Maple is the predominant species used for butcher blocks because it is the proper hardness: it is more durable than softer woods yet isn't as hard as some woods that would blunt the edges of knives. On the Janka Hardness Scale (a scale that measures the hardness of wood), walnut is rated at 1010 and maple at 1450. These ratings are relatively close considering the lowest (balsa) comes in at 100 and the hardest (lignum vitae) at 4500.
With proper care, we feel confident that the walnut species we love will be a fine choice for a butcher block countertop.
Do you have experience with species other than maple on cutting boards or countertops? Please share in the comments below!
(Image: Mahogany Builders)