DIY runnels in epoxy lab countertops--progress pics

mama goose_gw zn6OHOctober 23, 2011

I'm getting closer to finishing my DIY, vintage, salvage, low budget, quirky kitchen. If you've seen pictures of my DIY barrel hood, you know I think outside the box, so you won't be surprised that I decided to do my own runnels in the epoxy resin lab tops that I'm using in the cooking/clean-up area.

Someone at a local monument showroom recommended using carbide router tips, so I ordered three 5/8" bits, thinking that would be plenty of back-up. Ha! The material chewed up every one of those bits, but I did end up with some decent-looking, short runnels. I'd have liked 15" runnels, but three $18.00 bits were enough of an investment for me. I've read that professionals charge between $350 and $500, even $1200(?!!) for runnels in marble, soapstone and granite, so I suppose that ap. $60.00 worth of bits and sandpaper isn't too bad. My father used some scrap lumber to make a jig to raise the router gradually, so that the runnels would be sloped and the ends tapered.

Mine are 10 1/2" long and 3/8" deep, polished to 600-grit to match the countertop surface. Can't wait to hook up the sink and wash my first stock pot!

The slabs aren't secured, yet--the seams will be filled with epoxy putty. I'm trying to decide whether to use a scrap piece of slab for a short backsplash.

Sanding and polishing:

Runnels, scroll forward

NOTE****If you cut or sand epoxy resin products, be sure to work outside, and wear eye protection and a dust mask!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen remodel thread in Smaller Homes

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Wow mama_goose, That is outstanding. You are brilliant and creative. Well done! What a fun kitchen. Be sure to come back with the big reveal.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 2:20PM
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I can't wait to hear what you think of them in the long run. I really considered getting labtops myself!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 3:40PM
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Great job! I love the countertops and the runnels. I wish I could do something like that. Post pictures of your kitchen when you're done, please!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:53PM
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Looks beautiful! I salute your adventurous spirit - I'd be so hesitant to attempt something like that myself.

Are your counters new or salvaged?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:59PM
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LOVE your runnels! Great job! I'm a big DIY'er but I think you take the cake for those- they look fantastic.

I love using my new soapstone runnels, so I can't wait for you to start using and enjoying yours!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 10:34PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Thank you all so much! My BIL is coming over tomorrow to work on the sink, so I'm hoping to have it up and running by the end of the week.

The slabs are from some old lab tables that I found on craigslist, salvaged from a high school, for only $20.00 each. I've used three on them on the counters, and have one left--back-up in case the runnels didn't work.

I've been working my way around the kitchen, finishing one wall at a time, so we've been using one countertop for a couple of months (during canning season). I really like it--the slabs are so much more substantial that the laminate we had before, and I love the silky, honed feel.

I've been careful not to cut directly on the counter, and I don't put hot pans from the stove on there, either, but I never did that with laminate. If you look closely at the slabs, you can see a few scratches that are too deep to sand out--they're just part of the patina, as is a faint name, KYLE, etched near the stove. I cover it with a utensil can. :)

BTW, my kids had a biology teacher who used to impress the freshmen every year by pouring ethyl alcohol on a lab top and lighting it. You won't catch me doing that!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 11:23PM
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What a fantastic deal! They look amazing, as does your entire kitchen so far, based on the photos in that other thread.

Are you finding the counters to be relatively scratch-resistant? I'm curious because I'm a scientist and have been kind of annoyed at how easily my laboratory counters are scratched. I'm not sure exactly what material they are (something synthetic and matte black), but they were new 3 years ago. They looked beautiful, but you can put a permanent scratch in them with a fingernail. The older counters I've worked on seemed better in that respect.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 11:59PM
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Mama-goose, those runnels are gorgeous! I went back and read your prior strands. I don't know how I missed them before, maybe because I was working on my own. I love what you are doing with your kitchen. Great job so far!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:26AM
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Thank you for posting this, mama goose! Your runnels look great!

I am planning to make my own runnels in soapstone. I have given a little thought to the jig I will need to make the taper, but I would LOVE to see pictures of the one your father built. I didn't see anything in your photo album. Could I ask you to (pretty please!) post a picture of it?


    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 1:11AM
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Those sure look professional !! Wow...great job. My DH is a chemist and he used to do that alcohol "trick" for the students LOL. So if you DO decide to do a flambe dinner you won't have to worry if you spill when you are lighting :) c

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 4:50AM
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Wow. Beautiful work. Looks great with your sink.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Oh, WELL DONE. I'll have to keep an eye out for lab tables...I really like the look!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 11:09AM
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That is just ridiculous(ly cool)!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:21PM
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Looks great! Congrats on a job well done!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Mama goose, you are an inspiration. Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Circus Peanut

Oh, delicious! A job very well done. The runnels seem to suit the surface so well, too.

What brand is your router and would you recommend it? I'm in the market for a sturdy new one --

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 2:31PM
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Wow, I'm so inspired! That's a serious DIY accomplishment. I especially like how linear they are and how they come to a point instead of the more typical rounded off look. Good work.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 3:29PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Thank you, everyone! Seems as if my kitchen progress has been slow lately, and all your praise is much appreciated.

I apologize for not including more information with my first post--I'm usually the queen of long-winded explanations. I created an album with captions, and if anyone has other questions, I'd be happy to provide more info--I love spreading the DIY news!

The router I use is a Bosch 1617EVS. It's a good fit, and works well. I went slowly and adjusted the height of the bit two or three times for each runnel--two passes for the shorter outside runnels, and three passes each for the other five.

I forgot to take pics of the actual set-up, so here's a mock-up using scrap pieces of slab:

Angie and circuspeanut, good luck with your projects!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 5:24PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

dee850, I tried scratching the material with a fingernail. It didn't make a mark, but these are old tops. They were used in a church hall for several years after the school was demolished.

I've found that they show 'metal marks' (from using a metal level), and I'm sure they'll scratch if a sharp object is dragged across them. I'll polish out what I can, and live with the rest. :/

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 5:36PM
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wow, you are the ultimate DIY'r :) those look fantastic!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 9:29PM
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so creative!!!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Thank you thank you thank you. That is very informative, and was very kind of you to post. I had something along those lines in mind, but your version has a HUGE improvement over my idea. Merci!

BTW, I was not able to access your photo albums. The Windows Live one requires a login, and your photobucket album is a Private Album.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 11:07PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Thanks everyone!

AngieDIY, Sorry, I forgot to edit my permissions after uploading the album--you should have access now. The photobucket account is just a 'holding tank' for pictures that I've posted on GW threads. You can access the same pictures in my SkyDrive albums.

Here is a link that might be useful: SkyDrive albums

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 1:02AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH
    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 1:14AM
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Wow! The runnels and the salvaged countertop are very cool! And the DIY range hood from an old feed bin is amazing!!! Congrats!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 8:45AM
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Thank you so much, Mama_goose. That will help a lot! Thanks for taking the time to annotate the pix.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 12:52AM
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