OK, SOOO upset- Walnut Island Top! ughhh

2LittleFishiesDecember 7, 2012

OK, we're almost done so we took the moving blankets off of the island and cleaned up a lot this afternoon.

I was just standing with DH at the island.. here it is:


*A diamond shape cut out into the 2" thick top! Maybe it was damaged so they filled it with another piece of wood. It matches okay and can only be seen in some lighting but I feel this is unacceptable! To me, it compromises the whole piece. I didn't mention yet as I just saw it 20 minutes ago. It is making me SICK!

I'm annoyed that this was even given to me this way. What is the next step???

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I agree. I sick for you, too. I would NOT have accepted that in my walnut counter. Otherwise, it's gorgeous!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:40PM
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Oy. That's not very good. I'd be upset, too. What a shame. Have you said anything yet to whomever sold it to you?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:47PM
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No. Just found it. Our cab maker made it and we aren't done with cabs yet (missing a drawer or two, a couple of shelves, DW front, other odds and ends). We haven't paid in full, etc...

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:49PM
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I cannot believe they gave it to you like that.
To be perfectly honest your island slab still looks stunning and it's the kind of thing that if offered a good enough discount I would probably accept it because I DON'T feel that it compromises the whole piece (which is stunning!).
However them trying to sneak that past you with no heads up is completely unacceptable.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:52PM
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When Monday morning comes, you will call and gently tell them to make it right. Then they will agree. There will be apologies, but they will fix it.

This is me sending you positive vibes.

Put a runner over it for the weekend so you don't have to look at it.

And yes, I agree, they are totally wrong to have done this and try to pass it off.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:53PM
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I actually like the diamond. It's a pretty cool detail. It makes it a more custom piece. No one out there will have one exactly like it.

Look at it like a design feature, not an error!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:56PM
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If it makes you feel any better my DH just looked at the pics and said "WOW that is an amazing kitchen!"

He was unperturbed by the diamond.

I still think the cabinet maker should have told you about it, but your kitchen looks amazing with or without that tiny flaw.

I would ask for a discount.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:57PM
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I can't believe this. Did he think that you were not going to notice?
Looks like everythig else is going well though.
Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:04PM
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No way! Unacceptable! The grains *almost* match, but I would be so upset too! I had my flooring guys chip the transition moulding and try to cover it with stain hoping I wouldn't notice (as well as get wood stain on my limestone hearth and not tell me). I think that was the most irriating part to me - not owning up to their error/carelessness. Bee has a great suggestion - cover it for now, enjoy your weekend, and discuss with them on Monday. I am confident that they will fix it for you!

Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:04PM
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2 little

So sorry this happened.... Ugh I would be upset, mostly that the contractor did not advise you -
Yes the kitchen is amazing & so is the walnut, but when things like this come up it causes elements of mistrust between you and your contractor. If they had been open and up front it could at least salvage the trust issue.

I would let them know that you are disappointed that they didn't have the decency to advise you of the repair BEFORE bringing it into your home, and certainly BEFORE taking the protective coverings off when they were long gone. Wrong on many levels.

After presenting your disappointment I would let them convey they believe is a fair solution to this which should include choices: A - X amount $$$ or B- redo the entire top.

Good luck

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Oh yeah! Your cab doors are on! Your kitchen is looking really good... I can see your mood board clearly coming to life! The lights are so nice... you are going a great job in there and the walnut top is still gorgeous. You'll get it resolved... but look at your kitchen!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:06PM
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I would be furious. That detail would make me crazy in that I think it's not a great patch and it is absolutely unbelievable to me that they didn't warn you about it. Having said that, it is very small, the island is gorgeous, your kitchen is beautiful and life is short.... If you can live with it, I would think a substantial discount is in order.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Thanks everyone! Just to clarify, my GC knows nothing about this. The cab guys came in, installed, and covered for the last week or so while other work is getting done. They are not gone as we are not done with all cabs yet and haven't been paid the final installment.

Im surprised they tried to pass it off b/c the cab maker knows I am super picky.

Anyway, here are a few photos I just took of the kitchen : )

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:20PM
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Wow, that's fantastic. Your ideas became real.

I think when your GC sees that, you'll get a new walnut top without much further discussion. The cab guys really should be embarassed to try to pull one off on you. I wouldn't compromise an inch.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Wow! Your kitchen looks amazing! Really, really beautiful!!

Now that's out of the way . . .

The good news is that no one can blame this on anyone else. It isn't like a scratch where people can point fingers and claims it was done by someone else. Yikes! I'd be furious that this was done and nothing was said. I'm sure it will be resolved but it must be incredibly frustrating and disappointing. Good luck on Monday. Let us know what your cabinet maker says.

