And on a budget!
We spent around $500.00 on our counters and compared to spending $4000.00 at Home Depot or Lowe’s I’d say that’s a steal! We also looked into Ikea butcher block counters, but when we thought of the wide plank style we came up with the idea of making them ourselves.
Tools and materials you’ll need:
I know it’s a long list, but these counters will last you a long time and they look like expensive counter tops and you’ll be glad you bought all the right tools and materials when all said and done!
Start by measuring your cabinets that the counter will be sitting on and cut the plywood with a 3/4″ overhang on the front. Use the same measurements for the oak except add on 1 1/2″ on the sides for your counter top overhang, now cut the oak boards to those measurements.
We used two different widths of red oak boards for variety. Some of them we even ripped down to 7″ wide to fit better. This all depends on personal preference and cabinet depth.
Once you have all your boards cut to size you can sand the corners and edges like we did to add that worn plank look. (this is optional) Make sure not to sand the front corners and edge of that front board since you will be attaching the trim to the front and you want it to be as flush as possible! Sand with rough and then smooth sand paper
This step was pretty time consuming, but for us was well worth the added character.
Glue and clamp the oak boards to the plywood. Then nail or screw the boards together from the underside (with the 1 1/4″ nails or screws) for fewer visible holes.
Now what we did to make the boards appear thick like butcher block is to attach the 3/4″ trim to the front of the counter tops. Flush on the top. On the sides we doubled up the oak where the plywood ends underneath.
*TIP* try to match up the wood grain as much as possible with the oak boards and the 3/4″ trim.
Cut and nail the trim to the front of the counters making the top as flush as you can.
The front trim also makes your counter top have the correct size overhang.
Once your counters are all assembled it’s time to patch the nail holes, then sand and stain!
Start by sanding the counters with rough and then smooth sand paper.
Then apply your stain if you choose to stain them. If you like the light look then feel free to skip the staining step. We applied two coats of dark walnut wood stain. Follow the instructions on the back of the can.
Once the stain is completely dry it’s time to poly. Read the instructions on the poly can. We applied one coat with paint brushes making sure the bubbles disappeared as we went along and once that coat was dry we sanded with smooth sand paper. Then we dusted the counters and added a second coat of poly.
Let dry in a non humid, non dusty place.
We then attached the counters to the cabinets with angled brackets from underneath the counters.
We decided to make our sink under-mount. This is personal preference. If you decide not to do this then simply cut your hole for your sink with a jigsaw and put your sink in place. Silicone around the edges for a water tight edge.
If you do choose to do the under-mount then you’ll want to keep the plywood back a couple of inches and double up on the oak where your sink will be. That way you won’t see plywood around the inside edge of the counter tops.
Once you have your oak doubled up, create a template to use when you cut the hole. Get out your hole saw that has the same diameter as the corner of your sink and cut out the corners with this and cut the rest with a jig saw or saw of your choice.
If you are really good with a jigsaw feel free to use that on the edges instead of the hole saw.
Now sand with rough and then smooth sand paper until the corners and edges are all smooth and evened out. This was a very time consuming task for me.
Once you have stained and applied poly to the rest of the counters you’ll need to add a line of silicone to keep it water tight.
And you’re DONE!
Enjoy your custom, hand made, very inexpensive, BEAUTIFUL counter tops! I know I enjoy them every day.
Click the image below to see our complete kitchen renovation.