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Butcher Block Install: Corner Gaps :: Help Needed

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Forum topic by Riggy posted 09-27-2018 02:57 AM 1582 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Riggy

37 posts in 330 days


09-27-2018 02:57 AM

Hello Everyone,

Aspiring DIY’er / half-way decent contractor here, so take it easy on me! Also apologies if this post may not be completely suited for here, but I received from great support recently from a different post re: butcher block counters and felt the need to pick a few supportive brains here, if ya’ll would be so kind.

I’ve attached some pictures here to show everyone what I’m working with, but basically I’m installing butcher block counters in a small kitchen in an old house with original framing and studs, so of course nothing is true and all the corners run out of square, more-or-less.

My longest piece of Butcher Block (around 12 feet or so) was a heavy beast to get in and required some finesse, and it’s likely not coming out to be scribed at all.

The counter top runs flush to the wall at the center, and obviously tapers off towards the corners, sitting with a decent gap on both ends on both the back wall and the side walls. Nothing over 3/4”, however. The severity of the gaps at each corner are inverted, in that one side has a wider gap at the back wall, and the other has a wider gap at the side wall.

The damage looks something like this: The back left corner gap (against the back wall) is what I’m most concerned about, and at the corner the widest gap is around 3/4”, and tapers up to about a 1/4” at say 15-16” down the back wall until flush. The same corner, but side wall gap is more tolerable, at around 3/8”.

Conversely the right corner gaps look something like:

Back right gap to back wall = 5/8”
Back right gap to side wall = 7/16”

My carpenter/lifer contractor guy tells me that anything over 1/4” is unacceptable and needs to be scribed…but this thing is a monster and it would probably cause more damage to the drywall trying to float the thing out a few more times to scribe it…..I know it might be sacrilegious, but would it be possible to just strategically cut a piece of color-matched strapping/fill piece from the excess butcher block and glue it in the gaps? There will be a subway tile backsplash going over the wall as well, which helps my case. I’m thinking square up the overhang up front and do my best to fill in the gaps that way.

Any help would be greatly appreciated here folks. I never prefer to do things the easy/lazy way, but this is one of those “forest for the trees” judgement calls.


24 replies so far

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

605 posts in 305 days


#1 posted 09-27-2018 03:51 AM

AS you know not all walls are straight. Add a back splash. Not only does a back splash keep water & fluids away from the wall. They also hide the irregularities. A back splash for countertops are normally 1”x3”. But to follow a crooked wall, try a 1/2”x3” strip to follow the wall to hide the gaps, then add another 1/2”x3” strip in front of it for the thickness, and caulk , these will bend easier than using a 1”x3” back splash…or… You could cut and glue filler strips for the backwall and then caulk. I’d put in the back splash then put the tiles above it. If you talk to your customer, notify them that the walls not straight, I’m sure they’ll agree to use a back splash.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2075 posts in 3693 days


#2 posted 09-27-2018 12:32 PM

You need to scribe the countertop to the wall. Yes, it’s annoying to get it out and back in, but that’s the only real solution.

After it’s scribed to the wall, install the tile backsplash. Subway tiles will be fine with an irregular wall, so long as whoever is doing the tiling knows what they’re about.

View rcs47's profile

rcs47

204 posts in 3524 days


#3 posted 09-27-2018 01:33 PM

Normally I would scribe the top. But check the front overhang on all tops before you make the decision. If you take 5/8” out of one, will it pull it back to the front of the cabinet? I would hate to go to all that work and then the drawer tops are visible.

With those wide gaps and a wood top, I would scribe filler pieces using the same material/color in 4/4 material.

Good luck

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4290 posts in 2162 days


#4 posted 09-27-2018 01:48 PM

I like the backsplash idea. You can mark and remove enough of the drywall at the center if needed and eliminate the gap and install the backsplash.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 330 days


#5 posted 09-27-2018 02:21 PM



Normally I would scribe the top. But check the front overhang on all tops before you make the decision. If you take 5/8” out of one, will it pull it back to the front of the cabinet? I would hate to go to all that work and then the drawer tops are visible.

With those wide gaps and a wood top, I would scribe filler pieces using the same material/color in 4/4 material.

