Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Using a whisk, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
With your hands or pastry blender (recommended to start to avoid melting the butter), work the butter into the flour mixture until the flour resembled the texture of coarse sand. Use you hand to mix any remaining lumps.
Create a well in the flour mixture and add the buttermilk. Mix together with a large spoon until moistened. The dough will be very wet and sticky. If not, you may need to add a tablespoon more of buttermilk.
Turn the dough out onto a well - read WELL - floured surface and dust with additional flour. Work the dough by folding the sides over and turning, patting after each rotation. Add a little flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the counter. Folding is essential to add air between the layers of the biscuit so fold several times until the surface is smooth.
Pat out to about 1/2 inch thickness. The biscuits can be a little thicker if you desire. Then cut into circles using a biscuit cutter.
Place on a baking stone or cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Brush with melted butter if desired.