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Jatoba Kitchen Countertops

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Forum topic by Sunnygirl posted 02-04-2015 03:20 AM 1545 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sunnygirl

37 posts in 1848 days


02-04-2015 03:20 AM

I want to make a kitchen countertop using Jatoba. The boards are 5” wide and almost 1/4” thick. I would like to glue it to MDF. Do you think this will work? Does anyone know of a better way to do this? I’m concerned about the wood swelling and contracting. It makes a beautiful countertop. I hope I can make it work.


12 replies so far

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Sunnygirl

37 posts in 1848 days


#1 posted 02-04-2015 04:08 AM

By the way, obviously I won’t be able to have the routed edge shown in the picture above. It will have to be a square edge.

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jmartel

6572 posts in 1615 days


#2 posted 02-04-2015 04:11 AM

I would be inclined to laminate them to boards of a cheaper wood rather than MDF or plywood. At 1/4”, you’re going to run into more wood movement issues than at say 1/8” or 1/16”.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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Sunnygirl

37 posts in 1848 days


#3 posted 02-04-2015 04:38 AM

Would a biscuit joiner work for the cheaper wood boards? Just curious, why not MDF? I would seal it well with probably shellac before starting the project, but I’m open to the boards. Just trying to learn.

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jmartel

6572 posts in 1615 days


#4 posted 02-04-2015 06:42 AM

The wood will move regardless of if you have finish on it. MDF doesn’t. That’s a recipe for disaster. Laminating it to other wood would mean that the substrate would move with it. Pine or Poplar would work. They are cheap, and if you add solid Jatoba edging around it you won’t know it’s there.

Additionally, I wouldn’t use Shellac. It’s not a very durable finish. For a kitchen, you’re going to want something durable that can take some abuse. A good Poly or epoxy finish would most likely be best.

A biscuit joiner would be fine for the wood underneath. Just make sure to make it flat so you don’t have any gaps between the Jatoba and the wood underneath.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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Tony_S

605 posts in 2547 days


#5 posted 02-04-2015 11:07 AM


That s a recipe for disaster.
- jmartel

Agreed.

I hate Jatoba.
I’ve built many dozens of stairs out of Jatoba over the years and I still cringe when I hear the word.
A pain in the ass to work with in any medium to large scale and flat sawn Jatoba is unstable as hell.
I won’t even deal with flat cut anymore…too many service issues in the past.
Quarter sawn only.
Quartered material solved some of the workability issues, and pretty much all of the service issues.

All said and done, I wouldn’t even consider using it for a counter top unless it was solid, quarter sawn material, sealed properly, and attached properly.

btw….the photo of the counter top you posted appears to be quarter sawn.

Did I mention I hate Jatoba?

It even smells horrid when ya burn it! LOL!

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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Sunnygirl

37 posts in 1848 days


#6 posted 02-04-2015 12:26 PM

Hmmmm, interesting. If jatoba is that bad, maybe I should skip the project. I’m really curious as to how it would turn out, but don’t want to spend the time and money if it doesn’t work. I don’t believe it’s quarter sawn. Just FYI, I wouldn’t put shellac on a countertop. I meant to seal the mdf with shellac. I would use some type of rubbed oil finish on a countertop.

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Tennessee

2410 posts in 1979 days


#7 posted 02-04-2015 12:31 PM

I have the same problems with Jatoba. When I have to use it in a guitar, if I can’t find anything but flatsawn I cringe. And my pieces are much smaller. But my guitars are all at least two layers thick, so I get away with it.
I don’t have any problems with the smell, and it is a durable, hard wood. Of course, it is also hard to work with and hard to cut, etc. That is why Tony made so many stair steps out of it. Hard and durable.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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Sunnygirl

37 posts in 1848 days


#8 posted 02-04-2015 12:43 PM

This is already cut, planed and jointed. It comes in 5” widths and 3” widths. Maybe the 3” would be more stable. Still sounds like a no-go project. Interestingly, I’ve seen a couple of things online where people made wood countertops by putting wood flooring over mdf. One of them looked good, the other didn’t. Maybe that’s a better option. Any thoughts on this?

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Tennessee

2410 posts in 1979 days


#9 posted 02-04-2015 12:54 PM

The wood flooring probably was chosen in an attempt to get better durability. That is the biggee with wooden countertops, durability. It is just amazing how people can dent, scratch, blade and wear down countertops. We’ve all seen formica countertops where the owner finally wore though it, had multiple blade scratches, etc. And that is much harder than a lot of woods. I think it is why granite is getting such a following.

Wood looks just great, but I’m not sure about the durability. The finish can only be as hard as the wood under it when it comes to denting, and I really cannot think of a finish that will put up with the daily grind a countertop has to take.

Oiled wood might be the best choice, with no real finish. But then waterproofing over time has to be taken into account, and the burn/blackening point of wood, (from hot pans, etc.) is much lower than most other things used as countertops.

From a personal standpoint, I think they are all beautiful but I’d never have one in my house. Just not tough enough.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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jmartel

6572 posts in 1615 days


#10 posted 02-04-2015 03:23 PM

I think I might consider something like your photo, where only the kitchen island is done out of wood and the rest is out of a nice stone. You are less likely to put a hot pan on the island, typically. Or at least if you keep trivets out at all times it could work. But, I would probably want a solid 8/4 countertop rather than laminated anything.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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Sunnygirl

37 posts in 1848 days


#11 posted 02-05-2015 02:20 AM

I take good care of my countertops. Never put a hot pan on one, ever. I’ve seen some laminate countertops that have a burn mark on them from a hot pan. I also never cut on mine. The thing I am concerned about is water, of course, but a lot of people are very happy with them. They say they just occasionally sand them a little and re-oil, and they do great. I dunno, never had them personally. They sure are pretty, though.

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crank49

3981 posts in 2435 days


#12 posted 02-05-2015 04:12 AM

I just did our kitchen in a major complete gut remodel job.
Chose granite for working surfaces and cherry for an “eat at” bar top.
Very happy with the way it looks.
But wife won’t let anyone put any thing warm or wet on the bar top.
Kinda defeats the purpose to me.
If I had known it would be like this I would have just put granite there as well.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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