11' Walnut Island countertop

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Forum topic by Slatewear posted 11-27-2017 06:53 PM 868 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1509 days

11-27-2017 06:53 PM

Making a walnut counter top for our 11’ kitchen island. 134” x 38”
Cannot find long enough 8/4 stock, so I’ll have to joint some ends together.
Are there any recommendations for a glue? Probably a slower setting glue.
probably using biscuits to help align the boards. Any advice on how many clamps I’ll need?

7 replies so far

View wuddoc's profile


354 posts in 4329 days

#1 posted 11-27-2017 10:53 PM

You may wish too check with one or more of the advertisers in Woodshop- News for 8/4 x 38”+ x 11’+ Walnut plank. There are also advertisers in their print addition that picture giant slabs for sale.

-- Wuddoc

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1496 days

#2 posted 11-27-2017 11:48 PM

Seems to me you could find 12 foot boards if you look around. I bought 16 foot cherry boards when I needed to mill some crown molding for my kitchen.

That said, I made a workbench top with some shorter lengths of walnut, some boards end glued, but edge boards full length. As long as the end cuts are square, and you tap them together as you glue up the assembly, you should have no problem doing this.

Some folks making what amounts to a butcher block top will drill the boards and assemble with threaded rods and nuts then plug the holes to cover the nuts. That eliminates clamps altogether.

If you don’t do that then the number of clamps would depend on the type and what type/size of cauls you employ. Very stout clamps with good cauls to distribute forces would reduce number of clamps.

OK, more to the point. If I were doing this, I’d want 2×4 cauls on edge, and would want at least a dozen heavy clamps alternating top and bottom, so about a foot apart. I use the Jorgensen clamps with steel I-beam bars.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View avsmusic1's profile


564 posts in 1296 days

#3 posted 11-28-2017 12:37 AM

you can’t find 12’ 8/4 walnut? what area are you in?

The number of clamps I’d be comfortable is partially dependent on how wide the boards are too, but I’d shoot for at least 1 per foot assuming you’re doing boards and not strips.

View Dustin's profile


706 posts in 1351 days

#4 posted 11-28-2017 02:08 PM

Have you considered using 4/4 (if that’s readily available in those lengths) and doubling up on the edges? This page shows what that looks like with a large walnut island, and I recently used it for some smaller tops with great success.

-- "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 maxyedor's profile


31 posts in 935 days

#5 posted 11-28-2017 05:52 PM

you can t find 12 8/4 walnut? what area are you in?

Don’t know where the OP is, but hear in SoCal, there are very few hardwood dealers with any decent walnut. They have long pieces but between knots and cracks, you’d be lucky to get 3-4’ of clean full width material out of any given board.

1 clamp per foot is my general rule of thumb, but I’ll add a few more if I have a lot of glue seams to squeeze together.

As far as jointing the two shorter boards together, I wouldn’t stress too much about it. Just use a method that can hold them together long enough and tight enough to finish the glue-up, and make sure your seams are offset from one another. One the glue-up is done and dry, it doesn’t matter how weak the end-grain to end-grain glue joint is, the edge-grain joint next to it will hold the whole thing together like a splint.

I would get a few pipe couplers and make a mega-pipeclamp long enough to put some pressure on the boards lengthwise while you start to tighten the clamps under the slab going crosswise. Once you have the crosswise clamps snug, you can pull the lengthwise clamps to make more room for clamping cauls and some crosswise clamps on top of the slab.

View fuigb's profile


569 posts in 3568 days

#6 posted 11-28-2017 07:39 PM

I’m building an 8’ laminated hardwood benchtop using pallet boards that are at most 5’. Bench top will be maybe 3” thick when complete. I’m gluing the faces. To make eight-footers out of my material I am making what is essentially an open mortice-tenon and then pegging/draw-boring the two or three or four pieces of each eight-foot length. No glue. Maybe the pegging is unnecessary but I like the look and joinery is my favorite aspect of this hobby.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View hcmthree's profile


19 posts in 3592 days

#7 posted 12-05-2017 04:45 PM

I just finished a 36” by 65” walnut island counter top that is 1 3/4 inch thick. It was tough to find clear pieces even for this length, so it does seem likely that you will have to do some end jointing. As long as those pieces are buried in the middle of the countertop it should not be a problem. I used Titebond 3 for gluing up, as it has worked well for me on cutting board projects, and the dark color of the glue works well with the walnut if you end up with any visible glue lines. I finished with 6 coats of Waterlox original, and it is holding up very well. I did not use biscuits, although it might have made things simpler if I had. I used 2×4 clamping cauls (covered with packing tape for release agent) and one clamp every 6 inches or so.

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