LumberJocks

Any body have experience with kitchens/countertops?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by ben posted 11-07-2007 03:58 PM 1884 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ben's profile

ben

158 posts in 3950 days


11-07-2007 03:58 PM

My wife and I are looking at “perk ups” for our kitchen, and after seeing/building the end-grain cutting board, the obvious question arose in my mind: why not make a whole countertop from this stuff? Since I’ll be selling my place in 2 years time, cost can’t be ridiculous, and neither can the labor factor—I’m not breaking my back for something that I won’t be able to enjoy long term. Then I also got a little inspired by this:

Joe Woodworker's Kitchen Project

Does anybody have any experience with hardwood countertops? Were I to go that route, I think I would be most likely to stick to long-grain surface with a poly top (ie, prioritize minimal maintenance over using whole surface for cutting), and it seems like I ought to be able to get plenty of maple (and perhaps even a tool or 2) for under the $1000 quote I got for a new laminate top. Another downside to this is that I might have to replace all doors/drawer faces on my cabinets, since they’re all painted (or at least think carefully about the color scheme).

Alternatively, has anybody ever built a laminate top? Or one of those poured concrete tops? Any other inspiring ideas? I know that kitchens sell houses, so I’m willing to put in some money, but I want to be judicious.

-b


18 replies so far

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

5321 posts in 3961 days


#1 posted 11-07-2007 04:31 PM

Hey Ben,

Here is a link to a laminate counter top that I built when I was trying to save money. It looked pretty nice, lasted a long time, and was cheap. Seems like JoeWoodworker did the same thing. I built up a double stack of MDF (use scraps for the bottom), edge banded it with 3/4 inch maple, covered the whole thing with laminate, routed the edge back, and then finished the maple. I also built a cutting board top (not shown) that spans the corner which kept me from having to join the laminate tops on either side.

Laminate Top

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4394 days


#2 posted 11-07-2007 04:38 PM

If you are going for resale I’d stay far away from a maple top. Too strange for most folk. I build laminate tops everyday. They are cheaper than most other tops. Concrete is very labor intensive. I’ve seen a few that homeowners have built that look pretty bad and some that look good but still have cracks and stuff. It is not as easy as it looks. Maybe you want to go tile?

View woodchips's profile

woodchips

238 posts in 4044 days


#3 posted 11-07-2007 05:10 PM

WilsonArt has some cool new stuff
they don’t really have any prices listed for larger sheets of the stuff but I worked my way through undergrad in a small custom cabinet shop, I was trained on the countertop side and of all the laminate I worked with, WilsonArt was the most durable and least likely to crack, etc… this new surface from them is still laminate (as opposed to solid surface, etc) so it doesn’t cost as much as the better stuff but you still get a super nice finish and texture without losing an arm and a leg costwise. you can get WilsonArt from any major supplier of hardware, tools, etc such as Walden's
hope this helps.

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View ramram's profile

ramram

23 posts in 4017 days


#4 posted 11-07-2007 07:33 PM

I made a real nice solid cherry countertop a couple of years ago. I was reluctant because I had never made a countertop before and I thought the kitchen environment (moisture) would be a problem but she really wanted it so I laminated some 4/4 cherry to an MDF board, trimmed the edges with cherry and finished the whole thing with Waterlox because I had read that’s what some cabinet makers use in ship’s galleys. I told her it might move over the dishwasher and it did, just a little. It looks great in her kitchen and she’s happy with it. We’re looking into a new countertop for our own kitchen and I won’t be making it because I don’t think wood is the best material for a heavily used countertop.

-- Rick Hackett

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4042 days


#5 posted 11-07-2007 07:42 PM

I’d stay with laminate over particle board with a wood edge band. 1 1/4 of particle board with a 1 1/2 wide edge band. The maple will be too expensive if you are going to sell soon.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View ben's profile

ben

158 posts in 3950 days


#6 posted 11-07-2007 07:47 PM

dennis / thos: intuitively it seems like doing the laminate myself shouldn’t be too awful—but I have zero experience with veneering, laminates, etc. Is countertop laminate the type of job I’m likely to pull off the first time around?

