Hi-Yo, Nick here! So we have had a lot of interest in our butcher block counter that we built for the upstairs bathroom. For those of you that have so patiently waited for this tutorial… thank you for your patience!
Awhile back we were given the opportunity to show off one of Moen’s great faucets. This gave us the push we needed to tackle the upstairs bathroom vanity that’s been on our radar for awhile now. Beth (in all her genius) suggested we build a butcher block to serve as the counter top. I agreed, so we packed up and took off for lumber. It so happens that Beth’s late Grandpa was an avid woodworker, stashing several variations of hardwoods and softwoods. We love this because it’s sentimental AND cost effective!
Once we got the lumber, we took it into our local saw-mill/woodworking shop and had them run them all through their planer to get the lumber all the same thickness. I was quite surprised to find out we had 3 variations of wood (pine,oak, and hackberry).
Note: By Buying grade Common 1 lumber will save you money for this project, you’ll probably spend $40-$60 dollars in lumber and another $5-$10 in getting it planed.
I then ran all the boards through the table saw a setting it a 1/4” thicker than then I wanted the final thickness of the counter top to be. I set ours at 2 1/4”.
Once I had all the boards cut to width, I cut them down into smaller random sizes using our sweet Ryobi Miter saw, and separated the 3 different wood types into 3 different piles.
Using a flat surface (i.e floor,table, etc…) I taped an outline of the size I wanted the counter.
Oh yeah… see that sweet bandage, napkin and painters tape? YEAH, that was a coping saw incident. I think the thing has its dark forces that I have yet to overcome!
Since there was no logical order, I called in the Artist to lay things out. The most important this was to make sure that the different types of wood were evenly dispersed throughout the butcherblock. Every wood stains differently, so once the stain is added, the ‘character’ of the wood color and grain is really brought out.
After Beth laid everything out nice and neat, I pushed it all out of my staging area and started gluing. We use Titebond III, which is waterproof and super adhesive. I started by gluing up the first couple feet and then clamping it down. This serves as a solid stop, so I can hammer these pieces together minimizing the gaps in between pieces.
Then I started working my way down gluing and clamping as I worked my way down the counter.
Once I got everything glued into place I used a two longer boards on the outside edges to equalize the pressure across the entire countertop. I then flipped the whole thing over letting it rest on the pipe clamps.
Caution: If you’re just using the bar clamps like the ones I have in the middle; Trying to flip it will likely cause it to collapse into the air leaving you to bob and weave avoiding the diligently placed pieces that have now turned into wooden projectiles. Okay that might be an exaggeration… but seriously, unless you want your hours of hard work to go down the drain, use pipe clamps or something that isn’t going to flex creating unnecessary spring tension.
Alright kids, we leave things clamped up for a good 24 to 48 hours letting the glue set. Now we remove the clamps! Using a square, I cut the excess off the ends, with a circular saw… cutting the length down to size.
You will likely notice that the boards are not perfectly smooth and flat. Therefore we load it up once more to get it planed at the local sawmill/wood working shop (unless you’re fortunate enough to own a planer). Have them plane it to your desired thickness.
Note: Check with the local woodworking shop ahead of time to see what their planning width is. You might have to do your butcher block in two sections, (which is not a big deal) and will require you to glue and clamp the two pieces together after having them planed.
Once I had the length to size I hauled this bad boy into the bathroom for a test fit! Using a compass I traced around my rounded corner shelf, leaving the same distance the front edge of the counter. Sorry for the lack of photos on this process, Beth must have been chasing the crazies and I… ahhhh… FORGOT.
Now that the butcher block is traced, I got out the Jigsaw. It didn’t take long before I realized this wasn’t going to work. I did what anyone would do, I got out a chainsaw circular saw.
I started cutting away making several cuts to get it close to shape. Then I used a wood rasp to rough it into shape and a belt sander to put the final touches.
Heading to the bathroom yet again for another test fit!
Later that night we routed the corner’s using a 1/4” rounded corner bit and sanded the whole butcher block down.
We filled the entire block with a thinned down wood filler, sanding her down again. (don’t mind this terribly yellow-y cell-phone pic)
At this point, everything’s a god for staining, sealing (Epoxy) and drilling holes for the plumbing!
We’ll be covering the rest of these steps in PART 2 of this tutorial (coming soon!). We are SO in love with the character our butcher block counter brings to our bathroom. It’s such a bold statement piece… AND it has sentimental value since the wood came from Grandpa’s barn!
Here she is in all her glory!
Check out how far we’ve COME!
Still on the agenda for the upstairs bathroom:
- Extend Bathroom Vanity
- Paint Vanity Base
- Build Butcher Block Countertop
- Install Faucet & Vessel Sink
- Install Mason Jar Backsplash
- Paint walls
- Build frame for mirror (tutorial coming soon!)
- Custom DIY light fixture above the mirror
- Install ventilation system & overhead light
- Build shelving above toilet
- Shower curtain, rugs & towels
If you need to catch up on our bathroom projects, check out the links below!!