The only way I could see this as a "design" is if it was perfectly, dead center and you knew about it and approved it beforehand. Yikes.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Thanks, marcolo-

There are some more detailed pics at bottom of below thread that I posted after drawers/doors went on ....

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous Install Thread

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:30PM
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I am wondering what will happen to that GORGEOUS counter if you get your woodworker to take it back. Will it be thrown away? How wasteful if so. The walnut is just breathtaking. Honestly, I don't think the quarter-size mark is a big deal, and Green Designs has a point. And don't you think the counter is going to get marked up over time from use in any case? It will not remain perfect forever - someone will scratch it or leave a wet drink on it or something, which will be much worse than that little cut-out.

If it were mine, I'd put a pretty bowl of fruit on top of the little diamond, and not give it another thought. And I am fussy, and neurotic, so that's saying something!

This post was edited by shannonplus2 on Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 21:41

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:37PM
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If I were the woodworkers, I would have taken it, sliced the slab in length, taken out the bad strips and reglued new walnut and finished. It shouldn't have been hard for them to do the first time, and it shouldn't be hard for them to do now. And, I doubt the slab will be destroyed. I think they will probably do something like I describe to make it better. (therefore, about a 2" strip will be taken out and scrapped, replaced with good wood, then resanding and restaining).

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:42PM
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That is a stunning kitchen. I am sorry about the countertop. That patch would bother me too.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:42PM
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If they were willing to give me a generous discount...I'd consider keeping it. But that's me. (I was relieved when I put the first scratch into my SS range top.)

If it will make you see red every time you see it...then he needs to replace it. He will.

But they SHOULD have 'fessed up to start with.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Pretty amazing diamond patch. It almost lines up. I think it's cool but I can see the problem when it's not what you think you are buying. Beautiful kitchen. I'm sorry you've been upset by the surprise. Don't let it ruin the moment.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 9:46PM
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That would make me angry. Personally, I would resent that diamond shape every time I looked at the countertop. While it's true that the counter will eventually get dinged up, the owner is the person who should make those dings. They shouldn't pay full price or settle for something the seller messed up.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:41PM
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I absolutely love the yellow cabs!
On my monitor, they're a lovely, muted dijon-ish color. What did you end up using?

As for the diamond, my jaw dropped.
But, then I realized I liked it. I enjoy rustic and reused things. This looks like it's intentional rather than someone trying to cover-up a scratch or something.

I really hope that gorgeous walnut doesn't go to waste. I think it's beautiful and wish you could love it!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:43PM
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fishies- this all looks amazing so far. Wish you could have noticed the diamond during the week so you wouldn't have to worry all weekend, but please do NOT worry, I know it's hard, but there is no way they will give you a hard time. They are clearly at fault. They will make you a new top, and then maybe you can put the finish you originally wanted on top-unless you have decided the waterlox is the right one. besides the diamond, I think the color and finish looks awesome. I do have one thought(hope u don't mind my opinion) I would take away one stool on the long side and just have 3 and then the one on the end. It looks like there needs to be more space between them. Maybe it is just my angle of the picture though. Let me know.. I'm glad everything else went smooth for you, it's really stunning, enjoy!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:04PM
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I like it...makes it less than perfect..looks and is intentional and as far as I am concerned I think it is their "signature" if you will. I sure would embrace it as the part of the kitchen that expresses the individuality of the craftsmen and the wood. c

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:08PM
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I completely understand why you're upset. You should be. They should have been upfront about this.

I tried to locate the patch based on the close ups at the top. I can not spot it in any of the regular distance pictures even though I think I know the general area to look.

See how the weekend goes. Maybe by Monday it will not seem so bad. If it were me, I might be persuaded to keep it if they fessed up to everything and offered a discount. I do not like risk, so to me I'd rather live with a well done small patch than risk damage to the cabinets or possibly other problems with the counter when it comes back.

Also see if your contract has anything about variation and defects in natural materials. Might not be addressed, but better to look and be prepared than be caught off gaurd.

Looks lovely so far! I think if you went less saturated with the yellow it might not look different enough from the white at times. Looking forward to seeing it all come together for you!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:26PM
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That is a fantastic kitchen and so rich looking. Your beautiful cabinets look like they have been bathed in a honey butter-amazing. If my future kitchen looks half as good as yours I know I'll be happy.

