Kitchen Counter Progress

The good news about spending 20 hours in my garage last weekend with a couple bottles of wine, approximately 700 lbs of butcher block, and almost all of my saws is this: I still have all my fingers.

The bad news is that I won’t have a functional kitchen sink again for another week because I did not get all of the counters in.


I got some of them in though, and that’s the important part.


I’d been obsessing about cutting the butcher block for a solid two weeks, so come Saturday morning I was good and ready to get this shit over with. I bought a handful of new blades and router bits that showed up late last week…


And I was super excited to make my kitchen non-functional for the millionth time, obv.


That’s my is-it-too-early-to-start-drinking face. (Spoiler alert: It was not too early to start drinking.)

Before I could even start with the counters I needed to patch the missing sections of drywall from back when the old backsplash was removed (that was one of the most fun days of this kitchen project by the way, love working with my mom and grandma and all the big tools.)

There’s really no reason I couldn’t have done this drywall months ago, but it was actually a nice warm-up to all of the measuring and precise cutting I was going to have to do later in the day with the counters…


I almost never cut these holes exactly right the first time, but I was on-point Saturday.


It was a couple of hours well spent.


I also managed to tape all the seams, and my plan is to smooth out the walls and then use a tile membrane over them before installing the backsplash.

Once that was done it was on to the butcher block. I’ll do a full post on how I tackled cutting the counters (and why I did what I did) when it’s all done, but the short version goes like this:

1.) New blade on the circular saw. (It’s a 60-tooth Diablo blade.)


2.) Straight-edge clamped to the wood. (Which I don’t have a picture of, but here’s a picture of a chicken helping instead.)


3.) Painters tape over the top of the cut and the sizes.


4.) Set the blade depth to half the depth of the wood. Cut. Reset the blade to the full depth of the wood, cut again.


5.) Breathe a huge sigh of relief.

There was just the tiniest bit of stair-stepping  on some of the cuts doing it that way, but nothing that hitting it with a little 120 grit on the orbital sander couldn’t take care of. There was absolute no tearout on the cuts.

I also tried “cleaning up the edge” with a 2″ straight bit on my router, and I was not thrilled with how that worked on my straight cuts at all.


However, when it came time to cut the hole for the stove, the router worked perfectly. I used the plunge base on my full-sized router (with that same 2″ bit) and cut through about 1/3 of the depth of the counter at a time. (Maybe 3/8″ depth each pass.)


Three passes and I had a great cut. There was minor tear-out on the “exit” of the cut which I was also able to solve with the sander.


This was by far the easiest piece of counter to finish. After cutting it to size and cutting the hole for the stove (it’s a slide-in stove, if you’re wondering why there’s a strip of counter behind it), I used a very small round-over bit (1/8″) on my smaller palm router to soften the corners…


And yes, I do have a matching set of routers.


Just what every girl needs.

By Sunday night, this piece of counter got it’s first coat of finish and man, it’s nice to finally see what it will look like when it’s all done.


(I’m using Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner with wax and oil, which is what both Sarah from Ugly Duckling House, and Alex and Wendy from Old Town Home used on their counters.)

As for the bigger, more complicated section of counter, well, the pieces are cut.


And everything fits… ish.

The trick is that I’m at a stage where it’s really difficult for me to do the next steps without another set of hands (or more). I need to join the 3 sections of counter together and then cut the sink hole and move that mammoth section of counter back in place all at once.

I’ve called in some reinforcements for this weekend and, fingers crossed, I could have actual finished counters in the next week.

from Bathroom & Home


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