One of Louis’ speciality woodworking skills is in the making of solid wood counter tops. So, of course, we have to include this in our container home. It makes an interesting, warmer alternative to granite tops, and is especially of interest if you find stone too cold. It takes quite some time to turn rough planks into a finished product, but is well worth the effort.
How it All Begins
When you look at the raw planks before they are turned into any kind of furniture, it’s difficult to imagine the end product. Louis decided to make their coffee station solid wood counter tops out of poplar, so bought a few rough planks. This wood is not as expensive as some other solid woods, here in South Africa, but hardier than pine, which made it a good choice. (Here are some poplar woodworking tips).
We also have a few planks of reclaimed floor in Rhodesian Teak (Amazing! Beautiful! And so very heavy. This was a brilliant find). We’ll be using the teak for a few solid wood counter tops too, but the majority of this article focuses on the poplar. We’ll also give you an idea of what’s involved in making a solid wood counter top, should you ever wish to embark upon such a project yourself.
After putting it through the thickness planer machine a few times, in order to get them all to a uniform thickness, it was time to glue them together.
Louis and Kevin used pipe clamps to make sure that the glue set with the planks not only tightly together, but also one hundred percent straight.
Finishing the Solid Wood Counter Tops
The next thing to do is the sanding. Lots of sanding of various types with various grits of sandpaper.
The sanding contributes greatly to the end product, so its worth spending the time here.
Finally, it’s time for varnish/sealant. This will protect the wood from water, sunlight, cooking spills and general life.
Of course, between all the layers of varnish, there’s (you guessed it!) more sanding to be done.
The End Result
It’s hard to believe that these are the same pieces of wood!
Depending on your application, you can also leave imperfections in the planks which really add to the character. Have a look at this beautiful knot in the Rhodiesian teak.
We couldn’t wait to see these amazing pieces of wood installed in the coffee station.
Watch out for our big South Container reveal for more photos of the solid wood counter tops.
PS: If you’re interested in a solid wood counter top for your own home, and don’t wish to do all the work yourself, feel free to contact Small Scale Engineering to discuss your requirements.