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4042 days


#7 posted 11-07-2007 07:52 PM

Laminate is easy. There are a bunch of us here who do it way too much for our own liking. But it brings in cash. I’m sure we’ll help you along. Right, Peter and Dennis? But maybe tile is a good answer. You still need a good sub-strate.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3954 days


#8 posted 11-07-2007 08:33 PM

Laminate is no problem. There are a couple of (inexpensive) tools you’ll need and a couple of tricks to the process which are easy enough to explain. It might be a good idea to plan a small to medium workbench that you can put a laminate top on for practice.

I’m voting for laminate, too, especially for a first countertop. I love maple counter tops, but I’m in a significant minority. They will not add resale value to your home unless you find that one buyer who loves maple tops. In fact, if you are looking to build a good workbench for your shop, you can often find beautiful maple counter tops that people have torn out of their kitchens. Concrete tops are great, but are supposed to be just about the biggest pain in the kiester to get right.

By the way, I’d like to put in a vote for Nevamar

-- http://www.peteroxley.com/woodworking -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View woodchips's profile

woodchips

238 posts in 4044 days


#9 posted 11-07-2007 08:45 PM

going the way that Thos is pushing is probably going to be your best bet. its definitely the easiest route and the most bang for your buck. laminate is very easy and Peter is right, there are plenty of us who have done lots of it and with a few tricks and tips you shouldn’t have any trouble making a really nice countertop.

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View ben's profile

ben

158 posts in 3950 days


#10 posted 11-07-2007 10:57 PM

Thanks for the info. When my wife gets back in town, it’ll be time to start looking :)

Peter—why do you like the Nevamar? Since I’m ignorant, I know nothing about brands, and would likely follow recommendations found here (so long as the color/pattern can satisfy the better half)...

Anybody else care to chime in with brand knowledge?

Also, does the stuff generally sell in 4×8 sheets, or some sort of roll, or something else?

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4394 days


#11 posted 11-07-2007 11:33 PM

The brand isn’t really that important. Pick a pattern you like. It’s kind of a ford/chevy thing. They both work. You can get laminate from 2’ X 4’ to 5’ X 12’. The lay out of you kitchen and the availability of the laminate will determine what size you get. You might draw up a little sketch and we’ll help you lay it out. Hopefully you won’t have a seam, but that’s still no big deal.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4042 days


#12 posted 11-08-2007 12:04 AM

Well, Ben, how’s that for offered help. I just finished doing the layout of sub-strate for a set of counter tops in Sketchup. Also did my cut sheets for all the sheet goods. Slowly, I’m using SketchUp. I usually use Formica.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View ben's profile

ben

158 posts in 3950 days


#13 posted 11-08-2007 12:42 AM

Thos, it’s awesome. As we speak I’m doing all my countertops in Sketchup. I have the big one done, just doing the three little ones, should have it up within an hour :)

-b

View gene's profile

gene

2184 posts in 3963 days


#14 posted 11-08-2007 12:46 AM

Not a problem on the help issue, plus you will come off a lot cheaper. You will probably need a helping hand (quality time with your wife) and then you might have a tool or two left over from this job to use doing a laminate job for someone else. The main thing about working with laminate is not to let it intimidate you.
God bless

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

View ben's profile

ben

158 posts in 3950 days


#15 posted 11-08-2007 01:09 AM

Ok, here it is.

In any case, all 4 tops are 25” total depth, with a 3/4” front deep front lip, and a 1-1/4” backstop. The diagonal line in the L shape is a real seam in the current setup. The hole is the sink. In between the freestanders on the opposite side are the range (30”) and the fridge (~40”). In the current setup, everything is laminate. For my own work, I’m guessing that using wood trim for the lip and backstop will be simpler (and possibly better looking), although that may prove unacceptable, because all of the current cabinetry is (badly) painted white, and there is blue wainscoting around the kitchen that comes just under the top of the backstop. Ok, done rambling, here it is:

The sketchup can be found here .

I spoke to a local seller of the WilsonArt, and he said that other products come in sheets up to 5×12, but he unsure without calling which sizes were available for the recommended HD. Also said that his recollection was that HD was about 4.50/sq.ft., vs. 3.50 for regular laminate.

-b

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com