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  • Want to make countertop - help

    We are redoing the entire kitchen and the new design has a large L-shaped island. We originally thought we would have a butcher-block countertop on the island, but my wife would prefer the look of a table top, just wider boards joined together. The overall thickness of the countertop does not have to match the height of surrounding countertops since island is separate.

    My question is, would you guys try to build something out of relatively thick stock (like 6/4) or would you consider putting down some sort of plywood substrate (1/2") and then use 4/4 stock to make the actually countertop? Island is relatively large and my concern was with the thicker stock there would be more of a chance of cupping, bowing, etc. (not to mention higher cost!)

    Recommendations? Thanks for any opinions!!!

  • #2
    Re: Want to make countertop - help

    The problem with solid wood is that it shrinks and swells. This expansion/contraction can be problematic. If you do it with solid wood, use "figure 8's" to screw the top to the cabinets, and make sure you mortise them into the cabinets so they have room to swivel around.

    Using 4/4 on top of plywood doesn't make any real advantage. You'll still have wood moving, but since it'd be attached to plywood I would think it even more problematic.

    Butcher block is made using end grain, which means you don't have the lateral movement. It takes a lot more wood to make it though.

    The Figure 8's are here at Woodcraft:
    http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=1089
    They call them "Desktop fasteners."
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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    • #3
      Re: Want to make countertop - help

      Why not try laminating a piece of good looking veneer to ply wood substraight. the apply solid wood edging around it to finish it off nicely. The cost will be minimal , depending on the type of veneer, but the end result is looks just as good as solid. or you could skip laminating and buy your self a high grade sheet of vc or mdf plywood and apply solid wood edging to it. Either way yoy will solve the expansion and contraction problem and have a very nice top at a decent price. Happy and safe cutting.

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      • #4
        Re: Want to make countertop - help

        Thanks for the replies!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Want to make countertop - help

          Granite cuts like wood! Have you thought about making the counter top out of granite? You can go to a granite / marble wholesaler, tell them you are a fabricator, buy a half slab, they sell broken pieces for 5 to 7 dollars per usable square foot. Then you can cut it with a circular saw with a diamond blade, grind smooth with 120 grit grinding stone and polish with 4" pads. 3 cm slabs look nice with polished edges or you can buy a bull nose bit, expensive around 130 bucks, and make a really nice top!

          I use a dewalt 7" segmented diamond blade (35 bucks) on an old skill 77 worm drive with a garden hose to cut, a 120 grit stone (9 bucks) that attaches directly to an angle grinder to perform the rough polish, and Diarex 4" pads to polish, six pads with a backer about ninety dollars. Sounds expensive but that set will allow you do so many projects that you hadn't thought about before. Granite insets in tables, granite shelves are nice, a granite mantle over the fire place, desk top surfaces... I have a round over bit to do the bull nose, expensive but if you rough grind before using it the round over bit will do 8 - 10 counter tops. Remember the 3 cm slabs look really stout, solid, massive, and unique.

          Good luck,

          Dave

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          • #6
            Re: Want to make countertop - help

            Thought about granite. We are having silestone put in on perimeter cabinets, but wanted wood (in some fashion) on the island.

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            • #7
              Re: Want to make countertop - help

              Dont know if this work but:

              What buying a pre-made maple table top? I am talking about the kind used for stuff like workbencehs that you can get from a place like Grizzly. Then use some figure 8's to attach.

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              • #8
                Re: Want to make countertop - help

                Pez - that was my first idea. Both Grizzly and, believe it or not, Ikea sell pre-made countertops/workbench tops. However, my wife would prefer a more "table-top" looking countertop. She's not crazy about the butcher-block look. This is good, since it will cost less to make but ...

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                • #9
                  Re: Want to make countertop - help

                  Originally posted by ChongoBeast View Post
                  Granite cuts like wood! Have you thought about making the counter top out of granite? You can go to a granite / marble wholesaler, tell them you are a fabricator, buy a half slab, they sell broken pieces for 5 to 7 dollars per usable square foot. Then you can cut it with a circular saw with a diamond blade, grind smooth with 120 grit grinding stone and polish with 4" pads. 3 cm slabs look nice with polished edges or you can buy a bull nose bit, expensive around 130 bucks, and make a really nice top!

