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General | Table Construction | Assembly | Modifications | Care & Cleaning | Miscellaneous


Catskill's Original
Butcher Block Oil
Model 0111


Catskill Craftsmen's
Butcher Block Care Kit
Model 0115

GENERAL

Your Catskill Craftsmen unit is made from domestic hardwoods which are harvested locally in the heart of the Catskill Mountains of New York.

All of the species we use are self-sustaining and non-endangered. No waste was generated in the manufacturing process.

Your unit has been manufactured with great care to insure quality and durability at a reasonable cost. We sincerely hope that the information given here will be helpful to you in understanding and caring for your table.

We have taken the most frequently asked questions posed by the purchasers of our tables and have attempted to answer them as simply and completely as possible. Not all "assembly" questions will pertain to your unit.

We have a small import selection of carts designed by us and manufactured overseas. We also have a few accent pieces that are imported. These are plainly marked on the website, catalog and cartons. All import pieces have Catskill's guarantee.

End grain boards will require more frequent oiling than flat grain or edge grain. We also recommend that you lay your boards on edge after washing and drying to prevent warping.

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TABLE CONSTRUCTION

Q – What is butcher block construction?
A – Butcher block construction originally was a combination of joinery and gluing (lamination) to form an end grain surface. However, today the term is loosely used by the Housewares trade to denote glued lumber used for thicker table tops, and is seldom used in reference to the original type of construction.

Q – What are the dark streaks, spots or blotches found on some parts?
A – These are mineral streaks, caused by the highly mineralized soil in the area where the hardwood trees grow. Some are caused by man induced foreign objects sometime in the life of the tree. These marks are not defects, but rather add to the individuality of the piece.

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ASSEMBLY

Q – My door spacer isn't as long as the door, why?
A – We have to leave clearance at the top for the magnetic latch. The spacer should be flush with the bottom of the door.

Q – The hardware list calls for 1" long 3/16" dia. Steel shelf pins, yet I received extra 1-1/2" pins and no 1" pins
A – Sometimes we substitute 1-1/2" pins since they work equally well as the 1". Above all else, use the 1-1/2" pins in the doors. Although the 1-1/2" pins can substitute for 1" pins, the 1" pins can never substitute for 1-1/2".

Q – Why do some wooden parts have extra holes that are "not used"?
A – This is for manufacturing convenience only. Many braces for many different models are exactly the same length, width and thickness. However, boring locations for hardware may vary from model to model. All of the "not used" holes are hidden upon final assembly.

Q- The plastic wheels on my drawer glide do not run smoothly or seem to be hitting something. What's wrong?
A – Check to make sure you did not use the wrong screw. If a larger than called for screw was used in conjunction with the drawer glides, it may cause improper gliding or obstructed gliding. On factory assembled drawers, check to make sure none of the screws attaching the glides loosened during shipping.

Q – How do I acquire a replacement part or a missing part?
A – First, DO NOT RETURN UNIT TO PLACE OF PURCHASE. We guarantee prompt service on any of our customer's problems. Before writing or calling, look at your instruction sheet and write down the following information on your Replacement Parts Request form:

1. Cart/Island Model Number (easily found on the instruction sheet)
2. Part number and a description of the part. Call (607) 652-7321 during our normal office hours (8am – 4pm Mon. – Fri.) If after hours, please leave a message and our customer service team will get back to you. Email us at: info@catskillcraftsmen.com, or write to us at Customer Service, Catskill Craftsmen, Inc., 15 West End Ave, Stamford, NY 12167-1296. Be sure to include your telephone number in any correspondence so we can clarify any requests. We do not charge you for the replacement part, nor for shipping it to you. Defect parts need not be returned to us unless specifically requested.

