Cherry Countertop Questions

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Forum topic by tealetm posted 06-22-2016 12:47 PM 1034 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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108 posts in 1866 days

06-22-2016 12:47 PM

Hi all- I’ve been doing reading and searching on here and other sites and am looking for some confirmation.

We’re putting in a new kitchen and I would like to make some wood countertops on some of the cabinets. Without going crazy into detail, there are three tops which are out of the “work area” so to speak of the kitchen which I’m talking about. The heavy use counters (by the stove, sink, etc) are going to be quartz.

Sizes are approximately 31” x 25”, 31” x 25” and 75” x 25”.

I have a lot of rough cut cherry that I bought with intentions of making a crib for our soon to be first child, but I think this wood and my time might be better suited elsewhere at the moment. Anyway, the wood is 5/4” or thicker, lengths ranging from 8’-10’ and widths are about 15” wide.

I have access to a planer, don’t have access to a jointer (well, one which I’d be comfortable would produce a good product at least) so I called a local mill. They quoted me $.90 per board foot to mill the wood so I could do the glue up. That sounds real cheap to me- $25-$35 for somebody else to do the work instead of investing in a jointer. Thoughts?

And a few questions on sizes: Would you go with +-6” widths? Full length on the shorter tops, but is there any downside of doing full lengths on the longer top?

9 replies so far

View Th961605's profile


12 posts in 2652 days

#1 posted 06-23-2016 04:21 PM

Beautiful cherry! I just put 8/4 countertops in my house last year, and here’s what I would do differently the second time around: I had the lumber supplier rip a straight edge on each side, ran this along the fence to straighten the other side, then tried to run through a bench top jointer (this worked out TERRIBLY). The boards were too heavy, and the jointer in and out feeds too small. So, I had to joint each edge by hand which was extremely time consuming (keep in mind, 8/4 hard maple). I’ve since started running a Freud glue-line blade and I’m not looking back—the jointer has become obsolete. I would definitely go this route if I were you. I wish I had someone in my area that still offered planing services—I would jump on this if I were you. I used Waterlox for the finish, and have been really happy with the result. I’m not sure what you mean by full lengths though—did you mean to say full widths?

View tealetm's profile


108 posts in 1866 days

#2 posted 06-23-2016 05:38 PM

8/4- wow thats thick. I was just going to double up the front edge to give it a thicker appearance.

I’m going to have the mill do the squaring and I’ll just do the fitup and install of course. I’m looking into Waterlox as an option as well.

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18129 posts in 4015 days

#3 posted 06-23-2016 07:31 PM

Farm it out to the cabinet shop for sure. It will make your life substantially easier. Even at $100 it makes sense to me. I don’t see any issue with full length. Be sure to coat the top and the bottom of the new countertops with your finish. Waterlox will work as will GF arm r seal or GF high performance.

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

View tealetm's profile


108 posts in 1866 days

#4 posted 06-30-2016 03:37 PM

Thanks for the responses.

I rough cut the boards yesterday on my TS. Right now they are rough cut to 7” widths and a few inches longer than I need- I know the top will be more stable the narrower the boards (more jointing).

Any recommendations for say 6” versus 3” final board widths? If I go to 3” I feel more confident milling them myself on the small 6” jointer and 12” planer that I have. I’m also thinking that the narrower they are the less I’ll have to plane them as the slight warping will be less apparent in narrower boards- this will mean I will get thicker counters.

It felt terrible to rip those nice wide 15” boards as it was…

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 06-30-2016 04:01 PM

I think your thinking makes a lot of sense. I used maple wood flooring 3” wide and they don’t look any different than when I installed them 26 years ago; even around the kitchen sink. Be sure to allow the top to be able to expand and contract. Flip the boards to have the end grains run opposite of the one beside it and Don’t use any pieces that is part of the core (center of tree).


View tealetm's profile


108 posts in 1866 days

#6 posted 06-30-2016 04:07 PM

Thanks. I’m leaning towards 3” boards.

Interesting you bring up the maple. I just put maple flooring in the house, and I was thinking of putting a strip or two in the counters running lengthwise to tie the flooring into the tops but my wife hasn’t approved yet. Not sure what the contrasting color would look like (it might be overkill).

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4676 days

#7 posted 06-30-2016 08:34 PM

At .90 a bdf, check to see how much actual milling is being done. If they are just running your stock through their planer, you won’t have ideal lumber to glue up as any twist, wane or cupping will still be in the boards. Planed doesn’t mean flat.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 4075 days

#8 posted 06-30-2016 08:37 PM

If it were me and you don’t have a power jointer, Get yourself an #7 or #8 hand plane. google winding sticks and go from there. I used that method a lot till I got my jointer. Requires sweat equity, but works like a charm. Planer does nothing but create two parallel surfaces.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View tealetm's profile


108 posts in 1866 days

#9 posted 07-18-2016 04:57 PM

Well I picked the boards up from the mill. The $.90/bft was an accurate quote for s4s, and for the material to do a 12’ worth of countertops cost me under $50. Funny thing is… the day after I dropped the wood off I stumbled on a good condition 6” jointer at a yard sale for $50… Oh well, the next project will be milled by me.

So I started assembly of the smaller sized tops (33”x24” roughly). Ripped the boards down to the right width and used the biscuit jointer just for alignment during glueup. Glue up went fine, one of the boards came out slightly twisted but that was probably due to me doing it on a slightly twisted workbench top versus the a flat surface (not a big deal, the top will work just fine for this application). I did come to realize that the pipe clamps and the f clamps had different strengths and I ended up evening them out for even clamping pressure on the top and bottom.

Once the glue was dry the next night I removed the clamps and went at the tops with a new Stanley #5 plane that I was recently given. This was the first time I’ve really used a hand plane, and after figuring out how to properly adjust and use it I got a strange sense of satisfaction with it. That being said, it was “easy” this time on the short tops but I’m not sure if I’m going to tackle a full 6’ top with a hand plane yet (maybe I’ll glue up half the countertop then run both halves through my 12” planner then glue up the two halves?). I did get some chatter marks on a few boards at first with the hand plane, but that lessened as I got used to using the plane. After the joints were smooth and even, I hit the edges with a simple round over bit, then the whole thing with 60, 100 and 150 grit paper.

I’m using Waterlox Original for the finish- two coats on all surfaces with the standard, then two more with the gloss. This is a first with this product, but so far I like it a lot. I just ended up wiping it on heavily and it seems to be covering just fine. Another few coats, a few more days of cure time and I’ll get the tops installed. This has been an enjoyable project so far. The photos don’t do the color justice because this picture is just after one fresh coat, but now with three coats the tops look much richer and darker.

Sorry for the rambling update, this is a first project like this for me and I’m looking for suggestions on ways to improve it!

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