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Countertop thickness

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Forum topic by wwbob posted 12-21-2010 07:29 AM 3589 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wwbob

111 posts in 2336 days


12-21-2010 07:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question birch rustic counter top kitchen construction

We are redoing the kitchen counters and the project foreperson, aka wife, has decided on a “country” motif. The kitchen is in our cabin so it does not need to be corian or granite. We discovered Ikea has several butcher block counter tops. Go to ikea.com and search for wood countertop for examples. The Ikea store is only 20 miles away so no shipping charges.

I will buy extra counter material, cut it, then attach these cut parts as the counter back splash. (I got a Festool domino for Christmas and this will be a perfect use for it.)

Some of the counters are 1 1/8 inch thick and some are 1 1/2 inch. Any reasons for or against the 1 1/8 thick counter material? Would I need extra support structure under it? Reasons for: less cost, less weight to manage.

I’ve never done counter tops, so this should be a real learning experience.

Thanks for the help and

Merry Christmas.

Bob

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4


10 replies so far

View Don's profile

Don

514 posts in 2534 days


#1 posted 12-21-2010 10:56 AM

Appearance is a good reason to go with the thicker top, especially with butcher block. 1-1/8 thick would look a bit flimsy to me. I’ve done hundreds of counter tops and never any less than 1-1/2.
You only have to manage the weight while your building and installing it. After that it won’t move again so I wouldn’t consider the weight a problem at all and it makes for a more solid surface anyway.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#2 posted 12-22-2010 04:05 AM

I have installed actual wood butcher block in kitchens, but only at baking centers and places like that where there’s not a lot of water present. Regardless of the intended use, wood is a high maintenance choice in the kitchen setting.

If the 1 1/8 material is to save some money, could you add a front lip that’s 1 1/2 to get the visual bulk that Don is rightly concerned about?

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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wwbob

111 posts in 2336 days


#3 posted 12-23-2010 01:57 AM

I was planning on cutting off some pieces of butcher block to make the back splash. I could cut off a little more and add it to the front edge to give the illusion of 1 1/2 inch thick.

I do plan to finish both sides of the block to help reduce water damage. Plus we will be out of the house in 10 years.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Bob

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

View Knothead62's profile

Knothead62

2581 posts in 2422 days


#4 posted 12-23-2010 04:16 PM

When is sold custom and factory cabinets, a kitchen cabinet was 34 inches. Add another 1-1/2 inches for the top. The complete cabinet would be 36 inches from finished floor to the countertop.

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GaryL

1094 posts in 2291 days


#5 posted 12-23-2010 04:36 PM

1 1/2 ” was usually the standard for top thickness but the trend has been going toward thinner tops. I think mainly because most granite/stone tops are in the 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 range and some folks think that this is the newest and latest look. Some of my clients think that an 1 1/2 top “looks too thick” because of the thinner look of the stone tops that they are becoming accustomed to seeing at big box store displays and friends and relatives homes.
Basically personal preference. Adding the front edging to gain thickness while saving some weight and cost is a great idea.
I don’t think you will need any additional support for the thinner tops either.

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

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wwbob

111 posts in 2336 days


#6 posted 12-23-2010 05:53 PM

Knothead62,
Thanks for the heads up on the overall height of the cabinet. I would not have remembered to keep the height the same.

Another question: Many Formica counters on the underneath side have dumbbell shaped cutouts. A bolt is place in the cutouts to pull sections together. Any suggestions about this requirement? I had thought about Titebond III glue as my choice of bonding the sections.

I will going to Ikea to get the test board in the next of days. I’ll mock up a small top and test my finish skills to see if it really will work. Would not be fun to rip off 20+ linear feet of Formica counter top and have nothing to put back in it’s place.

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#7 posted 12-23-2010 06:48 PM

The only reason to be slavishly adherent to the 36” height is to be sure that appliances like the dishwasher will fit below. Typically there’s 18” between finished CT height and the bottom of the uppers. A little more than that is no big deal.

The dog bone bolts you refer to (I prefer your term, actually) are to seal up the joint because there is no good way to clamp two large pieces like that. There are two styles: One is a 1/4” hex head bolt with a rectangular nut and another identical piece which has a clearance hole instead of threaded holes. Tighten with a 7/16 open end wrench. Low tech, but effective. The more sophisticated one has cylindrical nuts which go into a round hole, the shaft in a routed slot between the holes. More elegant, and tightened with a rod. Probably a little easier to tighten.

Will your joints be end grain to end grain, end to side, or diagonal?

Alignment on laminated or solid surface tops is more critical than your wood which can be dressed easily iif there is some inequality in the heights at the joint. That said, you might consider dry biscuits to help with alignment if you have a really true and dependable biscuit joiner.

I’m curious of others’ input about the glue joints. Would silicone be better for its sealant properties on an endgrain joint if Bob uses dumbbells to pull it together?

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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wwbob

111 posts in 2336 days


#8 posted 12-23-2010 09:20 PM

“Will your joints be end grain to end grain, end to side, or diagonal?”

Lee,

I will have all combinations, especially if I add the back splash and edge for thickness.

I will used the loose tenon cutter, Festool Domino, for alignment and to give better glue joints.

I may have to create a router template to for the dumbbell cut outs. I had thought it was to pull the large counter tops together. Would a temp block screwed into the bottom of both pieces, then clamped until the glue set work as well?

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

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canadianchips

2345 posts in 2458 days


#9 posted 12-24-2010 02:27 AM

I worked for a countertop company for a few years. You can cut your “dumbells holes” using a forstner bit (the same bit you use on euro -hinges.) then cut the narrow dado with a 3/8 router bit. I would take the time and install the metal brackets. Your cabinets should hold the 1- 1/8” solid enough. If you look closeley at bought formica they are made from 3/4” particle board covered with formica and they rarely broke.
I have added a quick draw of underside of counter top, hope this helps.
JUST to throw a curve into your plan, I used REAL hardwood flooring on my counters at the cottage I once owned. !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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wwbob

111 posts in 2336 days


#10 posted 12-24-2010 06:04 AM

Canadianchips,
This is great. Thanks for the diagram.

I assume I install the threaded rods and nuts once the counter is on the cabinets but not attached. I foresee it being very difficult handling the pieces around the corners. One side will be about 10 feet, 90 degree corner, then 5 more feet of counter.

Getting some really good information here.

Thanks guys,
Bob

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

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