The diamond would bother me too. It irks me to even think of you 'accepting' it. Every time I would pass the island I would look at it out of the corner of my eye like it's taunting me. I'm crossing my fingers for you and your beautiful kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Oh my dear Lord. That mess is unacceptable even at a 100% discount. Does that look like a rustic kitchen? Signature of the craftsman? That's the signature of attempted fraud. They should be ashamed.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:52PM
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Little fishies, your kitchen is gorgeous. Knotholes happen, and I guess they have to fix them somehow, but I wouldn't like that either. I agree with covering it and putting it out of your mind until Monday. I bet there will be no problem with them replacing it also. Sad that they didn't mention it to you though, it looks like all the work done is such good quality.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:57PM
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ohhhhhhh fishies!! I agree. It is unacceptable. But do what others suggested already, cover it until Monday, so you can enjoy everything else.

Your kitchen is really gorgeous. I know you have been so excited and anxious to get it done. TG you found the flaw now rather than down the road.

Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:05AM
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That patch, technically called a dutchman, is quite well done, for a patch. If it had been done as a repair for damage I think we'd all say it was amazing. But that's the problem: this is a new, presumably never damaged top.

Except that it isn't undamaged. It clearly was damaged after it was assembled, at some point during the finishing stages. No one would have used that particular board had the defect been visible before it was jointed. Something happened, the woodworkers knew about it, and they hoped you'd not notice or care. And they didn't have the backbone to point it out to you.

My guess is that whatever happened occured relatively late in the construction phase. Can you lift it up and peek underneath? Does it go the whole way through? It may be a veneer, or quasi-veneer if it doesn't go all the way through. That alone would be cause for concern because it would mean you might never be able to refinish the top should you decide to do that. (Refinishing is the cure for major damage you inflict.)

Oh yeah, they've got some explaining to do. Since you don't have a decorative edge treatment, it should be reasonably easy to have that section sawed out, a new piece joined, etc. It may result in slight loss of thickness if it needs to be (as I imagine it might) be sent through the planer again. Make sure you're very clear what will happen to the top if they are going to repair it, not replace it. Check the measurements of what it is now, it may already be a tad skinny if they planed it, again, after the repair was made. I'm wondering how is was joined, whether it was doweled or biscuited - that's the only technical issue I have with the sawn-it-out repair plan. It may present some problems because that solution would obviously have been one of the options instead of the dutchman. That's what makes me think it was an eleventh hour repair.

Whatever happened, it must have been a serious, not cosmetic problem. Somebody had a really bad day.

But be calm, it will get fixed. The only reason I would asolutely not accept the top would be if the patch is a veneer. If they can saw out the damaged section and replace it, while annoying and delaying, I would fine with that. But veneer would be an absolute no go for me. They'd have to refund 100% for me to take the chance on that.

I'm loving your yellow - my favorite color. When you picked it out, I said to myself, it'll be too pale, but it's absolutely lovely and just right!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:45AM
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Circus Peanut

Little, besides the obvious issue of the cabinetmaker's dishonesty in not revealing this to you, I might have one functional gripe: this is a countertop. It will be subjected to many liquid spills, or at the very least a lot of moist sponges, over the years. The nature of a cut in wood is to absorb moisture. I would be worried that the patch might actually encourage internal decay over time.

I understand it's waterloxed (and that's a great durable finish), but unless the dutchman was dipped in the stuff before placement, the only barrier between the surface and each cut wooden edge of that diamond is a tensile top layer of varnish some micrometers thin.

I agree with those who say it's not the most egregious aesthetic mistake every made, and you could certainly live with it if you had to -- but I'd definitely bring up the functional concern with your carpenter. Is he willing to warrant the patch against rot?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:13AM
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oh, that is a gorgeous kitchen! do you plan on putting fruit baskets, etc on your island? if so, maybe it will not be too bad to cover up and forget about it. a discount might be worth it instead of throwing out an otherwise beautiful countertop?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:30AM
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We had a similar thing happen with our countertop. We unwrapped it from the shipping crate and it was beautiful, except for the nickel-sized patch in the middle of it. We contacted the woodworking company and they agreed to take it back and fix it. They removed the bad strip and replaced it with a good one. The manager said that what sometimes happens is that, after the top is put together, during the finishing an imperfection pops up. In our case, someone tried to fix it, but it wasn't good. But it was fixable....

