DIY copper countertop

jenathegreatNovember 22, 2004

We'd like to cover our countertop base with copper sheeting. We've found it locally and online in 3'x10' sheets in either 16 oz or 20 oz.

We've never worked with metal, but since there are only 2 straight runs of countertop, we'd only have to cut out a hole for the sink and cooktop, and bend the metal to cover the edge of the plywood. We plan to bend it over and under the base and fasten it to the bottom and also have it curve up the wall to form a little backsplash.

1) See any problems with this plan? Anything wrong with using copper sheeting?

2) Will we be able to bend it without any special tools? What will we need to cut it with? I really have no concept of how hard or flexible either 16oz or 20oz copper sheets would be.

3) Recommend either 16 or 20oz?

4) How do we handle the outside corner?

Thanks for any advice or warnings...

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Copper is relatively soft and malleable. That is great, if you want to make a hammered salad bowl. Not so great, if you want a countertop surface that remains smooth and flat.
Commercial kitchen counters made of stainless steel look beat up after 10 years of service, and stainless steel is a lot harder than copper.

If you like the look of copper in your kitchen, my suggestion would be to set up one of those semi-circular racks for cooking pans, and hang your collection of copper pots out in the open, for all to see.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2004 at 10:38PM
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Thanks for your input Eric -

Ok, what if I want a decent looking countertop that will last less than 10 years, costs under $250, and isn't laminate? Also, since it will be a regular countertop base that is simply covered in copper, won't it hold its shape ok? I'm fine with some dents and I don't plan to cut on it. It's just 2 of us and I'm pretty sure we won't be nearly as hard on it as folks in a commercial kitchen.

I know that kitchen designers install copper countertops - how are they different? Or will they look pretty beat up quickly too?

I'd go for stainless in a minute, but I'm pretty certain that we couldn't DIY that and it would be $$$$ to have done.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 9:03AM
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If you're careful, copper over plywood will make a fine kitchen countertop. The material is not fragile. However, I think you will be disappointed, sooner or later, with this material choice. Lets say that the installation goes well, and you are pleased with the results. Then you go out and buy a frozen turkey, for that party you have been planning. If the turkey slips from your hands, and falls even an inch or two, it will leave a dent in the copper. There is no way to remove the dent, it is permanent.

Colored concrete would be a reasonable choice of material for a kitchen counter, when low cost is important. You could do this yourself. And, if it cracks or deteriorates in the future, you can readily make a permanent repair. This material would require the use of a wood or plastic cutting board, and it would tend to scratch the bottom side of any pot, pan, plate, bowl, or whatever you place on the surface of the counter.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 9:56AM
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Jena -
If you treat the copper sheeting as if it were a veneer, you can glue it to the countertop with the same contact glues used for making laminate countertops. That will hold it flat and minimize denting.

Go for the 20oz stuff.

To bend it, you will need a "sheet metal brake" - it's much like a pair of pliers with a wide flat jaw. Or, you can clapm it between two strips of iron bar and use them to force the bend inn the right spot. That and some whacks with a hammer should do. (get a small sheet and try out your techniques, then tackle the big sheets)

  1. Will we be able to bend it without any special tools? What will we need to cut it with?

You should be able to use metal-cutting shears.

4) How do we handle the outside corner?

Carefully - it will be sharp. You might be able to do a "gift-wrap" kind of fold or use a pre-made metal corner.

To hold it onto the edges, make a lip of 1x2s and nail some molding on.

They are "temporary", but one down the street from me is going strong after 15 years.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 1:14PM
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I saw a copper countertop in a restaurant ... they had copper squares that they hammered on top and then sealed with a polyurethane, so that you wouldn't scratch yourself on the corners. It looked fantastic. The squares were probably 12x12.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 2:00PM
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Copper will react with acid foods, and will want to tarnish green in time. Other than that I don't see a big problem.

But I also don't see stainless steel as being all that much more expensive, especially if you get it cut to shape by a metal shop. Not sure if you could solder or braze the seams, which I assume you are planning to do with the copper.

Either one should probably be cut with a hydraulic shear and bent on a brake. Copper work hardens; so does stainless. But of course stainless is a lot harder/stiffer to begin with.

You could consider just laying stainless sheet on top of the counter, or on top of 1" A/C plywood, and covering the edges with metal stripping designed for that. Sort of like how formica countertops used to be made.

I'd talk to a sheet metal shop. If you measure everything properly and take the plans to them to cut, the material cost might not make that much difference. They could probably also help you understand how to install and polish the finished surface. In fact I think you should probably do that with copper as well.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 9:36PM
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I would embrace the denting. You could get a rubber mallet and just beat the hell out of the sheets until they have that hand hammered look, then attach them to the plywood. Any more dents just add to the patina.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 1:28AM
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I think the "weathered" copper could look great, stains, dents and all. One of my favorite watering holes of yore had copper-topped tables, which were stained from years of use. I thought it really added to the patina.

Don't know how or if or even if it's possible to keep it from oxidizing over time.

From what I've read on other threads around the web, if you're the type to want a "perfect" countertop, copper is definitely not for you. Lots of moaning and gnashing of teeth about the upkeep. To me the aging of the material would be the beauty of it, but not everyone feels that way (I was incredibly disappointed when one of my neighbors painted their lovely weathered cedar shingles, to tell you something about my view).

You might try to see if anyone in your area has a copper counter that's been in use for awhile and see if you like how it looks.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2004 at 7:31PM
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Paint the top you have with copper paint and give it a thick coat of polyurethane...
No one would know...

    Bookmark   December 25, 2004 at 7:41PM
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I clean an extensive collection of copper in one of the houses I clean,including one very long sofa table.Maintaining it is a drag.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 6:30PM
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Here's a link to a few pics of the copper countertop. We're very happy with it and thanks to all of you for the advice.

We used the 20oz copper sheets. We bought metal shears. We did not use a metal brake. It's glued to a regular countertop base (not with the same glue you use on laminate, because that stuff said not to use on metal, but similar stuff). Tools we used: metal shear, dremel with metal cutting bit, rubber mallets, clamps, and hammer and pliers to fiddle with the corners. We used the shears and the dremel to cut the hole for the cooktop - that was probably the hardest part.

The edges we whacked into place with the mallets and then used brass screws to secure them to the base from the underneath.

We only had 2 outside corners - thankfully the first one is hidden by the fridge :) but the second one came out great with a gift-wrap type corner. The edges of the backsplash will be trimmed out with wood painted with copper spraypaint.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY copper countertop

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 11:40AM
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Congrats on a great job and thanks for sharing the details of how you did it! I wanted a copper countertop and went to a fancy home center last weekend- they wanted $140 a square foot for copper countertop!!! Copper was $20 more than stainless and about twice as much as granite! Turns out that copper is the ultra-premium material for countertops. Laminated to a hard substrate (like you did) nothing short of a hammer will dent it; given that copper is used as flashing for lifetime roofs, it'll probably last two lifetimes in the kitchen. I'm inspired to start work on my own countertop, and when the kitchen snobs wonder out loud why I didn't use granite, I'll enlighten them that my copper countertop is much more exclusive than their granite!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 11:05AM
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Awesome! Did you seal it with a polyurethane? Either looks great...I wanted that for my kitchen, but was unaware of how to find the sheet. We went with Granite

Makes for a great resistance welding table too!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 9:38PM
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The Metal Peddler

That looks great Jena!
I know many people think copper is hard work but if you want it to look weathered and rustic, it's very easy. Even if you want a nice even finish that won't react with cleaning products, you can have it patinated to look dark and old and then sealed. The hardest part with shiny copper is keeping fingerprints etc of it, they look awful but again sealing it solves that

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 10:17AM
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Don't forget to ground the countertop, or you are risking serious injury if an appliance shorts.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 10:41AM
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How did you do the backsplash? And what did you use to seal it?
That is my current project. Would appreciate your expertise.

Thank you

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 10:11AM
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Hi Jen

I have been planning to recover my countertops in copper for almost a year. Would you please share the online resources for the sheeting as well as the types of local resources for the sheeting, glue etc?

Thank you

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:40AM
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If anyone has pictures, I'd sure like to see them.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 8:48PM
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Jenathegreat your countertops look great!
I wish I had thought of doing something like that.
We did concrete countertops they turned out great and it was fun (and messy)to make them. I am now thinking of a copper dining room table.
Please post some hints and some of your links for the copper.
Great Job!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 12:35PM
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Not Jenathegreat, but just completed a copper countertop on my island. I used copper sheet for the top, contact cemented to smooth plywood with solvent-based contact cement. I considered gorilla glue, which would have worked great, but the surface was just too big (48" x 102"). Since my sheet was only 48" wide, I used copper bar 1/8" thick for the edge, glued on with construction adhesive and sealed the seams with "Just for copper" epoxy putty and sanded it smooth. I bought the copper sheet on ebay, 18 oz and the copper bar from also has good prices. Mine is just aging naturally and has already lost it's shine after 2 weeks - thank goodness because it was this HUGE, GLOWING thing initially, like a spaceship had landed in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:49AM
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Hello! Just thought I'd answer some questions I've been asked.

The link to pictures I posted before is still active.

I bought my copper at Farmer's Copper in Galveston, TX.

I don't have any seams because my kitchen is tiny and the sheets of copper were big enough.

My sink is an apron-front sink that does not have countertop in front or behind it, so I didn't have to cut a hole for it. The back of the sink meets the wall. The front of the sink meets your belt-buckle.

I didn't seal the copper. I don't like shiney copper. It's brown. It gets splotches on it. They come and go. I wipe it down with 409. The cloth I wipe it down with does pick up some green tint, but the countertop itself doesn't get green unless I leave bits of food sitting on it.

