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Thread: Friend wants to make end grain countertops

  1. #1

    Friend wants to make end grain countertops

    I need some help here For a friend of mine that wants to build end grain countertops for his kitchen.

    He was wondering what thickness to cut the pieces and if he should glue them to another substrate? He was thinking of 1/4" pieces glued to plywood but I think that will just create problems with expansion and contraction of the wood.

    If we make it a full 1-1/2" thick is there anything we need to do or look out for. The tops will be about 28" deep and anywhere from 3' to 8' long.

    Then we need to think in terms of a finish for them.

  2. #2
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    Hmm, I think wood likes to expand and contract more across the grain. I'd imagine a full sized end grain counter top would want to 'move' quite a bit.

    And while end grain does have some 'self' healing properties in a cutting board, I'm not sure I'd want it oriented that way on a counter.

    It would be tough to have a good finish on it and it would drink up any stains that happened to get spilled on it.

    Do they really want to be able to use the whole thing as a cutting board?

  3. #3
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    I have seen butchers tables that were all end grain. The ones I have seen were several inches thick. They also had no finish. I'd say a natural finish like mineral oil would be best.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    It's not that they want the whole top as a cutting board but are more after the look of the growth rings. They were even thinking of using a 2 part epoxy for the top but I know that wouldn't be a good idea.

    I'm just wondering if there is a way to make the top and get the look they are after without the problems of an end grain top that large.

  5. #5
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Bar Top Finish ??
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Something like that Don.

  7. #7
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    Well, a bar top finish would keep it from getting stained.

    And it would be unique looking, if they used big enough around pieces of wood.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Bar top finish, you thinking enviro-tech?
    Here are some samples of it.

    http://www.finishing.com/175/60_bottle_cap_tables.shtml
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  9. #9
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    You can dissolve paraffin in mineral spirits and soak the counter top with the heated mixture. It should take up a lot of the mixture and it is food safe and renewable. I am way late making a small section of counter top for my brothers kitchen remodel. I have been thinking about cherry, maple and walnut end grain. I would wonder about setting hot pans on this type of counter top though. The piece I will make is for the micro-wave
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Downes View Post
    You can dissolve paraffin in mineral spirits and soak the counter top with the heated mixture. It should take up a lot of the mixture and it is food safe and renewable. I am way late making a small section of counter top for my brothers kitchen remodel. I have been thinking about cherry, maple and walnut end grain. I would wonder about setting hot pans on this type of counter top though. The piece I will make is for the micro-wave
    I use a mixture of Mineral Oil and Paraffin wax and heat that in a double boiler for my end grain cutting boards. Are you sure about the mineral spirits?

    I set hot pans on some maple squares all the time. REALLY hot pans will scorch them pretty bad, but a little sanding will bring them back. I wouldn't set hot pans on any counter top though, cause it's so easy to have a small wooden square handy instead...

    I've made boards out of Cherry and Maple and I love the way they contrast. Walnut would probably add a nice darker touch as well.

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