Black walnut countertops, Perfect Plank

Lorenza5064March 7, 2014

Here I go again.... Still questing for THE countertop for a small kitchen reno at a lake cottage. Think I am committed to butcher block counters. I am enamored with black walnut and the reviews I have read have been positive. Now I am looking for sources for black walnut tops and have come across the company, Perfect Plank. Any experience with or opinions of this company? Grazie

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There's another company in Wisconsin but the name escapes me. Perhaps someone can chime in.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Not Boos, I am familiar with them. Think they are out
Of Illinois or Missouri. At any rate, their pricing is pretty salty. Perfect Plank is in California. Hope someone out there in the GW universe has had an experience with them.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:54PM
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I bought my alder countertops from them ... prompt service, well-packed, and as described.

CAUTION: they cut and ship to the closest foot, so round up when you measure. We almost ended up short on the wider section, but came up with a fix that looks good (breadboarded the ends to get a bit more overhang)

Here they are right after install ... don't have any newer pics.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 4:29AM
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Can you share how you finished your countertops? And how have they performed since they were installed?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 8:22AM
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Sorry, not what you specifically asked but thought I'd mention, I'm doing a walnut butcher block on my island. I've been in communications with this company who has sent me samples and been very responsive. I still have to look around to compare pricing but so far I like what I see and their attentiveness.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardwood lumber

This post was edited by Kooops on Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 10:23

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 10:22AM
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I would recommend Perfect Plank in a heartbeat! I was originally going to go with Ikea butcher block, but was disappointed in recent reviews about their quality going down so I started looking elsewhere. I came across Perfect Plank and to my surprise buying Alder from them was going to be cheaper than Beech/Birch from my local Ikea... even with shipping clear across the country! To be fair, they did mess up my order... I ordered the thinner counters and they mistakenly sent me the thicker ones. I was thrilled with the mistake, but I suppose I wouldn't feel the same if they messed up the other way around.

I stained them (General Finishes Providence) and then about six coats of Waterlox. We've had them in since Christmas and so far they have held up great (even around the sink), but we will see how they hold up long term.

This post was edited by atv_freak on Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 12:02

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:31PM
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i continue to seek sources for Black Walnut countertops. Does anyone know anything about these companies; Armani Woodworking or Country Mouldings?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Loranza -
1 - Sanded the bottom lightly

2 - slopped 2 coats of waterlox on the underside

3 - On the top side, applied many, many thin coats of Waterlox, sanding very lightly between coats.

4 - Sealed the edges of the cutouts (there is another sink) with a coating of silicon sealant scraped on with a credit card

5 - Obsessively sealed the sinks with silicon sealant all around the flanges during installation. It was upside down and easy to do. We totally filled that gap with silicon.

6 - Put a vapor barrier under the counter over the dishwasher

7 - Sealed the joint between wall and counter with silicon sealant.

Performance ... alder is a fairly soft wood, so there are some dents and scratches and scuffing (I think of it as patina), but overall it's been wonderful. Care is minimal - just wiping with a damp rag. We could lightly sand and wipe on another coat of waterlox any time we want to renew the surface.

We use cutting mats on the counters, so knife cuts are not an issue

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:30PM
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@ATVFreak-your counters are beautiful!

Quick questions: Were all of your coats of Waterlox the sealer (base) finish, or did you switch over to a different gloss level for the later coats? Also, did you use a bristle or foam brush? Anything you did that you wish you hadn't?

Thanks-just got my Perfect Plank Alder samples in today, and I can't wait to start messin' with them.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:13PM
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Thanks Jeff! All coats are the original/base finish. Things I would do differently... be more patient. I think I rushed putting the first two coats on (stupidly did it in the basement in December), I should have waited longer than the 24 hours per coat. After the first two coats I moved it upstairs in the heat, but it still took forever to cure... and I'm not even sure it is fully cured yet.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Awesome. It took me a few trips to the Waterlox website to figure out that the base coat is glossier than the satin, and the glossy is glossier than the base.
I watched a YouTube video series with a guy finishing a door using Waterlox, and he recommended foam throwaway brushes. I've heard conflicting reports on those. I'm a terrible brush cleaner...
I hear the smell is about the most awful thing in the world when Waterlox is wet-I'm gonna have to send my wife on vacation while I do it-she pitches a fit if I use Goof Off in the house.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:20AM
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Sorry, I forgot the brush question... I used a new foam brush for every coat. Honestly, I don't know why using a foam/brush/roller would make a difference because it levels so well. I did have small bubbles form if I went too fast with the foam brush, but barely dragging it over the whole area one or two times seemed to get rid of the majority of them.

