Beach House Kitchen – Counter Tops

Oak on One Side

On the sink side of the kitchen, we are doing wood counter tops. Here is the slab on left-hand side, which will run from the sidewall to over the lip of the apron sink.

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The wood came to us via a long path…

A friend of mine had this huge 1970’s solid oak entertainment center built by his brother. Picture a 6′ tall, 6′ wide, 20″ deep unit with mainly record album sized cubby holes. It weighed about 200 pounds, and was well built. It was not longer in use, they were moving, and it had to find a new home.

It ended up that they couldn’t even give it away, because it was so massive. In a last chance effort before taking it to the landfill, he sent me a message asking if I would be interested in it for the lumber. I’m always interested in lumber, so he and I took it apart (not easy), and I hauled about 100 board-feet of lumber home. He was happy I was putting it to good use (and I offered them a weekend at the beach house), and I was happy that my counter top would cost nothing.Image 2016-06-23 - 1784

I cut all the boards into 6″ widths and planed them down to fresh wood. Then I glued them up with support strips on the underside.

We are going to leave it light, use mineral oil on it, and allow it to patina over time. We’ve had good luck with Howard Butcher Block Conditioner on our wood cutting boards. I did a test piece and I like the color.

Granite on the Other

On the other side of the kitchen (the stove side), we are going to install granite. I was initially planning wood everywhere, but my DW wanted a spot for hot pans and to be able to roll things out.

Granite was not our first idea. We were going to go with concrete for the rustic appearance but decided against it. I like the idea of concrete, but I had these issues with it:

  • It would take at least two days to complete, likely three. I don’t want to spend that much time on it.
  • I have never done one before, and the kitchen isn’t the best place to learn. I need to practice on some small table top – more time.
  • A local granite fabricator ran a great sale on some of their slow-moving slabs, and the cost ended up being not much more than all the materials for a good quality concrete counter.

Best Marble and Granite fabricated a 14 sq. ft. slab for $450, including surface and edge polishing. The standard cost for the quality of granite I chose was $1,400. I feel like I got a very good deal.

They did a great job, were on time, and they loaded it on my trailer for me – so they get my recommendation and the link above.

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It’s 70 miles to the beach house, and some of the highway is a bit rough – so I didn’t want to transport it flat. Everything I read said that granite cracks easily in transport unless vertical. I built an A-frame stand out of a pallet and some 2×4’s, which is securely screwed to the trailer bed. This keeps the slab supported at 10 degrees, which is what I found recommended online.

Here is the granite I picked out. My DW was out of town so I just went for it, and she likes it. Sometimes you have to take risks, and know what your wife likes…

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It’s called “New Venetian”. It should pick up the grey of the cabinets nicely. This “remnant” piece ended up being a larger slab from one of the higher priced groups. I guess they couldn’t do a full kitchen out of it.

Here is the cabinet it’s going on to, which is almost completed:

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The two longer legs will support the overhang for bar seating.

The next thing I have to do is build a dolly to wheel the granite into the house. The slab isn’t huge, but it still weighs 260 pounds. I will get my son and friend help me move and install it, but just to be on the safe side I will make something like one of these:

Could we carry it in? Yes. But I’m not interested in getting anyone hurt, or dropping the slab. It’s worth the hour or two it will take to make it.

Time and Money: $450 and 2 days

  • Oak counter – free
  • Granite counter – $450
  • Dolly – free, I already have the tires
  • 1 day to fully fabricate the oak counters
  • 1 day to transport and install everything

Update: I built the dolly

Since I already had the 10″ tires, it was just a trip to Home Depot for some hardware to get what I needed for $10. I used some scrap plywood to make the base:

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I didn’t worry about cutting the threaded rod down, as this is a one-time-use item, then I’m taking it apart.

The slab fits in the slot with about 1/4″ extra space.

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I post another update on how well in works in about a week.


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