Walnut edge grain count tops

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Project by toddbeaulieu posted 10-13-2016 09:53 PM 3401 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As part of our home kitchen renovation that’s now in month #11 … I finally have the counter tops in. The Wife no longer has to balance pots an dishes on the sink!

I expect that when I build the drawers and white painted inset fronts the counters will really shine. I’ll figure out the back splash at some point. It’s hard to tell from the photos but it’s all hand scraped with depressions and even scraper chatter marks. Satin finish. Believe it or not, the rows line up perfectly at the miter.

Compost bin
I bought a fancy Woodhaven circle jig to route the stepped hole for the inset compost bin. That jig worked great and I’m pleased with the purchase. I couldn’t afford to not get it exact and perfect after all that work. Note that at this point it was gloss and you can see why I was unhappy with the surface.

Corner joint

Working with limited and sketchy material
I really thought this project was going to be relatively simple but two issues really impacted the timeline and effort level. For starters the batch of rough-sawn lumber that I started with was sketchy. I didn’t realize that until I started milling it. It was milled too thin IMO, but more importantly, there were too many punky areas that dramatically impacted the yield and left me planning rows according to how much I could cheat on the 45 degree corner. I wanted each row to be the same thickness all the way around, so as i milled pieces I sorted them according to final thickness. Each row starting from the rear row, working inwards required less material because of the corner and I actually had to use that to my advantage, saving shorter lengths for the the inner rows. What a hassle!

The Arm-R-Seal Nightmare
I’ll take full responsibility for my terrible experience with a finish that I’ve used many times, but still managed to fatally screw up here. The VERY short version is that I didn’t use grain sealer first and still expected to be able to get a mirror gloss finish. Ten coats in I ended up stripping it all off with a hand scraper. The second time in … I didn’t let it dry enough and ended up with crinkles. Yup … strip it off again! Third time was a charm. I changed the plan this time and went with a hand scraped look and a satin finish. Also realized that I was applying WAY TOO MUCH finish on. I will figure this out eventually! Anyway, I’m much happier with the more rustic look.

9 comments so far

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1986 days

#1 posted 10-13-2016 10:12 PM

Wooden kitchen countertops are ballsy as f*.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


854 posts in 4214 days

#2 posted 10-13-2016 10:20 PM

I think that 99% of the time that people use LOL, it’s a lie.

Well, I am not lying! I laughed out loud at that!

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2949 posts in 2273 days

#3 posted 10-14-2016 08:27 AM

...” finish that I’ve used many times,...”
You didn’t mention the finish/process.
Did you consider Envirotex, or some other counter/bar top pour-on resin?
The thing looks great. Good work, said the guy who wouldn’t even go anywhere near such a project.

-- Mark

View Matt's profile


163 posts in 2161 days

#4 posted 10-14-2016 12:27 PM

Wooden kitchen countertops are ballsy as f*.

- gargey

What he said….. and more importantly, Well Done!

-- My "projects" always look better when your glasses are broken.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


854 posts in 4214 days

#5 posted 10-14-2016 01:33 PM

Mark, my first assumption was that I’d use an epoxy but I decided to keep it simple (yeah, that worked out well), thinking varnish/urethane would be appropriate. I used Arm-R-Seal. Also, I was turned off by the inability of epoxy to stand up to heat to seemingly any degree.

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1951 days

#6 posted 10-14-2016 01:54 PM

Ditto on gargey. Many kudos on a great look!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View unisaw2's profile


210 posts in 4245 days

#7 posted 10-14-2016 02:10 PM


-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View JonBikeRacer's profile


70 posts in 2813 days

#8 posted 10-14-2016 04:36 PM

Wow, that’s nice! This is an upgrade that we want to do to our house, but frankly, I’m scared!

-- Jon "That's about as close as I can eyeball it"

View toddbeaulieu's profile


854 posts in 4214 days

#9 posted 10-14-2016 05:01 PM

I wouldn’t be scared Jon. It’s pretty simple in concept. If you have ample wood and mill the rows to the same thickness it should make the job MUCH easier. I had variable thicknesses which introduced a logistical nightmare. I worked in 13” wide sections at first so that I could pass them through the planer. I didn’t worry about jointing those sections them once glued, or it would have limited me to 8” wide. I didn’t care if they were perfect underneath. Once planed I just glued them up and then hand scraped/planed the one glue joint.

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