitchen #ikea #island #clever_nest


I use my island every day, all day long. It's where I dump my bags of groceries, make lunches, chop, dice, and do anything food related. No more Tyrannosaurus arms! 

That's my new slogan- get an island so you don't have to cook like a Tyrannosaurus.

    



How to seal butcher block using polyurethane #ikea_varde #clever_nest #lime_aqua_yellow





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