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:26AM
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I mostly just want to tell you how stunning your kitchen looks. But also...I am just finishing a diy kitchen where i did my own cherry tops. I noticed that there was clearly a top and bottom of each piece but my partner never did and we ended up installing one upside down at first. The bottom side had irregularities...nothing quite like the diamond, which seems to run through the whole piece, but it is worth consideration...could have been installers putting it in upside down.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 5:50AM
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I would be shocked to see this as I'm sure you are. Just wondering where on the counter is it located? Is it exactly in the center?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 6:42AM
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I was thinking exactly what Mermanmike was...that the patch was intended to be on the bottom side of the top. Given that it's a pretty good patch, it would have been easily overlooked by the installers.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 6:50AM
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Your kitchen is absolutely stunning. It is coming to life even better than I could imagine.
There is no excuse for the patch, especially not showing it to you for a decision point.
Maybe they plan to replace it but forgot to tell you - my GC wasn't very talkative - I would point out things and he would say - Already ordered...
Otherwise he was great!
Hang in there - have a couple glasses of wine this weekend and go get them on Monday - you might have to enhance your name to "Piranha" instead of 2LittleFishies to tackle this task.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:34AM
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Your kit cabs are beautiful! I would have been impressed if he had put an inlay of some contrasting wood speces vs a veneer piece. If it bothers you I would want it replaced, if not a nice discount.

This post was edited by eandhl on Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 8:16

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:37AM
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The top isn't upside down. That was clearly meant to be the top. The bottom has (I forget the term) metal rods through it for support. I'll take some photos.

The diamond is only about a foot from the edge so on a 9' island it's not a spot I can put a bowl over or something.

liriodendron- Thanks for all of that info. Can you explain the difference between if was doweled or biscuited? Also, I don't get why if it's a veneer it is worse than if it goes all the way through?

I do see this dutchman as a "weak spot". A place that lessens the integrity of the whole piece assuming this top will be here for decades to come.

I'm hoping if they have to cut, remove, add a new strip, that not much will have to be planed off!!! It was actually supposed to be 2 1/4" but that was only in our contract whereas the kitchen plan (that I did sign off on) showed it as 2" so the guys who built it were following the drawing, not the contract.

I should note however that I wasn't charged extra for adding the 1/4" so when they didn't do it I could not ask for $ to be taken off.

This post was edited by 2LittleFishies on Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 8:40

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:38AM
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There are 3of these:

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Well I hope they are reasonable about fixing it for you. As it looks like it was constructed very carefully otherwise, hopefully this will shock whoever runs the place and you'll get a new one or, if you prefer, some compensation.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:21AM
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I seem to be in the minority but the diamond is charming and shows that it was very obviously handcrafted with a lot of care. The top is stunning and the little diamond is the piece de resistance.I can't even imagine how hard it was to perfectly match it like that.

ps the kitchen is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Your kitchen is coming together so nicely. I would be upset too if I had that Dutchman patch in my countertop. Since the rest of your cabinetry is obviously high quality, I am thinking that the cabinet maker wouldn't purposely try to deceive you with the countertop. Perhaps one of his employers did that fix and the owner of the shop is unaware of it. Or perhaps it is just that one strip of wood that was put upside down (not the whole top being upside down) during construction of the top and they didn't really notice it or just didn't think it was a big deal. Whatever the reason for it, I'm sure it can be corrected. You are certainly in control because you still owe them money. You also have the power of the GW kitchen forum behind you. Good luck

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Your kitchen IS gorgeous. Hadn't thought about the decrease in functionality of the patch--good call whomever pointed that out. And they really should be ashamed of themselves for not fessing up.

They will fix it. And someone will get a deal on a narrower island sometime in the future. (Or someone will get awesome cutting boards at some point.) That walnut will NOT go into a landfill.

Hang in there!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Your kitchen is gorgeous. I love all the elements and how well they present the picture of a beautifully cohesive kitchen - both functionally and form-wise. (diamond notwithstanding) I want to walk around it and touch everything. I want to peer at the cabinet elements and rub the walnut island. The island looks like a great place for a cup of coffee. (or glass of wine).

As an aside - can I just say that I always appreciate being able to follow a kitchen from first post to final reveal. I appreciate posters who make us a part of their kitchen-design plan and process. And you did that. You were always gracious in your questions and followed-up promptly when we had questions. You accepted and listened to our opinions even if they didn't coincide with your own and I can't believe it's over. (diamond notwithstanding). I still remember your original posts of your home and a gazillion pictures of different yellows (yellow roses, etc.), and the floorplans,... Thanks for letting us be a part of your process. This, I think, is a big part of what the Kitchen Forum is about.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Little fishes, I think what Meremike was meaning, in his description of his counter construction, was that one plank that was used to create the whole top got put in upside down. He wanted to consider each placement of each board before gluing up the top. He had noted that there was an upside and a downside to each plank and one board got installed upside down.

