Monday, March 4, 2013

Adventures in DIY: Joining Two IKEA Numerar Butcher Blocks Into One Large Countertop

Let me start by calling shenanigans on this nonsense online that makes the average homeowner think they can't do anything without calling a contractor first. If you're not handy, then sure, call someone. But if you are a generally intelligent person with the ability to use basic tools...then seriously, try doing things yourself. It's not rocket science.
 
 
With that said, my Numerar butcher block countertop is lovely. I have no experience installing butcher block, but I installed it myself anyway and for the last five years it has held up without issue. You can read all about my install back in 2008 here. The problem was, it was just too narrow for me. I like to spread out when I cook and I simply needed more room.
 
So I decided that my bff's jerkoff ex-boyfriend/construction worker was an idiot. Why can't I cut two IKEA Numerar Butcher block countertops down the middle and attach them together to make a much wider one? I started doing some research. Apparently, a lot of people have done it successfully. I thought the explanation on Our Big Yellow House was really good. 
 We ran two 96 7/8' pieces of IKEA Numerar lengthwise down the table saw we set up outside. Not fun. It wasn't perfectly straight, but close enough with a little sanding. Certainly, it would have been perfect with the Kreg Rip Guide, which I wound up buying halfway through the project.  Who knew this existed!  It's awesome. Live and learn.

Then we set everything up on the cabinets. I read that using biscuits only helps to align stuff, so we didn't bother. Instead, we clamped it together and cut off the parts we didn't need on the end. Then I brushed on Titebond III glue with a foam brush and we clamped it all together with Jorgensen Parallel Jaw Bar Clamps we borrowed from a friend.  We let it sit and cure, then carefully removed the clamps. Everything held together nicely. (For the record, this was not the shape I originally intended.  The piece cut out was supposed to be simply curved on the end.  Explanation to follow...)
 


The Hubby bought wood filler that was not even close to the right color...yeesh. But it was okay because I came across a tutorial on Beneath My Hearth on seaming together butcher block counters. She made her own wood filler with glue and saw dust. So following her lead, and the advice on some woodworking sites, I mixed some sawdust we saved with the Titebond III and filled in the seem.


Can't even see the seam, can you?
 
 The Hubby had a slight mismeasurement issue when cutting the hole for the new stove. Yes, I got a new stove, that's what started all this. We'll talk about it later. So after I sat there wanting to throw up and he sat there feeling horrible, we rallied and came up with a new plan. Instead of a curve in the length of the counter that ran in front of the basement door, we flipped the whole thing over and cut a rectangle piece out of the basement door side. Not exactly what I envisioned, but more practical spacewise and I still like it. I'm sure people will have something to say about using the underside of the butcher block, but I like the inconsistent colors. It gives it character.

Accidents will always happen. Take a deep breath and roll with it.

 
Then we measured again and cut the hole or the stove. You don't need special, super power anything. I used my trusty old Dewalt circular saw and a new blade. A lot of people have questions about cutting butcher block so let me say it again, it's not rocket science, just cut it. 


A little sanding. Some HVAC tape around the stove opening as a heat barrier. We screwed it down onto the cabinets the same way I did last time. And voila! A larger, more effective for my cooking and baking needs, butcher block countertop.
 
 

I'm still debating on no doors, glass doors, regular doors...and if I get doors, do I can Adel Medium Brown or do I get something different....?  Those chairs are from Freecycle.  I know they are kinda dated but they are so comfy!  I'm going to paint them, I'm just not sure what color yet.  I also need to finish up the toe kicks... 

That big L cut out, like I said, not part of the original plan, but it does give you a full 36 inches all around the island and has made getting stuff down through the basement door easier than if it was rounded.  Sometimes being practical is more important that anything else. 

Plus, the Hubby learned his lesson, and now actually double checks before he cuts anything.  Let me add as a sidebar, you see those DIY shows on TV and the women are always screaming or whining about something.  That's not how you work as a team.  That's being a douche.  Things happen.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Making him feel worse wouldn't help anything.  Just saying.


Okay, off my soap box.  I was going to build in a dog feeding station, but all the salvaged table legs I have are either a little too tall or a little to short and I'm not willing to cut any of them.  Until I figure out how exactly I want to build it, his old feeding station will have to do. 

You can't really see it but that orange on the cabinet is self stick shelf liner from an estate sale.  Such a pretty old school design you never see anymore.  Looks pretty and way cheaper than the more Adel Medium Brown cover panels. 
 
