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Old 02-28-2018, 08:22 PM   #1
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Countertop material?

This week I am building Ridley's cabinets (1x2 poplar frame, with 1/2" plywood on the backs and 1/4" ply in the side walls).

And I have noted the advice to attach the side panels with angle brackets rather than glue-and-screw. Yep.

NEXT ISSUE:
I need to make a galley countertop, about 18"x 54". In that span it will have four or five cross supports, so I am not worried about sagging/bowing. I will -- at some time in the future -- install a sink, and maybe a drop-in stove.

The commercial (Ikea) countertops, thick and heavy, are overkill.

In my last van I used a "project plank" from Lowes -- glue laminated pine, 3/4" thick. With several coats of polyurethane, it worked well. Unforunately the quality of the "panel plank" available in 2018 in contrast to 2010 seems to be .... lacking.

QUESTION: do I need 3/4" thick or would 1/2" suffice, keeping in mind that at some point I will add a sink and stove? For sure 3/4" will be less likely to warp....maybe. But would 1/2" look dorky?

Desired aesthetic: wood. Butcher block would be lovely but probably not attainable in just 3/4" thick. (OK, anything is attainable for $$$)

I could buy 3/4"Baltic Birch and stain/poly it. It is easy to work with, edge looks OK. In central TX, my current location, it is easily sourced for about $50/sheet (60"x60"). However, I would have a lot left over....

I could buy BigBox plywood and laminate it....but that seems like a lot more work that the Baltic birch. And I would have even more waste.

Would it work to buy 3/8" Baltic Birch and glue two layers together? Or since I don't have a million clamps, would I be setting myself up for misery and heartache?

Other ideas? Advice about thickness?

Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:02 PM   #2
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We used two layers of 1/2” BB glued and screwed together with with plastic laminate glued to the top for our counter. Easy and light weight. Just remember to plan where your sink and stove will be located so that the cross member supports will be in the right place.
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrie View Post
We used two layers of 1/2” BB glued and screwed together with with plastic laminate glued to the top for our counter. Easy and light weight. Just remember to plan where your sink and stove will be located so that the cross member supports will be in the right place.
Great idea------where it me building this top for the perimeter supports I'd screw/glue fasten them in a permanent way. For any cross supports I'd use pocket screws to hold them in place until your sink and stove dimensions and final location are established. That way if you need to relocate a cross support it would be easy to do.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:03 AM   #4
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Don't discount the cheaper American birch ply from Home Depot (or others). I build almost all of my cabinets out of this 3/4" birch ply. I don't care for the look of the sides of plywood so I T-mold it which is pretty easy if you have access to a router. The T molding bit is about $15 and the molding itself is cheap.

I do think anything less than 3/4" for a countertop would look a little wimpy.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA View Post
Great idea------where it me building this top for the perimeter supports I'd screw/glue fasten them in a permanent way. For any cross supports I'd use pocket screws to hold them in place until your sink and stove dimensions and final location are established. That way if you need to relocate a cross support it would be easy to do.
Yep, that’s exactly what i’m doing. BTW, my Kreg pocket jig is my new favorite tool.

Larrie — glad to hear that doubling up on Baltic birch worked out well. I am leaning in that direction, especially if I can get 3/8” material.

86Scotty —- yes, anything less than 3/4” would definitely look weird. I don’t have a router but I suppose I could use edge banding tape.

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:27 AM   #6
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Yep, that’s exactly what i’m doing. BTW, my Kreg pocket jig is my new favorite tool.

Thanks!
Mine too---had one for a few years now. Sometimes find myself looking for ways or places to use those.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:50 AM   #7
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To reduce weight you can always build the top from either 1/2 or 3/4 sheet stock and glue a 1-3” wide band of material around the perimeter of the top (you can add one or more layers). This gives the illusion of thickness without all the weight. You would edge band the top with either laminate or a hard wood to hide the multiple layers.


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Old 03-01-2018, 12:30 PM   #8
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We used 1/2" ply with a laminate top and the ply edge. I think it looks fine, though my cabinets don't look chunky - it kind of depends on the look I think.


I like the idea of doing a thickened edge (like they would for granite) if you are sticking with wood, or going with the 3/4" and T-molding like Eric described.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:55 PM   #9
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Might want to look at something like King Starboard.

https://www.interstateplastics.com/K...calculate.y=20


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