So he wasn't meaning that your top got installed upside down. He was wanting to bring up the possibility that in the construction of the top, one of the boards got in upside down before glue up.

Am I correct Meremike?

Not that in the end it really makes any difference to you how the flaw got there, but I always find it interesting in the causes of problems. I can bore people with my questioning of the facts, etc, just ask my DH! But, I believe it is important for future problem solving. Especially if I were to be making countertops for a living, as your cabinet makers are.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Lovely kitchen. No amount of hand wringing or wild guesses as to why is going to change that it happened. On Monday you'll get the 411 and discuss what transpired and solutions. You have a lovely kitchen and this vendor has done a lot of good work for you - to let this overshadow everything is a loss of perspective. Being upset initially is understandable and being disappointed is to be expected but focus on the solution not the problem. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Is is a 'Dutchman' repair for a defect in the wood.
the piece(s) should have been culled before assembly of the strips.

Tell them it is not acceptable.

They should be sable to rip the strip(s) out and add another strip (or two) and then refinish.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:42PM
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brickeyee- What is "culled"?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Oh, Fishies, how beautiful it all looks!! Are you so happy (well except for this)? This will be straightened out and you will forget it even happened. It is so, so lovely...

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Culled = Taken out, set aside, pitched.

This post was edited by thirdkitchenremodel on Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 14:08

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:05PM
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Your kitchen is so amazing beautiful with all the yellow elements. Wow, I don't know what to say about the diamond. Just call them on Monday.

This is tough on whether to accept a substantial discount or request a replacement. For your money the workmanship should be top notch.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:34PM
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The more I think about it...the more I think I'd make them replace it or fix it correctly. And they will. SO...have a glass of wine. Revel in the fact that, aside from that defect (which can and will be fixed) your vision came together just as you wanted it to.

I understand the disappointment, btw. You thought you were almost finished...and it is BEAUTRIFUL But now...the showpiece, the heart of your kitchen has a flaw.

I had similar feelings when they messed up the counter to my pass-through not once, but twice. They didn't even let me SEE it, the second time. Third time was the charm. But it DID set us back two weeks. Which was beyond frustrating.

Hang in there.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Patch or no (and I hope they fix it pronto) that's one beautiful kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:56PM
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It's not what you requested or paid for. It goes and is replaced at their cost no question, end of story.
They think they can pawn it off without question? I'd be so p-o'd at that!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:54PM
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gorgeous counter. I'm thinking that mermanmike is on the right track. I think there is a very good possibility it was accidentally installed upside down. Looks like both sides of the counter were finished. Were the supporting metal pieces installed before the counter was brought to your home or on site? I can see how the patch was intended to be on the bottom and in the process of installation, may have been forgotten about and missed. It seems like you hired a talented craftsman. I don't think he was trying to pull anything over on you. Hopefully it can be rectified to your satisfaction.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:31PM
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The reason I am concerned about it being a veneer patch (not full thickness of the wood) is that it limits your options many years down the road if you choose to have the top sanded down (to remove dings or stains). If the patch isn't full-depth then the sanding could scrape it off, or leave it so thin it just fails. There also may not be as good a grain match as it is now (and it is very good, the craftsman is probably very proud of that piece of work.

The issue about doweling or biscuiting is this: when boards are joined up they need to be more than just glued together. They need some kind of mechanical keying between them to make them hold together as one piece through natural expansion and contraction cycles. You don't want the boards to separate, even a tiny bit, because that would create cracks. These boards are plain sawn, not edge grain like a true butcher block, so they have more risk of expansion/contraction along the long edges. This is not a bad, or defective thing; it's just the nature of the living essence of wood. Each board has a different amount of sap and heartwood cells, so they will respond to changes slightly differently. The jointing techniques marry the whole thing together.

To keep the boards tightly joined sometimes each long edge is drilled with several holes and then the adjoining board is also drilled with holes in matching places and a wooden (sometimes metal) rod is inserted and glued in. Sometimes the joints are made with biscuits which are small round biscuit-shaped wafers that are inserted into slots cut into the long edge of each the adjoining boards with half of each "biscuit" in each board and then it's glued together. I have even heard of tops which are thicker than yours that are rodded through with a wood or metal dowel from side to side. Your top is probably too thin for that and you would see little plugs on the long sides that cover the ends of the rods. Your top is probably biscuited. So a question to ask if they go the "saw the piece out and replace it" route is how it will be re-biscuited. Some biscuit cutters can't deal with really wide boards, which is what your two halves would now functionally be. Also if it was doweled with metal pegs, it will be very tricky to saw apart, perhaps impossible.

