Circular saw blade recomendation for butcher block

Hello all:

My wife has us redoing the laundry room (yes it’s the same project…).

We are replacing the counter tops with butcher blocks from Lumber liquidators. The block is 25 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep maple. I will need to cut this with my 7 1/4 circular saw.

Is there any blade or technique recommendations to get a really crisp clear cut?

Thanks much, Steve.

While any blade should be able to cut it, I would go with a high tooth count fine finish or ultra finish type blade of quality (Diablo rather than Avanti e.g.). Make sure all of the adjustments on your saw are set and fully tightened, don’t want any wobble in the shoe from not tightening the depth or angle screws for example. If you’ve never or not recently checked calibration on your saw, now might be a good time… there are guides online, you mainly want to check that the blade is perfectly perpendicular to the shoe when set at 0 degrees and adjust as needed, make sure there is no blade wobble whatsoever which could be a loose arbor but, missing washer, warped blade, or worn bearings, among other things. Make sure your blade is perfectly parallel to the edge of the shoe you’re guiding against. Most saws will have adjustments for all these things, and they should be detailed in your owners manual (though if the saw exists, I’m sure there’s also a YouTube guide for it)

You’ll want to cut with the majority of the shoe on the “keep” side of the block to provide support, so that when you’re done your saw isn’t being supported by the section you just cut off. Cut with the good side facing down, though a butcher block shouldn’t have much of a problem with tearout, still better to put any tearout on the bottom of the block (tearout happens as the blade exits the material up next to the front of the shoe), and you can also use a piece of blue tape on your cutline and cut through that to help mitigate any potential. Use a straightedge (level, circular saw guide / track, metal meterstick, whatever, just make sure it’s straight and rigid) clamped to the block as a saw guide to ensure a perfectly straight cut. Take your time and let the saw make the cut, you don’t want to bind up and then get blade marks on the side of the finished piece, or push the saw into the fence too much and again wind up with blade marks and chatter.

If you aren’t going to use the bit you cut off, try a practice cut with whatever blade you have around to see how it turns out and get a feel for the cut. You’ll still likely have a bit of sanding to do to blunt the edges and corners (match the other sides and corners obviously, some blocks are fairly sharp yet, some are more rounded). I suggest taking the time here to sand by hand, you’ll wind up with nicer rounding and fewer possible sanding marks you’d then have to remove with a finer grit. Go through your grits and get a nice smooth edge, then clean and seal or oil the block as you will. Some water while sanding will help raise the end grain of the block to be sanded and give a bit smoother of a finish, particularly as humidity in the room changes, but you need to let that thoroughly dry before sealing or oiling.

Although not a huge deal, as with any good wood purchase, consider putting the block in the laundry room for a few days to acclimate it to your humidity level before you cut it. Dress it (oil or seal or whatever you’re going with for finishing) as soon as practicable after you cut it and get it finished.

Hope this helps at least get started with what to think about for making a quality cut!


+1 for what Tim said.

This blade would be my choice:

Like Tim says - if you have enough material on the waste side - of the cut - do a test cut first.

It is always good to support the work on both sides of the cut line.
One way to do this is with a piece of suitably thick foam insulation laid under the butcher block. If you set your depth adjustment right - you will cut into the foam by about the depth of the blade gullet.

With this setup - you also want to make sure that your straight-edge sawing guide is well clamped down and that the butcher block, foam and saw guide are within your control so as not to move around while sawiing.

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Thanks guys very much. I just ordered the blade. Would clamping a piece of plywood underneath be as good the foam insulation (I don’t have any of that handy)?

Thanks gain, steve.

You could definitely use a piece of plywood under the piece rather than foam board for this project.