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RetRRman

Help with kitchen peninsula table top

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First post here. I have a lot of wood framing, flooring, etc. experience (and tools) but not furniture building and need some guidance to put a top on a kitchen peninsula that is going to be used as a tabletop.

I would like the top to “appear” to be 1 1/2” thick and I'm working with 3/4” thick 1 x 6 hardwoods boards (s4s) that I already have. My thoughts are to glue up boards for a roughly 38” x 84” rectangle. I plan on 3 board glue up and a separate 4 board glue up then finally gluing the two sections together. I do not have enough hardwood material to double stack for the 1 1/2” look (and it would seem like a waste of material anyway) so I thought I would glue assembled hardwood top to a quality piece of 3/4” plywood. The plywood wood be 4” or so narrower on all sides so I could double up the exposed overhangs with same hardwood for 1 1/2” look. I’d fill 38” sides with 4” end grain cut offs.

Cheaper and easier to use hardwood veneer plywood and band it with 1 x 2 hardwood I suppose but I want to use up this lumber and want more of a slab look.

Any comments (good or bad) welcome. If this is an accepted method for a top my question would then be procedural (things like should I glue hardwood boards to plywood at same time as gluing them together to make top, etc)

thank you

Dave

 

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Hardwood moves with the humidity changes . And they change all year long.  Some movement is quite a bit, while most is minor.  Plywood on the other hand doesn't move, or not enough to measure. If you glue one that moves to one that doesn't move. Your' likely to get seperations at the hardwood joints. There are Epoxy's that remain flexible that can be used  to keep your two together, I'd look into those.  I'd put the ply down first, be sure it's secured. Do a dry fit to be sure the hardwood top is going to do what you want, then lift it up, add your epoxy in several places, clamp the two tops together and add weight, and just let it dry and settle in.  Then do your trim work. 

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The top of my kitchen peninsular is similar. It is made of 30mm timber doubled up to look like 60mm. It is constructed with a double layer around the edges as you describe, but with no plywood. Where you suggest having plywood I have a void. So long as the double-thickness around the edge is wide enough to span the overhang and reach the sides of the unit for support, at least on two opposite sides, that is OK.

My worktop was bought in, rather than being something I made myself. The supplier was Kvik so you may find details on their web site. The double thickness covers 3 sides only; the end that goes against the wall is never seen and is single thickness only. The opposite end, parallel to the wall and in the middle of the room, has an overhang so you can sit at it with your knees underneath it. The double thickness here does not reach the supporting unit so the worktop is only supported along the 2 edges perpendicular to the wall. That works OK and nobody sees it unless they crawl on hands and knees.

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1 hour ago, RichardA said:

Hardwood moves with the humidity changes . And they change all year long.  Some movement is quite a bit, while most is minor....

Thanks Richard. Good insight. I’d have to do some research to find a flexible epoxy. 

I will seal the bottom side of the hardwood top before attaching to plywood base. After final tweaks, easing edges etc. would it be wise to do final finish (plan is UV resistant dye, sanding sealer, gel stain, satin poly) before attaching top to plywood (while still in the workshop) or wait to final finish until after attached. I’m not sure if it matters but would prefer to attach it fully finished.

thanks

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1 hour ago, Wood Basher said:

The top of my kitchen peninsular is similar....

Thanks WB. I suppose I could do it without the plywood as you have. My concern was overall strength as this top will overhang approximately 12” on one long side to use as an additional surface to eat, use laptop, etc. I would be using decorative corbels to help support the overhang. 

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If you're going to surround the plywood with the hardwood bands glued to the top panel, I'm not sure how firmly you need to attach the top panel to the plywood base.  At that size, even with the top panel 4" wider on each side, there won't be much tendency for it to tip - and you could easily make the plywood base a little larger and make the hardwood bands narrower.  I wonder if some silicone caulk between the top panel and plywood might work - it would keep the top from sliding on the plywood, but would also let the top panel expand and contract with humidity.

Are you planning any sort of edge treatment for the top?  Don't know that you need anything elaborate, but a little round-over or a chamfer might be a nice finish look.

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10 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

....Are you planning any sort of edge treatment for the top?  Don't know that you need anything elaborate, but a little round-over or a chamfer might be a nice finish look.