I don't use the countertop as a direct work surface - I cut on a cutting board, I need dough on a bread board. I will make a sandwich directly on the countertop, but that's about it.

I did bend the copper to go up the walls and make a little backsplash. I ended up covering the edges with copper-painted wood molding. If I did this again, I would cover the countertop completely then set it on the cabinets rather than trying to go up the wall. Then I'd add a tile backsplash.

We tried construction adhesive for a small piece of countertop (over the dishwasher). It came out a bit lumpy. Stick with a contact cement.

Good luck everyone!

(Alice, I'd *love* to see some pictures!!)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 2:50PM
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I'll post some pics soon. Right now the countertop is entirely covered with tools and pieces of trim. In case anyone else is considering doing this, if you just want copper on the top of the countertop and will be using a different material for the edge, you can glue the copper down and then use a router for a perfect edge. Just be sure to wear long sleeves, gloves and safety glass, and cover everything in the room because little curly copper missiles fly everywhere, and they are sharp and hot.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 3:17PM
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Okay, here's a pic of my copper island. It's fitting that I post it here first, since this thread was the one that got me started thinking about a copper island in the new kitchen. Please ignore the shiny brown switch plate just under the countertop - it's hideous and temporary.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 1:37PM
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WOW! What a gorgeous job you did. I'm encouraged to try this on a smaller scale now. thanks for posting!!!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 1:28AM
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I am thinking about doing copper countertops in my small kitchen, but I really, really, really want an undermount sink. I know you cannot do an undermount with laminate, because water will seep between the laminate and the substrate. I was thinking that maybe if I bent the copper around the edge of the hole, put some copper on the underside, and soldered the seams, I might be able to do it. Does anyone know anything about this?

I am a stained glass artist and have soldered most of the plumbing in our house, so I think I can make a waterproof seam.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 8:06PM
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It's entirely possible to do, but will be difficult. I tried brazing mine (like soldering but with a different solder, copper colored when done) and I couldn't get the metal hot enough without torching the wood substrate. When soldering or brazing pipe you really have a small area to heat with almost nothing to act as a heat sink. It's really difficult to get copper that is resting on or attached to wood to heat up sufficiently. Do some tests on a small scale and see how it works for you. I can provide the info on the type of brazing rod you need if you want the seems to match your metal instead of being solder-gray.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 4:59PM
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Yes, please supply the brazing rod info! I guess I was thinking I could patina the seams, but the more I think about it, with the heavy wear around the sink, patina would rub off quickly. Unfortunately, I'm guessing you have to get the metal quite a bit hotter to use brazing rod than you would for plumbers solder. Anyone have any other ideas?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 12:44PM
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You need phos/copper brazing alloy. The one I have is J.W. Harris Co, part #21035. I can't tell you what the phos:copper ratio is because that part of the label has unfortunately been rubbed off.

You could also try an epoxy putty product called "Just for copper" available at ACE Hardware stores. It is copper colored (contains copper dust) and ends up being brown. I used it for the seams in my countertop. It's easier than trying to solder or braze.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 6:17PM
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could someone recommend what I should use as a sealant for the copper sheet. I have a 20oz sheet that I would like to put polyurethane on. I contacted minwax and they said to use their Clear Brushing Lacquer.

What did everyone else use?

Thank you very much.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 9:31AM
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I didn't use a sealant. To me, the point of the copper countertop is the "living finish" - meaning it's always changing and looks different. I never wanted it to be shiny.

If you use poly, it'll stay nice and shiny for a while, but as soon as the poly gets scratched and water gets under it, it'll start to peel and it'll look like your copper has a bad sunburn.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 10:50AM
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aliceinwonderland - your island top is gorgeous. What is the brand and finish of your faucet? They look great together!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 2:09AM
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kelcush - Danze in oil rubbed bronze but was possibly called Venetian bronze (they seem to be used interchangeably by Danze).

elihusmails - If you want to seal the copper without the scratching issue of poly (particularly if it will be a surface you will be using) I would go with Johnson's wax. It will give you a softer polished finish that will wear more naturally than poly and is easily renewable at a moment's notice with little fuss. You could also try a two-part epoxy finish since it will remain clear but be more durable than poly. If you insist on a shiny, perfect finish, copper will be a pain.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 3:13PM
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I am so glad this thread is active again! I am watchint the price of copper daily and as soon as it comes down a little more, I am going to do copper counter tops in my kitchen. I want to make sure I do it right so I have a couple of questions. One, is it regular old contact adhesive that you use? And 2, you just used that "Just for Copper" putty instead of soldering the seams? How did you apply that?


    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 11:54AM
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I'm just wondering if you could either use copper foil (ala stained glass) to hide the seams or rub your soldered seams down with a copper patina (the type used for stained glass copper foil)? And could you solder seams with the same solder used for copper foil? (yes, I've done some stained glass in my past...can you tell?)

I'm so glad that this thread came up again because I've been toying with rejuvenating an old "butcher block" kitchen cart that was a workspace necessity in my old kitchen. I have some empty space next to the fridge and I was hoping to find a fun, old table but this cart has the advantage of being the perfect size & already on hand. It's natural, unstained (but oil rubbed...and rubbed...and rubbed) maple and I thought that the copper would look very pretty against it. The top itself is probably too small to require seams but the soldering would work to smooth the outside corners.

The DIY countertops pictured here are gorgeous!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 11:48AM
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The island looks fantastic. Since the picture was posted in September and you've lived with it for a few months now I'd be very interested to know how you like it now and what it looks like.

I started thinking about refinishing our kitchen about 4 years ago and I really want copper countertops. Our kitchen is approx 14' x 13' and is U shape now. I want to make it L shape with an island. I keep going back and forth about whether I want copper on all countertops or just the island. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 2:26PM
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I still love it. The countertop changes every day - we cook a lot and nearly everything that touches the copper leaves either a dark spot or a shiny spot so it's very mottled. As a whole, it looks pretty much like it did in September. I love that it's super easy to clean and that I never have to worry about it at all.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 12:29PM
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Thank you. Finding and pricing it will be the next trick, I think. It looks great with your cabinets too!

I haven't seen that many photos of kitchens with copper countertops and friends and colleagues I ask have never seen (or heard of for that matter) it used so it certainly would be unique.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Places to try to purchase copper:

Local roofing suppliers (often these places have onsite fabrication and can bend the metal to your specifications for a fee.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 9:42AM
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Aliceinwonderland--just realized you didn't need to fold your corners. Did you get a single sheet of copper? Who was the seller? It really looks fabulous.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 1:08PM
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One more thing--here is a link to make your own sheet metal break (video) for bending edges. May be useful for someone attempting this.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2x4 sheet metal break

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 1:15PM
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ginnytrcka I'm sorry it took me so long to answer - I haven't been watching this post. Yes, I used a single sheet.copper that was 48" x 120" my countertop is 4 feet by 9 feet So I needed a large piec of copper to avoid seams. Generally, copper sheet is only 3 feet wide-I only found one seller who had it wide enough. My edges are copper bar 1/8 inch thick-I can post full instructions for what I did if you would like.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 11:26AM
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Instructions and sources would be greatly appreciated!! I am thinking of doing an odd shaped bar top and a small coffee bar top this way.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 12:38PM
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i was just wondering, i have a copper dining table that comes from mexico- it is the hammered copper. The patina is quite dark, and i was curious as to whether i could take off the finish thats on it and somehow ighten the color? i f anyone is familiar with the copper tables from mexico, they can be quite dark. I dont want it to look like a shiny penny, but lighter then it is.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 8:19AM
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I have a lot of counterspace. I have a L shaped section with the sink in it, a 3x6 island, and a C shaped section with an upper and a lower countertop. Do you think this is too much copper, or should I just do a section on the kitchen, such as the C shape, which divides off the other rooms, or island, or something like that? None of the sections (except the island) are more than 24" deep and most are 18" deep.

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 12:50PM
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My sister has a copper countertop and she loves it. It is such a hit that I am doing an island in my kitchen, and my mother is doing copper in her cabin. Does anybody know what adhesive to use when attaching to the backer? We thought regular DAP Contact Cement would work, but it specifically excludes copper. Also, if anyone is interested I can recommend where to get 3'x10' sheets of copper in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 11:24AM
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I wanted to answer some of sigh's questions. I am a stained glass artist and have worked with a lot of copper, but I have yet to install my own counter tops. Here are the answers to be best of my knowledge:

Q: I'm just wondering if you could either use copper foil (ala stained glass) to hide the seams or rub your soldered seams down with a copper patina (the type used for stained glass copper foil)?

A: Copper tape would not be sticky enough on its own to connect seams. The combination of water and rubbing would quickly take coper foil off.

You can use copper patina on the solder, but the problem with patina is that it is only skin deep. Normal wear and tear would scratch up the seam pretty quickly and you would start to see the silver color underneath.

Q: And could you solder seams with the same solder used for copper foil?

A: I would not use your stained glass solder on your coutertop. In stained glass we usually use 50/50 or 60/40 solder. Which means it is 50% or 60% tin and 50% or 40% LEAD. I would not use lead in a food prep area. You could use plummers solder that you find in the hardware store. Back in the day, this also contained lead but due legislation, it does not anymore.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 4:38PM
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We plan to install copper countertops and will not seal them in ordet to take advantage of their very hefty antibactertial properties. We have cats who try to jump on the countertops if we are not home.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 5:40PM
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Question for you -- you said you did 1/8in copper bar on the edges. I'm curious as to how you sealed/connected the bar to the sheet -- the pics look like it is one continuous piece. Did you use the "Just for Copper" on all of the edges?


