I Need 7″ of Wood

basecab

I’ll start by saying this was not a measuring error. When I bought two 97-7/8″ countertops from Ikea, I knew I’d be about 7″ shy of the total countertop length I needed. It did not, however, seem worth it to pay $129 for a mere 7″ (cue the ribald comments).

So I’ve no countertop for the cabinet to the left of the stove. And there must be a cabinet to the left of the stove. In the former kitchen configuration, having one side of the stove abutting a doorway was a daily annoyance.

I’m considering two options: White marble with grey veining to pick up on both the sink and the appliances (with the justification that serious bakers use marble on which to roll dough); or stainless steel that picks up on the appliance color, and on which one can set hot pans with impunity.

I suppose I could make the length of butcherblock I need, but I’d never get it to match perfectly – those zig-zaggy end-to-end joints are beyond me. Soapstone would work well  – but I love soapstone and want “my” kitchen to have that surface for all the counters. I’m afraid if I use it here – in what I hope will soon be someone else’s kitchen – I’ll become prematurely disenchanted.

What say ye?

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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56 Responses to I Need 7″ of Wood

  1. I don’t like the mixed materials options (metal nor marble). Maybe make your own end grain cutting block for that space. I think that gives more versatility and will be a closer match.

    • fitz says:

      I’ve considered that…and in place of a cabinet, maybe a rolling table of sorts with a thicker butcher block top. But I’m tired, and that cabinet is already together…

      • Maybe rig something with a pull out cutting board. For dead space a nice pull out recycling center might also be nice

        • fitz says:

          Hmmm…I’ll think on the cutting board. The pull out recycling and trash cans are already in place on the opposite wall. I even screwed down the base (that and the lazy Susan are the only fully functional things!)

  2. Bryan Robinson says:

    I would select marble. I think it would blend easier than the stainless as a baking and sharpening station.

    • Jim Kelley says:

      LoL, Bryan… I agree w/your suggestion although getting a properly cut stone piece may cost as much or more than 7″ of butcher block. I think the contrast at the end of the counter run would look nice if a coordinating color could be found in the granite/marble scrap pile.

  3. lostartpress says:

    Chop off the end of the bench I made from the Ikea countertops. It’s the same stuff, no?

  4. ATX_Bigfoot says:

    Make a butcher block piece that can be lifted out and rinsed off. Don’t seal it like the rest of the counter and use this portion as an actual cutting board.

  5. I think stainless steel. That space looks to small for serious rolling and the pin might hit the stove which would be annoying. A place for hot pans and or raw meat that is easily cleaned would be sweet I think. If it makes you feel better I live in an apartment and your half finished kitchen is way nicer than mine haha.

  6. Snag a piece of plywood from the scrap pile, glue a cat bed to it, screw it to the cabinet and call it done.

    That way at least someone will get some use out of it…

  7. steveschafer says:

    As a semi-serious baker who gave up marble in favor of silicone a while back, I’d have to say that that cabinet is way too narrow for a decent rolling surface regardless.

    Can’t you make use of a nice, flat 90-7/8″ tabletop somewhere, like maybe an assembly table for your shop?

  8. runamokwoodworks says:

    I would bet one of the folks at the pop wood shop has got a router bit that can do the finger joints so you can put together a matching bit of counter top.

  9. Nicola M says:

    How about replacing the missing 7″ with a home made vertical knife holder. You can make it pop out above the rest of the counter and use a wood that will contrast it sufficiently. That way you don’t have extra counter material to worry about, and you get a unique place to store your knives.

    It might make putting a drawer under it interesting, unless you’re making the drawers from scratch, but otherwise you could just put a full height door on the cabinet?

    What I’m thinking of is like this link, http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/images/Kitchen/KitchenPrepAreaWithKnifeStorage.jpg but on the side of the counter instead of the back of it.

  10. Lynn Smith says:

    I have a 12 7/8″ Ikea butcher block off cut, you can have.

  11. I’ll bet a counter top assembler in Cinn. will give you a sink cutout and even size it for you from Corian like material, Granite or Formica.. That’d do ya quite nicely and probably be suitable to your buyer. Here in Chattanooga there’s one place that has ’em stacked waist high and is glad to get rid of ’em. if you’ll tote ’em away.

