Rubberwood kitchen worktop - DIY fitting ?

HI All
We're going to replace the existing black laminate worktop in the kitchen - nothing wrong with it - just makes the place look very dark & gloomy !
Because of the way the kitchen is arranged, the work-top will be 'L-shaped' - with a sink fitted close to the corner of the L.
Saw a kitchen fitting chap today who recommended a rubberwood worktop, in preference to a chipboard post-formed one.
One of the reasons was that, as the rubberwood is supplied with square edges, it'll be easier to get a decent waterproof joint in the worktop near the sink - and I can then route the sharp front corner off to finish the job. With a conventional post-formed top I'd be looking at hiring a big router / jig etc to make an invisible joint....
Kitchen man did say that the rubberwood can be finished with oil or poly-whatsit varnish - any opinions either way, please ?
When varnished it still looks rather light, according to his sample. Presumably we could stain the worktop before oiling / varnishing...? He didn't recommend beech, as he'd found it to be very prone to splitting / warping etc.....
I've fitted new chipboard worktops before - but never one that's made from real tree-wood - anything special to watch out for...? Himself did say that the rubberwood is very hard - and offered to lend me an industrial-grade jigsaw for cutting out the sink & hob locations.
So - any comments / suggestions / experiences for & against ??
Thanks in advance Adrian
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That's what I did (the routing that is) with our rubberwood worktops. Except that I used my own Bosch 1/2" router.

Ours is oiled ("Danish Oil") and, to us, looks good and has stayed that way for several years.

We just left it 'natural' colour and used the Danish Oil, it darkens a little but not very much, which is how we wanted it.

I found it very easy to work with, it's not exceptionally hard. Big advantage is that little mistakes can just be sanded away.

You're not the ex-suffolk Adrian I know are you?
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Chris Green

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HI Chris
On 06 Nov 2006 14:44:09 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

Thanks for the comments. On reflection, it looks as if the rubberwood will be a bit light for our kitchen - and it seems kind of daft to buy rubberwood and then stain it.... so we may well end up going back to plan A - which was a laminate worktop.....
Apparently black worktops are all the rage - so much so that the man we were talking to doesn't bother stocking anything else !
He was talking about 200 euro / 3m - and we'll need two of them..... sounds a bit pricey, maybe......
There are other things in the house that the money could be spent on !

Very probably ! We've been out here since 2nd week in September - seen a full year's worth of weather <g> - but enjoying it greatly...
Still got a long 'to do' list but plenty of time to work through it.
Next big task is some major earthmoving to create a level patch to park the caravan and a polytunnel on. Hopefully we can bury lots of pipe under the material we have to move - and this will act as the 'collector' for a central heating heatpump system that we are going to install.....
An indoor day today, though - visibilty down to about 100m and very 'soft' as they say out here....
Regards Adrian
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That's expensive - our rubberwood worktops were much cheaper than that (if you're talking about rubberwood prices that is).

I know you'd moved (or were moving), glad to hear you're still around!
We still have one of your two chickens, the other just emigrated I think, she kept on going broody so maybe she found a friendly cockerel or something, it's quite possible around here.
--
Chris Green

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Go for it!
AIUI, so-called 'Rubberwood' is composed of lots of cuboid bits of wood laminated together into sheets of appropriate thickness. The bits of wood are relatively short due, apparently, to the way a rubber tree is manipulated during its growth to harvest the sap. Apparently the tree is related to the Maple tree - one produces sap -> rubber whilst the other produces sap-> sugar-> syrup. The rubber tree wood is processed into boards that are useful - as compared to the maple tree which can produce long planks. AIUI, the surface of either maple or 'rubberwood' are finished similarly: sand down (up?) through the grades of sandpaper until very -very- very smooth then seal with an oil finish. You shouldn't need a varnish, as the grain is tight and 'almost' * impervious to water [* for some value of "almost"]. Maple/Rubber wood is a hard wood and does require sharp tools - but it's not too difficult to work. As ever a sharp (new?) jigsaw blade, router cutter, will perform well. If you're butt jointing the 'L' of two 'square-edged' worktops there's no need to produce the 'mason's joint' required with preformed edge worktops. Biscuits to align vertically and the 'doggy;s bone' clamps to ensure horizontal clamping are sufficient.
When cutting out large apertures for hob and/or sinks; a little tip (off Norm ,,, ) mark out the aperture then obtain a couple of battens longer than the aperture. Affix these battens to the part to be cut out using two screws each. Now begin to cut out the aperture ... when your cutting tool is fouling the batten, loosen off a screw and swivel it out of the way then continue to cut, swing back and retighten the screw. Eventually your cutter will complete its passage through the worktop -with the 'waste' wood still held by the battens! You don't get the wibbley-wobbly holding-your-breath excitement of just cutting through the final half-inch of the remaining wood though! Nor does the sink's worth of 30mm thick wood crash onto your toes! I was glad I'd seen Norm do it!
BTW, the 'I'll just go around the edges with a half-rounding cutter then" is still awaiting the arrival of a TUIT. After the worktops (maple in my case as we couldn't locate a source of rubberwood 'sheets' in quantities less than a container-load CFI Felixstowe) looked so nice with the square -edge complementing the 'shaker-style' doors and drawers - my wife let me off the task!
HTH
--

Brian



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Brian Sharrock wrote:

Oh how I wish I'd read that earlier! I fitted some kitchen units & a worktop in a Portakabin a while ago to turn it into a messroom.
Cutting out the sink aperture was simple - until the 'waste' crashed down onto the base of the unit. I had to remove the base unit and effect repairs which thankfuly didn't show.
I won't get caught again, good advice from Norm.
Whay happened to Norm on the telly BTW?
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Dave
The Medway Handyman
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What norm didn't tell you was to fit the battens from below and you wont need to move them as you route (or circular saw) the shape out. Yust don't put screws in that are too long. 8-)

Sky 252
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Ermm ,,,, No! Yer good'ole' _Gravity_ kicks in as the final fibres are severed .... and whoops ... down falls the 'waste'. The battens are longer than the waste and support the waste material on the worktop. Funny the way God has arranged the universe so that our local gravity works _downwards_. It's Big G's little g. Your advise will only work with a circular saw and not with a jigsaw (no depth of cut adjustment) and won't produced decent corners with a circular saw.

Still appearing most weekday mornings on one of the Discovery Channels ... Oh-crack emma ... But that;s why God allowed us to purchase Sky+ boxes with the 'record' button!
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Brian





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