This last week I made some more progress on the kitchen. You might remember that I made some open shelves for one of the walls and it looked empty and sad beneath them. Well, that space was for a butcher block counter-top.
With our long narrow kitchen we wanted more counter space, but with losing as little floor as possible. To accomplish this we decided on a slightly narrower than standard countertop of 20 inches, plenty of room to work on and eat at, yet narrow enough to not intrude into the room. I also wanted it to match the length of the shelves, just over 9 feet. I considered buying a pre-made counter top, though I would have had to still customized it in the end. But I decided since I was going to have to do some work on it either way, I would just make one from scratch.
I cut 3/4 inch mahogany into 2 inch wide strips and laid them out for glue up. I actually glued it up in two 10 inch wide sections to begin with. This is because I have an old 10 inch electric planer. So I glued up the sections 10 inches wide and rough planed them through the electric planer before finally gluing them together for the full 20 inch width. At this point the planing had to all be done with hand planes. But having got the sections close with the electric planer it wasn’t a lot of hand planning.
Next I cut it to length, with an old Disston miter saw. It takes a big back saw to cut a counter top.
For now the counter is mounted on some metal shelf brackets attached to the wall. The goal, eventually, is to build some cabinets at either end, leaving the center open for sitting and eating at the counter. The counter is also mounted a little lower than traditional counter height, at table height. For my 5’3″ wife, a traditional counter is hard to work at, so the table height butcher block counter is much more functional for her. And it is finished with food safe mineral oil that will have to be replenished every few months.