I agree with Brickeye that a board with a visible defect needing a patch like this should have been culled (and probably others were) before assembling the top. And even if they choose to use a possibly defective piece they would have positioned the defect on the underside. That's what makes me believe that whatever happened, occurred late in the process long after the boards had been jointed and planed. Perhaps a deep dent from dropping something on it, or a tool gouge, or a splinter tore out, or something serious of that nature. And they elected to try and remove the damaged section and patch it with a piece or thin layer of (very artfully matched) walnut.

And that leads me back to my first concern. Veneer can be very, very thin. It often is on fine furniture and that is not bad. But while this top is fine, it's not the same as a delicate marquetry side table which shouldn't have anything more weighty than a book or coaster-ed glass of sherry put down on it. A kitchen island top is, by contrast, a veritable work horse. You may wish to baby it, but you will be setting down heavy objects (Le Creuset, cutting boards, heavy cans of whole tomatoes, big jugs of vino cheapo, etc.) People will slide things on it; they will spill things on it. Dimwit guests will "help" by slicing the bread on it, etc. Eventually, you, or someone else, will say: let's refinish the top and make it virginally pretty again. With a veneer patch that may not be possible, as it would have been for a solid wood piece, many times over.

Now if it was a true Dutchman, (wood plug cut to fit in the hole), the issue with resanding/refinishing would be a bit different, but still a problem. When making a dutchman you carve out the damaged section either fully through or deep enough, and square up the sides for convenience and ease of making the plug fit, but you can never make it a perfect fit all the way through because you are working in a very tight space with hand tools. Instead you concentrate on making the hole and the replacement plug match as well as possible, but you put all your efforts to making the visible meeting point on the surface perfect, even if that means it doesn't exactly match on all the interior surfaces of the hole and plug. There are always trade-offs when doing this, but you sacrifice interior fit for visible fit, IKYWM. And that can create its own issues when re-sanding because you may sand down into a place where the plug doesn't fit the sides as well as it now does on the top. That could leave you with a small gap, or visible glue residue etc. Does that make sense?

I hope they will agree to saw it and replace the board. You will lose some thickness due to the necessary sanding, or planing, and refinishing to make the new pieces even and mstching with the exsiting parts. For that season I think they should not only do this for free, but also give you some allowance since you will be "using up" some of the original depth which down the road will limit the number of times you can refinish.

I am sure that when the damage was done, they were appalled. It must have been a catastrophe. But the correct, to my mind, course of action would have been to let you know, offer options, or just get on with making it right. Which they obviously chose not to do. Too bad for them, because now they have to fix it, or have it rejected entirely. The patch, whether veneer or dutchman, is an attempt to slide it by you. Stand firmly on your little ventral fins, and bare your shark's teeth, as necessary.

I'm sure you will be successful in getting a gorgeous top to go with your gorgeous kitchen.

(As I proofed this, I realized that there is another explanation: perhaps the defect was originally intended to be one the underside. If there I don't see it as a big problem. But perhaps someone acidentally drilled the holes for brackets on the top surface and they just went ahead and left you with the orginial bottom side on top. Since you don't have a ogee, or other molded edge, it might be very easy to confuse the sides. That would be a big OOPS, and maybe done by someone not in the shop who installed the top incorrectly.)


    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:04PM
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2LittleFishies-When they say it's a week spot, it's not about the counter integrity. If that's a veneer, you wouldn't be able to get it sanding down and refinished were you wanting to do that years down the road.

liriodendron is right on the money. This is probably damaged in the late stages and was simply a quick fix. Now that 2LittleFishies mentions that this is a foot from the edge, I'm even more shocked. Really doesn't matter where it is, I'd be embarrassed to install this at a clients house. They should have cut the strip out and placed a new in. However, if the counter is already thinner than it should be, doing that would have made it thinner yet so maybe that's why they tried to get away with the dutchman. Sorry, but a dutchman is for refinishing a damaged piece that somebody wanted to restore, not a new countertop.

I've basically restated what liriodendron already said. This can be fixed properly or they can simply bring you a new top. A proper repair would be completely acceptable and would be transparent to you unless the top was already thinner than you ordered.

Your kitchen is beautiful!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:20AM
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Thanks everyone for your support!

liriodendron- Fantastic explanation and it will help me a lot when having a conversation with cabinet maker.

I have a question. I remember reading on a discussion here that when you refinish (sand) a wood top down that barely anything comes off. 1/64" maybe? Is that wrong? I'm wondering how much will come off of my 2" top if they fix this (vs. replacing). As I mentioned I wanted it to be 2 1/4" and being the drawing said 2" and the contract said 2 1/4" the woodworkers followed the drawing and did 2".