Good luck

- rcs47

This is my thoughts exactly. There’s also the concern of (even if it was a smaller piece and easily removed etc.) reciprocal loss of overhang on the front end after scribing, to me, given that there’s gaps of just under 1/2” moving all the way up to 3/4” in one spot, wouldn’t this just look bad taking away so much overhang from scribing at that point?

View DS's profile

DS

3169 posts in 2815 days


#6 posted 09-27-2018 02:35 PM

You might consider amending a scribe-able piece to the back edge of your Top if your overhang might suffer the loss from scribing.

Scribing a Counter is Woodworking 101 type of basic training stuff, IMHO.
Walls are never straight, so figuring for scribe is automatic where I am concerned.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 330 days


#7 posted 09-27-2018 02:44 PM

Thanks for the help everyone. I know, scribing is the standard operating procedure here, but I’m going to get creative and fill the gap somehow, either with wood or just coverage via some type of metal strapping or tile backsplash. I really appreciate the help.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1294 days


#8 posted 09-27-2018 02:48 PM

If you are going to tile the walls anyway, then throw up another layer of sheetrock.

What’s going on with those corner cabinets?

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1319 posts in 2347 days


#9 posted 09-27-2018 02:48 PM

A couple of additional issues. From the pictures the top appers to have several gaps at joints. How will you address them? What are your plans for the angled cabinet in the corner?

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

574 posts in 597 days


#10 posted 09-27-2018 07:04 PM

What DS said, its a common problem in older and some newer homes, boys and gals just don’t seem to frame them straight, one only needs to add a piece to back and then scribe, sounds like a lot of work, but in the end the result will be great, and for sure unless there is upper cabinets, the tile guy is gonna loose his hair if he has any left, i’d have someone float the wall prior to tile, it will show up in anything applied to wall
best of luck
Rj in az

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Riggy

37 posts in 330 days


#11 posted 09-27-2018 08:31 PM



If you are going to tile the walls anyway, then throw up another layer of sheetrock.

What s going on with those corner cabinets?

- jbay

Which corner cabs, the sink portion or the dead corner?

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 330 days


#12 posted 09-27-2018 08:36 PM



A couple of additional issues. From the pictures the top appers to have several gaps at joints. How will you address them? What are your plans for the angled cabinet in the corner?

- Kazooman

Good question, glad you asked. Nothing is obviously screwed in place yet so any variances or gaps at the joints are just pre-finish assembly. At the joints I plan either to do a glue/biscuit method, miter bolts, or perhaps both. Anyone have experience with these on butcher block?

My bigger task is handling that corner area, which is for a drop-in sink. The front-face angle from the butt joint I plan to fill in with a grain matching triangle, which would fill in the front of the sink area and create stability for the two cross pieces. My issue, however, is that the sink would cut out most of the butt joint, leaving mainly a small (say 6-7”) portion in the back for connection (miter, biscuit, or otherwise), and then the front triangle as well. I can post some pics here to show you guys. Hope it’s not too crazy of a concoction.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1294 days


#13 posted 09-27-2018 08:48 PM


If you are going to tile the walls anyway, then throw up another layer of sheetrock.

What s going on with those corner cabinets?

- jbay

Which corner cabs, the sink portion or the dead corner?

- Riggy

It’s plural.
But, never mind.

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 330 days


#14 posted 09-27-2018 09:02 PM


If you are going to tile the walls anyway, then throw up another layer of sheetrock.

What s going on with those corner cabinets?

- jbay

Which corner cabs, the sink portion or the dead corner?

- Riggy

It s plural.
But, never mind.

- jbay

Yep, sorry. Far right corner is a dead corner, far left corner is kitchen sink.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5284 posts in 2704 days


#15 posted 09-28-2018 12:40 AM

I would have made a template of the counter top first thing and do most of the work in the shop.

With a wall that far out I’d scribe my template material to the back wall/walls first and then build on that. 1/4 thick strips of plywood or heavy cardboard and a hot glue gun for building the template.

This video will give you the basic idea if you’ve never made one.

https://youtu.be/WuKAT3IcDAA

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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