                  I use a dewalt 7" segmented diamond blade (35 bucks) on an old skill 77 worm drive with a garden hose to cut, a 120 grit stone (9 bucks) that attaches directly to an angle grinder to perform the rough polish, and Diarex 4" pads to polish, six pads with a backer about ninety dollars. Sounds expensive but that set will allow you do so many projects that you hadn't thought about before. Granite insets in tables, granite shelves are nice, a granite mantle over the fire place, desk top surfaces... I have a round over bit to do the bull nose, expensive but if you rough grind before using it the round over bit will do 8 - 10 counter tops. Remember the 3 cm slabs look really stout, solid, massive, and unique.

                  Good luck,

                  Dave
                  What kind of bits do you buy for the roundover?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Want to make countertop - help

                    CPQ

                    I use the Alpha Profiler 5/8 arbor, (the large diameter bit, see note below) wet cutting, max rpm 3,500, with a nylon guide on top and a large bearing guide on bottom. I use it on a 4 1/2" grinder and I use a variable speed router adapter to make my grinder variable. Item # is 913998, list price is 168.95. There is a shaft adapter available for 34.30 to use adapt to a 1/2 router, part number 903600.

                    I have not used the shafted router bits, (these are the small diameter bits) hear they wear quickly due to the small diameter, they are available, for 144.00 dollars. I think spend the extra 24 dollars and get the larger bit with nylon guide and large lower bearing. Makes it (the large diameter bit) goof proof!

                    Diarex has the threaded grinding wheels for 9.95 each stock number 960066 for 120 grit and stock number 960068 for 220 grit. And they last forever....

                    Diarex has the Pro Series 4" cup resin wheels, part # 115719 for list 85.95 for initial rough shaping of granite. They last forever too and are easy to use. I have a dewalt 4 1/2 cup diamond cup wheel that is almost to aggressive to use. The Diarex resin wheel will NOT CHIP your granite, the Dewalt is aggresive, not resin filled, and WILL PIT AND CHIP your granite. The Dewalt is great for initial rough shaping only.

                    I would suggest getting an additional 200 grit polishing pad, incase it gets snagged on a lip or corner and gets additional wear and getting both final polishing pads, black for dark and white for light colored granite.

                    WWW.GRANQUARTZ.COM has everything you need.

                    One last note, I bought 1 Diarex 120 sanding wheel, 1 Diarex 4" resin wheel, 1 Diarex rubber 4" backing pad and the six Diarex polishing pads, 1 Diarex Alpha profiler, 1 Dewalt 7" 450X segmented blade, and 1 Dewalt 4 1/2 450X segmented blade. Have done many projects, probably equivalent to 8 kitchens with islands and the blades and pads are all still like new except the 200 grit polishing pad, it shows wear.

                    Good luck,

                    Dave

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                    • #11
                      Re: Want to make countertop - help

                      Pardon the mess, still under construction, Granite tiles are far less expensive than a slab
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Re: Want to make counter top - help

                        I made one counter top out of parque flooring and put a solid edge on it, and a Good finish,
                        a guy gave me some left over flooring squares one time and they sat and sat and I needed this small counter in my dinning room (kinda of a built in desk, bar type thing), and the oak parque flooring came to the rescue, and looks great, and is on a ply wood base, to day there are many many patterns and even inlays and borders, that could really add to the design.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Want to make countertop - help

                          Looks good, Boboso. I agree with the granite tile idea. I imagine handling a granite slab would be way more difficult than putting in tile, too. And I don't know how you'd handle the countertop cabinet support on a granite slab.

                          BHD, the parquet tile idea sounds really good. There's so many choices in laminate flooring these days, it's amazing. I don't know how good a counter that stuff would make, but it'd be pretty! Thanks for posting your experience, and the idea.
                          I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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