May 14, 2009

DIY Countertop Attempt 1

One of the last major tasks remaining before I can call my kitchen remodel complete is to finish the small peninsula countertop. Since its an odd shape I either needed to order it custom or build it from scratch and it turned out to be pretty expensive to order custom so I thought I'd try building it from scratch. It can't be that hard right :)

I started by cutting the basic rectangle out of high density particle board, I then used a circle jig for my router to create a template to round off 3 of the corners. I then clamped this template to the each of the 3 corners of the rectangle and used a flush trim bit to copy that shape to the actual countertop. Once this was done I glued and screwed a second sheet particle board, slightly oversized, to the first and again used the flush trim bit and router to cut the 2nd piece to match. The picture above shows the finished substrate.

Next I applied contact cement to the edge of the countertop. Since the edges of the particle board are very porous it took 3 coats. I then cut down a thin strip of laminate and applied contact cement to it as well.

After letting the contact adhesive setup for 15 minutes I applied the smaller edge strip and pressed it on with the J-roller. I was surprised how well the contact adhesive works...sticky stuff. I then followed the same steps with for the large edge except I had Lon help hold the laminate straight while I applied it around the edge.

Here you can see how I used the flush trim bit to route off the excess laminate around the edges. The plexiglass "thingy" is actually my circle jig, I put it on since it provided a more stable base while routing along the thin edges of the countertop.

This picture shows a test fit of the countertop after trimming the excess laminate from the edges. Lon's dog Tana and Echo are posing in the background.

I then applied contact cement to the top surface and sheet of laminate and use some scrap sticks to help position it. I then worked it from the center outward using the J-roller. The picture above is after the top was applied but before the edges were trimmed.

Here you can see the overlap.

The flush trim bit trimmed off the excess nicely, except for one small problem...

The edge along one of the corners wasn't perfectly square which caused the router to just nick the surface of the laminate along the edge... This was pretty disappointing mostly because I never expected to get this far without some other rookie mistake. Now I'm trying to decide whether I try to apply a new edge strip, start over with a new substrate, or just leave it since its only a duplex anyway...I'm leaning towards starting over and using this countertop as a template.

On a positive note, I got the back of the cabinets trimmed and that turned out pretty nicely.

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