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Little Bathroom Remodel - Lumberjocks style #1: Countertop

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Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 03-07-2015 05:15 PM 1233 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Little Bathroom Remodel - Lumberjocks style series Part 2: I'm a bit behind. »

Howdy,

I’m redoing the tiniest of tiny bathrooms. One entire wall is occupied by the tub. The other wall is taken up by the vanity and one of those gigantic mirrors. In between those small walls is the throne. If you are seated at the throne, there is just enough room to open the door.

Yep… Tiny!

I started on the countertop simply because I already knew exactly how I wanted it.

Here are a few work in progress shots.

I have already received some outstanding advice from my good friend Grandpa Len. Honestly it’s probably all the advice I need. His advice runs from surface preparation to the application of WaterLox. I feel pretty danged comfortable with my plans to water proof all of my surface areas.

But you know, we talk about things here. All the tidbits of advice and opinions are worthy of consideration. By all means, please chime in. I’d love to know what your think about waterproofing and durable finishes.

Do you have any advice on plumbing installation?
What kind of bead should I surround the drop in sink with?
How about finish maintenance?

This countertop features a bunch of short pieces I picked up from Rockler when they were selling. I had bought a warped scrap of zebra wood from them that shaved down nicely. I love the touch it added to the surface. Of course, I had my own scraps I just added to the mix.

The substrate is a piece of furniture grade plywood. I’m going to focus a lot of time on waterproofing that puppy as well.

Thus far, I have used Titebond III glue exclusively. I feel pretty confident that it will hold up very well.

I have a silly little story for you. A few years back I was gluing up something or other with Titebond III. I wiped some excess glue off my finger and on to my blue jeans. I totally forgot about it and kept working. I just took this picture a moment ago.

Yep – years of washing and lame attempts to scratch it off have been fruitless. The spot is still stiff and the demim is still the same color as the day I wiped the glue onto my jeans. I have faith in Titebond III. ;)

Have a great day. I look forward to your input!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!



6 comments so far

View GaryL's profile

GaryL

1094 posts in 2290 days


#1 posted 03-08-2015 12:58 PM

Good morning Mark. It’s a voice from the past…haha
I figured I would chime in about the plywood substrate. The wood top is going to want to expand and contract while the ply will stay fairly stable. If you glue the top to the ply this may lead to splitting in the top if it wants to shrink more than the ply. If you screw the top to the ply. tight in the front, with slots in the back to keep the top flat that will allow the top to move while still being held flat by the ply. Does that make sense?

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1648 days


#2 posted 03-08-2015 04:31 PM

Howdy Gary.

I’m really happy to hear from you my friend.

The whole thing is glued down. I didn’t allow anything for expansion or contraction.

I’m wondering what my options are.
Can I plane the entire substrate off then use the top as is?
Can I plane it down but leave one layer of ply intact? I’m guessing a single layer of ply will not be rigid enough to affect the counter top.

When you say slots, does that mean oblong screw holes in the plywood?
If that’s the case, I think I get the picture.

Do I need to consider length wise expansion?

And of course, there is the one option I fear. Should I start over?

I really appreciate you jumping in. The worst case is I start over. However, I will have a brand new desktop.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View GaryL's profile

GaryL

1094 posts in 2290 days


#3 posted 03-09-2015 09:20 PM

At this point you may have a heck of a time trying to remove the plywood. What is the size of the top? Will it fit through your planer? It will make a lot of racket going through because you’ll be cutting across the grain with some of the plywood plys. You could try belt sanding with 36 grit and eat it up that way…but no fun..
Is it a big box store import ply? Some of those with peel apart without much effort. Jamb a prybar in between the first layers next to your top glue up and give it a good whack and see what happens. This could get a lot of it out of the way.
Or bring it over to my shop and we’ll run it through the drum sander…hehe

Once you get the plywood gone and the back flattened, finish all six sides with the finish of your choice. Fasten the top to the cabinets with figure eights. Quick and easy way to allow the top to expand and contract while still being held flat to the cabinet.
If you still want to have a plywood backer, basically yes, oblong screw holes to let the top “slide” over the ply.

Figure eights

This a quick shot swiped from Rockler. The ones I use are flat steel from Richelieu.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1648 days


#4 posted 03-10-2015 12:08 AM

Howdy Gary,

I wish this was the cheaper cabinet ply I usually see at the box store. The ply I used is the next best thing to Baltic birch.

I have a 12.5 inch planer. I think I’ll sacrifice the width of the kerf on one of the center stripes and rip the whole thing into 2 pieces. The smaller stripe will get flipped to the backside. I’ll patiently lower the height of the planer when I’m shaving cross grain. After I get the whole thing cleaned up. I’ll reassemble the top and move on with the rest of your recomendations.

When I’m finished shaving off the plywood, I’m going to flip my planer blades. I have some real purty maple that I don’t want to gouge. I was planning on flipping them anyway.

All my Lumberjocks friends can shun me while I correct my goof. ;). You may want to move away from Dallas as commit the ultimate atrocity of turning plywood to landfill filler. I don’t think I can even use it for mulching or composte can I? Grr.

Thank you Gary, I’ve been set back a lot further than this. I should be righted in a few hours.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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GaryL

1094 posts in 2290 days


#5 posted 03-11-2015 03:43 PM

So…how did the “turning plywood into ply chips” work out?

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1648 days


#6 posted 03-11-2015 11:30 PM

Not yet my friend. ;) Sometimes the job takes up all of my time. Boy howdy! It’s Wednesday and I’m at 44 hours for the week. I actually look forward to shaving the substrate to mulch.

Feel free to shun me for another few days. I’ll redeem myself with the rest of the build.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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