This is a tutorial on how I built the mahogany counter tops in the little house out of plywood. After I built the upper kitchen cabinets I headed to my local lumber yard to purchase cabinet doors and they didn’t have smooth pine plywood. Like, what?! Who doesn’t have sanded plywood made of pine?!?!?! All they had (in at least 3/4 of an inch) was plywood with a mahogany veneer so that's what I used. So, when I needed a flat surface for a counter top that I could build myself: why not use the same mahogany plywood I had used for the upper cabinet doors?!
Step 1: Getting and Cutting the Plywood
The idea was born for mahogany counter tops and a friend of mine helped me one weekend go pick up a full sheet, bring it back and cut it to size using a skill saw. One sheet managed to (just barely) provide me with the big L shaped piece and the small piece for the kitchen sink. I used 2x4s run across the tops of the cabinets to provide support but to also pick it up so I could trim out the outside and make it look much thicker then it was. (I also wanted to cover that ugly plywood edge.)
Step 2: Securing It in Place
I tacked it down with brad nails and liquid nails NOTE: I used a lot of liquid nails and only a few very strategically placed brads in the top of the counter top, I knew the glue, the weight of the plywood itself and the trim would help hold it in place. I trimmed it out in barn wood also using brad nails and liquid nails and sanded it using my DeWalt orbital sander. Another note: when I say I sanded it I mean I really just VERY CAREFULLY sanded the barn wood, this plywood is veneer and could take almost no sanding whatsoever before I went through the mahogany top. It was difficult because I really couldn’t hit it at all even where it met the barn wood trim. I filled in the nail holes and any gaps with mahogany wood filler and carefully hand sanded the mahogany top before wiping it all down with a damp paper towel.
From there I put on five separate coats of poly acrylic. Why did I choose a water based poly acrylic? Well, honestly, I chose it for the same reason everyone ends up choosing the water based: It dries faster by literally hours, it doesn’t yellow and its not nearly so toxic to the person who is applying it. So, I went with a semi gloss poly acrylic by Minwax and did five coats over a few days. I hand sanded after the first two coats with 220 grit sand paper and right before the last coat.
Step 3: Completion
You can see I also built a little “backer” to cover up the ugly back of the stove using 2x2s and barn wood that also got the sanding and poly treatment. It is wide enough to provide a shelf for spices, salt and pepper etc. I think it helped tie the the sink area to this area nicely. Not to mention those adorable wood knobs! Aren’t they just precious? They’re like little wood buttons! I purchased them from Amazon for only $8 for 20 of them!