    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 11:08AM
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Sorry Alice,
Just realized you said you just sanded the epoxy Just for Copper edges...

Ginnytrcka -- have you tried bending the edges as shown in the video?
Seems like a great idea, however our main area with the sink is about 7ft long? I wonder if we could get a good bend on that long of a surface? Anybody try this?


    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 11:16AM
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I've received a few requests, so here are step-by-step instructions for what I did. If you can fold the copper over the edges, I would suggest doing so. I didn't, but only because my countertop was too wide so I had to come up with another method.

1. After the cabinets were installed I built the countertop out of plywood. The first layer was floor-grade 3/4" plywood, screwed down every six inches on the edges and every 8 - 12 inches in the middle, along the cabinet edges. I used decking screws just barely countersunk.

2. Second layer was 1/2" AC plywood, screwed into the first layer every 4-6 inches on the edges and 8-10 inches in the middle. Decking screws, slightly countersunk.

3. Leveling compound (cement based) was used to cover all screw heads and fill in any bad areas on the plywood and along all edges to make them as smooth as possible.

4. After the leveling compound dried thoroughly (24 hours) I sanded is smooth with 100 grit sandpaper and and orbital sander.

5. I measured and marked the locations for the sink and the cooktop and cut them out with a jig saw, then dry-fit both items to make sure they would fit properly.

6. I had a 4' x 10' sheet of 18 oz copper because my countertop was 45" wide in most places and 48" wide at the cooktop. I used solvent-based contact cement (water-based doesn't work on copper). With a small roller, I painted a coat on the copper and two coats on the plywood (top only).

7. Once the contact cement was dry, I cut a whole bunch of thin slats and placed them every 2 - 4 inches on top of the plywood. I found out quickly that dowels would have worked better - round dowels have less surface area to stick than flat slats, but it was still okay. Make sure the dowels or slats are long enough to stick out 6 inches or more on each side of the countertop.

8. I laid the copper sheet on top of the slats and maneuvered it into position. I had to make sure it was exactly right because I had about 1/2 centimeter of overhang in one spot so it had to be perfect.

9. Starting in the middle, I pulled out a few slats and pressed the copper into place with a J-roller, working my way out to each end. Then I crawled up on the countertop and rolled over the whole thing with the J-roller to ensure it was stuck down completely with no bubbles.

10. I let it sit for 24 hours to allow the contact cement to cure.

11. Now I had all this copper overhang to deal with. I ended up using a router with an edging bit to cut off the copper. This worked really well - copper is so soft it's about like working with wood. One CAUTION: This was a huge mess. I had to cover every surface in the kitchen to do this because little copper curlyques flew everywhere. I still find some now and then and it's been 8 months since I did this.

12. For the edges, I bought 1.5" X 1/8" copper bar. I mitered the ends, just like you would with wood and dry fit all the pieces to make sure they would fit properly. I tried gluing them with contact cement, but just couldn't manage to get a good bond. I hadn't make my edges quite smooth enough. So, I ended up using tite-grip construction adhesive. It worked really well.

13. Now I had a few gaps here and there, particularly in the corners where the copper bar came together and some at the junction of the copper bar and the copper sheet. I used a product called "just for copper." This is a small tube of copper epoxy that has copper dust mixed with it. When it dries, it has the look of aged copper, and is strong enough to repair copper pipe. I smooshed (nice technical term there) the epoxy into all of the gaps and let it cure. This stuff is a little on the stiff side and not super easy to work with. You can't get it perfectly flat and smooth. I let it cure 24 hours.

14. I sanded the epoxy, starting with 80 grit sandpaper to flatten and smooth it. I also sanded my corners to round them out a bit. The sanding took forever. I went down to 300 grit sandpaper and then sanded the entire countertop surface with this grit. This took a little of the shine off the countertop and allowed it to age more quickly.

Of all the steps, ensuring the wood base is flat and SMOOTH, SMOOTH, SMOOTH is the most important. That will determine directly how much work will have to be done with the copper epoxy to make it all work and look nice.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 9:55AM
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The pictures posted are beautiful.
A concrete counter top if molded in a mold surfaced with melamine is smooth when inverted and can also be sanded and sealed. I may now add copper to an area of my counter. Be creative and have an open mind about any product or item. I am going to line a shower floor with small river rocks. I decided on concrete for my counter because I wanted a "solid surface". Not laminant. I wanted to create it myself. Thanks for all tips and complete step by steps above.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 12:03AM
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Here is a picture of my bar top that I installed. I used 20oz copper and for an adhesive I used liquid nails. I put down approx 2 tubes of liquid nails, an old beach towel, a door and then 8 car tires weighing about 400 pounds. The copper is not as smooth as glass, but I wanted a little bit of 'wavyness' to give the bar some life. I still have to stain the bar, but here is what I have.

Click the link below to view my bar...Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Top of the bar

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Thanks Alice for the step by step instructions!
My counters are at max just under 3ft deep, so with the 3ft wide sheet, I don't think I would have the problem of the curlyques with the router if I can just fold it down right. :)

I'm curious, does anyone have a resource for making the copper distressed / patinaed? I'm very close to convincing my wife to do this instead of granite (which I think is going to be dated in the next 5 years or so), but she is worried that the copper will look too shiny and "industrial" -- she would definitely go for it if we could make it look somewhat aged / distressed -- but not too green like a penny.

I was thinking of hammering / scrape-ing / pouring something that reacts with it --
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 4:31PM
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You can purchase copper aging kits at most craft stores. Or use a baking soda and water mixture and cover it with plastic. But the copper will only be shiny for a very short period of time (like a few days) before it starts taking on warm, brown tones, completely non-industrial in look and feel. It won't turn green in your house, unless you leave acid laying around on it, and even then the green will wipe off. After 7 months, mine looks pretty much like it did in the pics above, but a bit more brown, less shiny. Sanding lightly will encourage patina to develop faster. I probably wouldn't suggest hammering, although I love the texture, unless you use heavy enough copper that can stand up on it's own without the plywood backing, just because it will make it much more difficult to stick it down.

If you patina and want it to stay looking exactly the same forever, you will have to seal it regularly. I wouldn't advise copper for countertops unless you either a) love that it changes daily or b) love high maintenance. Go to a craft store and purchase a small sheet of copper (they have them in the "metal punch" area) and experiment. Place some tape across it, or some urethane on part of it so you can see how it changes over time. Lay the copper on your existing countertop and give it a swipe with a cloth whenever you clean your current countertop. Beat on it with a hammer, glue it to some wood, sand it, live with it for a while. Remove the tape and see how it's changed over time. This will give you a real feel for how a copper countertop will look over time and help you and your wife decide if you can live with it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 6:33PM
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thanks Alice. I have several sample copper pieces ariving anyday, so I will definitely play around with them and see what happens. Should be fun!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 9:43PM
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The advice and pics have been very helpful and encouraging. I am cautiously working on covering a kitchen island in copper sheet. Here are a couple of things I have found that might be helpful. There is a franchise called Metal Supermarket which carries many varieties of copper. They will cut it to size for you. They also carry the copper bar in 1/8" that Alice used. Another idea for the edges is to have them cut strips of the same thickness that you use on the top (I am going for .032") as it is more easily bent for curves or corners than the bar stock. My plan is to directly cover my existing laminated island top, glue down with contact cement and fold over and screw on the front and back edges while using strips of the .032" material on the 2 sides. THis is necessary because the front and back curve down to the edge and the sides are vertical but curve in at the edges. I plan to use the existing sink cutout as a template from underneath and cut it out with a jigsaw.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 4:34PM
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i had previously asked this question, but didnt get any response- Ill try again! I have a copper dining table .It is a hammered table and it came from mexico- My issue is that the patina is quite dark. I love the table but would like to know how i might lighten the color- Im not looking for it to be a shiny penny, but significantly lighter than it is. does anyone know how i might go about doing this? there is a sealer on it of course, but im sure it wouldnt be difficult to remove it. are there any products that will change the patina or get it back to the original copper color? Id really appreciate any information. I love the table but it really is too dark and im planning on installing a copper backsplash and id like it to match a bit better. also- check out a website they have outrageous stuff and good prices!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 1:52PM
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You could remove the sealer with paint stripper, then remove the existing patina. Vinegar would probably work. Then you could re-patina the table to the color you want.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 4:39PM
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for Lydia000:

After you remove the sealer, a real lemon and salt will shine up copper. The more you work the combination into the metal, the more shine you will see. Plus it cost only pennies. Slice lemon in half and use Kosher salt. You could use regular table salt but the Kosher is larger and works faster, plus you will have it for cooking later and it taste better too!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 9:24PM
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I am so happy to find this thread. I had a copper counter installed in 1992 and loved it, completely and totally. When I sold that house 10 years later I vowed the next time I could, I was going back to copper (mostly because other surfaces are such a pain to deal with after being used to something that was kill proof). So that is this house....or so I had planned. Unfortunately with the price of copper right now that means it's 3X more than I expected (imagine, first counter made and installed was $300, last year it was $1300 which included backsplash, now that I am ready to have it done...$4000!) so rather than live broken hearted with the formica that is here I was googling around to see about doing it myself and am glad to see others have done it. I think I can too now if I can find a suitable guage/weight for me to handle.

If I can add to some of the info. If you want your copper to go back to shiny the best and easiest cleaner I found was ketchup (catsup in the US I guess). No kidding try it on a penny. I'd just get a Costco sized bottle and basting brush as cover my counter and leave it. You can keep an eye on it, but left long enough (like 20 min) the counter is back to shiny, no scrubbing , salt, lemon juice, vinegar or copper cleaner ever worked as well as ketchup does. Plain soap and water will allow the copper to patina, leaving water on will take it to green.

