Ideas for a countertop

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Do you guys thinks it's possible to make a countertop that is covered with something other than laminate? I am trying to come up with ideas that would work for a basement countertop that is an island (no corners) about 8 feet long. At this point I'm just throwing ideas around in my head for possible materials that could handle the abuse of a countertop. I'm wondering if a bartop expoxy combined with a closed grain hard wood could work. Or does the liquid a counter would face just make it impossible?

Any ideas?

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I did our kitchen countertops in teak, with Behlen's Salad Bowl finish. The biggest difficulty was a corner piece, I didn't think there was an easy way to ensure a 45 degree angle over two feet, so I herringboned the planks. If I had to do it over again, I'd be more cautious about using quarter sawn instead of rift sawn, and I might consider some sort of inlay. But it's worked well, if there's ever a problem with the finish I can sand and recoat, and I kind of like it.

Edited to add some "in progress" construction photos:

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What is the counter top going to be used for? A finish for a bar, for example, would be different than a sewing area or ironing board. Or a drafting desk, or student's desk, or DJ's mix station, or .....

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Thanks Gents. Project is about 8' long with a 24 inch deep counter. I had thought about alternating contrasting hardwoods like cherry and maple, and using a salad bowl finish, but wasn't sure if it would hold up to the amount of moisture a counter sees on a daily basis. This is utimately for a basement entertainment area so it will see plenty of soda, water etc. and I'd like to keep the budget under say 1500. The contrast idea might be a bit much on the eye, so I'm not sold on it. That teak sure does look nice Don. And I like the herringbone corner.


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I love the herringbone corner, Don. You made it sound like a compromise, but I think it looks better!

I've made countertops out of Sapelé and Maple; they work just fine if you seal them properly for the (ab)use they'll get. The Sapelé counter is in a bathroom and gets splashed with water 4-5 times a day; you could never tell. If you go with hardwood, the most important part to me is to close the pores so they don't get gummed up with soda or party fouls. Though Sapelé has medium pores, I filled them with wet sanding. Without that, it would look like crap by now from water drying in pores I can't clean.

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