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Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

Posted by jeri (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 13, 12 at 22:58

Hi Everyone!

We want to build a desktop for our office. This small room is octagonal and the desktop will span 3 of the 8 sides. Our first choice is wood and topping the list of ideas is IKEA butcher block. However, I would prefer black walnut. What do you think of building counters out of solid wood flooring? Basically making our own butcher blocks? I would use unfinished solid wood flooring so the tops could be sanded smooth after gluing and finish it with Waterlox.

What do you think?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

I like the idea. Although i more have experience with hardwood flooring. The idea of using walnut for counter tops. I do remember there being a thread about this very topic. But i cant remember what they said about waterlox. Hope someone with experience can help.

RE: Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

You certainly could, but hardwood flooring is designed to be nailed to a solid substrate and the typical T&G edges don't present a good gluing surface--they're only approximately in contact. Flooring needs to be able to expand and contract with the seasons, so the boards are not glued to each other. Unless you have a cheap source of flooring I'd just make the top from regular walnut boards that haven't been milled into flooring. Butt the edges together or use a few biscuits for alignment and you'll quickly have a beautiful top. I have made such tops from leftover flooring, but have ripped off the tongues and grooves to recreate planks with square edges that can be properly glued. You don't want cracks opening and closing in your desktop, so it needs to be attached to the frame so that the whole top can move, not the individual boards.

Desktops take a lot of abuse, so I'd consider a more rugged finish, either an oil-based polyurethane or seal coat of amber shellac followed by several coats of water-base polyurethane. Let either dry thoroughly and then rub it out with 4-0 steel wool followed by pumice/rottenstone then wax to achieve a silky surface with the desired level of shine. A little yellow in the finish helps pop the color of the walnut.

RE: Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

That was sort of my initial thought. What do you gain by using flooring over random width walnut stock? Why pay extra for the trimmings and t&g cutting?

RE: Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

You could glue the flooring strips together and then have them act as a single large piece of wood, but unless you are getting the flooring very cheap some pieces of hardwood would have fewer joints and look better.

RE: Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

Here is a picture of our dining room in a house we just sold in Virginia. The tops of those buffet built-ins is cherry flooring (also in the band on the floor) It was 3/4" solid.
My DH used biscuits to join the pieces and clamped to dry. Then he routed the edges and cut the back to fit the cabinets he built in the room. We stained the top and then I waxed it (carnauba wax). The top, after the glue dried was treated as a solid piece and used on top of the cabinet which we had two supporting top rails attached. So, the top was secured to those rails at 90 degree angle. The front of the counter and the sides were lengthwise so he could use the router (and not endgrain showing).

It held up for 6 years before we sold.

RE: Desktop from Hardwood Flooring???

my picture didn't come up on the response, so I will post it on this message.

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