DIY Wood Countertops

SallmoMarch 26, 2013

Hello All!!

My husband and I are in the middle of purchasing an 1890 old mining home. It is roughly 1100 sq ft-- just a cute little country home. Nothing fancy, but it looks its age--not redone with silly period decor. The walls are all white and there is original pine flooring.The previous owners have been cooking with a wood fire cookstove. Unfortunately this isn't something we can carry on so we are replacing it with a woodstove and purchasing a gas range. To do this, we have to build an island. Our vision for our kitchen is to have white cabinets and wood countertops.

We are very much DIYers but new to home improvements and want to know the best way to build wood counter tops. Now, the wood won't be around the sink, just the island with the stove for now, and we don't plan on cutting on the counter. We would prefer to completely seal it vs the oil method. We want it to be flat and smooth (So its easy to clean). Any suggestions?? Also we would like to do it on a low budget.

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Many countertop manufacturers(see link) supply tops to DIYers and provide instructions on their websites. Start with Craft-Art they have really nice tops, call around and email your specs for quotes.
Your house sounds lovely. "not redone with silly period decor" yay !

And to get this(reclaimed):
I would delay something else...

Here is a link that might be useful: manufacturers

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Salmon Falls Cabinetry

Usually a poured bar top epoxy finish for completely sealed.

BTW, I would probably be interested in that kitchen wood stove. Do you have pictures of it?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 11:18AM
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There are a ton of posts re. IKEA butcher block countertops, not only on this forum but also on Google. Some on here have used other co. for their wood.I can't recall the others but Boos is one.
Good luck on your project, would love to see pics.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:13PM
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For low budget, the very cheapest would be ikea, if they're anywhere near you. Lots of people here have stained or dyed their butcherblock, if you do a search of this forum. Look for reshal's posts or brickmanhouse's beautiful kitchen.

Many people here like waterlox for finishing.

Edited to add: The craft-art countertops are really nice and definitely worth it if you have the budget, but while economical compared to other materials, they're quite a bit more expensive than ikea, so it depends on just how much of a budget you're on.

Here is a link that might be useful: reshal's stained butcherblock

This post was edited by writersblock on Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 12:15

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:13PM
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When you check IKEA wooden counters, though, check really recent comments for quality. It seems to me that I've seen a couple of comments in the last 6 months? year? where people have said that they've had IKEA wooden counters in the past which were great, but their new one warped or ?? and was just not satisfactory. Worth checking just to be sure.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Thank you all for your comments!! I wasn't expecting so many so I'm really impressed. Unfortunately they requested to take the cookstove with them when they sold the house so it isn't available.

We live 100s of miles from an Ikea (in the UP of Michigan) so I think that option is out and also being an island it would get expensive in a hurry having to customize it (2 countertops plus shipping is well over $300) It would be a great option I think if we were closer to one. I think the craft-art countertop would be up in that range for price as well although I appreciate that it is much more DIY friendly.

Our first idea when we wanted to build the counter tops was to buy the raw wood from a local craftsman (he has some stuff with really interesting grain that we used to build our bed recently) and it a very good price, but we are afraid it will be a headache and not turn out well trying to get it all level. We also read about people using wood flooring. We would prefer to use unfinished wood if we went that route but its hard to find tounge and groove (again, we want the seems to be good and flush). Finished solid wood we would consider but we would want to add another layer of finish in order to seal the cracks. Can you put epoxy over finished wood?

Using flooring would be around $150 for the whole island .. is this a bad option? Does anyone have experience using these?

Thank you all again!!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Also the reclaimed antique wood link you posted are stunning!! Perhaps in our forever home it will be worth it.. (We are just getting started out)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Circus Peanut

What you really need is access to a wood joiner/planer; then you could use whatever wood you'd like, get it all nicely glued up, then plane it smooth. There must be a lot of hobby woodworkers and/or woodworking clubs -- and outright carpentry shops -- up there in the UP? Those kind of guys welcome small projects like this. Sounds like fun!

Search this forum for posts by C.Freeman, who just made her own wooden counter in a similar way.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Getting raw wood boards flat and parallel, then gluing them up and making the resulting wider board flat and parallel is a lot of work, and much more difficult than it sounds to someone who's never done it before.

I really wouldn't recommend it for someone who has no woodworking experience and no tools. But just to give you an idea:

First you need to joint (flatten) one edge and one face. You can do this either with a power jointer or handplanes. Then you trim the other edge (usually with a tablesaw) to have parallel edges. Then you plane the other side (usually with a thickness planer) to have two parallel sides.

That gets you one board that is true - flat and parallel on all four sides. You do this for all your boards. Then you glue up the boards, usually a couple at a time. However the process of gluing up is not exact and the result will have edges and/or faces that are not parallel/square (depending on if you're edge or face-gluing). So you'll probably need to repeat the jointing and trimming process for your glue-up. Then you rinse and repeat until you have the final size you want.

This post was edited by chiefneil on Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 15:40

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:39PM
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I found a really good article on building countertops when researching that for ourselves. We plan to also build our own island and make our own top.

The article is from FineWoodworking Magazine and is by the owner of DeVos Woodworking. He does a nice job of explaining how he makes his wood counters that he sells.

Here is a link that might be useful: Making Wood Countertops Article

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Whey we say "DIY wood countertop" we usually mean we bought it ready-made and stained it.

That said, you can do a lot with Kreg Jig and 2x4s and patience.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen island

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Cindy Noll

If you decide to go with a ready made top try Michigan Maple/Bally Block.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:02AM
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We did this by finding a local woodworker/cabinetmaker who was willing to work with us. My husband, who is very DIY and has done hobby woodworking before, came to the cabinetmaker's shop to do the planing and joining. The cabinetmaker also ordered the wood (sapele) for us since he orders wood regularly, and let us have it at his cost. He and my husband worked side by side, the work was done right, and he charged us a very reasonable rate for his time (a break off this since the two worked together). These countertops are perfectly flat and smooth. We finished them with Waterlox, as many coats as we could stand to do (several). They're holding up beautifully, a year later.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:16PM
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I've had this site bookmarked for a while, but have no actual experience with them. Prices are great, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Perfect Plank

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 1:20PM
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