Doug Rutherford

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The counter top refinished

March 2013
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Clara is out of town, which leaves me in the house without adult supervision. This immediately prompts me to conduct myself in such a fashion as I cannot when she is around.

Now, before you start planning the wild parties, I should mention that much of this centres on Clara being allergic to “fumy” substances and fish. Of particular note is polyurethane, since it can level people who aren’t that sensitive, too.

Our countertops in the kitchen were a stop gap measure to allow for the plumbers to finish. I ordered the cabinets from Ikea, and were quite content with them. However, when I went to order the counter top, they were backlogged and it would require about 2 to 3 weeks before they could be finished. At the same time, Gary, my plumber, wanted me to get this finished so he could install the kitchen sink and finish up the plumbing for the new house.

Two of the things that came with the cabinets were several large cover plates. These are the finish pieces that cover the white cabinet carcasses and match the doors. However, the cabinets, like the doors, were also pine finished and I didn’t need them. Sending them back would have cost more than it was worth and I was wondering what to do with them. Now, I had a plan.

I ran them through the table saw to cut them to size, and cut off backers. Then, I used them as counter tops that actually matched the cabinets. This would hold me until the real counter tops could be delivered and installed and I would just have to reinstall the sink afterwards. However, when we put them in, they looked so nice that we held off on ordering the proper counter tops. That was in the spring of 2005, and they have been in place since then.

counter image

The refinished counter top.

The one downfall of this is, despite looking nice, they are made out of laminated particle board and dent and mark easily. However, a couple of coats of polyurethane every two years keeps them reasonably well protected.

They are showing their age, and I don’t think I’ll refinish them again. Instead, I’m kind of thinking a nice oak plywood counter top in a few years, with a slightly darker stain for contrast. But, that should be about two more years down the line, given the length of time refinishing them lasts.

Of course, with Clara gone, the first meal prepared on them involved scallops…


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