Q – I received a brace or leg or table top that has a flaw on one side. Is this a defect that needs to be returned or replaced?
A – Furniture that comes from the factory in a fully assembled state has a multitude of sins hidden beneath finishes, under molding, on the underside of table tops, and so on. Since Ready-To-Assemble furniture requires the customer to handle each piece, a higher level of quality is required. Occasionally pieces leave our factory with a flaw which will be hidden upon final assembly. Please inspect each piece before assembly, and carefully determine if the flaw will be hidden when the unit assembly is completed. If you find a flaw that will be visible when assembled, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department.

Q – What do I do if I receive a part that is slightly warped?
A – Occasionally a cutting board, cart top, or door may be slightly warped when you receive the unit. This is due to the change in climate that the parts may face between the factory (in the Catskill mountains of Upstate New York) and the delivered destination. Usually the part will flatten itself out in a couple of days in its new environment. To guarantee a return to flatness, lay the piece flat and place a weight on it. The piece will eventually flatten out – sometimes overnight. Cutting boards must be dried thoroughly, immediately after cleaning, and re-oiled. Clean with a light soapy water solution. Do not soak or place in dishwasher! To alleviate warping in a cutting board, place a damp cloth over the board and place equally dispersed weight on it. The board will flatten. Re-oil immediately.

Q – What is the proper way to insert plugs to keep them straight?
A – Try pushing the plug in with your thumb. Make sure the grain is straight, then give a slight tap with a hammer. Strike the plug on center so as not to break the edges.

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MODIFICATIONS

Q – Can I put a permanent protective coating on my butcher block table over the oiled finish?
A – Polyurethane/lacquer finishes tend to bring the oil out of the wood, causing the polyurethane or lacquer to flake or make the finish oily to the touch (as if it never really dries). Danish Oil seems to be a better solution, as it is more compatible with the factory applied oil finish and hardens to a nice finish itself. Use Danish Oil as directed by the manufacturer. Danish Oil can usually be found in unfinished furniture stores or hardware stores. You can also use Tung Oil. If you plan to use the top of the cart or island for food preparation, it is recommended to continue to use Catskill's Original Butcher Block Oil or mineral oil on the surface rather than Danish Oil.

Q – Can I stain or paint my butcher block table to match my kitchen cabinets or other furnishings?
A – Caution should be taken when staining or painting any piece of furniture. Our kitchen carts and islands leave our factory with an oil finish. If you desire to stain or paint the piece, use only oil based stains or primers. Practice on a part of the unit that will be hidden to make sure the stain or paint dries properly and dries to the desired color. The stains that seem to have the most success are found in brands of Danish Oil. Minwax Wood-SheenTM Danish Oil stain and Bartley R. gel stains have been successful for our customers. Consult with your local unfinished furniture store for other recommendations. Once an item is stained or painted, it can no longer be returned to us for exchange or refund.

