New counter top

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Blog entry by Edwin posted 04-06-2011 12:38 AM 2063 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

M son wants a new counter top for his kitchen… The old one is made of formica & particle board and has started to swell… I don’t have a jointer or shaper but i do have a table saw … I plan to make the counter out of pine, 3/4” x 5 1/2” ...It will be 40” wide by 96”... It will be L shapped and have a cutout for the sink… So what problems do my fellow LJ”s think I will encounter… Any and all sugestions apreciated…..... thanks Ed

-- Ed Port Republic

11 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


18098 posts in 3812 days

#1 posted 04-06-2011 12:48 AM

Do you have a router table or hand planes. Im guessing that you will be gluing up a series of boards to acccomodate the width and your sides will need to be straight which may be tough on the tablesaw alone. Id suggest setting your router table up to joint. I dont own a jointer myself but have had success doing it this way.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4140 days

#2 posted 04-06-2011 12:50 AM

I guess pine would work, but it is soft, so if anything heavy or sharp or pointed is dropped on it, it could dent or pierce pretty easy. Maybe not a big issue. I would suggest you use a waterproof glue like Titebond III or polyurethane glue. A good finish would be a few coats of polyurethane finish. I just replaced kitchen counters of chipboard that I painted and coated with poly. They did very well for about 6 years, but they did get some small dings here and there.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View thewoodmaster's profile


62 posts in 3998 days

#3 posted 04-06-2011 01:30 AM

DON’T USE PINE! It is way to soft and porous. It will dent, ding, chip, crack, melt and probably blow up. Any finish that will keep food borne grossness out of the wood will be to hard and brittle to stand up to kitchen use. Any other finish won’t keep the grossness out of the wood.

-- dan "insert pithy woodworking coment here"

View RussellTurner's profile


1 post in 3414 days

#4 posted 04-06-2011 01:31 AM

I would tend to agree with Mike; Pine would seem to have the problems that are suggested.
I built kitchen counter tops a few years back. I used sycamore and did the edge jointing with biscuits (mainly to align the boards). Since the tops were fairly large I did the sanding with a random orbit floor sander. It saved a lot of time. I applied oil based polyurethane some 8-9 years ago and it is still in pretty good shape.
If I can help, let me know.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4931 days

#5 posted 04-06-2011 01:40 AM

I think there are some eastern hard pines that could work as a counter top, if you hit it with a lot of polyurethane and treat it like a table top. I’d want to go a lot thicker than ¾”, at least double that, as something that thin is going to be very humidity sensitive.

I’ve got a maple counter top, and the thing I’m going to do as I get to my next counter top is route a small recess on the bottom front of the counter to create a lip. That way spilled fluids will pour off the front, rather than flowing by surface tension back into the drawers underneath the counter.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View rance's profile


4274 posts in 3966 days

#6 posted 04-06-2011 01:59 AM

Before you apply a finish, especially if you plan on using Pine, you might consider coating it with Thin CA glue to both harden the wood and to better seal it.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3824 days

#7 posted 04-06-2011 03:54 AM

Definitely do not use pine, please go with a hardwood instead. Down the road you will wish you had put out a bit more money to get the hardwoods. The lil bit in savings by using pine is not worth it!

Erwin, Jacksonville,FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3430 days

#8 posted 04-06-2011 05:11 AM

3/4” anything is not enough for a counter top. Check out some ply and tile. Tile is not so hard to do an adequate job. As stated, pine, I dont think would be a good choice of material.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3610 days

#9 posted 02-12-2012 12:30 AM

I agree with all that’s been said. not Pine, and thicker than 3/4”

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3481 days

#10 posted 02-12-2012 02:53 AM

I would want hard maple and I would want to use 1×2 so it would be 1 1/2” thick when I put it on the edge. With all that and trying to make it flat and straight you will find you can buy it cheaper than you can build it. If you just want to build one then you can do that but I would go with a bought top. Some woods have the natural ability to kill bacteria and I don’t think pine is one of those.

View Chris's profile


191 posts in 2113 days

#11 posted 10-30-2014 04:17 PM

Did you complete this project? We did wooden counter tops, but used oak flooring. Right off the shelf at the big box store. I was like $50 a bundle.

-- Liberalism... Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.

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