LumberJocks

Need help with uneven butcher block counter!!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Bcemail posted 01-06-2021 07:23 PM 420 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bcemail's profile

Bcemail

65 posts in 1516 days


01-06-2021 07:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: counter top butcher block

I just installed a butcher block countertop on a new island I put together. Despite trying to make everything level in every direction, keeping the top flat, etc., I’ve got a gap of 1/4” on one corner. Going by my level, it looks like the counter is cupped a bit over the 50” width.

In the picture, you can see the gap. If I push down, I can get it to be flush without the other corner lifting up. Should I screw this down some how? I was planning on just using silicone to hold it in place, but that might have not been correct (I was just going to do that since that’s how our old smaller granite island top was held down).

I can use L brackets on the inside, which I could also do in the other corners if it would be more secure. I wasn’t sure how much I needed to allow for movement. Maybe a bracket like this
with silicone? Or a regular bracket but not tightened all the way (since I have some of those already)? The cabinets are MDF/particleboard so they won’t be moving.

Thanks!


9 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2299 posts in 1596 days


#1 posted 01-06-2021 08:00 PM

Who made the top?

If you bought it, return it.

If you made it, start planing.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Bcemail's profile

Bcemail

65 posts in 1516 days


#2 posted 01-06-2021 08:36 PM

I made it but already finished it. Not sure if I can plane it correctly (only have a small plane)

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2299 posts in 1596 days


#3 posted 01-06-2021 08:44 PM

Time for a bigger plane.

Did you finish the underside equally as the top? If no, it will continue to warp even if you plane it flat.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View northwoodsman's profile (online now)

northwoodsman

510 posts in 4755 days


#4 posted 01-06-2021 08:48 PM

Are you sure the top is warped and it’s not the island or the floor the island is sitting on that is not level/flat? I would start from the ground and trouble shoot my way up. I would use a much longer level as well, it appears that you are using a very small one in the photo. Instead of planing anything I would use shims between the cabinet and the top. Did you leave clearance above the drawers? In the photo it looks like the drawer tops are flush with the sides. This may cause a problem down the road. If you use shims, I would add a small piece of trim to cover the gap, painted to match the cabinet. You want the top to be level every direction otherwise you will be frustrated forever by having things roll off it onto the floor, including liquids when spilled.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View Bcemail's profile

Bcemail

65 posts in 1516 days


#5 posted 01-07-2021 01:48 AM

T


Are you sure the top is warped and it s not the island or the floor the island is sitting on that is not level/flat? I would start from the ground and trouble shoot my way up. I would use a much longer level as well, it appears that you are using a very small one in the photo. Instead of planing anything I would use shims between the cabinet and the top. Did you leave clearance above the drawers? In the photo it looks like the drawer tops are flush with the sides. This may cause a problem down the road. If you use shims, I would add a small piece of trim to cover the gap, painted to match the cabinet. You want the top to be level every direction otherwise you will be frustrated forever by having things roll off it onto the floor, including liquids when spilled.

- northwoodsman

Thanks, I did use my 6’ level, just had the square in the photo to show the gap. Over the 50” width, the center was about 1/16” lower, so this corner of the cabinet must be a little off. The same is true at the other end, but that’s an overhang so you can’t tell. I tried to shim everything when I was installing, but got tricky getting everything level to the floor, to each other, etc. After everything, 1/4” is probably as good as I could hope for.

The drawers open OK, and they were bought so were designed for a counter top. I’ve played around with shims in different areas, but I keep fixing one area then getting another area off. The corner with the gap is also the corner where our cook top is going in, which might weigh it down enough. If there’s about 1/8” left, is it OK to hold it down and use a bracket? I know I don’t want to fight the wood, but can’t image getting everything, including the top, perfectly level. But that might just be me and my mediocre skills!

As far as finishing goes, I used Waterlox and the recommended using some of the tung oil sealer on the bottom, but only a couple of coats, where as I used 3 or 4 on the top and then a satin coat. Hope this was OK, but they also said that most counter tops get installed and then finished, and usually just the top.

All in all, it’s not too far off. And it pushes into place very easily. If I was gluing something like this, I would be confident that I could just clamp it without much pressure.

For something like this, would brackets be normally used at different locations? Or would a butcher block counter just be installed on top of caulk?

Thanks again for the help!

View Walker's profile

Walker

452 posts in 1480 days


#6 posted 01-07-2021 01:55 AM

Assuming the butcher block is flat, why not make a hardwood sort of ‘face frame’ for the top of the existing cabinet. Or a ‘sub-top’. Level that as needed via planning, sanding, etc. Then attach the top to that using common table top attachment methods. Or if the butcher block is not flat, tailor the ‘face frame’ to it.

-- ~Walker

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

1033 posts in 395 days


#7 posted 01-07-2021 02:01 AM



Time for a bigger plane.

Did you finish the underside equally as the top? If no, it will continue to warp even if you plane it flat.

- Madmark2


A common misconception. Finishing both sides may slow things, but wood will do what it does regardless.

-- Darrel

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6635 posts in 2396 days


#8 posted 01-07-2021 02:14 AM

Unless and until the top of the base is level you may be wasting your time. You gotta have a a good foundation.

Use a long straight edge to check the flatness of the countertop. Is the cup consistent from end to end? Did you notice the cupping when you first made the top or did it develop later? Storing a panel without proper airflow on both sides can cause it to warp. Sometimes you can fix that by putting the concave side down on a bench and shining a bright, hot light on the convex side to dry it out a little. Check it often and if it flattens out, store it leaning against a wall or with stickers underneath it so that air can flow on all sides. It is generally better to finish both sides the same way so that moisture changes are consistent on both sides.

You definitely need to use some brackets that allow for the lateral movement with moisture changes.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Bcemail's profile

Bcemail

65 posts in 1516 days


#9 posted 01-08-2021 04:48 PM

Thanks for all the help. Checked the base and cabinets for level, and they are pretty close. At one point, the beam under this room had to be jacked up, so I’m pretty sure the floor hasn’t been level at any point!

After a day or two inside, the top has definitely adjusted, and now the middle seems to be proud by about 1/8”. I was finishing it in a room that was a porch so it’s inside but not heated/cooled. It seems like if I screw the middle down, it will pretty easily go flat. I ordered some brackets that allow for movement so I’ll use those. Also, these are IKEA cabinets, so they have a metal bracket on the top the counter sits on. I’ll drill some oversized holes and use a screw with a washer in those spots I think, which I’ve seen recommended. The holes they come with are mead for their veneered counters, which wouldn’t move. Was starting to wish I went with those, but hoping the real wood works out in the end. Trying to remind myself people have had butcher block counters for centuries and made them work. Even without the internet to help!!

Not sure if I need a bead of silicone underneath or not. Since they sit on the metal brackets, can’t see that doing much good, right? Once section sits on a half wall, so might silicone there as a buffer?

Thanks again for all the help!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com