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Friday, April 20, 2012

Wood Counter Top: Kitchen

Every time I choose a project to write about for this blog, I think, 'Oh, that was my favorite project!' And if all  the projects are my favorites, this is my VERY favorite! No, really! 

When we moved into this house, most things were functional and functioning but outdated. The counter tops were no exception. The kitchen counter top was gold-flecked yellow Formica. The speckles were worn off in spots, but the counter top served us well for about two years, till we could come up with something more comely....

Before we redid the counter top in the kitchen, I redid the back splash - with burlap and copper paint. 

When Bill planed boards from a barn someone gave him, he found some hard wood in with the pine that made up most of the barn. So he set those boards aside. We both wanted to find a project that would allow us to use and enjoy that beautiful, old hard wood. Then one day it occurred to me that we could cover the kitchen counter top with that hard wood. Before I presented the idea to my husband, though, I had to work out all the details; otherwise he would poo-poo the idea. 

One of Bill's protestations, when I presented the wooden counter top idea to him was, 'We'd have to pull out the sink!' I had an answer for that: Apply the wood up over the lip/edge of the sink. I was able to give him answers for all of his concerns, and the project was soon afoot. 

We filled the spaces between the boards with home-made putty: I mixed sawdust with wood glue. We glued and screwed the boards in place.

We eventually made trim boards in the same hard wood, using a router. The question we get from nearly everyone, when they first see our counter top is, 'What did you use to finish it?' Tung oil is my answer. It's a shellac that is non-toxic and easy to use. We add another layer of tung oil from time to time: we wash down the counter top and spread the tung oil on with a rag; it takes @ 8 hours to dry. 
This house has a full kitchen in the basement. We eventually used wood to redo the counter top in the basement. But that's another story for another day.
Hope all is well at your house. 'Bye for now.


  1. I like the outlook of the countertop above but some prefer to use granite or marble for the modern design of it. -granite countertop installation NJ-

  2. Thanks, Milliscent.
    I'm sure that yellow speckled counter top was considered modern at one point! I like the characteristics of wood over granite: Warm, welcoming, forgiving, and it looks better and better with each passing year.....
    Wood is not modern; it is timeless.....

  3. it looks just like my kitchen, your before pics that is! haha yellow countertops and the same yellow backsplash! Is Bill for hire???? :) Looks great, I wonder...but we are novices on a sub novice level but at least there's hope :)

  4. Hi, Autumn! I'll tell Bill you want to hire him! He's a dynamo, for sure. You'd like him for sure....
    I really am convinced that people though those formica counter tops were stylish at one time. Perhaps they didn't have a lot of other options! And here's a thought: Imagine the hassle it will be to remove those now-popular granite counter tops everyone loves so much , when they go out of style! At least you can change your counter top easily....
    I'd recommend you find some old soft-wood barn wood, Autumn. The hard wood was a bit harder to work with than soft wood would have been. You could even use pine; I've seen that done successfully.
    As my brother Paul says, 'If you're going to put wood where you'll be using water, GLUE and SCREW!
    By the way: We did not buy a special under-mount sink; we simply applied the wood right over the edges of our old sink....
    Thanks for your comment, sweetie.
    How I do run on!

  5. Yes! Timeless wood! People wonder why I like old things, and I tell them that I am reminded, when I look at old things, of the history of that thing. All the people that used it, handled it, loved it....

  6. Okay, now that you've used your beautiful wood counters for awhile, any further advise or comments on it? This is something I would love to do but worry about water stains more than anything.

    1. I'm so glad you asked about the counter top because I was just thinking about this very thing: Why don't more people use wood for counter tops? I think it's because there's not a lot of profit for the companies that make other types of counter top materials; that's the ONLY reason I can think of . . . . because there's not a day that goes by that I do not enjoy that old wooden counter top.
      I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but if not here goes: If I had it to do over again, I would fit the wood, then sand it, then coat the top of the wood with tung oil, and then fill the spaces between the boards. I mention this because I make my own filler - with glue and sawdust created by the wood being cut - and I filled the cracks, then my husband sanded and it was hard to sand off the excess filler.
      Please note, too, that once the cracks are filled the goop can shrink after a few days. Go ahead and fill and sand and tung-oil the wood, then fill any shrunken areas with more homemade filler. It's that easy.
      We also have wooden counter tops in the bathroom - made with hard wood pallet wood. The floor in the bathroom is also pallet wood. So I know whereof I speak when I declare that wooden counter tops (and floors) are awesome.
      Please let me know if you try wood for a counter top; I'd love to know how it turns out.
      PS: There is a blog entry about the wood in the bathroom, in this blog. Please check it out. The bathroom post is in the May of 2012 list, listed as Pallet Redo In the Bathroom.
      PPS: So enamored are we of this whole wooden counter top things, if you visited our home you'd find old wood on the top of our dining room table, and on the island top in the kitchen, and on the floor in the kitchen/dining room area. Can't get enough of the warmth of wood!

    2. I forgot to mention that we went right over the edge of the old sink when we applied the wood. The wood is thick enough that there is NO noticeable slope at the edges of the sink. This worked great. Once again: No need to buy a new sink, to spend money for that.

    3. Thanks! I am going to do this in our kitchen, when I have time, as it needs it sooo bad! The counters we have in our 100 year old house are so non-uniform that we'd have to order custom ones to fit so I'd rather try this!

    4. Please, please let me know how it turns out. I'd love to know!
      The wood is soooo easy to cut, as you'll be cutting in small increments - the size of your board, only.
      We glued and screwed that wood down, by the way - liquid nail and then screws.
      Whew hew! I envy you this project; it will be so much fun!