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Installing our Black Walnut Craft Art Countertops.

April 8, 2013

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This weekend was a big one for our kitchen reno.  We finally replaced those pink-painted-gray laminate countertops we’ve been living with for two years.  Thursday, while my computer was getting fixed (it’s all dry better now…Gretttaaaaaa!) I gave you a sneak peek at our countertops sprawled all over the family room–the black walnut edge-style countertops from Craft Art. And here’s how they look installed (but unsealed).

And now I am going to rewind about twelve man hours to fill you in on how we got to this point.  Craft Art’s homeowner DIY countertops come in a lot of sizes and lengths, but we still needed to cut each one down to size upon receiving them–this is part of the reason they are called “homeowner DIY countertops,” you might need to cut and there will definitely be sanding and sealing involved.  But it is an amazing and affordable way (about half the cost of a finished piece!) to have an extremely high-quality product (solid, real heavy, beautifully grained wood) in your home for a little bit of labor. Worth it. I digress.

Before taking each board to the skill saw, we measured each space three times–double-checking each other’s measurements–so six times?  We wanted to be sure-sure.  We took a picture of every countertop space and recorded the measurements right on the picture using the My Measures app–genius.

When it came time to actually cut the countertops (bottom side up), we used a long scrap piece of wood clamped to the countertops, with rags in between protecting the walnut, to serve as a guide. After a test cut, we determined there was an inch-and-a-half gap between the edge of the tool and the blade (I am so bad at these tool technical terms), so we added that onto every cut.

If you followed along on Instagram this weekend, you saw a lot of kitchen action (a. lot!) including sealing the underside of the wood.  We’ll talk more about that later in the week when we seal the tops (we already have one coat on), but let’s skip over all that sanding and sealing right now and jump right into tearing out the old countertops which happened Saturday morning–relatively easily.

There was a little prep after we ripped those suckers out, but it mostly involved vacuuming up spider webs (I can’t even…), dust and removing wads of old paper towel??? Oh, and the prep to actually install the new countertops included pre-drilling holes to screw the countertops into and also these bigger holes seen below over our two corner cabinets (that have full covers over them) “so that the countertops can breathe.”  (By the way, the countertops came with a video and instructions telling us exactly what to do–I read them aloud repeatedly all weekend. ;)

And then piece by piece, we installed the new countertops laying them all in place before screwing them down to make sure we didn’t royally botch something up while cutting.  Whew, we didn’t.

At this point, we patted ourselves on the back for a long time, walked through the new-larger space between the peninsula and the dining room table a dozen times–grinning like idiots, and then got back to work sanding to prep for sealing the tops.  Part of this sanding also included taking the squared edges to slightly rounded ones.

I used just a sheet of 320 grit sandpaper and then after 30 minutes of that, Chris busted out the palm sander and made the whole thing go a lot faster.  Word to the wise.
After cleaning up all the dust, and taping a few areas off–we were ready to start sealing the walnut.  But like I said, we’ll talk about that in a few days.

….Like I could leave you without a teaser.

Psst. We partnered with Craft Art for this project. All words, opinions and sweat are ours, all ours!

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What do you think?

  1. Evelyn says:

    how did you connect the corners of the counter, and how did you secure the waterfall edge

  2. […] ‘Chris Loves Julia’, read how they installed their black walnut craft art countertops… These are so pretty, I can’t even imagine the feel that they give their kitchen… […]

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  5. Rydog says:

    No worries Rydog thinks they look awesome too.

  6. Oooohhhhweee! I mean that is just gorgeous! I love the idea of the waterfall edge. That walnut sure is sexy!

  7. Absolutely beautiful already!!! I can’t wait to see them sealed…I’m so excited for you guys! :)

  8. brandilyn says:

    I don’t know a darn thing about counter tops, but your line about checking each other’s measurements gave me a flashback to my dad always saying, “measure twice, cut once!” he’s a type A personality and has all kinds of sayings like that.

  9. ahhhhh! that is the BEST (or worst) teaser! can’t wait to see it. so impressed that you pulled this off yourselves!

  10. Sarah says:

    Excited to see the result! I showed my husband on IG this weekend and he thought it was the perfect solution to the bar area we want to add to our family room! We’ll definitely be checking them out!

  11. They are looking so good! I can’t wait to see how the gorgeous dark seal turns out!

  12. They look SO good! I love the waterfall edge you went with. I can’t wait to see them all sealed up!

  13. Jackie says:

    these look great! love the over the counter waterfall too, great detail!

    you guys are on apartment therapy today, yay!

  14. Lindsey F says:

    Ainhoa I’m with you- the waterfall edge stole my heart!!!
    I’m a dork and LOVE ‘This Old House’. In their 2012 Cambridge house they finished the butch block waterfall edge with an amazing dovetail key joint… Very inspiring :)

  15. Gorgeous! I love the choices you’ve made in your kitchen. Can’t wait for some updates on how the counters are doing. I’m definitely curious about how they stand up to wear and tear.

  16. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the waterfall edge. I’ve wanted to do that to our own kitchen for such a long time!! I’m currently living vicariously through you guys… maybe this summer we’ll tackle it if we’re lucky.

  17. Kala M. says:

    The color in your teaser photo is amazing. This is why I love the look of wood counter tops, they are just so warm.

  18. It looks so amazing! I have become obsessed with reading your blog! Quick question…are you at all concerned about being able to prep food and everything on these butcher block countertops? Do they easily stain? I’ve thought about getting it for my island but am concerned about how they would wear and tear through cooking? I thought you’d be the best to ask seeing as your husband is a master chef ;)

    • They will be sealed 6 times before we’re done with them, so they will be kept safe. However, we don’t plan on using them as a surface to cut on. We’ll definitely continue to use cutting boards and hot pads, but we expect (and welcome) so patina over time.

  19. I can’t believe how good it looks! . . .and what a worker, that Chris!

  20. Oh, it looks good! Thanks for the teaser. I wondered if it was going to be finished in some way.

  21. omg!!!! love this look and can’t wait to see the new look!

  22. I hate it when I don’t switch accounts! That Rydog ;-)

  23. Rydog says:

    mean! that teaser!!!

    They look SO good. The wood, with the navy, and the appliances are just the best combination ever. I love it. My main concern with the wood is what if something is dropped on them? Will they make a dent or mark easily? Do you just sand agan and reseal?

    • Walnut is so, so hard. We actually went through both of our batteries for our skill saw on the first cut before running to the neighbor’s and borrowing theres. So, while they definitely aren’t fragile, I think we can expect some patina (dents, scratches) over time. But, in our opinion, that only makes them better.

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