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CARE & CLEANING

How To Care For Your Butcher Block Cutting Board
Your cutting board/chopping block is made from solid Domestic Hardwood. It has been treated with pure 100% drug store grade Mineral Oil. It is laminated with a non-toxic, water-resistant glue. All boards continue to expand and contract and surfaces will dry out if not treated. There are three different types of board construction: 1) Flat-grain: Boards that are glued with the grain side-by-side as the grain on your dining room table or other furniture. These boards expand side to side, wider in the Summer as they pick up moisture, and less wide in the winter when artificial heat dries out the surface areas. 2) Edge-grain: Boards that are face-glued, so that the surface all have boards exactly the same width. These boards expand up and down like the construction of gym flooring, wooden truckbeds and most butcher block countertops. 3) End-grain: Boards that start off as flat grain panels which are then ripped across the wide grain whose thickness is determined by the desired thickness of the board and then the faces are glued together, thereby exposing the ends of the boards, giving it a checkerboard look. This is a great cutting surface as the knife blade cuts into the end fibers, minimizing cut marks and splintering and does not dull the knife blade.
Whatever the construction, all need care. The most important care tips are: 1) Keep the board clean. This is accomplished by washing the board surface with a quality dish detergent, rinsing, & drying all surfaces immediately. Do not soak in the sink or put the board in the dishwasher. 2) Keep the board well oiled with Catskill's Original Butcher Block Oil or drug store Mineral Oil found in the drug section. Mineral Oil is clear, odorless, tasteless and is FDA approved for food contact. Do not use olive oil, fruit oils, vegetable oils, oils derived from animal fats or the like, as over time these oils tend to get rancid. End-grain boards require double the amount of oil as flat-grain and edge-grain boards as the oil goes deeper into the end-grain fibers. How often should the board be oiled? A rule-of-thumb is: once a week for three weeks and then once a month for three months, then whenever the surfaces appear lighter in color and are drying out. YOU CANNOT OVER-OIL YOUR BOARD!! 3) All surfaces will show scratch marks when a blade goes across the grain, but the hardwood won't splinter like soft woods such as pine. Should the surface of the board get rough it is usually from too much moisture which causes the grain to raise. You can use 220+ sandpaper, sanding with the grain, or use a single-edge razor blade gripped between your thumb and forefinger, and scrape back and forth with the grain. This will remove the raised grain, will not gouge the surface, and will leave the surface smooth. 4) To prolong the life of your board or to repair end checks caused by too much water or the end fibers drying out, simply take a small block of hard beeswax, rub the wax at an angle across end checks and then wax the ends of the boards and massage the wax into the board with your fingers. It's also a good idea to wax the gravy/juice groove if your board has one. This little trick essentially water-proofs your board by keeping some moisture/oil under the surface and by keeping excess moisture out of the board surfaces. Repeat this every six months or so , or whenever the board needs sealing. Since end-grain boards have all surfaces exposed, it's a good idea to oil the board several times, then apply the beeswax to all surfaces, again massaging the wax into the fibers.

How To Care For Your Butcher Block Cart/Island/Workcenter
Your Catskill unit is made of solid Northeastern Hardwood and hardwood veneered products and need care to prevent the unit from drying out. Before your unit left the factory, all parts were dipped in drug store quality mineral oil, a clear, odorless, tasteless, FDA approved product. Mineral oil help keep the wood parts from drying out and bring out the color/grain when applied.
You should oil your cart with Catskill's Original Butcher Block Oil or drug store mineral oil. Do not use olive oil, vegetable oils, animal fat oils or products like Murphy's Oil Soap. Treatment rule-of-thumb is once a week for three weeks, then once a month for three months, then as needed when the wood starts to pale and dry out.
If you use the top of the unit for food preparation, clean with a little soap and water, rinse and then dry immediately.
If you use too much water or the unit is in a very humid atmosphere, the top surface may become rough. To make the top smooth again, use a single-edge razor blade & scrape with the grain. This will remove the roughness and not gouge the surface, or you can sand with the grain, using 220+ sandpaper.
If you want to put a permanent coating on your unit, you must use an oil-based product. Danish Oil by Watco or a good quality tung oil can be used. Follow the directions on the container, usually apply several coats. If you put a permanent finish on the unit top, it is recommended that you wait a few weeks to let the oil become completely hardened before putting raw food on it.
One trick to prolong the life of the top if you don't put a permanent coating on it, is to take a small block of hard beeswax and wax the endgrain. Rub the wax into the ends of the boards and then massage the wax into the end fibers with your hand. The heat from your fingers will help the wax to penetrate the grain. This will essentially waterproof the top.
Consider purchasing Catskill's Butcher Block Care Kit which contains 2 bottles of mineral oil, a block of hard beeswax, a scraping blade and sandpaper.

Q – Should I use my table top for cutting and chopping?
A – Most of our customers do not since cuts and scratches somewhat mar the beauty of the top. Most people use a cutting board or chopping block placed on the top. However, the top is made for chopping and cutting, and minor scratches can be removed by sanding with high grit sandpaper or using a single edge razor blade for scraping.