Another thing I learned the other day from one place I was talking to was that they mount the copper on cement board (the same stuff as used under tile in showers and such) to keep it smooth and flat. The first counter I had, the guy just formed the counter (I think it was a pretty thick sheet but have no idea what guage) and used some sort of tube adhesive and mounted it over my plywood counter. I never had a problem with dents and such in the 10 years I had it. That counter had no solder, just folded edges so there were no sharp bits left out. As well, with flat edges (like the front of the counter) you can get copper headed tacks to pound through which hold the copper as well as adding a design element.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 4:02AM
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I'm interested to hear more about chilejack's intention to use strips on two sides. how do you intend to seam the strips up against the sheet edge at corners? Also, why screws along the bent edges? are the screws applied on undreside of counter or on vertical face? how are you planning to fold the sheet?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 11:32PM
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Merrellsara, I would LOVE to know a good source for 3'x10' copper sheets in SLC. Do you have a current price, too?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:31AM
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Love this site..just found it. What about applying the copper directly of existing formica tops?? What type of bonding agent?
Thanks for your help...HaHa I thought I had an "original" idea too.!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 3:31PM
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I bought a house that has copper countertops. At first I hated them. They looked shiny and industrial - but they have definitely grown on me. I love the way they patina. I would like to replace the sink and fixtures. The sink that is currently installed is self rimming. I would like a vintage look rather than modern. Any suggestions? Pictures?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 11:24PM
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We have two copper sinks in our kitchen. Found them at a place in San Jose that carries many hammered copper sinks made in Mexico. We ended up with a smooth one (i.e., not hammered) for the main sink that we absolutely love. Check the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Copper sink

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 1:58PM
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Buyers beware of Copper products from out of country as much of it is full of impurties that you do not want in your home. As for copper countertops, 16 and 20oz copper is really too thin to use on a countertop. I would shoot for 32 oz. if you do not want it to be wavy. Radius countertops may be made by professional companies that weld the countertops and edging together. Hammering the countertops, not with you own hammer, give the countertops the ability to take a real beating, as well as old world charm. I read over some of the posts and would mention that you really need to make sure that if you are going to attempt to do this by yourself wear gloves as copper is sharp and can do a number on your hand if you cut your hand on a edge. Copper's natural anti-bacterial properties will allow for most bacteria to die within hours. The true beauty of American made copper products will last for years to come. I have installed a copper hammered bartop and 15' Copper bar sink. My friends love the look and the brass custom makers mark on the items made here in Indianapolis by Circle City Copperworks. I am a copper wholesaler and happen to sell these guys some copper now and then. I saw this site and thought I'd throw in my 2 cents since I sell 500,000+ lbs of copper per year I thought it to be interesting. Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 12:06AM
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Please help! I am installing 2 islands in my kitchen, and have a granite countertop. I want to put copper sheeting on the pony walls surrounding the outside of the islands. It is about 6'-8' long by approximately 4'tall. I am reading these clips on this posting, and I guess what I need to know is: what weight do I need? 16oz or lighter? I figured since it is not going on top, but on the walls, I may not need a very heavy guage copper. Is it copper sheeting I am looking for? and do I apply it as if it were a countertop? Thanks for all your advice!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 3:16PM
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Anything heavier than 16 oz. would be overkill, IMO. Apply it as if it were countertop, using contact cement. Or, you could even use the coffer nails used for coffer sheathing on work, although then you would end life with some movement between the coffer and the wall. Your best bet may be to contact a roofing contractor or a metal supplier to get a sheet cut to size. You will also want some sort of trim to cover the edges - they will be sharp.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 9:09PM
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Can this material be bent around the edges? Two of the sides run flush with the counters as they come around the outside of the islands. Also, I want to give the copper a burnished look...not too busy, but I want it to have some movement.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 12:31PM
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Yes, it can be bent around the edges. The best way to do this on a long bend is with a metal break. You can make one with 2x4s and hinges or perhaps your copper sheet supplier can bend it for your.

To burnish, buy automotive grade sand paper, around 600 grit, and rub however you want to give it some movement. If you have a random orbit sander, even 300 grit will work fine. I used 400 and 300 grit with a random orbit sander and it turned out great. This will also cause it to age faster.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 5:15PM
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I would like a 9x3 for my island....thanks.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Trish - Not sure what assistance, if any, you need.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 12:09PM
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hi all! I love this idea. I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me. My countertop has one end that is not flat, but rounded, or semi-circle, i.e., I can't gift-wrap it. Any advice?? Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 12:08AM
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here is a link with some pretty copper countertops of different styles...Makes me want to change mine again! LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: copper countertop

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 3:50PM
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Please let me know how the install over existing laminate turned out. Did you have to abrade the countertop or did the solvent-based contact cement do the job?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 9:59AM
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Great info here, thanks everyone!
I do have some comments on some suggestions here. I would definitely not use cement backer board for the sub-straight. While it is waterproof and great for tile, it is rough and the roughness will transmit through the copper. This might be fine if you wanted a rough surface, but I would be concerned that the contact cement would not adhere properly to a rough surface. Go with AC ply and sand it smooth.
Question, has anyone attempted to texture their copper? I saw a link here where they had some called"reverse testured" or something like that. I assume that instead of hammering the surface that shows, you do it on the "down" side. Anyone try this and how did you do it?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 1:50PM
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Has anyone installed copper countertops OVER laminate? How is the countertop faring?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 12:08PM
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Don't know if anyone is still monitoring this thread or not but I am ended up here doing research to make a copper counter SOMEWHERE in my home....bath, kitchen, island, table, etc. Many options and I love the material. In case it is of any help to anyone, David Marks hosts a woodworking show on DIY network and he is a master at gilding & patination and works with copper a lot. I ordered a DVD from him on this process and enjoyed it....although I don't think I would use his chemical techniques on a whole kitchen counter, I will use it for smaller accent applications....and might combine some of his hints with some of the natural products mentioned here. (Such as I want to play around with the effect of heat from a torch on the copper alone.) David's site: I am lucky enough to be taking a hands on class with David this spring!
Also, a source for copper nails is John Wilson who makes them for shaker boxes and provides them for other resellers. I may use some mostly for the look. His site:

Love the pictures of projects that are still active and all the sharing. Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 5:59PM
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Has anyone heard of using these same techniques with pewter instead of copper?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 8:00PM
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I'd appreciate some guidance on how to cover a bay window window sill with copper sheeting. The plywood sill is 11 inches deep in front of the large center window (about 4 feet wide). On either side of the center window are smaller windows that turn about 45 degrees toward the house. Quarter-round molding is nailed to the sill where it abuts the window frames. Ideally, I would like to have the sheet cut precisely for me -- I can provide precise measurements for that -- so I don't have to struggle to get the exact shape. I would remove the quarter-round molding, glue the copper sheet to the sill and replace the molding after the glue has set. My question is: Is it okay to have an exposed edge of copper at the front of the sill, or will this be a sharp hazard? If an exposed edge is not acceptable, how difficult would it be to wrap the copper sheet around the plywood? Since 12 inch sheets are available and the sill is 11 inches at its deepest, I would have about an inch of excess that I could wrap around the front edge and under the plywood. Reviewing some of the comments on this thread, and some of the links, I have some idea of how copper sheets are bent 90 degrees, but how about 180 degrees for wrapping around the plywood?

Many thanks for you help with this.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 11:33PM
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aliceinwonderland, just found this thread and I am absolutely taken by your copper countertop. hope you are still monitoring this site.

would like to do something similar but my husband and I are definitely not very handy. hoping our builder (also a good friend) can help us figure it out.

my questions to you, if i may. after reading the post I am a bit unsure what guage copper to use. island will be approx 54" by 66" with an induction cooktop and a prep sink. best to surface mount or undermount sink? any thing i should know before we start- have printed out your step by step--thanks :) is it really a lot less expensive to do it yourself? where did you get your prep sink

thank you all for a great thread. and would love to hear from everyone else too. thanks

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:44AM
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Gauge: Anywhere between 16 and 22 ounce copper will work. I don't know exactly how that corresponds to gauge, but I'm sure there are conversion tables available online. 16 oz is easier to work with, but 22 will possibly look more substantial. As long as you have a good, strong, flat base, I doubt it makes any difference.

Sink: Surface mount, unless you can find a way to treat the edges of the countertop around the sink cutout. I have a round sink, so I did top mount - I thought forming copper bar to a round cut would be too difficult. I purchased my sink on eBay from Mexicopper. It's perfect. If you decide to go that route, be aware that they seldom answer emails, but my sink arrived within the time specified (3 weeks) and was packed very well.

Expense: It's way less expensive to do it yourself. There are very few companies out that that do copper countertops and they charge more than the most expensive stone countertop you can find. My countertop (which is 48" x 96") cost me a about $460, including the base and the copper. If I had purchase it, it would have cost me over $5000. No way that was in the budget.

Size: Your planned countertop is very wide. I could not find copper sheet wider than 48" when I was looking, which is why I ended up using copper bar for the edge instead of wrapping the copper over the edges. If you can't find sheet wide enough (and I honestly have no idea where to look) you would have to deal with a seam. I guess I would to some small mock-ups to see if you can get a seam that meets your expectation.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 3:36PM
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aliceinwonderland, thanks for the additional info. i will begin checking on weight vs gauge and see what i can find.

appreciate also the ebay site. i have been looking at coppersinks on ebay for a while now. i'll check out mexicopper now too.

i hate to change the size of the island because it seems to work with all i want to put there - prep sink, downdraft vent and cooktop) but i also hate the idea of a big ole seam. will see if we can't figure out a way to play around with it

i really love the look of copper but i don't want to spoil it. do you think it's a waste to have a copper topped island with all the appliances and sink?

and finally, "aliceinwonderland id" any chance the id stands for idaho or is that just wishful thinking?

once more, thanks. glad you were still checking.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 10:03PM
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I have a 30" cooktop plus downdraft, a 15" prep sink and a popup outlet installed on my copper island. I think it's fine, not too busy.

