butcher block counter


I'd like to eventually put an 8 foot long (approx) 2-3 foot wide wooden counter in my home. It will likely be supported by thin cabinets, floor to ceiling posts at each end (already supporting the ceiling), and probably a couple legs.
I'd like for one side of it to be like a bar in that you can sit at it and have your legs go under it (i.e. it hangs over whatever it is resting on).
What is the best source for such a thing? how hard would it be to build myself?
Anyone know of any resources in New York City? Brooklyn specifically.
And lastly, what kind of wood do you prefer for butcher blocks?
thanks,
Ben
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Ben Gold wrote:

Not hard, just lots of gluing (you want the surface to be end grain) ____________________

Personally, I like hickory.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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why end grain? doesn't that mean a lot more pieces to glue together. End grain means it will end up being checkerboard style right?
I had pictured it with long pieces, which would be edge grain if I understand the terms correctly.
What's the benefit of edge grain?

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You use end grain so when you knife into it you don't mar the surface, it just pushes the fibres apart a bit. But if it's just decorative then it doesn't really matter.
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Well, yes and no - the end grain is also much nicer on your knives.
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Right, but it's nicer on them because you are just pushing the fibres apart intead of trying to sever them (but you knew that anyway)
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Ben Gold wrote:

Because you specified "butcher block". Butcher block is end grain. _____________________

Right. It also means it needs to be well supported unless it is quite thick. _______________

Right. Like a butcher's block ______________

Edge or end? If end, as others explained...
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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Hard Maple, also know an Hard Rock Maple. You can buy it from John Boos company and many others.
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so how easy is the gluing process? I know my way around tools but haven't done much finish carpentry (worked in a scene shop in theater for awhile).
Just wood glue and pipe clamps? or any other special process?

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Nothing special. I use Titebond II and lots o' pipe clamps. The only real trick is getting it flat after its glued up. The biggest one I've ever done was 30" x 54" see it here http://www.sonomaproducts.com/Furniture/PF-KI2-Cherry.htm . I only have access to a 24" wide belt sander so I glued up three 11" wide slabs and sanded them out flat first using the same setup (ie all passed through the sand one after another on the same setup). Then I glued the 3 slabs together and hand scraped and sanded them.
One helluva lot of work and the thing must weight 150 pounds. Also, any longewr would have been a real challenge. I think any bigget than this and it would have been a buy vs build.
You want to get edge grain, so take wide boards, I prefer to use varying thickness. Mostly 4/4 some 5/4 and some 6/4. For a 2" think top, plane each board to whatever thickness is required to get the smooothest possible surface. No need to worry about a specifc thickness for any one board. Then rip them all to 2 3/16". Flip them on their sides and glue up what used to be the faces together. You could try to joint each face but I've found with a good planer I get better, faster reults planing them first before ripping rather than trying to joint the faces of sticks; which is very inconsistent.
BW
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Well, unless I run across some cheap good wood, I'll probably buy it pre-made. Looking into what's needed I don't think I have the materials to produce such a large block.
In answer to others, indeed I guess it is not a true butcher block I'm looking for. Basically, I want an untreated wooden counter to separate my kitchen from my living area and allow for "bar" style seating on one side.

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<curse mode> Ikea has a very affordable edge grain butcherblock counter. About a quarter of the price you pay at the Home Depot kitchen shop....
It's not as thick, 1 1/2 inch but quite sturdy. I've used it for several kitchen island tops. It holds quite well, and doesn't warp when kept well oiled. </curse mode>
--
mare

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Edge grain maple. It's produced as a commercial product, in 'standard' widths & lengths. Check with counter top fabricators and hardwood floor supply outlets. Lumber Liquidators sells such a product. Ikea may as well. A home center or lumber yard may be able to order it for you, at a retail markup.
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wrote:

If you just want the look and you are not really concerned about using it as a butcher block, you can buy the top already put together and finished. Check with you local counter top supplier or flooring company. Even the big box store can probably get what you need.
You can do it yourself if you have the machines to mill the material or if you can buy the material already milled. You just need glue and some clamps.

Most we see are not actually cutting tops. They are made from long strips of hard maple with edge grain up.
If you are lucky you might look around and find something suitable. We did a large wood top on a kitchen island and the homeowner wanted us to use a top he bought from a school shop. It took a lot of sanding and we had to cut a hole for the under mount sink but it turned out very well. The bar tops in my basement (both lower and upper) are from a bowling alley approach. A local bowling alley was being demolished and the company doing the job was selling the lanes. The approaches were 2" thick hard maple and the rest of the lanes were 2" thick fir. I paid $12 dollars a running for the maple (42" wide) and they wanted $10 a running foot for the fir. It took some work to cut them up and refinish them but the price was right for the material.
Mike O.
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Ben Gold says...

Judging from your other posts, it appears you want an edge grain counter not a butcher block. That's good because a butcher block or a counter made of wide pieces of that size would be very difficult to make. With the edge grain, you would rip the panels to the thickness you want, then flip them on edge for gluing. This would make things much easier in several ways. You could choose whatever thickness you want, and any differing original thicknesses of individual boards could be ignored. Last but not least, since the individual laminates are long, thin and flexible, they won't fight you much when you glue them up. This is critical, because few, if any, boards are really flat over 8'. The old adage 'flat as a board' wasn't coined by anyone who had ever worked with wood. Since you need 8', it would be nearly impossible to joint and plane them flat and square without industrial sized equipment, and even if you could, you would lose too much material with most boards. Still, choose your stock carefully, and while a little bow will be tolerable, don't buy anything with twist.
Difficulty of the glue-up will be high. You will need an 8' section of flat uncarpeted floor a couple feet wider than your counter and at least 8 strong clamps, but in practice you will probably need several more. 3/4" pipe clamps would be the way to go with cauls to spread out the clamping force. They run about $18 for clamp and pipe together around here. They may be considerably more in NYC. Use a slow setting glue like Titebond Extend and work like an asteroid is about to hit the earth. You may as well take the safe route and only glue up a portion at a time and spread the assembly time over an entire day. Remove squeeze out from one side before it dries and save yourself a lot of work. You will need to include extra length of stock to cut the ends square when you are done and you will need to sand and plane it flat. Hope you have a good quality jack plane and basic sharpening skills and a decent orbital sander.
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wrote:

I have 2, both are poly coated as counters, not cutting boards. They are pretty tough and easier to fix than corian. I made one and bought one. The one I bought was cheaper. Look for a work bench top from Edsal. Grainger has them. A 23"x74" cost about $200 a year ago. You can use my account if they screw with you. "IBM" ... they don't ask for ID. ;-)
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Lumberliquidators also has them. 8' maple butcher block counter top $184.00.
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wrote:

I have one as half the top of my kitchen island. Started out as a 4x8 got it at the local hardwoord place. Was about $300 if I rememeber correctly.
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