Wood Countertop Construction and Care
From contributor D:
I helped install solid maple tops in a friend's kitchen about 5 years ago. These have held up fairly well, although he has asked me to help him take them out and refinish. As contributor B said, worry about the water!
From contributor L:
Check out www.ballyblock.com. They sell factory made counters with an excellent finish. I have installed several in different kitchens and my customers love it! Still, listen to the others and seal all exposed wood, especially end grain around the sink opening.
From contributor V:
About a year ago I had a request for a countertop made of wood. The designer did not want a maple top. I ended up using Santos mahogany, 2.5 inches thick (only the sun is heavier). The most important thing I found was having perfect s4s stock, no snipe. We glued it up in 12 inch sections on a Taylor clamp and then joined each section. Some tops were 42 inches wide. We used about 15 gallons of Titebond 3. The top was finished with a food safe wipe-on sealer. I saw them not too long ago and they look good - even the end grain around the sink area. I think that the Santos was a good selection. For one, it is darker than maple and doesn't stain as much. It also has a lot of natural oil in it. As for the cost, the labor is the most costly part on a job like this. If you use crappy material to start off, it will only come back to haunt you later.
From contributor C:
All very good advice and experiences. Many similar to mine. I live with maple kitchen tops. Most durable finish from years of use is several coats of good polyurethane, block sanded and well brushed. Super caulk the sink in with 5200 – it's the first place any discoloration will appear. I like my cherry plank top on my kitchen island best. It's taken the most wear but has the nicest patina. Light steel wool once or twice a year and a good rubbed-in coat of oil, boiled linseed or tung, whichever is under the sink.
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