Yeah, ID is for Idaho. I probably shouldn't admit to that - Idaho only ever makes national news for less than complementary reasons.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 10:52AM
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aliceinwonderland, i'll have to look at your island again---i didn't realize you had a cooktop too.
too true about id---i live there too and my family back east sent almail to iowa for years. gotta love it though.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 7:48PM
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yikes, how could i have forgotten the cooktop-- good excuse to look at pictures and reread everything again.
one more time--thanks everyone. so glad to have found this site.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 7:33PM
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16oz=23 gauge; 20oz=21 gauge; 24oz=20 gauge.
NOTE REGARDING AHDESIVES!!!! Most contact adhesives prohibit its use with copper. The warnings also state not to use copper tools or containers with the product, so I am assuming there could be a bad chemical reaction. Be sure to read the warnings on the label. Liquid nails has a contact adhesive that they say is ok for copper.
On another site they advise not to use any adhesive because the copper will expand and contract with temp changes, eventually breaking the bond, and possibly damaging the copper. They recommend that you let it float on the subsurface; however the copper wont be as tight and will be more prone to denting.
Has anyone had problems after glueing the copper? Has anyone tried floating it?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Using all this info is making my own project much easier.Bought appliances over 2 yrs., ebay copper sheet 3 ft. by 10 ft.. As for edges !/2 round oak w/minwax wipe on finish, copper only joint,copper tile backsplash, 18 inch x 36 inch green granite cutting area on cut copper pipe 1/2 inch chairs to create air space under to foil moisture yukkies underneath, it can be moved too. I might try to find some mini-castors and epoxy them to the granite? Copper sinks(2 singles) to go around a corner using the same bronze faucet (cheaper than double sinks). Bar copper at counter sink edges with copper only epoxy. Terrific combo green/copper/oak and everything wipes clean!! BONUS We found the one inch polished, smooth edge granite as a special order never accepted for $15.00.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 1:14PM
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wesasla - Sounds gorgeous. Post some pics!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 9:38PM
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I'm a metalwork artist and I love this subject. The widest copper sheet I've seen is 48" and you have to special order it even in a big city like L A. Try Industrial Metal Supply. Ask for a latex coating and you will avoid scratches when you transport it. It cost about $10. Bring a truck with a piece of plywood in the back to support it. Be careful, it is as sharp as knives. Put it in place and then easily peel the latex off. Orbital sander is the fastest way to remove heavy patina, but wear a mask and cover everything, I have read that some copper patinas can be poison to children. I have it on me all the time though and I have not felt ill. I don't think it should stop you since it is such a common practice and I have never heard of anyone else becoming ill either. I have done many copper projects including doors and tables but never a countertop, If anyone in L A needs help on an installation let me know and I will help you so I can learn. I'm listed on this site under Garden art with a link to copper pinwheels .com

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:35PM
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copperheart - You are more than welcome to participate in the form. However, this is not the appropriate place to attempt to gain free advertisement for your business.

BTW, transporting copper sheet is easy of it is rolled into a cylinder with a rope around it to keep it from springing open. No need to haul it flat.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 2:41PM
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All of the copper counter tops look all did a wonderful job.
I am thinking of covering my oak wood range hood with copper sheeting. I have found a sheet 24" X 48" for $96.00. It is .020 oz.(24 gauge); is this okay for this project or can I use a thinner sheet (.016 or .010)? I am looking for hammered copper tacks to put around the edges. Please let me know what you think? Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Fascinating thread. Here's one for you.

I am building an outdoor grill island and am considering a copper top. Has anyone done this before?

Heat will be an issue; the top could get so hot as to fry an egg. I can live with it though since we'll cook mostly in the evening when the temperature drops. Anything else I need to consider?


    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 8:48AM
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from jena the great in 11/2004 to me now in 04/2008. Obviously this subject will never die! It was previously asked by another and unanswered, but I will ask again...has anyone covered existing laminate counter tops with copper? It seems the surface would be nice and smooth already but would there be a problem with adhesion? Would there be any special consideration if I wanted to sand/cut down the currently rounded front edge to make it square instead? Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 5:25PM
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Several years ago, when a remodel of the kitchen became inevitable, I told my wife I wanted to cover the island in copper. I thought that was a radical original thought. I went online to get ideas on how to accomplish my mission, and found this forum. Wow, I guess it wasn't as original an idea as I thought. Last Thanksgiving I began the kitchen demolition. Since February the island has been covered with a sheet of plywood, but now I'm ready to actually start the finished top. I got my copper from Yarde Metals in Connecticut. The plan is to have a 10" backsplash behind the down-draft gas cooktop, and edge the top with cherry (like the cabinets). If I can figure out how, I'll post pictures along the way.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:14AM
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I think I may have screwed-up. I wanted to use the heaviest copper I could possibly handle. Sight-unseen, I ordered 0.05 copper. Wow is it stiff. I clamped it between two 2x4s with a third hinged to the second. I slipped the copper between them and attempted to bend (90 degrees for the back splash). I was able to bend it to about 70 degrees. Now I have clamped it to a sheet of ¾" plywood, and am pulling the bend over to 90 degrees (with ratchet straps). I tried running a blow torch along the back of the fold and have left it in the clamp over night. IÂll find out what happened after work.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 7:39AM
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OK, I fixed my screw-up. The copper I bought actually weighs 37 oz./sq. ft. After struggling with 3 different home-made "brakes", I took it to a sheet metal shop and they fixed my mistakes. I'm ready to roll! I went on-line and found a glue specific for copper, that has a 45 minute clamping time. I need that to get my sheet positioned and clamped in place. Tonight Ill do the gluing, then I'll be ready to trim the edges. I'm afraid my goal of 4th of July is slipping!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 7:11AM
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Circus Peanut

hi all,

Well, I'm embarking on the DIY copper kitchen countertop ride myself this week. Many grateful thanks to those who have gone before!

The plan: use 20oz copper sheet placed onto a substrate of 1.5" mdf. We will be using copper bar adhered to the sides, then routing the copper sheet over the bar to minimize the visible seam and using Just For Copper to seal it. The mdf is cut, glued, and ready to go. Next step, the copper.

What solvent-free adhesive did y'all find that works reliably for copper? Recommended brand names? Many thanks for good leads!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 6:56PM
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Circus Peanut

Whoops, make that "what solvent-based adhesive did you find?"

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 7:16PM
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In response to circuspeanut, I found some stuff on-line called TC-20 from BetterBond. This stuff has 45 minute working time, non-flammable, has no VOC's, and cleans up with water.

Back to my project:
As mentioned above, I glued the copper to the plywood with TC-20, and let set for a couple of days. Last Sunday I trimmed the edges with a router. This was down-right scary! Hot copper particles were flying everywhere. I ended up destroying 2 carbide laminate trimming router bits, but am happy with the outcome. My next step is to route the Ogee edge trim from cherry.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 12:13PM
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Circus Peanut

hi jakes_dad and many thanks for the advice - I ordered the TC-20 online from a veneer supplier and it arrived very quickly. Am going to attempt the gluing this week.

How did your cherry ogee turn out? How are you fastening it to the edge? Pictures! Pictures!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 8:24AM
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Circus Peanut

Well, we did it. It's a lot of work, but I can say that these countertops are gorgeous and well worth the time invested. And they cost me about $21/sf total, which is almost as pleasing as the knowledge that they are fairly green and can be repurposed by whomever comes after me.

1. Create the substrate out of mdf. We used fairly nice stuff made ostensibly from recycled fiber. We glued two 3/4" sheets together with construction cement, then screwed them tightly from the bottom (we wanted the top absolutely smooth so as not to have to use levelling compound. Later this became vital since the adhesive we used was fabulous for gluing copper to mdf, but not to anything else).
Clamped overnight. Then cut with table saw and dry-fit them to the cabs:

2. Then I flipped the pieces over and applied RedGard waterproofing membrane on the bottom and back -- everywhere we weren't gluing copper. Just in case, since it is a kitchen. It's awful gloppy stuff that you roll on like liquid plastic and dries bright red:

3. Next we took 1/4" by 1.5" copper barstock and mitered it just like wood to fit the edges. It cut just fine on an old compound miter saw with a high-tech metal-cutting blade by Tenryu. Glued it to the mdf using TC-50 adhesive by Better Bond, clamped it well:

4. I was highly impressed by the TC-20 adhesive: no VOC and it set enough to handle lightly in about 15 minutes. We kept the edging clamped for a few hours just in case. All edged, a counter piece looked like this:

5. Cut the top copper sheet with a metal blade on the jigsaw. Dry fit it with about 1/4" to 1/2" to spare. We used 20oz Revere copper sheet from a local building materials supplier. It comes in 3foot and 4foot widths up to 120" long.

6. Glued that sucker on! Nerve-wracking, but in retrospect the easiest part of the entire job. We fit as many factory-cut edges to the countertop edges as was feasible, then J-rolled the whole schmear and clamped it but good on all sides, using extra mdf scraps as buffers so as not to dent the copper with clamps:

7. Used a router to trim all the necessary edges to just barely overlapping the edging, if at all. No pics, sorry. As aliceinwonderland can attest, do this outside in the driveway or garage if at all possible!!

8. Then we sanded it up using 180 grit. The copper is almost shockingly workable -- you can put whatever pattern you'd like into it with the sander, a hammer, whatever. [I'd suggest waiting to do this until after you've glued the smooth sheets first, for optimal adhesion.] I worked my way up to about 600grit mesh on the orbital sander, just to make it nice and smooth.

