Making a Walnut Countertop

I have always liked the look of walnut countertops in a kitchen.  After viewing them in various kitchen magazines and on websites like Houzz, that want soon became a need…

Walnut Countertop
Shown: Edge-grain walnut counter top, receiving its first coat of tung oil.

It wasn’t until I came across an article in Fine Homebuilding Magazine in 2010 that explained the process of making your own walnut countertops that I decided to give it a try and make three countertops while renovating our camp.

I decided to make an ‘edge grain countertop‘ for this project which required making thirty-two walnut strips that were each 3/4″ x 1 3/4″ x the length needed for each counter length (+2″ extra).  I then laminated 10-11 pieces together so that I could run each 8″ wide piece through my thickness planer.  I then used a biscuit joiner to glue and laminate the three 8″ boards together which resulted in a 24″ wide counter top.

After lots of sanding with an orbital sander starting with 60 grit sandpaper and working my way up to 320 grit sandpaper, I then used a 50/50 mix of pure tung oil and citrus solvent to coat the counter each day for 5 days until I was left with the counters shown below.

DSC02736

DSC02735
Edge Grain Walnut Countertop, finished using 50% Tung Oil &50% Citric Solvent mix.

Four years later, I have now finished my second project for a new home build.  This counter is also walnut, but this time I used 2″ x 6″ x 8′ boards and made a ‘face grain‘ counter that resembles a piece of furniture on our kitchen island.  The other difference with this counter is the finish.  Instead of using Tung Oil, we used Waterlox, which is a glossy finish.  We have had it around a year and half now and love it.  We will probably look to refinish the three counters at our camp with Waterlox next.

Step One: The bare boards lined up, glued and clamped.
Step One: The bare boards lined up, glued and clamped.
Step Two: Router the edge, cut out the sink, and finish with 4-5 coats of Waterlox.
Step Two: Router the edge, cut out the sink, and finish with 4-5 coats of Waterlox.
The Final Product.
The Final Product.

18406576781_96cb602326_k

For more information on making walnut countertops see the following:

  1. Fine Homebuilding Magazine Article from January 2010
  2. Devos Custom Woodworking 
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