Cypress Countertop

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Project by bruc101 posted 04-01-2012 04:27 AM 15812 views 6 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I build all the wood countertops and fabricate all the solid surface countertops in my shop for my clients. I would say I do 50-50 on both.
Building a wood countertop can be fun and challenging at the same time but the end results gives many rewards to us after we install one.
This Cypress top was fun and we had no problems with it. I found out many years ago it doesn’t pay to just jump in and build a pretty top for a kitchen without forethought no manner how good woodworking skills have.
A wood countertop will be used and needs to be able to take some abuse at the same time. The wood, area and how a home is heated and cooled can play in important factor in the long term end results of how the countertop will hold up.

This countertop was built out of 1 3/4 inch Cypress. Each board was run through a planer and then a sander to try and have equal thickness boards before the glue up. I have a jointer but I do all of my straight lining on a table saw. I very seldom ever use my jointer. For my personal use and best results I use the Freud Glue Line Rip Blade. It does a much better job for me than any other blade and I’ve pretty much tried them all.

I used biscuits on the 45 degree miter, four across the top and four across the glue. The top sits on a frame that looks like 2 inch face frames with slotted holes so the top can move. The top is extremely heavy and needed extra support to keep it flat and room to move around on. On each side of the stove we added a heat shield using the same material that we use with drop in cook tops in solid surfaces tops.

The top was dyed with an alcohol dye and has five coats of Waterloc sprayed on both the top and bottom. We do one coat on each side at the same time with an 8 to 12 hour dry time between coats.Once the top was dry we buffed it with cornstarch and then hand rubbed it with tack rags.

It’s a beautiful top in a home that was built in 1947 and rest on metal cabinets that dates back to the 50’s.
The top has been installed for several years now and looks as good as it did the we installed it.

-- Bruce Free Plans

13 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118104 posts in 4388 days

#1 posted 04-01-2012 04:32 AM

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3117 days

#2 posted 04-01-2012 04:53 AM

Great looking countertop, I’m doing my kitchen now, but not sure if a wood countertop would hold up to the abuse I give it. How well do these hold up in a busy kitchen, any idea?

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View bruc101's profile


1383 posts in 4353 days

#3 posted 04-01-2012 01:01 PM

Hi Martin. There is no such thing as a bullet proof countertop so the wood tops have to be cared for just like Corian, Granite and Laminate tops. The type finish applied to the top is one of the keys to maintaining a wood top.
None of them can be whacked on with a machete or have anything hot place hot on them.
The high strength laminate tops made by Wilsonart are probably the toughest on the market right now but still have to be cared for just like the others.
Being sensible as how a top is treated is the life of the top. We have wood tops in homes that take a beating with kids and are still doing just fine and shows normal wear. The harder the wood the more everyday abuse it can take.
With wood tops you can ding them, Corian you can break them, Granite you can break them, Laminate tops are no different than Corian and Granite. In our area we find that Granite tops give more problems than any of the others so we don’t do Granite.
You just have to use common sense with a wood top and treat it with care just like any other top.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3117 days

#4 posted 04-01-2012 03:38 PM

Thanks for the advice Bruce, my wife was thinking granite but since I do most of the cooking, ( and I am a wood guy) we talked about it a few times but made no defenitr decision. I’ve done Bart tops before but they don’t see the same type of abuse, even the ones I did with epoxy coating never got the abuse that a kitchen countertop might get. I’m going to post a forum on what type of hardwood h
Other LJ’ers have used for their countertops and hopefully go wood shopping next week, heck anything better than the 1/2” plywood we are using temporarily, LOL

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View bruc101's profile


1383 posts in 4353 days

#5 posted 04-01-2012 04:10 PM

Hi Martin, good to know you’re asking the Joks for info also. We’ve built wood tops out of many different woods besides Cypress.Cypress is pretty much water and bug resistance so we do a lot of those here in the mountains.
For higher end kitchens we’ve done Walnut, the Maples, Cherry, Mahogany, etc.

Unless a customer ask for something different we use only Waterlock to finish our wood tops with, no Poly’s.
Waterloc is the toughest and most durable finish we’ve found to use.

Granite, I’ve seen some beautiful Granite tops and expensive ones. We’ve replaced a lot of Granite tops with solid surface and wood, more solid surface than wood. Granite has to be sealed a couple times a year, cracks easily, shows seams and I’ve seen some nasty seams in them, usually no warranty. Solid Surface, Gilbratar being our choice over Corian, carries a 10 year warranty, low maintenance and the wood tops we usually put a lifetime warranty on them for our craftsmanship, not abuse.

I’ve posted a pic of an Ambrosia Maple top we just installed. The owner is applying the finish himself and he’s using a Mineral Oil and will buff it when he’s completed with it.

Good luck…and I’ve yet to see a husband win out over the wife lol.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4367 days

#6 posted 04-01-2012 04:23 PM

That looks great

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3117 days

#7 posted 04-01-2012 04:28 PM

Thanks Bruce, that ambrosia maple looks awesome, I love it, but my wife will never go for that, I might as well ask to put fluorescent green shag carpet in the bathroom, LMAO! I’m leaning towards cypress, walnut or dark maple. I work with a lot of maple since it machines very well and has very tight pores, I think I can convince the wife on one of those three. Anything spalted or ambrosia, I am pretty sure she will shoot down.
Thanks again for all the advice.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View seabiscuit's profile


95 posts in 3235 days

#8 posted 04-01-2012 04:28 PM

The finish on the cyprus top screams 80’s to me. But if that is what the client wanted…I know I wouldn’t be buying that guy’s house

View bruc101's profile


1383 posts in 4353 days

#9 posted 04-01-2012 04:42 PM

Well, we’ve been a family business since 1946 and I would say giving the client what they want and our craftsmanship has kept us in business for 65 years. That top has also gotten us other Cypress tops the same color for other homes on the same lake where that home is located.

As far as buying that house I doubt it would happen. It was built by the family in 1947 on a beautiful mountain lake for their vacation home and is now a multi million dollar home.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Juriathe's profile


142 posts in 3329 days

#10 posted 04-01-2012 11:26 PM

The thing we all have to remember is when working for a client, pleasing the client is what’s important, not ourselves. I watch a lot of DIY shows and I seriously wonder how many clients gut their houses after the show ends…LOL. I love wood counters, myself, nevermind what the current rage is. All countertops require some care, and I love seeing the different ways they are done. I’m going to be building one in a project house myself this summer, so I’ll be sifting through all the tips and info I can find here on the subject as well, because this house WILL be for sale eventually.
This one inspires me.

-- I'm so busy I don't know if I found a rope or lost a horse...

View Ken90712's profile


17888 posts in 4000 days

#11 posted 04-02-2012 02:25 PM

Nice job looks great.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View jim1953's profile


2740 posts in 4653 days

#12 posted 04-03-2012 03:24 AM

Great Lookin Counters

-- Jim, Kentucky

View JRPortman's profile


17 posts in 3260 days

#13 posted 06-10-2012 11:42 PM

Thanks for writing this. I need to make a bath countertop out of wood for a client and wanted to see if Cypress would be a good choice, and your post has confirmed that for me. Good to also hear about your faith in Waterlox, I’m going to give that i try as a sealer, even though they intend to paint it.

-- J.R.Portman, New Orleans,

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