Kitchen Countertops in Sapele #1: Board selection, alignment and glue up

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Blog entry by edapp posted 08-28-2017 02:29 PM 2751 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Kitchen Countertops in Sapele series Part 2: Breadboards, final assembly and fitting »

My wife and I have been in the process of updating our new home for several months. We are trying to knock out all of the projects that would displace us before we move in. One of those projects was replacing the old royal blue corian countertops and sink. The only way were going to be able to accomplish this within our budget was for me to make them out of wood (which I do not mind!). Sapele seemed like an obvious choice due to its resistance to water, moderate price and beautiful grain and color.

I started this project like all projects by laying out the boards and choosing their orientation. I had just enough wide boards to “prioritize” the larger section of counters on the sink side of the room. The widest boards we had went over here, which were all quartersawn and displayed the ribbon figure Sapele is known for.

I accounted for the sink cutout (open front, undermount style sink). Marked the boards accordingly and moved on to milling.

After jointing one edge, and ripping to width (as wide as possible, cutting out any defects) I was able to glue up into three major sections. I glued the short side of the room in one large section, and two sections for either side of the sink. The sections to the left and right of the sink would later be joined to a continuous board the runs the full length, behind the sink. I held off on this glue up for ease of transportation. Domino’s were used for alignment in these glue ups, which helped considering the length of the sections and the not perfect flatness of the boards.

I also glued up the short sections (returns? the part at the bottom of the L shape). After all sections were glued up, and still in their over sized rough state, I dropped them off at a local counter shop to be run through the drum sander. This was the best $50 I have ever spent. They came back flat, smooth, and much more consistently sanded than i could have accomplished with my belt or RO sander.

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