I have a butcher block made of birch. I need to put some wood inserts into it. Also, I want to drill a 2" through hole through it as well. My plan for the finish is a few coats of polycrylic protective finish.

Which order should I do it in? Finish first or drill first? Sorry if this is a super basic question, I am very new at this.

  • What are these "wood inserts" you mention? Dec 1, 2017 at 2:43
  • @JimmyFix-it They are mental cylinders threaded on the outside and inside.The outside threads are supposed to bite into the wood. The inside threads allow you to repeatedly attach and detach screws. Example: homedepot.com/p/…
    – Entente
    Dec 1, 2017 at 2:46
  • Do you want the inside of the drill hole finished? How deep the hole? 2" spade bit is going to love jamming up on you, and throwing your wood around. Is Hole saw a possibility? Rotozip? Dec 1, 2017 at 2:55
  • install fasteners first. Take care to not get the finish down in the threads.
    – agentp
    Dec 1, 2017 at 3:02
  • 2
    At least some of these butcher blocks are held together with a pair of threaded metal rods. I once sawed off a strip on the edge of one and narrowly missed the metal rod. IIRC the ends of the rods were hidden by dowel plugs which I took to be long dowel rods. It didn't occur to me that metal rods were inside. Dec 1, 2017 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


You can finish first or drill first, your choice.

Drilling first then finishing will result in (at least some) of the varnish getting into the holes, which will not really add any value I can think of and perhaps cause you to re-drill the holes to the proper size prior to inserting the wood inserts and grommet.

The only drawback to drilling after finishing, that I can think of, is the potential to mar your nice new finish with tool marks. Solution(s) would be to let it cure thoroughly prior to drilling, so the surface is nice and hard, and/or to fine sand any tool marks and hit it with another coat when you're done.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.