What provision was made to allow for changes in the width of the boards as the humidity changes? That is a classic cross grain situation.
Kerry Fullington [10/13/2010]
Matt, I have noticed that most of the solid wood counter tops people post on this site are done as yours are with end to edge butt joints at the corners. Aesthetically the tops would look better mitered in the corners. Why do you not miter the tops?
Matt Wolfe [10/13/2010]
Thanks for the comments.
First, the house the counter tops went in is a 125 yr old traditional home that was being renovated, (which you cant see from the photos), they thought miter joints were to modern. And for wood movement, If you know how wood is going to move, you can control which way it moves. The left and right counter tops have three tenons. The one towards the inside of the room is glued. The other two are pinned with draw pins in elongated holes from below. A modified technique from breadboard ends. Under the 13/16" back splash or trim there is room for the tops to move without being seen. They are also attached with washer head screws in elongated screw holes to the cabinets in the other areas.
Miters are possible with solid wood, it requires more work to keep the joint tight while still allowing for movement.
Dave S [10/13/2010]
Good job handling wood movement. I first wondered if you accommodated movement, then when I saw your 18th century work, I figured you knew how to work with the wood movement. You solved the problem with a good, proven method. It is always a pleasure seeing how a maker's background guides his/her problem solving skills.
First, I like the natural character of the wood! What thickness are the countertops? It looks like you installed a strip of solid maple on the end of the counter to hide the end grain? What type of glue did you use to glue the slabs of maple together?
D Brown [10/15/2010]
Matt , Great looking tops , I'll bet the home owners are thrilled. I have done tops similar and also chose not to miter ,in the last Walnut tops one leg would of had to been like 15' long the other 13' . Just as we know boards move across the width so do miters , to an extent they do not allow for seasonal movement .
Douglas Jones [10/25/2010]
They are indeed beautiful tops! Interesting the clients thought miters are "too modern". Movement is always a problem. But could not have controlled movement by gluing up narrower boards? I realize the look might have been different, but I think that would have helped with movement.
Good job with the tenons. I made a gun cabinet (my shop is on the Gulf Coast, v. humid) for a customer in Colorado. Everyone said it would crack to pieces but using techniques similar to yours, it's still in one piece with no cracks after 5 years.
Milan Pilja [10/26/2010]
Really nice work, now and forever wood is always the best. Matt, do you know about the wide range of counertop connectors by Zipbolt?
Casey Van Drunen [10/28/2010]
Very nice grain. What kind of finish did you use?
Jon Morris [11/04/2010]
Nice work! I also believe that mitered corners would caused ugly tapered gaps which could not be controlled as you have because of more expansion and contraction in width than in length. Well done!
Matt Wolfe [11/04/2010]
Thanks for all the comments! For finish I used three coats of Tried and True varnish, hand rubbed. Also gluing up multiple smaller boards will not decrease wood movement. Gluing up quarter sawn boards would decrease wood movement, doing this would not have the same overall visual effect.