Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kitchen Update November 23

This week Caroline was a painting machine. Several friends watched our kids on different days, and Grandma came and watched them for part of Saturday and Caroline painted, painted and painted some more.

We're very happy that we sanded instead of just painted over the existing paint. You couldn't see the grain on the doors at all before, and now you can. We both think it looks pretty awesome.



The other big thing was the counter tops. They're still not fastened, but we took big steps.

After hours of research on the internet I now know about drying oils vs mineral oil, tung oil vs Minwax Tung Oil Finish (hint, not real tung oil), spar varnish vs spar urethane, spar urethane vs polyurethane...

Basically there are three choices:

1) Film finishes - Epoxy, polyurethane and others cover the surface and leave a film on top. Some films are more durable than others, but if you use a film finish you shouldn't plan on cutting on your surface as the film will scratch and chip.

2) Drying oils - Tung oil (including Waterlox), Danish oil and others soak into the wood and then polymerize (harden) in place. The polymerization process is exothermic. It is these types of oily rags which can spontaneously combust.

3) Non-drying oils - Mineral oil is the most popular non-drying oil. Non-drying oils need to be re-applied. Wax (paraffin, carnauba or bees wax) is usually also applied to help protect the wood from water.

Even if we don't plan on it, we'll end up cutting on our counter tops. That's just how we roll. So, film finishes are out.

Waterlox is expensive (about $100/gallon) and takes a long time to dry (recommended 4 coats with >24 hour dry time between coats) but it appears that ongoing maintenance is minimal.

Mineral oil and wax is cheap, locally available and familiar, but it requires periodic maintenance.

I'm leaning towards Waterlox, but I'm still trying to decide for sure.



We glued up the drop-leaf on Wedneday or Thursday and we did the big countertop yesterday. The big countertop probably took 2 hours to glue up. We worked in sections, starting at the hinge end and doing just the pieces to get to the next clamp.



We've always bemoaned the lack of counter space in our kitchen and I'm pretty sure that Caroline's dream house will have a breakfast bar.

So, I decided to make a drop-leaf end to our counter top to add some more counter space when we need it. Ideally it would have no cracks in the hinge when closed or open, presenting a nice 90 degree angle at the corner.

The hinge itself will be the maple strips with holes drilled in them. They'll alternate extending to the cupboard and pointing down to the floor. I made a little jig and drilled the hole for all of those on Wednesday night. The pin in the hinge will be a 1/2 inch oak dowel, sanded a little bit to give a tiny bit of extra wiggle room between the pin and the hinges.

Between these fingers that make up the hinge other maple strips will be glued in place. These other maple strips are the tricky part (to me anyways) in making a crack-less hinge. There needs to be some clearance for the point of the finger to rotate into, but the top of the strip needs to be exactly touching the opposite finger when the drop-leaf is either down or up.


I thought we'd need a circular hole the diameter of the square that moves within the hinge area. That sounded mathy, so I avoided actually figuring it out and just started drawing in Inkscape. Then I realized that I could just cut an angle to give the clearance needed with the same result. Here's a gif of the needed clearance. Ping and blue are the middle strips. Yellow and green are the fingers. Looks like a 45 degree angle should do the trick.



For both the drop-leaf and the counter top we did the glueing with the hinge in place and then tapped the pin (an oak dowel) out once everything was clamped, just in case any glue got into the hinge itself.

The drop leaf is going to reach all the way to the floor, giving us nearly 3 feet of extra counter space when it's extended. It's going to be awesome.


The hole you see in the middle of the big counter top is where the sink will go. We're going with a single-bowl sink which is big enough to soak cookie sheets and casserole pans in. We know we'll miss having a double bowl sink sometimes, but being able to soak large pans is a REALLY attractive option.


The sink will be under mounted, but its main support won't be that it's hung from the countertop. Here's the frame we'll use to support it. We'll cut those frame bars to the right length once the sink is positioned and the sink will hang in the frame.

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