Lightly spalted and ambrosia maple make a uniquely pleasing end grain chopping surface in any size. Spalted maple is affordable, presents amazing possibilities and subtlety of grain pattern, and is just as durable and safe as plain old maple if built and cared for properly.
By far the most character for your money, very generally-speaking I typically charge approximately $35-40/BF for ambrosia maple in END GRAIN construction, where one board foot is 12" x 12" x 1" thick. (By comparison, a mass-produced plain and generic-looking butcher block top sold at Lowes or Home Depot generally costs around $35/BF, and is built from smaller pieces more likely to come apart, and with far less careful and personal attention, needless to say.)
Western North Carolina is a uniquely rich area for woodworking, often associated with such titles as "the cradle of forestry" and "furniture capital of the world." From my workshop in West Asheville, I have ready access to abundant local maple, cherry, and walnut (just to name a few), although I readily use sustainably harvested foreign species as well. I can craft your custom block or island top using any one of a variety of grain construction methods, although end grain is by far superior when it comes to a daily working surface. Self-healing, non-scarring, and far gentler on your good knives than any other, end grain is a true pleasure to use and will endure for decades or even generations with proper, basic care.
End grain tops are both beautiful and exceptionally functional, and are one of the most rewarding investments that can be made for any kitchen. Treat yourself to the warmth, sophistication and elegance of real wood.
Edge and face grain surfaces may be significantly less expensive than the end grains pictured here, as they are far less labor-intensive. Any size, shape and detail/routing work is possible. Please don't hesitate to start a conversation to discuss what options may be best for you.
After more than a decade of experimenting, I now season and treat any active food prep surface with my own handmade natural wood conditioner, containing locally-sourced beeswax. Non-chopping surfaces I prefer to treat with 100% pure tung oil or a quality, thinned tung oil product such as Waterlox.
When you hire me, I am the person who selects the rough lumber, mills it, joins and carefully finishes it. I enjoy working with each customer to personally create a hand-crafted wood surface to perfectly complement their home in any style, contemporary or traditional, and am glad to provide process photographs as desired. The result of quality craftsmanship and collaboration is a piece of which we can both be proud.