9. I'm glad we decided to do the edging first, since this put the main seam on the side rather than top, and it's virtually invisible from just a little distance away:

10. I was still concerned about durability and the seam opening up, so I went back and stuffed some Just For Copper epoxy onto/into it. Sanded it back down so the seam is very tiny and smooth, and I feel better knowing that it's probably bombproof. It's obvious that the seam will pretty much vanish as the copper oxidizes, too.

11. Due to an L-shape, we did have one place where we absolutely had to join two sheets on top. We used the factory-cut edges for these, and then I epoxied atop the line with Just For Copper and sanded it well. Over time, the line will hopefully become less noticeable as well, though it doesn't look bad (honestly, the photos make it look much worse than it is):

Ta dah!

So that's that! Feel free to contact me with any questions, but better yet post them here for everyone to benefit -- this thread was my sole inspiration and guidance during the process.
Cheers and my heartfelt thanks to jenathegreat, aliceinwonderland, and all of you for the inspiration.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Just gorgeous. In retrospect, I should have done the edges first, as you did. Beautiful job.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Thank you all for your detailed descriptions and pictures. I'm thinking about doing my u=shaped kitchen counter in copper and was wondering if anyone has used their existing countertop and just covered it with the copper sheeting. My laminate has a slight texture and I thought that could add to the look of the copper.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 11:55AM
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Circus Peanut

hi jeanio,

I don't see why not -- but I'd actually advise pulling the laminate layer off first. The glue we used was only for copper and mdf, and I fear it might not stick very well to the plastic laminate. (That said, I really don't know what would be involved in removing the laminate.)

As to the texture, the gague we used (20 oz) is probably too thick to take up too much of the underlying texture, but you could use a thinner weight sheet or texturize it yourself after applying it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 10:06PM
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I just wanted to give this thread a *bump* and tell you guys that your work is very inspiring! My island will be covered in copper someday because of your ingenuity and willingness to share with the rest of us! Thanks!


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 12:40PM
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Just a note for anyone inspired by this great post.
DAP "Non flammable" contact cement is the "waterbased" contact cement that Aliceinwonderland stated wouldn't work with copper. The regular DAP stuff specifically said not for use with copper, but the can of the "non flammable" didn't say that, so I bought it. After it failed to adhere, I went online and read the "tech bulletin" where they did tell you not to use it with copper (didn't help me much in the aisle of Ace hardware).
I managed to pull off the copper, hopefully without denting it, and am waiting for the TC-20 to arrive. Will have to experiment with TC-20 over contact cement on MDF, as I'm afraid to remove all the contact cement with solvents, and afraid of creating toxic dust and an uneven surface if I sand it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 6:36PM
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Oh, that's a bummer for you, cp. Thanks for giving the rest of us the 'heads up'.

Hope you are able to make amends without any significant damage to your copper. Let us know how it goes!


    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 1:00PM
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Aliceinwonderland or CircusPeanut,
After being inspired by your beautiful and successful projects, I have decided to do my 8ft x 4ft kitchen island in copper. As I was about to begin ordering the material, I came across another other websites that recommended not adhering the copper to the wooden substrate. Their reasoning was to allow for expansion and contraction.

My question for you, especially Alice.......... after having your copper counters glued to the substrate for a while now, how are they holding up? Has expansion/contraction been an issue? Is the copper still firmly attached to the substrate?


    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 10:22AM
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My countertop is holding up great, still firmly adhered. I would not leave it un-glued unless you use very thick copper. For thin copper, it really needs to be stuck down or it could buckle or make noise.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 9:07PM
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I put an edge on my copper countertops that is really cool. I used a 20 oz sheet of copper and pulled it around a bulnose edge. Under the bullnose, a put an odge edge shaped piece of molding that was wraped in a much lighter weight copper. The lighter wieght copper would not hold up for a countertop but for the piece of trim below the bullnose it's fine. It looks really substancial. It reads as one piece. If someone shows me how to post a photo on here, I will.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 10:59AM
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So I've nearly finished my project and have two more pieces of information for people:
1) the TC-20 glue is really great stuff. no nasty odors, easy to cleanup, great adhesion. I think that the only place you can find it is online, but I strongly recommend it.
2) if you use "just for copper" make sure you get the "epoxy putty" . They also make a more liquid product that comes in a copper colored bottle but DOES NOT have copper particles in it. Very disappointing, and now I need to order some to complete my project. Table looks great otherwise, now I just have to attach it to the base.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 1:30PM
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freedee, store your pictures online at a photo hosting site such as Photobucket (it's free and works well). Then, when you are at Photobucket viewing the picture that you want to add to your post, you will see 'tags' listed near the picture: these are long extended address/links to your picture.

Choose the 'tag' for posting to message boards by right-clicking on that 'tag' then choose 'copy'. Come back here and type your post. Then right click and 'paste' yout 'tag' into your post. When you preview your message, your picture should show up.

I'm not very good at posting pictures myself so I hope these instructions work! Looking forward to seeing that special edge treatment that you did!

cp,I'm excited for you to be almost done! Was it harder than you expected? Please share. : )


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 3:45PM
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Actually, for GardenWeb you'll want to chose the image link that is labeled 'Blogs' in order to post your pictures. Sorry 'bout that. I think the rest of the instructions are correct, though.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 9:33AM
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I read in these posts that a copper countertop had to be grounded. Would someone please address that issue? How to do? Am planning electrical outlets in my island with DIY copper countertop 48" x 96".


    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 6:03AM
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Nice topic. Good legs too as this has been going for years....

Thanks to all for sharing your experience. I'm working on a range hood that i would like to cover with copper. I'm looking for suggestions on the guage of copper to use for a surface with a curved profile. I want it thick enough to not "wrinkle" but thin enough to easily form to the suface.

here's an attempt at describing how concave the sides are:

Picture a rectangular section on the ceiling (with one of the long sides up against the wall) and a chimney like hood extending from this rectangular cross section on the ceiling down towards the range. The two sides flare out (left and right) as it comes down and the front flares out away from the wall.

The three sides of the hood are concave (the fourth side is the wall) and extend from the ceiling down to the base which sits above the range. If you were to take a string from where the hood surface meets the ceiling and pull it straight to the bottom edge of the hood. The approx mid point along the length of the string would be approx 4" off the surface of the hood.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 2:29PM
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Steve, what material are you using for the construction of the hood? I can picture the design but am not clear on the construction.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 9:24AM
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2x4 rectangle frame mounted to the ceiling. 3/4" plywood box at the bottom of the hood. The width and depth (from the wall) of the 3/4" plywood box is sized to the range. the "bottom" of the box is cut out to accept the stainless hood power pack. The Height of the lower box is about 6" and this will have a piece of faux stone edging applied.

To get the curve profile I used strips of 3/4" plywood with the curve profile cut along the long edge of the strip. I installed these strips (2 on each end and 3 in the front) between the upper 2x4 frame and the lower 3/4" plywood box. These strips basically made up vertical "ribs" running from the upper retangular frame to the lower framer. I then took lengths of 1/2" plywood strips (about 1-1/2" wide) and attached them horizontally on the vertical ribs. I notched the ribs so the horizontal strips were "inset" in the edge of the rib. I tied the horizontal strips toghether where they met in the corners. The strips were approx 6-8" apart. Basically the strips looked like ladder rungs that followed the curved profile of the vertical ribs. I then took a piece of 1/4" (nom) luan ply, wet one side, and formed it (pushed it) to the profile of the vertical ribs. A row of screws along each horizontal "rung" holds the ply to the profile. Prior to screwing the ply to the horizontal ribs it was easy enough to hold it and mark the edges (basically a dashed curved line with the dashes being where the horizontal rungs meet). That compound curved line could then be cut in the flat prior to the plywood being attached to the frame. The ply is just the right stiffness to maintain the curve without getting "flat bars" where it is screwed to the horizontal rungs.

The result is a frame that is all tied together with a plywood skin over the top. The curve on the outer ply is really pretty smooth. There are quite a few screw heads (c-sunk) that need to be filled to make the complete surface smooth prior to the application of the copper. With all the ribs, horizontal rungs, and the rows of screws attaching the ply to the rungs, the structure is quite solid.

This would be easier if I could figure out how to attach a picture......

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Pictures of your project would be great! I would like to attempt it myself.

A couple messages up, Steve, I listed out how to post a picture. You need to host it somewhere online (Photobucket is easy) and then copy and paste the 'tag' (address) into the message that you are typing here. For GardenWeb, use the tag labeled for blogs.

I love this topic and plan to cover my island in copper and now, because of your design, plan to do a custom copper hood, as well!

What hood insert did you use and how did you mount that to your hood/wall?


    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:25AM
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OK, here's a go at the pictures....

We used a Kobe insert. It was the most cost effective for the CFM we needed for the range. You can get two pieces, the power pack and an optional liner. The liner is a stainless tray that covers more of the range. My dealer had a damaged liner that he offered for $0. I was able to fix it so that made the deal even better. To us the Kobe seemed similar to the others.

In the pictures you can see the lower "plywood" box. This was sized and built to accept the Kobe power pack. One side is attached to the wall, and it is cantilevered out. In one of the picture you can see the metal strapping I ran from the outside of the lower plywood box up to the ceiling. This provides the support for the cantilevered lower box.




    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:13PM
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Ok this time with pictures (really)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:28PM
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What a fabulous thread.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to tell us how you completed your projects. Steve, that's a beautiful design.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 10:14PM
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Steve, that is something! Can't wait to see the pictures of the finished product!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 1:57PM
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Yea, I can't wait, also. Too bad it's down a few rungs on the remodel priority list (behind walls, floors, and countertops). Check back after the new year...