The smell is pretty strong, but not as bad as I was expecting. I did the majority of the project in the dinning room. I put plastic up in all the doorways (with a slit for entry/exit/air flow in one of them) and had an exhaust fan in the window the whole time... never smelled anything in the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:27AM
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Slightly OT: I just want to put in a plug for foam brushes. My early experience with them was a bargain bag from Michael's and they weren't so hot. The ones HD sells singly in open bins are great, much finer texture. I applied umpteen coats of finish on a desk project and no bubbles ever. They are very easy to clean and cheap enough to throw away after each use.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:47AM
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Have you tried looking for a local woodworker for your counter? I was also researching and getting quotes from many online companies until I came across a local guy. His price was only slightly more than the cheaper online quotes I received, but he came to measure in person, fit the island for my sink, and did the whole installation. If I factored in install to my internet quotes, they were more expensive than the local woodworker. Plus, I knew the sink install would be made exactly right (and it was), and I had great customer service follow-up on any issues.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:51PM
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Beautiful! Love the grooves. That's lovely wood-obviously not butcher block!
Unfortunately, a woodworker isn't in the budget. Our sink is a top-mount, so nothing fancy needed there, and the Wolf rangetop slides in with the countertops butting up to it. No cuts fancier than 90 degrees, and only two seams that I can handle with my biscuit joiner!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Jdeuel--Your definition of butcher block may be different than others' definitions. Some here use the term "butcher block" to simply mean wood counters. My counter is made with planks.

You obviously have wood working skills, equipment, and time that we did not have when considering counter sources. For us, the cost of the counter from an online source plus the follow-up cost of someone local to finish it and install it was more expensive than hiring one local all-in-one woodworker who also provided excellent customer service. YMMV.

FYI--those grooves are called runnels. Love them! :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Breezy- I love your plank countertops! Gorgeous! What finish do you have on yours? Have you had any issues around the sink?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:54PM
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breezygirl - i just drooled all over my computer looking at your countertops.

Lorenza5064 - I was looking at for the wide plank on my island. Im doing walnut on the island but I am deathly afraid of having to waterlox it and it not come out right, I might call around for a local woodworker also to see if the price is comparable.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 6:47PM
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We used Hardwood Lumber, same as Koops. DIY waterlox with foam brushes. Love the "original" finish, hated the satin finish! Actually had to sand that one off and start over, as it was terribly unforgiving.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:55PM
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I second breezygirl's suggestion to seek a local source. Our black walnut plank island contertop with a breadboard edge isn't finished yet so I can't crow about its quality or beauty (I have my fingers crossed) but as for price -- the contractor found a local amish guy who will do it for a $350 upcharge over Formica!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:00AM
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Sstrazistar, that's beautiful!
Only one cup of coffee into my morning, and I had a hard time figuring out what I was looking at. At first, I thought there were a couple of picture frames sitting on the table, then I realized it was the chair backs!
How many coats of Waterlox did you do, how long between, and any sanding besides taking down the satin?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:28AM
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ah ha, yes jdeuel the perspective is odd. :)
We did ~4 coats, with sanding in between each one. Lighter sanding each time. Then tried the satin finish as the "final" coat. Hated was blotchy and swirly. So we sanded it off, and applied another few coats of the original finish. It does come down in gloss a few months after application. My pic was right afterwards, so it's less glossy now. The original Waterlox was nice to work with, and I'd recommend it. But if you want a true matte finish, I don't think Waterlox is the way to go. At least we couldn't make it work!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Breezy, I love the grain and the grooves, just gorgeous.

And sstrazisar, what rich, beautiful wood.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:01PM
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Sweet-tea -- Thanks! If you click on the photo, it should take you to my photobucket account to see more. I had planned on using Waterlox as so many here do, but my woodworker has used Osmo Polyx Oil (a green product) on his wood counters for years with good result so I trusted him. Based on looking at photos online, I'd say the Osmo is more matte and less ambering than Waterlox seems to be. It doesn't look like it's coated. Plus, it's super, super easy to apply. I have given it several touch-up coats over the 2.5 years since install. Very quick. I have had no negative issues around the sink. It still looks like this. Well, except with a double of little dents here and there. It's wood. Wood happens. :)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:06AM
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Breezy, that kitchen of yours was key to the planning of my kitchen reno, although I did not use wood for my countertop. NOW , I am planning a reno for another small kitchen. Have been SO tempted to use black walnut butcher block, edge grain. Again your kitchen is an inspiration. I am reluctant to use along the sink run, due to the obvious issues of a wet surface and long term wear and maintenance issues. How does your osmo finish perform with water, white rings from glasses left on the counter? And the touch up you mention, is it akin to the oiling of a bb counter that has an oil finish? How frequently do you refresh the surface? The fact that you had runnels placed in the counter is encouraging, as I associate those with use as a drain board, obviously a very wet condition. Which osmo polyx product did you use? Natural/clear, I assume......

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:48AM
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ATV, back to a question specific to the Perfect Plank products. Their bb is manufactured not with full length pieces, but relatively short pieces joined by finger joints. I realize that is the reason for their bb being so competitively priced, but I am concerned about the esthetics of so many joints. Lots of action and change of color???? Need for filler at those joints? Thanks, L

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Breezy- Thanks for sharing the info!!⦠We're currently building and I was planning on tung/mineral oil for my hickory countertops and considering Osmo as one option for the wide plank pine floors. You have convinced to order some Osmo to try out for sure!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:48AM
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