Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I Said, “Screw It!”

I’ve made the decision on the countertop. I’m going to do redwood. I know, I know redwood is a soft wood. It will never hold up. Blah, blah, blah. Once again I am playing the roll of the iconoclast (read: idiot) and bucking the trends, traditions, and common sense. Here is why I’m doing redwood.

1) I really like it.
2) It is really nice, tight- grained old-growth redwood.
3) The other counter spaces are salvage pieces and are already redwood.
4) I really like it.
5) It is not costing me a cent.
6) It doesn’t cost me anything
7) It is free
8) I will not have to pay for it.
9) There will be no out-flow of cash to install it.
10) It is fiscally sound.

Also, if it does not hold up it will be easy to replace. The sink is under mount and will not be suspended from the counter. I will attach the counter to the cabinets from underneath with clips and screws so it will be easy to remove. If, in a few years it does get so bad that it needs to be replaced maybe I will then have the money to do what I really want to do, and that is marble.

So here is what I’m doing. I have the old salvaged joists that I start with. I’ve already used most of the clear wood for other interior mill work so I’m left with stuff that has more than a few knots. However, because the sink is in the middle I only need 3 foot pieces for most of the counter space on either side of the sink. I will need a long piece for the very front and very back.

I was able to find 5 pieces in the joists that have runs of 3-feet or more that are clear wood. I’m going to take these over to a friends house and split them on the band saw. This should give me more than enough wood to make most of the counter space.

I will then plane these down to ¾ of an inch and join the sides. I can then glue up panels from these pieces. Next I will sandwich the two large panels in between two long pieces (which I have) and I should have a seamless slab of wood with a large hole for the sink. I can then trim the hole to the proper size for the sink and clean up the edges with a router and a round-over bit.

Most of you have heard me complain about money recently. As with everyone I am reaching some limits. It is not that I have run out of money completely to work on the house, but I feel that I have spent more that I should have on the kitchen and so I am really tightening the purse strings on this project. I refuse to spend every last sent on a project and then sit around afterwards and say, “You know, maybe I should have cut a few corners in there”. I still need to get 2 chimneys rebuilt and lined and then there is the laundry room and downstairs bathroom. By themselves, each one is a major project. Together, they are a definite way to end up in the poor house.

Sometimes I think maybe I bit off more than I can chew with this whole house, not just the kitchen project. There are some that would say either do it right or don’t do it at all. Maybe redwood countertops in the kitchen are not “doing it right”, but lets be honest, there were few that would have even attempted to put back the original kitchen in the first place. Most think I’m completely nuts for not keeping the house as apartments. So, I’m not sure where I’m going with this rant. Maybe I’m trying to say that it may not be perfect or the “right way” but it could be a lot worse. The house could still be a feculent hell-hole filled with nazis, crack whores, and heroin addicts.

So there! Take that all you Nattering Nabobs of Negativity!

The Last Of The 15-Foot Redwood Joists
The white boards are original kitchen floor hidden under plaster dust

Five Easy Pecies

head back, tongue out, and drooling
Hmmmm, tight end grain. Grrrllll!


Gary said...

I have just two comments.

1) I thought your place was the poor house.

2) How much are these counters costing you, again?

(I must stop being a smart ass,
I must stop being a smart ass,
I must stop being a smart ass,
I must stop being a smart ass,....)

SmilingJudy said...

I have the same internal dialogue all the time. Could do it 'this way', and it would be good enough or even nice. But it's not the best I can dream up. It's a constant demon.

Kristin said...

I think it'll be gorgeous, Greg! If I could've made wood countertops for us, I would have. It sure would've been cheaper (as you pointed out). Alas, my hubby didn't want to do it. So we have tile. And I'll be happy with the tile, but I'll probably always wonder.

Beth said...

They'll look great, Greg. And if the redwood hardens after 80 years like all our joists have, you'll be set.

amanda said...

How are you planning to treat the wood? I'm forever oiling our maple butcher's block with mineral oil, but I've heard that some of the parrafin/mineral oil combos hold up much better. I'm sure that it will look great!

Greg said...

Treat the wood? That is a good question. I hadn’t given it any thought. I think shellac is out of the question for this one. Any ideas? I wonder what they used to use on wood counter tops?

Scott in Washington said...

I have a great butchers block on casters that is about a 100 years old. My grandmother rembers it being old when she was little. Most nights I scour it with a a sponge and about once a week I strip it with a brillo and a bleach product, clean it with a water doused sponge and then wipe it with olive oil. This seems to keep the surface clean and doesn't affect the nightly dinners we cut up on it.