Q – Can I prepare raw food on my unit top or cutting board, or should I use a plastic cutting board for food safety?
A– Recent studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Food Research Institute, prove that wood is safer for food preparation than poly or glass. Extensive tests show that all sorts of bacterium, including salmonella, disappear quickly on wood, whereas the same bacterium continue to live and thrive on plastic. These tests confirm that the idea of plastic being more hygienic than wood is a perception that is flat wrong and is due mostly to advertising. Nonetheless, always clean your wooden cutting board surface with soapy water, making sure to remove any food particles. Dry immediately!!
Do not soak or put cutting boards in the dishwasher!

Q – What kind of oil should I use on my table? How often?
A - We recommend Catskill's Original Butcher Block Oil. Drug store mineral oil can also be effective in sealing wood. You should oil all wooden / veneer parts, inside and outside, including the bottom of the cart top, but especially the cart top and edges, where use and cleaning dry the wood out the most.

Boiled Linseed Oil is not recommended, since it is not highly refined and often leaves a tacky surface.
Olive Oil/Vegetable Oil provides only nominal protection for your table and can get rancid.

Q – How do you remove a ding, dig or scratch from the top?
A – For small scratches or dings the easiest way is to take a little water and put it on the ding or scratch. Wait a few minutes, then take a metal cap such as a bottle cap and place it over the water. Take your iron, on cotton setting (high), and place the tip on the metal cap. This will boil the water in the wood and rise the grain. Remove cap, let dry, and lightly sand with fine grit paper with the grain to remove raised grain and scratches. For deep scratches you may have to repeat process. For deep dents drive a series of ¼ deep holes with a needle into dent to allow the water to penetrate deeper. You can also iron over a damp cloth. Deep holes or scratches, not on the top, may be filled with colored wax sticks available at any hardware or paint store. Deep holes in top can be patched with a resin or plastic colored stick which is melted into the hole, scraped flat with a single edge razor blade and sanded with the grain. Darker colored sticks blend in better then very light colors. These darker colors look like mineral streaks.

Q. – I have small end checks or slight separations of the joints along the edge of the top. How can I correct this?
A. – This is caused by excessive loss of moisture due to the dry atmosphere, etc. Use an equal mixture of mineral oil and melted paraffin on area, making sure paraffin fills the small cracks. Follow package instructions when melting paraffin – use a double boiler or microwave, as paraffin is flammable! You can also use beeswax.

Q. – How do I clean my butcher-block top? Remove dough? Wax? Stains? Cigarette burns? Ink spots?
A. – Most spills are easily wiped clean with damp sponge or cloth. Never soak or let water stand on your table for long periods of time as water effects the grain and even though the glue is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. Be sure to clean your top well with a mild detergent, rinsing it well with a damp sponge and toweling dry before applying new oil.

To remove dough, use a little salt on a sponge and rub with the grain or try using a plastic ice scrapper.

To remove wax and gum, make it brittle with an ice pack. When the deposit hardens, use your fingernail or ice scrapper to remove.

Your top shouldn't stain very easily, but to remove glass rings or white spots, use extra fine sand paper or No. 00 steel wool moistened with linseed oil and sand with the grain. Rings should come out when reoiled.

Burns should be sanded out if possible, again, sanding with the grain. Deep burns should be scrapped out with a sharp rounded edge blade, then feather sand and reoil.

Grease spots are removed using a little bit of mineral spirits – use sparingly! After application with a small brush, soak up excess with clean cloth, sand lightly or put salt over area treated to absorb any residue. Then take a little water, mild detergent and clean area.

WARNING – Whatever the stain, try sanding with (100+ grit, fine grit) the grain first since your top is tough and chances are the stain doesn't go very deep because of the close grain. If you must resort to cleaners, follow the directions on the container, be careful, use sparingly on the top and make sure all residue is sanded and washed clean before placing food on top!! Keep these cleaners out of the reach of children! DO NOT USE SOLVENTS, PAINT THINNERS, OR BLEACH!!

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MISCELLANEOUS

Q. – If I send back your Replacement Parts Request Form, will my name/address/telephone number be sold or given to any other company?
A. – No. We keep these in the event we need to get in touch with you with product information, new accessories, etc.

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