May 22, 2017
When we were designing our new kitchen, I knew almost immediately that I wanted an island top made from wood. I love the warm and authentic feel of wood, and I wanted the surface to be different than the other countertops around the perimeter of the kitchen which are quartz. My dad, who is a very skilled woodworker, agreed to make it for us, so it is a very special piece.
I'll show you the basic steps of how it was made. I followed my dad around with a camera while he worked on it. Partly because I knew I wanted to show you and partly because I am fascinated with woodworking and the process of turning rough lumber into something beautiful and functional.
We started with choosing the boards we wanted to use. The wood was slabs of walnut bought from a lumberyard in my mom's hometown in Ohio. We chose boards that we felt would go well together, and I also wanted some boards to have interesting grains in it. Then the boards were measured and cut to size. We decided to make the countertop extra thick at 2-1/4". My brother-in-law Joel, who owns a woodshop where he makes gorgeous kitchens and furniture, helped my dad with the first steps of creating the island.
One of the boards had a shotgun pellet in it, which was fun to find. You can see it on the photo above. The boards were cut to size, then glued together with wood glue and clamped.
.After the glue dried, my dad sanded the wood and filled in all the holes with epoxy. Then he used a homemade tool to scrape the top of the wood, giving it some texture. We wanted a hand-scraped look, so that when the wood gets inevitably marked up by the kids who sit at the counter, it won't be quite as noticeable. Then he sanded it with a fine grit sanding block and vacuumed all the dust out of the wood.
The final step was to apply a finish to the wood. We didn't apply a stain to the wood, so it's the natural walnut color. My dad used a finish called Rubio Monocoat that needs just one coat. The reason we used it is because if we need to repair the countertop in the future, we can sand off small spots, then put the finish on it without needing to refinish the entire countertop. It is very easy to use, fast-drying, and doesn't have a strong smell, but it's expensive compared to other finishes. We used this finish for the open shelving in the kitchen, as well as the arched pantry door that hubs made.
If you live in our area and are interested in a countertop like this, I highly recommend contacting my brother-in-law Joel. He is an expert on wood countertops and does an impeccable job.
If you have any questions about the countertop, leave me a comment! I love our wood top and am so glad we went in this direction!
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