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 12:24PM
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Stumbled across this thread while looking for some copper counter pictures to show the wife (as opposed to the cold industrial look of stainless that she is after) and figured I would offer a few additional comments for people looking at DIY copper counter tops.

Copper in and of itself is a very durable and long lasting material. With the proper base you can use relatively thin sheet (i.e. - not expensive and easier to work with). I like to use a base made of baltic birch plywood (great screw holding and dimensionally stable). MDF will work well enough, but I prefer birch for its strength.

The edge dressing which is mentioned here is a fairly easy and workable option. For those who feel like learning a new skill, you might consider hammering seamless edges instead though. You will likely want to get a few copper scraps to practice with and a set of peening hammers (better automotive repair supply stores will have them in the auto body section). I won't go into the details here, but a lot of light taps are what you are looking for here. Watch out for work hardening though as that will result in splits in the copper. If you want to do the seamless route - you will need to go with slightly thicker copper as the added material is needed during the stretching process in areas like corners.

As far as the brazing option goes - you really will want to go with oxy-acetelene. Again, practice and patience is important. I usually braze corners before adhering it to a wood base in order to avoid the fire hazard. The other issue is that it is hard to get a sheet of copper hot enough with a small propane torch in order to get the brazing solder to flow properly.

For copper bar edging, you can get pretty crazy if you like. I normally prefer to use a 3/8" bar as opposed to the thinner bar in order to do some additional edge detailing. On the router table, I'll put a roundover on the bottom edge of the bar in order to soften it up some. Once that is done install on the counter top. Apply the top section and use a flush trim bit to remove any access metal from the top. Follow up with a 1/8 or 1/4" roundover on the top as well. This takes care of any sharp edges and the process of routing also pushing the two copper edges together making them almost invisible.

For dealing with joints on the top sheet - brazing is really your best (and IMO only choice). If you don't have the equipment or don't feel comfortable - don't worry too much. Call around to various local shops (sheet metal, roofers, plumbers) to find someone who has experience working with copper). Most of them will do the work for you to join the two sheets. Once that is done carefully bring the assembled sheet home for installation as normal as if it were a single straight sheet.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 1:11PM
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Hello all! I totally love this thread and have visited it many times over the past few years. This is the sort of thing one hopes to find (but rarely does) when searching for information, understanding and help on the internet.

I hope to have some DIY copper projects to share on here in the next 8 months. I have a plan I'd like to run by you all and get your input. I have two (free) small identical refrigerators I plan on installing (built-into-a-cabinet style) side by side with the doors opening opposite to imitate the look and utility of one of those big (expensive) commercial units. Energy use is also slightly less, especially with the additional insulation I plan. I hate the look of stainless steel which is the current rage, and am planning to cover the fridge doors with copper and custom-making (welding/brazing/casting) copper door handles. I've had some tell me that it would be "too much"- i.e. too much of a copper look and am wondering what you guys think. My countertops will be hardwood butcher-block style that I salvaged from an old basketball court (also for free- my uncle's B-ball C-tops turned out amazing!) and my sink will be a DIY concrete apron front, and only plan on copper fixtures and accents overall. If it will not be too much use of the copper I may surface the oven front with copper too (my rangetop is also a customized industrial version of an older (cheap) gas range using mostly industrial steel grates- Ive got more skills than money). what do you think- dark-aged copper appliances a good look? Anyone with experience laminating metal with copper sheeting have any advice for me??

Also- in reference to Steve's range hood (awesome work!) You could get away with much lighter gauge copper on your hood than on a Countertop, but I'd follow Aliceinwonderlands model and use heavier gauge sheeting for the top curved part, laying the front last using the copper epoxy at the seams and not get too imaginative with the curved seams. with the heavy gauge and epoxy it should look like a welded seam and serve a maintenance-free lifetime. On the bottom, you could do any number of a thousand things with copper sheeting, channel, bar stock, or even copper tubing to give it a custom fabricated look. If youll be tiling the kitchen, you could run a complimentary row of tiles along there. Id love to see and hear your ideas and of course a time-laps photo journal of your copper work.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 2:19AM
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Great thread! Love all the advice, ideas and pics!

I've been looking for non traditional ideas for an outdoor countertop/bar/kitchen. Do you think copper would work for this or would the maintenence be a nightmare? It would be part of a 12 ft L shaped structure with a built in grill on a deck.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:02AM
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Your counters are fabulous!

Your hood design is awesome! I was on the verge of purchasing an entire hood unit for an amount really out of my budget but now think I'll follow your lead! I'm hoping you'll post finished pictures.
After reading this thread, I've been "re-inspired" re: my new-build which is at about the half-way point. My floors will be concrete and now definitely considering copper for countertops!

Thanks to all of you for the abundance of functional ideas and information and especially for unselfishly sharing your projects and experiences!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 10:27AM
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All of the pictures look beautiful and I love copper for its patina, but aren't any of you worried about copper toxicity? It is a heavy metal and it looks like none of you plan to seal/overcoat it, I'd be reluctant to put any foodstuffs directly on it (not that I'd put, say, raw meat on anything but stainless, probably not even granite.

That being said, beautiful work!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:53AM
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Thank you so much for your generous postings. Your copper countertops are beautiful.

One question, could you apply these same installation techniques to galvanized metal?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 7:54PM
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Actually copper is safer than stainless steel. Go here to read more about it:

"Unsealed, it provides an antimicrobial surface 30 times more effective than stainless steel"

Copper cookware is highly valued and has been for generations.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Extremely grateful to have found this site.

I have two questions:
1) what material are you using for the sink?
2) I have found .0323 thick copper locally, is this okay for the countertop?
Appreciate your responses.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:42PM
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I have no doubt copper is an effective bacteriacide, since many antifungals etc are copper based, I am more questioning reaction with foods...

Most copper cookware I know of these days is lined with something else, I agree, copper's thermal qualities are excellent and I had a great set of stainless/copper bottomed cookware which my ex-wife now owns...

People may have used copper as cookware etc for generations, but that doesn't mean it's safe. The Romans used a lead comb dipped in vinegar to get rid of grey hair. I don't think Grecian 2000 contains any lead.

My concern was direct food contact with the counter, eg meats etc or something acidic which might also discolour it. Would I put meat directly on granite? Probably not. On stainless I might, although I'm prepared to admit it's mostly psychological (I don't know what the recommendations are regarding granite.)

Don't get me wrong, I find the idea of copper countertops intriguing, they just sort of scare me at the same time.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 2:32AM
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I understand what you are saying about the difference between copper cookware and food contacting copper countertops, as food does not actually contact the copper used in cookware. I think a better analogy than cookware would be copper plumbing. I imagine that if the water running through your house's plumbing doesn't become toxic due to its contact with copper, a T-Bone hitting your counter will probably not be too dangerous.

With that said, I have no idea if copper plumbing is sealed in any way.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 5:18PM
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Circus Peanut

Well, I'm certainly no chemist, but so far in 6 months of use I can't say that we've had any trouble with food reactions. Any acidic food, if left sitting out long enough, will take off the patina, of course, but those marks are only an aesthetic issue and I think they just add to the general patina.

Things like cut tomatoes, lemons, wine, vinegar, etc, haven't posed a problem because these things are rarely put right on the counter, and certainly not eaten/drunk after spilling on it. I don't generally put raw meat onto the countertop, and I'm pretty sure there are no chemical reactions involved with meat in any case.

I suppose that the greenish pre-verdigris haze that can form if you leave water puddles and really don't wipe the counter off for weeks could be considered dangerous. But this is easily avoided by waxing and/or cleaning regularly, and (according to a chemist friend) is less toxic to human health than the ammonia or chloride sitting under the average American sink in the form of cleaning fluids.

As far as I've researched the issue, the most scary copper-reactive substances are scary in and of themselves before the copper even gets involved. Nitric or sulphuric acid, for instance, would both result in dangerous reactions with copper - but they don't occur in any concentration naturally and I doubt I'll be lugging beakers of 'em home.

Again, I'm no chemist and bow to any experts, but we're not experiencing any worries about the safety of our counters.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 5:39PM
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That's good to know. If I was to diy anything when I redo my kitchen, it'd probably be stainless counters just because of how the house is, but in another place, I'd definitely consider copper. Never thought of it til I saw this thread. Makes a lot of sense, easy to work.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 5:24PM
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Help! Is it possible to install copper over 8x8 ceramic tiles? The current tiles are set inside a 3/4" x 2" solid oak edging, which I plan to stain walnut or paint cream. This would eliminate the edging problem. I'll remove the edging, fold down ample copper, then reinstall the oak edging. The grout lines are 3/8" wide. I'll need to level that with what??? Someone please reply with your thoughts. Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:02PM
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If you search this page for "leveling", it should direct you to a post made by AliceinWonderland__ID. She gives an excellent step by step tutorial of her process, which included using a cement based leveling compound to cover her screw heads and fill any voids in the plywood. HOWEVER, I do not know if that material can be used over ceramic tiles, but it may be a good starting point for your research.
Good Luck,

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 12:10PM
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Personally, I would NOT attempt to level out a tile countertop and install copper over it. You're going to have a problem maintaining adhesion between the tile and the leveling compound. I would remove the tile, or just take the countertop off entirely and start over with a new plywood base for the copper.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 9:58AM
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I have been watching this forum and wanted to share our experiences...
After reading all your very helpful hints and suggestions, my hubby and I have started to install a copper back splash in our kitchen and hope to add a copper top to our island.
We got our beautiful copper at a metal recycling center. Many roofers use copper and these pieces were unused, perfect 3' x 10' sheets for $2 per pound ($100 for 2 sheets! what a deal)
We paid a metal shop to cut them into panel and bend the edges 1/4" ($65) and glued then to 1/4" plywood. That's where we are - so far, we should be putting them up soon...will post photos when finished

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 10:50PM
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You mentioned that you shaped your copper counter-top around a bullnose edge and then put an ogee moulding on the bottom (I hope I got that correct). Exactly how did you shape the copper around the bullnose? I am considering covering my present, bullnose-edged laminate countertop with copper and couldn't figure out how to deal with that edge. And then, of course, there is the issue of what to do at the end of the counter, where I'll have an outside corner that is bullnosed on the front, and completely square/flat on the side. Can't gift-wrap the corner because the front edge is bullnosed.

