Seeking Joinery Ideas for African Mahogany for Bathroom Countertop & Shelf (See Photos)

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Forum topic by GJK posted 07-03-2015 04:24 AM 1062 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 1841 days

07-03-2015 04:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: african mahogany joinery bathroom countertop wood

In renovating a small bathroom in a 100+ year old home, as part of a major redo of the kitchen, I was going to use a marble or granite sink top but instead chose to work in wood which I favor. I purchased a 19” x 60” slab of African Mahogany and created a design and did today some rough cuts. I am now at the point of needing to leverage my insights gained as a very junior woodworker over the past year with joinery techniques to determine how to join various pieces I have prepared of the wood to tie them together with strong joints before I stain and add a “high build” polyurethane.

I’d greatly welcome suggestions on joinery and other aspects of executing and refining my plans for this countertop and shelf.

(see later reply post to Ed and Rhewtt with revised photos)

-- Gary, Washington, DC

3 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2824 days

#1 posted 07-03-2015 12:06 PM

My initial thoughts :

- Dovetails, while normally considered a mark of good craftsmanship, I think will be overkill, and not seen on some joints, and will look too “busy” on the joints it is seen. That looks to be some fairly thick material, how much are you planning on planing it down? Small dovetails would look strange on such thick pieces, and thick dovetails would look bulky. I would do a loose tenon or spline, on a mitered corner or butt joint.

- Regarding the splashes, the two on the sides make it look boxed in. I would consider taking them and attaching them to the underside of the countertop to give the look of a thicker countertop, instead. For the rear one, I would leave that up top and just glue it to the countertop prior to finishing, since the grain direction is the same.

- The 3rd from last picture, the one with the front view of the toilet. I’d recommend you prop up a piece of plywood or something 21” from a wall, stick a chair in it, and then sit in it. 21” is not very wide, and will most likely make you feel cramped while dropping the kids off at the pool. Now try to twist and reach where you’ve shown the TP roll to be (figure about 10-12” from the wall, on your left, to be able to get to it and tear off a square. You may want to consider adding a couple inches to that width, or at minimum leaving the TP off the side of the vanity side, and just getting one of those standalone kinds.

- To attach the shelves, I would use a hidden cleat system, I’d probably just buy one of the metal pre-fabbed ones. That support piece is not really providing any support near the back, the attachment to the wall should be, and if you need support, it’ll be at the front. What’re you going to be putting on these shelves? If it’s going to be heavy, make sure you figure that in by either buying a heavier duty cleat, or adding some supports underneath at the ends. I like the idea of the railing on the shelf to keep things from falling off, but you may want to consider how mush space it takes up. That shelf is only 6.5” deep, the railing you posted looks like it could take up 1.5” or more of that depth. Maybe consider ditching the railing, or if you feel you need something, go thinner, something like this.\

- I’d ditch the Minwax poly and go for something like Enduro-Var.

Looks like a challenging project, and I wish you good luck.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4121 days

#2 posted 07-03-2015 12:23 PM

That’s a really cool design and will look awesome when complete. I love thick mahogany.

Looks like you have it figured out.

As for suggestions, I would lose the backsplash all together. The mosaic tile will act as the horizontal line and backsplash, if laid inline with top edge of counter. If you are set on using it, plane it down in thickness as it is very “heavy” sitting on that top.

I would suggest a few more than 3 coats on the poly, just to be safe. Epifanes would be best.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View GJK's profile


28 posts in 1841 days

#3 posted 07-03-2015 09:53 PM

Great job with the comments, Ed and Rhett!! See the revisions. Really nice to know some other Lumberjocks have your back and are with you in the workshop design and helping with the design and execution.

-- Gary, Washington, DC

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