 
This is already a very long post...I'll talk about the cabinets next time...
If you want to see an updated picture of the dog feeding station, click here!
 

14 comments:

  1. You guys did an AMAZING job! It looks so good!!! I like the dog food area underneat.

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  2. Informative and just the right amount of sassy... thanks for sharing this, you have been quite helpful and most entertaining.

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  3. I'm always impressed with the work people do and share. Thank you for practical, and well researched, ways to makes this happen!

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  4. Thank you for the inspiration! Your countertops turned out great! We are currently in the process of joining two butcher blocks together as well. We've got a bigger seam than we'd like so I plan on making the titebond and sawdust mixture. Can you tell me what the approximate consistency of the mixture should be? Did you wipe off the excess immediately after applying it or did you just goop it on and let it dry and sand it later? Thanks!!

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  5. I could swear the blog I linked mixed glue and sawdust, but I just checked and it says wood filler and sawdust...I'm so confused. I believe I mixed to a toothpaste consistency. Since we winged it with the table saw, it was not as straight as it could have been. In the spots where the seem is pretty good, it filled it nicely. There were a few spots with bigger gaps. Over the years the filler in those spots look a little rougher, like sandpaper-ish. I could probably use another round of filler in those spots at this point. If you have bigger gaps, you might be better off with a wood filler than what I did. I tried filling and wiping, but as it dried in sunk in. So I wound up slightly overfilling and then sanding. Good luck!

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  6. Im curious, I have deeper countertops, so I have to buy 'island top' runs, to get the 30" deep I need, in the center of run is a sink, do you think its a good idea to put the seam in the center of sink? You guys did an incredible job by the way :)

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  7. Thanks Patty! I have seen people with seams in the center of their sink...but I haven't gone back to their blogs to see how it held up. I think sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and just hope for the best. Contractors will say no to a lot of things because they haven't done it before, or they don't to be responsible if it doesn't work out. That's the benefit of doing it yourself, you can do whatever you want! I think a little common sense and a lot of research, there is very little you can't do. Good luck!

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  8. Thank you so much for this post! You have given me the courage to do what I really wanted to do and probably save us a bunch of money. I love your attitude!

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  9. Hey Ed! Be fearless. Always. Maybe it won't be perfect, but paying someone a ton of money to do it doesn't guarantee perfection either. And there is absolutely nothing like the feeling of accomplishment when you do stuff yourself. Good luck!

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    1. Naomi, as I prepare to do this I notice that the Kreg Rip Guide you recommend doesn't seem long enough to cover anywhere near the whole length of the countertop. How did you use that? Thanks!

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  10. Hey Ed Wing, so the counters are about 2" deep, but it's...how do I explain this...it's a finished edge, so it's kind of rounded at the edges. To have the two pieces connect without a lip/seam/indent, you have to cut just a little bit off of the two sides you're joining (the Kreg is deep enough to do that) so you'll have two flat, not rounded sides to join. Does that makes sense? If you hold the two pieces together without cutting them, you'll see what I mean about the rounded edge. Hope that helps!

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    1. Naomi,

      Thanks for the quick reply! Actually, I totally understand why these Rip cuts need to be made. I, for instance, am combining 2 98x25 pieces to get a 78x42 island countertop, meaning I'll need to cut about 4" off each width and 20" off the length. What I'm trying to understand is how...oh, wait! I just figured it out! I had been misunderstanding how the rip cut guide works! I was thinking it only has the ability to rip for about 2'at a time; but I see now that that refers to the distance from the edge and that the guide completely moves with the saw. Never mind! Going to go buy one now. Thank you for your inspiration and patience!

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    2. Naomi,

      Thanks for the quick reply! Actually, I totally understand why these Rip cuts need to be made. I, for instance, am combining 2 98x25 pieces to get a 78x42 island countertop, meaning I'll need to cut about 4" off each width and 20" off the length. What I'm trying to understand is how...oh, wait! I just figured it out! I had been misunderstanding how the rip cut guide works! I was thinking it only has the ability to rip for about 2'at a time; but I see now that that refers to the distance from the edge and that the guide completely moves with the saw. Never mind! Going to go buy one now. Thank you for your inspiration and patience!

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  11. Was wondering how the seam has held up? My contractor doesn't think over time this will stay together (I'm going to do it anyways) he thinks the wood expanding and contracting will crack the seam. How did you support it on the underside?

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