Others of you were wondering about sanding down a bullnose edge to make it a 90 degree angle. Anyone try it? Wondering if that might be a good option. And did copper-over-laminate people distress the surface of the laminate or just glue it right on?

SOOOO glad I found this thread! Have very little $$ and would really like to make the kitchen pop. Think this might be just the ticket!

Diana Lynn

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 1:41PM
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Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this amazing thread. It keeps going and going...
I'm getting ready to install my countertop next week (waiting on the TC-20)and a contractor friend of mine said something that made me think... Has anyone had any issue with the patina from the copper rubbing off on people or their clothes? We plan on puting this on a raised breakfast bar that people will lean against. Thanks for the info. I should have pictures to share in a bout a week or so.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:39PM
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I installed a 4'x 8' copper counter/breakfast bar in July/August. We did not seal the copper, as we wanted it to patina. I am finding that if I wipe off the counter regularly, typically with soapy water when I do dishes, the patina does not rub off onto clothes or people. However, if the counter goes a while without being cleaned, the patina does rub off onto people/clothes. For instance, I just got back from a week vacation and the counter had developed a bit of patina that would rub off onto clothes. I am not sure what others have experienced. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 3:08PM
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My husband and I just finished our copper countertops on Saturday thanks to all of the contributors on this thread. We basically followed the step by step instructions laid out by circus peanut and alice in wonderland with a few tweaks and findings of our own. Below are the steps we took for our results.
Our copper area is the breakfast bar area and was part of an entire kitchen renovation. This is our "before anything happened picture"

We removed the walls that are in this picture and then built a pony wall that is 10 long. We then installed cabinets that ran perpendicular from the end of that pony wall which are 6 long. Due to the size/shape of this copper countertop we knew we were going to have to do all of the routing/trimming/filing work inside. Thank you Alice and Circuspeanut for warning us about the mess. We put up plastic and tarps to minimize the clean-up.
We started with installing corbels and ¾" playwood (screwing it in place on the pony wall and on top of the cabinets). This is my husband, Eric, screwing down the plywood.

We then used heavy duty construction adhesive to glue the ½" fiberboard on top of the plywood and clamped it over night. We actually purchased ¾" fiberboard, but I found out as we were getting ready to install that I had ordered the incorrect copper bus bar. I ordered ¼" thick x 1 ¼" wide (instead of 1 ½" wide)from so we ran out and got the ½" fiberboard instead. We used 22 gauge copper sheets that came in 10 x 24" lengths for the top of the bar. The bus bar was 12 lengths.
Since we didnt cut the plywood and fiberboard at the same time there was a few differences in width so we used a belt sander to sand down the differences and get a smooth finish. We could have used a router, but honestly didnt even think about it.
To miter the bus bar we used a compound miter saw. I thought we had purchased a steel/technical blade, but we hadnt and we were up against a deadline So, we went for a test cut with the huge toothed/wood blade and it did pretty well. I wore gloves/long sleeves/hat/glasses and hid behind a board as I cut the bar those hot little metal shavings hurt when they make skin contact. We then ran into another issue. Since we were putting bus bar on both sides of the counter we had a hard time holding a 10 length with a 2 x 4 on both sides while clamping in place We had to call in the reinforcements (my wonderful parents) at 9:00 Friday night to get some help holding everything. Eric screwed some blocks of wood onto the bottom of the counterbase that stuck out like ears and helped to hold the weight of the copper bar and 2 x 4s in place while we secured the clamps. We used TC-20 adhesive to hold copper on. We purchased this thru We spread the TC-20 onto the bar with our fingers to ensure full coverage and then clamped the bars and 2 x 4 (to avoid denting) onto the sides of the counter and let sit for 75 minutes. We would have had it sit overnight, but like I said, we were against a time line (family birthday party at our place on Saturday afternoon) and I didnt purchase the TC-20 early enough I thought I could get it at the local hardware store - nope.
So after the 75 minutes we unclamped the bars and everything looked like it was very secure so we cut down our copper sheets to about ½" overhang on both sides. We cut the copper with a jigsaw that had a metal blade it left a rough edge, but we hoped it would all smooth out later with the router.
By the way we did prepare the copper as instructed on the TC-20 rubbing it with steel wool and then using acetone to clean it up.
We then put the TC-20 on the fiberboard and spread it around with a paint pad. We lifted the copper into place and set it down sliding it into position. We had about 10 to 15 seconds of easy sliding before it started to grab. We then rolled it all down with a j-roller and put 2 x 4s down on the edges and clamped in place over night.
The next morning (day of party T-8 hours to finish copper bar, clean up house and get ready. Remember, this was all part of a major kitchen reno that had lasted 3 months and we were in the final 8 hours of it).
We woke up and started working immediately took the clamps off of the counter. We could see there were some gaps in the miters and low spots of where the bar met the top counter piece. We used Just for copper and "smooshed" it into the crevices (using Alices technical term) but very accurate. Heres a picture of our worst spot due to difficult clamping issues:

The night before I made a sample piece of counter with some bar and copper scraps. I HIGHLY recommend this step if you are not comfortable using a router (which we werent). We used this sample to try different bits on the router and get a feel for it before hitting our actual countertop. We ended up using a ¼" edging router bit.
Due to the warning of scraps flying I held a shop vac hose to the bottom of the router as Eric cut along. Not sure if it really helped, but it may have been worse who knows. We did find out that if you leave a larger overlap of material it makes less of a mess because it cuts it off in a continuous strip rather than little tiny shards pictured here:

We then filed /sanded the edges down.

We used an orbital sander for the top of the bar with 320 grit sand paper to make little circular marks. Pictures down show it well.
We finished up at 1:30 (30 minutes before deadline) nothing like cutting it close on a 3 month project. Here are the final pics.

If we can do this anyone can. And yes, well let it patina we LOVE it. Already have ring marks from the party.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 1:37PM
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Romper, your bar turned out BEAUTIFULLY!! You guys did a great job...congratulations!!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Wow, that bar is beautiful!

We finished our copper backsplash and it turned out great. We didn't want to let the copper age on it's own, the glow was a little much, so I did the patina myself.

The slides are in no particular order, but you can see the cut panels, covered with sticky plastic for protection, we used a 3M spray adhesive to glue the copper to a 1/4 plywood backer. Used a fine grit steel wool to clean and begin the patina process. Hubby had to cut holes for the electrical outlets and in they went.
We also put a couple of panels in the cabinet doors. The kitchen isn't quite finished yet, still some upper shelves to go and the new island installed. We had thought copper too, but now I think it might be a bit much. What do you all think?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 6:51PM
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Here are the photos, since the slideshow I tried to add, didn't work:
From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

From copper kitchen

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 7:07PM
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The backsplash looks great! I love the patina it has. I'd personally go for it on the island, but that's just me. Our bar area is our favorite place in the house - everyone raves about the copper when they come over so I wouldn't hesitate to do it. It might be a little much to have copper counter tops, island and backsplash, but if your countertops aren't copper then there is enough diversity. Make sure to post your finished pics up when you're done. Good Job!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 12:40PM
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Circus Peanut

Wow, romper and nottoosticky! What gorgeous work you've both done. I'm impressed, and very happy to welcome you to the growing ranks of the cupraholic.

(And our screen names amuse me, because this is how we've achieved internet immortality -- this thread is the first Google hit when you search for "copper countertops".)

Nottoosticky, that patina is stunning! I say go for the copper island, too, but then again I'm biased. Aren't these counters total objects of fascination? Sometimes I just stand in the kitchen and run my hand over them and go mmmmmm.

Here's a quick close-up shot of mine, after patinating naturally for about 9 months now:


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Is the copper sheeting you all have used the same as roofing sheeting?? Those are just beautiful!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 11:32PM
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I don't think I saw any mention about the antimicrobial properties of copper. This is especially useful in the kitchen. It kills ecoli and many other bugs in a couple of hours. It lives for weeks on stainless. Copper and Brass Sales sells it. I think it looks great without any finish. You can use copper bar with full round edges on the ends so you don't have too many sharp edges.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 12:20AM
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Here are some photos of the copper bar top and the countertop. Both were done using Enchantment copper sheets from

The copper was adhered using standard contact cement. Next a base coat of lacquer was sprayed to seal the copper surface. Lastly, a self-level epoxy was poured giving it a very durable surface. The photos really do not do this justice as the copper just "pops" with color and brilliance!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 3:23PM
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Gorgeous bar top - how did you handle the epoxy over the edges?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 4:45PM
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For the epoxy, we put down plastic and then let the epoxy pour over the edge. Only a small amount goes over since the epoxy is thick. Then we just took a paint brush to the edges and then used the heat gun to dissipate the brush strokes. very easy process overall. Everyone the comes over just loves it. Definitely a talking piece.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 11:11AM
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alice in wonderland, i love your kitchen, what color are your walls? is that a glaze over paint? Thanks

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 7:29AM
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