I hate to lose more of the top and am wondering how much it would be. Also for down the road refinishing how much usually would come off?

The walnut on our 2 built ins were done in the wrong finish so when they left here they were 2". When they came back they are about 1/8" - 1/16" thinner.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:10PM
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I was taught that planing starts very, very small. 1/32nd. If it needs to be passed again, that comes to 1/16th.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:47PM
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They also may just need to make you a new top, the proper thickness and then offer this one for sale at a discount in their shop.

It will work out. Or I can meet you at the shop, if you like. I'm sure Christine is up for a roadtrip too, right?



    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 3:19PM
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2fishies...wanted to return after reading all the comments and especially lirio's explanation. My comment was unintentionally ill informed. I have lots of positive vibes headed your way. Your space is beautifully crafted and you deserve a lovely top to your island w/o flaws. c

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Thanks, Christine : ) Bee too! I'll let you know if I need you to make a trip over there! lol

trailrunner- Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:41PM
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wow, that is not cool that they did not bring this to your attention during install and give you the choice of deciding if it was acceptable. bring it to the GC's attention and let them deal with it, that is what you are paying them for. either a heafy discount if you can live with it or replace if you cannot live with it. sorry to hear but the kitch looks great!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:18AM
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We will ALL be expecting an update today once you've talked to your GC. Sending positive thoughts your way! It will all be fine.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:10AM
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All the dowels and biscuits are not as strong as the glue holding the thing together.

Dowels and biscuits will not keep joints perfectly closed long term if the joints are not built correctly.

As soon as you mix different angles of growth rings from the tree in gluing up a panel there are eventually going to be cracks.

The two directions that are normally measured are tangential expansion (tangent to the growth rings) and radial (perpendicular to the growth rings).
Wood has a very small change in length with moisture content.
They do not match even in one type of wood (though some are closer than others).

Wood is anisotropic in its expansion and contraction.
No finish can stop it, only slow it.
No joint or glue can prevent the eventual development of cracks over long glue joints with differential expansion and contraction.

The link below is to the "Wood Handbook" by USDA.
Chapter 3 covers wood movement with moisture content.

Figure 3-3 is very telling.

Walnut has a 5.5% radial shrinkage from saturated to oven dry, and 7.8 % tangential saturated to oven dry.

You will see a small fraction of these values, but the mismatch is what will eventually cause the joints to open.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood Handbook, Chapter 3

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 1:14PM
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I had DH call this morning who usually isn't involved and is better at getting the point across. Cab maker said he wasn't aware of it and that his guys should have replaced the whole strip. (He has been less hands on lately due to personal reasons I won't go into here.)

He said they'll pick it up and bring it back in a few days or so and assures us it will be as it should be and won't be thinner. (or I'M assuming it won't be a substantial amount).

Let's hope this goes well...

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:51PM
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You're on the right track! If he's taking responsibility then it sounds like it will be right this time. Then you will have the beautiful, finished kitchen like you planned.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Hmmm ... I can't imagine how they are going to fix this, but it's good that they are "on it." I'm late getting here, but I concur with the majority here ... that's not acceptable. That gorgeous walnut counter is the centerpiece of your kitchen and it must be perfect. I'd have been furious.

And yep, still drooling over your kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Looks like a good opportunity to have your cabinetmaker replace it with an actual decorative inlay. I'm a big fan of inlays in my own woodworking projects. It's a good way to turn an error from "OMG a patch!" to "OMG that's so cool". They can be exacting to work with, but whoever did your patch clearly has the requisite skills.

Anyway, I expect your cabinetmaker will just rip the offending board out and replace with a fresh piece, then refinish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Inlay example from Rockler

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Sounds good. I doubted you'd have to get into any kind of fight over it. The mistake is just too absurd.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:08PM
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So glad they are going to fix it - not sure what they are going to do, but will be watching!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:51PM
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What a beautiful, kitchen. I was confident that it would be fixed, and fixed to your satisfaction. Your question about the thickness now and after sanding was spot on.

Maybe this is overkill and will make you crazy, but before they pick up the top to refinish, should you measure the thickness with a fancy, precise, instrument (caliper?) and take a photo of that measurement? Only if making the top thinner will affect the future sanding ability? And call the owner and tell him that the top measures such and such and he is welcome to come over and measure it himself. And confirm that measurement with the cabmaker's ppl who pick up the top. As in a phone call to owner to say, we measured the top at precisely so and so inches, which will give us just so many future sandings. And your guy is here to confirm that measurement.

