My Oak Kitchen Counter Tops Looked Like a Hill Billy After a Bad Fight Missing Some Serious Teeth. (How I Screwed Up and Then Fixed My Mistakes.)

About: There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would have thrown out or torn down! And there's no reason to buy new when you can build it yourself!

It seemed the perfect choice for my little country kitchen. I made my counter tops out of oak from out in my barn knowing FULL WELL that they would probably do EXACTLY what they did. I love how trolls online will still attempt to explain to me why this happened lol as if I didn't know exactly that this was going to happen.

In the end, my counter tops were created by me when I had absolutely no budget but a pile of oak in my barn. So I made them knowing full well that this was what was going to happen. So, then I fixed them and this is how I fixed them.

The first few boards beside the sink were all right so I added LOTS more nails to them and then, oh so carefully, started pulling up the rest of the tops. I have only incredible things to say about wood glue, the majority of the counter top came up in huge chunks, held together really well by nothing but the glue I put between the boards.

Step 1: When Things Go South...

I was not shy with the glue or the nails this time and did a certain amount of pounding them in, mostly to make myself feel better, pounding on things is always good for making me feel better! With the counter tops all together again (like they were the first time) I went around with my glue and filled in any lingering gaps.

After letting them dry over night I tackled them with the my sander the next morning. I sanded them really well, starting with medium grit sand paper and then moving on to fine grit until I, once again, had a lovely smooth surface. Back to lovely again!

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    8 Discussions

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    iceng

    3 years ago

    Great failures can lead to great success !

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    pfred2

    3 years ago

    Wow what a disaster. You did it all wrong, didn't you? Did you ever seal the underside of the counter top? Because if you seal one side, but not the other, you can get some pretty severe movements out of wood. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't matter. I think initially you made the trifecta of mistakes. First you didn't acclimate the wood, before working with it. Then you finished one side, but not the other. Finally you used inadequate fasteners to hold it down. Although running the grain perpendicular to the "easy" way didn't help you out any either. Because wood expands more across the grain, than along it. That multiplied everything on you.

    I think if it was me faced with a similar situation I'd have opted for using a dimensionally stable base, some 3/4 exterior plywood, then attached the wood lengthwise to that with mastic, and brads, up from the bottom. Then dealt with that as one monolithic slab. There's no guarantee my scheme would work either, but at least it tries to take wood's fluid nature into account.

    Would my way be hard? You bet. But nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. I think that is beginning to dawn on you now too.

    2 replies
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    aserialpeacepfred2

    Reply 3 years ago

    alternatively, instead of plywood as the base, what you could have done (and could still do) is glue some strips off wood across them on the underside to make it more stable. glue will either keep it totally still or fair, whearas metal fasteners always have a little bit of play, and will wiggle/cut their way loose as the wood shifts every season.

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    pfred2aserialpeace

    Reply 3 years ago

    You want the wood to move. You're actually not going to stop it from happening. Strips of wood across grain is a definite no no when it comes to wood construction too. Plywood is dimensionally stable because the layers alternate, and there are an odd number of plys. In other words it is designed to work. Mastic is a kind of glue, in case you were unaware.