Hi. I am putting a hard rock maple countertop in my deli. I found what
seems to be a good supplier that has good prices for unfinished 1.5"
countertops. I had a couple of questions/comments if anybody cares to lend
First, here are the dimensions of what I need:
- 36" x 15 ft.
- 36" x 5 ft.
- 24" or 25" x 4 ft.
- 12" x 14 ft.
- 12" x 11' 8"
1. Can anybody recommend (email?) someone who makes quality counters at a
2. Only the 36" x 15 ft. piece is going to have food contact, so I was going
to use mineral oil for that one. The others are either for checkout or for
customer seating and I though I'd use a poly or other nice finish. Any
3. Should I seal the end grain with paint or other? Some of the end grains
will be visible, so I'd like to use something that is durable and looks OK,
like maybe a clear sealer.
4. Some of these pieces will be joined together in an L shape. I was
thinking of putting L shaped plywood down first, and then laying the two
pieces on top of that. Then I could drill into each piece from underneath
the plywood. I'm not sure if this will give me the best, most seamless fit
(probably not). Any suggestions here?
Thanks for any help,
I didn't want an oil finish on my counter so I liberally washed the Edsal top I
got from Grainger with mineral spirits and put down a bunch of coats of poly.
It came out a rich honey oak color with good grain definition. The wife was
I am about a year later now and it is holding up very well under pretty harsh
use. When it does finally get banged up I will hit it with my belt sander and
finish it again.
I looked through Grainger and it doesn't look like they carry custom sizes.
I need a pretty big piece and would rather not piece small ones together. I
have to get some mineral oil and test the samples I have to see if it is
attractive enough like that.
Because the plywood will be more dimensionally stable than the maple I
think you will be in trouble with this plan. Be sure not to fasten
your tops solidly or they may crack as the temp/humidity changes
(DAMHIKT). For the L I would use the cross bolt type connectors they
sell for joining countertops. Can't think of the exact name right now.
The recessed ones. One hole in each piece with a groove between and a
bolt through to pull them together.
OK. I'd have to cut the hard maple myself to do this. They only supply the
raw block. The supplier recommended I drill holes where needed and connect
the two pieces of counter with dowels and wood glue. That sounds easier if
I can be careful enough to drill holes that allow the pieces to come
Dan, is there any chance you can find a local woodworker friend to help you
with this? It's not difficult, if you've done it before, and have a few of
the right tools. However, you can screw up some expensive maple, and maybe
draw a little blood, if you don't take the right precautions.
I'm not at all certain that dowels are the route that I'd take. Clamping
might be an adventure for the inexperienced and/or person with insufficient
"patriarch email@example.comDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message
Well, the only thing about the dowelling that I wasn't sure of is getting a
tight seam without a clamp. The L is 15' on one side and 5' on the other,
so that's joining the 5' piece crosswise (3') to the long one, so I'm not
sure how I'd clamp it anyway. Do they make 8' clamps? I've used the clamps
you showed on a Home Depot laminate top where I had to join 2 - 8' mitered
tops. I wasn't happy with the result. It didn't seem to pull the pieces
together well enough. Part of the problem is that I had to set the counter
pretty close to where it was going to be, and it was hard to really get a
good reach on the bolt. That sounds lame, but I couldn't join 2 8' pieces
upside down and then move them into place, unless maybe I had several guys
who could keep it from flexing apart in the process.
I don't really know a woodworker who could add those recesses although I am
hiring a carpenter for some other work. I could probably do it actually if
I had to. I have a router and have cut keyholes in soft wood in the past.
Of course, if you are in NJ, you're welcome to give it a try for handsome
remuneration, of course! :)
Two things: 1) I don't do this for money. Takes the joy out of it, and
I'm not that fast. And 2) I'm a California boy, 5 generations worth on one
line, 4 on another. It's been a long time since I was in Jersey, and it's
not in the schedule, right now anyway. Otherwise...
Yes, they do make 8' clamps. Actually, they can be longer. Black iron
pipe, usually 3/4" OD, in my case (although it is rumoured that Michael
Baglio recommends using 1/2" ;-)) can be had in lengths up to pretty much
'more than you can carry'. And threaded and coupled, too. The pipe clamp
heads won't set you back more than the cost of a good pastrami sandwich
Since one side of this countertop is going to be hidden from the public,
underneath the counter, cleats can be temporarily attached to that side
with good screws, allowing some additional, not 8' long, clamping points.
If dowels are your choice, purchase or fabricate a simple doweling jig.
One of the problems with dowels is that they are simple to get wrong. A
jig helps avoid that. A self-centering jig really helps that. Your
carpenter may have one. A good, old-school hardware store, one that's been
around since maybe the '50's, almost certainly would. ShopNotes probably
ran 5 feature articles on how to make one from baltic birch plywood.
Let me think about how to cut the keyholes with a router. There's a way to
do it safely and easily. If someone else doesn't jump in, I'll have
something more for you tomorrow evening.
The advantage to the connectors over dowels is that you can get them
snug, then adjust the joint before finally tightening them. I've done
butcher block counter tops without glue, but if you want, a layer of
Gorilla Glue would probably be helpful. I wouldn't use anything with a
faster set time. To join two 3' pieces in an L I would use at least 3
and probably 4 of the connectors, but realize that all any type of
connector is doing is holding alignment, the actual joint must be cut
accurately and the alignment must be assured in the positioning of the
tops. If one is slightly higher than the other or something you will
*never* get a good joint.
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