Maybe a 1/4” round over bit to remove sharp edge. With plywood mechanically attached to base cabinets you may very well be correct about the hardwood top not being able to tip. I didn’t think of that. Silicone would probably work well too.

thanks

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+1 on the silicon.  Silicon on the edges where movement is expected and glue down the center - about 4" wide.

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15 hours ago, RetRRman said:

I suppose I could do it without the plywood as you have. My concern was overall strength as this top will overhang approximately 12” on one long side to use as an additional surface to eat, use laptop, etc. I would be using decorative corbels to help support the overhang. 

I don't think you need the plywood to strengthen the overhang. I also have a short overhang for similar reasons as you. The company who supplied my top have much longer overhangs in their showrooms; by memory 3 ft or more. OK, they use thicker tops than you intend to do but you will have a shorter overhang and supporting corbels so I wouldn't worry.

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14 hours ago, Wood Basher said:

I don't think you need the plywood to strengthen the overhang. I also have a short overhang for similar reasons as you. The company who supplied my top have much longer overhangs in their showrooms; by memory 3 ft or more. OK, they use thicker tops than you intend to do but you will have a shorter overhang and supporting corbels so I wouldn't worry.

I was thinking about it and since I will build the top separate from the plywood I would try to place it without the plywood first. How did they attach it to your cabinet bases?

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You mention hardwood but not which hardwood. That can make a big difference. And is the wood dry? Kiln dried or air?

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13 hours ago, RetRRman said:

I was thinking about it and since I will build the top separate from the plywood I would try to place it without the plywood first. How did they attach it to your cabinet bases?

There are cross-rails across the top of the cabinets underneath the worktop. There are screws up through these rails into the under side of the worktop. I don't think this is a good approach though as it does not allow enough wiggle room to account for wood movement in the worktop. The holes in the rails should really be slots, with the screws tight enough to hold the worktop in position but not tight enough to prevent seasonal movement.

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On 1/18/2019 at 5:22 AM, Wood Basher said:

I don't think you need the plywood to strengthen the overhang. I also have a short overhang for similar reasons as you. The company who supplied my top have much longer overhangs in their showrooms; by memory 3 ft or more. OK, they use thicker tops than you intend to do but you will have a shorter overhang and supporting corbels so I wouldn't worry.

I agree that 3/4" material should be strong enough for a 12" overhang, especially with the corbels for added support.  For appearance sake, I think you will still want to add the bands around the edge, to make it look thicker - this is the way laminate and solid surface countertops are usually built. 

Given that you still need something under there to make the connection to the cabinets, it might be just as simple to go with the plywood.  And with the plywood, you wouldn't need the corbels, unless you want them for decoration.  The corbels, while they might look nice, could be knee-knockers when you're sitting at the counter.

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56 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

For appearance sake, I think you will still want to add the bands around the edge, to make it look thicker

I agree with that. It would look odd otherwise and the double thickness would also add some strength if anyone leans (or climbs!) on the overhang.

57 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

Given that you still need something under there to make the connection to the cabinets,

I don't believe that is a given. My peninsular has nothing extra. The worktop connects to the cabinets hear the edge where there is a double thickness of worktop. Inside of that double thickness there is simply a void.

With a 3/4in thick worktop (rather than the 30mm I have) I might be tempted to put some cross-braces in to prevent sag, but I think  filling the void with plywood is not necessary.

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If you decide to "fill the void" with plywood, just don't use glue. Attach it with screws, tightly in the center, slotted across the grain diection near the sides. And leave a gap around the ply for the solid wood to expand / contract. A quarter inch on each side will probably be plenty.

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12 hours ago, curlyoak said:

You mention hardwood but not which hardwood. That can make a big difference. And is the wood dry? Kiln dried or air?

 

12 hours ago, curlyoak said:

You mention hardwood but not which hardwood. That can make a big difference. And is the wood dry? Kiln dried or air?

The lumber I have is 1 x 6 x 12’ kd walnut 

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Walnut is a very friendly wood to work. And so beautiful. On the peninsula end you may consider adding a bread board end. A 3"rip perpendicular to the rest of it as long as the top is wide. 

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Nice job - turned out great!  I really like the contrast with the white cabinets - definitely shows off the walnut.

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You have solved a difficult equation. How and how much walnut in a small kitchen. It is very easy to overwhelm a small room with dark colors. The room feels bright and open with a very nice walnut top! Well done.

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