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Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

Posted by laughable (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 15:42

Hi there,
I'm hoping you can give me an honest evaluation of some hard maple that we just bought with the intent of making our island countertop out of it. The counter will be approximately 4' x 7'.

A local mill cut this up for us a bit over a month ago, and it has been at the kiln until we got a call that it was ready 2 days ago. When I saw the wood that DH brought home this morning, it looked cupped to me. Is this wood acceptable? Is this something that can be fixed with jointing and planing, or do we need to find other wood?

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Insights would be appreciated. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

Coming back to click the box that will have replies emailed to me.


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

If it is from a mill and has been kiln fried it now needs to be surfaced.

A jointer will establish two flat edges 90 degrees apart, and then a thickness planer surfaces the second wide face and sets the final thickness.
How thick are the boards?

Surfacing the two faces normally takes at least 1/4 inch (and sometimes more) off the thickness.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 17:33


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

How thick did you want the top? You can probably plane it flat enough to get 1 1/4" if there is some room to trim a foot off of each end. I'm guessing this was cut to 8/4; you will end up with 6/4. To obtain a flat top,the wood has to be extremely true (flat with all 90* corners and no amount of twist is permissible).
Casey


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

(Earlier message deleted. Wrong forum response. That's what I get for hanging out at 2 different GW forums.)

I'll try to get the thickness of the boards measured soon.

If I'm understanding you both right, the boards will be fine once we plane them down. Correct?

This post was edited by laughable on Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 14:54


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

"If I'm understanding you both right, the boards will be fine once we plane them down. Correct? "

How thick are they and how thick do you want?

You need to try and plane both sides about equally to help limit warping.

For kiln dried rough lumber they look pretty good.


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

Also, since the boards are already dried and changed shape, the boards are not going to change shape much more after you work them.

The advice of doing to the same to each side to limit additional warping is a good one. Along the same vein, you also may want to consider finishing all sides of the piece, after you've completed your fabrication to further limit warping.

Planing will also remove the sticker marks.


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

"the boards are not going to change shape much more after you work them. "

They will continue to change shape and size as long as they are wood with a varying moisture content.

Many of the 'tricks' of woodworking center around allowing for the inevitable movement while not having the wood project tear itself apart.

See Chapter 3 of the wood handbook, and especially Figure 3-3.

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


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

"They will continue to change shape and size as long as they are wood with a varying moisture content."

I agree, but is is unlikely that boards will move much after it has been properly dried; most of the bowing and twisting that will occur has happened. Sure wood continues to move; how much movement may occur after that will be relative to the environmental conditions found in the home.


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

See the 'Wood Engineering Handbook'.

One of the issues that crops up with wood counter-tops is that they cannot be fastened front and back, but require n attachment that allows the width (and thickness) to vary throughout the heating and cooling seasons.

A 24+ inch wide section of wood has a decent amount of movement from summer to winter.


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

Gluing up a wooden counter top is NOT a starter woodworking project. If you can, just get your money back. If you can't, don't spend any more money on this DIY project.

To complete this project, you probably need to spend at least $1,000 in tools, easy. You need a table saw, a jointer, a thickness planer, and maybe a slot cutter and a large drum sander. And clamps.

Just buy a counter top at Home Depot.


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

tom_nwnj. that's just silly. Why end up with just a countertop when you could have a countertop plus a jointer, planer, table saw, etc that you can use for years and years to come? (Speaking as one who has never squandered an opportunity to buy a new tool...)


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

"tom_nwnj. that's just silly. Why end up with just a countertop when you could have a countertop plus a jointer, planer, table saw, etc that you can use for years and years to come?"

That is how many if us have 'paid' for our equipment.

It is not hard to make things that would be at the high to very high end if purchased using superior materials and methods.

it is the initial cost that is often a stumbling block though.
i have a slid cherry queen size pencil post bed.

The 1/4 inch cherry ended up costing about $175 per post.
All side, head, and foot rails are 8/4 .
See JE Moser's Book for the plans.

The headboard came from a cherry plank 5/4 thick and 22 to 24 inches wide (bark to bark) x 13 feet long. The end cuts will make a pair of end table tops with plenty to spare (possibly even a lower shelf on each end table)
It was less than $100.
I then paid my hardwood dealer to use their 35 inch wide thickness sander to surface the whole board. About $15.

All told i have abed that would cost me well over $5,000 for a lot less money.

All made of solid cherry with classic bed bolts and full mortise and tenon construction.

The only tool I needed was a long bed jointer.

It was less than $900 at Grizzly many years ago.

The hardest part was tapering the headboard from a net 1 inch to 1/2 inch to make the tenons to fit one face of the pencil posts.

Woodhaven now sells a jig for tapering over large widths, but I had built a better one 5-7 years ago.

In the meantime I have also made a coffee tables, chairs, book cases, tables, cabinets, pantries,and done multiple renovations on purchased houses with the same tools.

I keep most of the really good stuff for myself, but have sold plenty of pieces over the years.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 15:41


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RE: Making wood countertop--is this wood flat enough?

It's a slippery slope - and how my husband got all new woodworking tools for his shop - but in the end we have lots of new toys and kitchen cabinets we could not have afforded to purchase - since every one had to be custom fit for this 135 year old home.

But to your concern, I'd be leery of using those boards. We have run into way too many board that are incorrectly dried (forget the term) and when you rip one seemingly straight board, you get two hockey sticks.

If you are near one, IKEA is an option for an easy wood counter top that won't break the bank. After all the work we went though with one table, we decided to go that route with the countertops.

This is IKEA oak, with several coats of General Finishes - Salad Bowl Finish. (BTW - this wall leans in about 2" from top to bottom.)

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And the other side of the window seat.

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This is the table we made. Was suppose to be for the Kitchen, but ended up as a sewing table instead (though I love the length).

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