As a practical matter, you may never re-sand it for many possible reasons, but it may give you some protection, or not.

Fishies, I just made this up, and never experienced exactly this. Maybe I am too cautious- But only if the fix may affect your future. Good luck. It was great fun to watch your gorgeous kitchen take shape. I remember your inspiration pic and YOUR kit is way more gorg.

Also, take a photo of this top now and how the color of the stain matches the other stain. You just want to be sure that the fixed top will be compatible with the others. Not necessarily a perfect match, but compatible.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:34PM
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westsider- Thanks so much : ) Yes I will definitely measure and discuss again with the cabinet maker. Thank you for saying such nice things about my kitchen! It's been a fun process---- also very stressful--- but hoping to enjoy very soon!

BLFENTON- Sorry I didn't respond! Thanks for all the nice words. GardenWeb was such an amazing resource throughout this process. I know I asked questions about possibly EVERY element but I got such helpful answers for every one of them! Thank you for everything : )

Christine- Glad you like my yellow! It is BM Barley 199

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Not evil doing just an unfortunate quality control mistake. It's a drag it happened but hopefully it won't take long to correct. No harm in asking about what the fix will involve but measuring the thickness seems a bit petty and unnecessary.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 7:33AM
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GW has to be the only place on earth where a mark of true craftsmanship is seen as a liability. And get five score of enthusiastic folks to cheer the complaint along, each blithely free of understanding what they are actually looking at.
You should be happy that they took the time to fill it in the best way possible. It is evidence exacting, fine craftsmanship.
You see, the void or knot (or civil war bullet!) that used to be where the dutchman is would have only been exposed after the top was glued up and then surfaced. It was probably not visible before thicknessing, which happens after glue-up. The only way to fix this _without making the top thinner_ was to do what they did.
It is magnificent craftsmanship, and is exactly the same approach taken by every fine cabinet or furniture shop in the past under the same circumstances. To remove/replace one board will necessitate repeating the thicknessing process, and the top will end up thinner. They can't cut the top apart and not subsequently resurface the whole thing.
Then, who is to say that the next round of thicknessing won't expose another set of issues? Even the clearest board can have hidden inclusions lurking below the surface.
You are dealing with solid wood, not glass or injection-molded plastic. Accept the limitations of the material, will you?
You have to be willing to trust that an artisan of this caliber did not purposely insert a bad board just to hurt your feelings.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 9:50AM
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"GW has to be the only place on earth where a mark of true craftsmanship is seen as a liability."

It is a defect in a new surface.

The craftsmanship comes from using classic techniques to hide the defect, but it remains a defect.

Why it was not culled before finishing is not the buyer's problem, but the risk of manufacture with a natural material like wood.

Complaining about the negligible thickness change form having to strip and refinish is going a little far.

If the wood is very flat a single pass through a large thickness sander will have it back to clean with barely 1/32 inch of wood removal.

The wood likely changes that much in thickness through out the year from humidity variation.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 16:09

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:00AM
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why weren't they upfront about this?

i couldn't trust someone who did this without telling me.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Some updates/clarifications:

I was only worried about thickness because I asked for 2 1/4" and ended up with 2". I don't want less than that at this point as that is not what I ordered. If it's 1/32" difference- no biggie.

The cab maker call me again this morning and truly apologized. As a think I mentioned above, he was unaware and AGREED it is unacceptable (I also emailed pics)-- especially for a kitchen countertop. He said he understood why his guy did it (b/c he didn't want to pass through again making top thinner) but said his guy Should have pulled the board. He said he wished the worker called him but he didn't. I wholeheartedly believe he is being honest and he has no qualms about fixing the issue. As frustrating as this was, I'm sure it will be made right. It is getting picked up tomorrow (Wed,) and he hopes to return it by next Tuesday.

We both agreed the woodworker did did display fine craftsmanship but in the end it was not the correct course of action in this circumstance.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Fishies, I think you are right to be gracious about this. Stuff like this happens but your cabinet maker seems to really value customer satisfaction. That is a good thing :) Happy for you.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:33PM
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I was all packed.
With my luggage painted BM Barley 199.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Christine--- HA! Thanks! Keep it packed...you never know : )

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:01AM
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So happy he'll take care of it without any fuss. It's such a BEAUTIFUL island and so is your kitchen. I can't wait to see your final reveal.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 9:41PM
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fishies...did you get your top back???

hope all went well!!!!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:55AM
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Just read this thread. I'm sorry to hear of the fiasco you went through, but so glad to hear it's all going to work out! Your kitchen is absolutely beautiful! I'm excited to see it completely finished :)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 2:15AM
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