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leveling butcher block countertops...from the top

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 10-02-2014 01:57 PM 1748 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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shelly_b

850 posts in 1582 days


10-02-2014 01:57 PM

Hi all! I am installing butcher block countertops on cabinets I made from all reclaimed lumber. The house I am installing them in is very old and the floor is concrete, and not even close to level. Normally, the cabinets are leveled from the bottom so the top is already level for the countertops. Well, my issue is I cannot level from the bottom because that would cause the open cabinet feet to come off the floor, looking bad (see pics). Of course the back end is higher by at least a 1/4in, and the right side of the room is higher by at least a 1/3in. My only option is to level from the top. Does anyone have any experience doing this? Or any tips they can give? I do not have a laser level which would make it a lot easier. My best idea is to set the counter tops in place and shim until level…also, any idea how far apart I can go between supports(where it is actually touching the shims). And how many inches can I go between screwing it down? Sorry so many questions, I really couldn’t find anything on installing butcher block. Thanks!!


15 replies so far

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Charlie

1100 posts in 1751 days


#1 posted 10-02-2014 02:13 PM

If the back is the high point you set the butcherblock and shim the front. The shims go only where 2 cabinets meet.

Then from INSIDE the cabinet you glue and screw a support across the inside front of the cabinet. The support is made from 3/4” stock and spans the whole front of the cabinet (inside, inside, inside). You can clamp them in place and then lift the counter top and screw them from “over-the-top” if it would be too hard to crawl into the cabinet and do it.

Now your counter top is supported along its full length in back and front. From there you can see if it needs any support at the mid-points where cabinets meet. But it probably won’t.

Don’t get crazy fastening it down. I only have 6 screws in my island top and it’s 8ft x 3ft (walnut). There is very little “lift” on a counter top. You mainly want to keep it from sliding side-to-side or fore and aft. I did mine with an enlarged hole in a cleat on the cabinet so the screw could move with changes in the wood, and 2 fender washers between the cleat and the underside of the counter top to make sure it can move and not bind.

Does that help?

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shelly_b

850 posts in 1582 days


#2 posted 10-02-2014 03:19 PM

That does help, thank you! I didn’t think of making a full length support after shimming temporarily…that sounds much easier than doing a bunch of little ones, one at a time! Thanks:)

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#3 posted 10-02-2014 03:24 PM

I think what ever you do to the top, you can do to the bottom which would basically be the same thing. Matching colors at the bottom may be less noticeable.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#4 posted 10-02-2014 03:42 PM

Shelly be carful screwing down solid wood counter tops,if you don’t let the wood move by screwing it down tightly your asking for your counter top to crack. If you drill holes that are say 1/8” wider than the screw shank and center the screws in that hole the best you can and use wood plugs over the screws that should let the wood move.
Another tip to help minimise wood movement and it from cupping is to make sure you finish the bottom of the counter top the same as the top.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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waho6o9

7174 posts in 2042 days


#5 posted 10-02-2014 03:53 PM

This is from the FOG and I forget from whom to give proper
credit, but this may help as well.

Good luck now

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MrRon

3926 posts in 2708 days


#6 posted 10-02-2014 05:16 PM

Comment deleted.

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kdc68

2526 posts in 1742 days


#7 posted 10-02-2014 11:35 PM

Beautiful work on the cabinets !....Surprised no one else said so…lol…Great advice above on securing and letting the butcher block expand and contract and finishing the underside….

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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firefighterontheside

13487 posts in 1321 days


#8 posted 10-02-2014 11:55 PM

Can you remove what you would need to from the back legs of the cabinets. Prop the cabinet up level measure how far the leg is off the floor and cut that amount off of the rear leg. You would need to start at the low end and move to the higher end of the room. It may be too late for this process I fear.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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shelly_b

850 posts in 1582 days


#9 posted 10-03-2014 12:07 PM

Thanks everyone! What little I could find online was about finishing and being sure to let the wood move, so I decided to go with the easiest approach and use fender washers and over size holes. I thought about cutting the legs…but decided it was too much work for the money I am getting. I used Charlie’s advice, and it worked great, thanks Charlie!! I have already put a lot of time into these cabinets. I didn’t realize what issues would arise working with reclaimed lumber! The owner decided on mineral oil for the finish, so I applied that last night. I was a little surprised it didn’t give it a richer look…maybe I’m just not used to clear oil. I guess the only question I have now is do you have to oil the bottom every time you do the top? Or is the initial coat enough? Thanks for all the advice everyone!!
Thanks for the compliment kdc:)

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#10 posted 10-03-2014 01:33 PM

The oil has a tendency to get soaked-in over time, especially with end grain and depending on the type of wood. Leaving a thick oil on the backside while laying it up for a few days, wiping it and applying hot mixture of beeswax and mineral oil and then buffing it, should be a one time application that last several years. I would do the same thing for the top as well.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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shelly_b

850 posts in 1582 days


#11 posted 10-03-2014 04:40 PM

sounds good, thanks mrjinx!

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#12 posted 10-03-2014 05:44 PM

Not to cause trouble but, mineral oil is a treatment not a finish. It can be used but it’s not a long term solution to help prevent moisture infiltration in wood. If your going to use mineral oil on the top surface the “treatment” can be reapplied on a regular basis but not on the under side,there I would use a more permanent finish like poly.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#13 posted 10-03-2014 05:49 PM

I always respect your opinion Jim.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#14 posted 10-03-2014 06:22 PM

Thank you mrjinx,I always Respect folks from Arkansas too :)

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3050 days


#15 posted 10-03-2014 06:38 PM

The butchers who used to be around here in Scotland, as they all work for supermarkets today, all stainless steel and nylon tops.Anyway they did not oil these tops they simply scrubbed them down each night with a very large heavy short haired stiff scrubbing brush, and some hot water ,with bacteria killing agents perhaps bleach in with the mix. Or maybe disinfectant of some kind pine disinfectant or something like that.They always took pride in this, and eventually the tops used to wear concave on the top.I know I saw them do it many times when I was younger they always spread sawdust on the floors which of course they would not be allowed to do today Also they just delivered it in open trucks lorries without refridgeration and that was the way it was no one died as a result. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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