  12. Dow Welch says:

    Granite instead of marble – much better on stain resistance and taking hot objects on over time. Many shops that do counter tops have a pile of leftover cuts and errors that sell relatively cheap. The big cost in a granite counter is installation – pick a scrap, ask it to be cut to size [they usually edge polish no charge] and return to drive it away your own self. We’ve done entire kitchens and baths this way. Forget the name, but there’s a nice solid black granite that is a subtle accent w/ many woods.

    • Wade Hutchison says:

      I second the granite recommendation – consider granite _tile_ – easy to install, heat proof, and very affordable. Get a matching or contrasting bull-nose tile for the edge and you’re good to go.

  13. mwh says:

    Check the boneyard at Ikea. They often have pieces of this stacked up and sold “As Is”. I’m not sure exactly which you have here (Numerar, beech, etc.), but they use the same material in some of their tables, cards, children’s furniture, and other kitchen furniture. You might be able to buy one of them cheaper, and re-purpose the parts.

  14. miathet says:

    What about changing it to a pantry cabinet? It would be a nice selling addition as well a giving ton of storage in the kitchen

    • fitz says:

      I considered that…but _really_ don’t think it’s a good idea to block in one side of the stove – makes it hard to cook. (And there will be almost double the usable storage from what I had before.)

  15. Frank Vucolo says:

    I say use stone. Not matching – on purpose – is very cool.
    Besides, you can then put down some sticky back sandpaper and sharpen plane irons and chisels on it

  16. m46opie says:

    26 comments and no ribaldry in sight. Perhaps we are all now grown up.
    Nah….

    Mark Singleton
    Santa Maria, Ca

  17. With the cabinet so close to the cooktop, I would go with the stainless. It will be much easier to cleanup all of the splatters and spills that occur during cooking… Or maybe I’m just a messy cook.

  18. Jeremy says:

    A vote for stainless for practicality, or something wacky like a sheet copper. Granite would make an excellent lapping station.

  19. Tom Dickey says:

    It will probably cost you at least $50 for stone or metal. I would just spend the extra $75 get the wood and be done with it. You are building this kitchen for the next owner. If I saw it, I would think great wear do I find a matching piece to fix that. You would also have a nice left over for a shop project. What is $75 in the big picture for some good wood.

  20. Robert Troup says:

    Try concrete. You could fabricate a unique counter top out of concrete fairly cheaply. Google concrete counter top for ideas.

  21. Kevin says:

    “If you can’t fix it, feature it.”
    Were this the reverse and you had beautiful marble with one small piece missing, I would say fill it with butcher block and feature it as a dedicated carving/butchering station (for the true home chef). So, I’d put in a piece of stainless steel and come up with a good name for it… Oven wing, hot station, resting area, something like that which makes it a real feature of this gourmet kitchen. Those 7″ will come to you, don’t worry.

  22. Matt Rob says:

    i would use a typical build up of ply then cement board topped with some nice hand made red clay tiles but painted tiles with cats or whatever other stuff you like also work great .Hot skillets do not like wood.

  23. Patrick says:

    I was thinking the same thing as Tom Dickey, buy the counter and cut it. You can use the excess somewhere in your new shop.

    I do have some questions: Why doesn’t the cabinet next to the stove go all the way to the wall? And are you planning on cabinets above the stove?

    • fitz says:

      The wall there has a curve in it (can’t really see it in the photo, but it starts right about where that base cabinet ends and flattens out again at the edge of the window). I’ll likely do the counter to the wall, so there will be a cubby underneath. And yes, there will be a high cabinet above the stove, with a hood under if the budget allows.

      • Matt Rob says:

        It would more than likely be easier to make the cabinet wider with the back corner modified to follow the wall with a front filler strip between the cabinet and the window wall if needed. A cubby in a corner open from floor to counter top is just a place where things go to die and it has a look of being unfinished. I know that it is questionable style wise but a appliance garage on the counter top is great at hiding irregular corners..Slap another piece of butcher block on top of the cabinet scribe to fit presto chango— done!

        • Matt Rob says:

          Oh I forgot to say that the filler strip is marked then cut to match the wall and trim profile for a smooth transition and a start and stop point for painting.It just gives the finished look..

  24. Mark says:

    Get thee back to Ikea and write a check. But before doing so, ask if they know of any installers that regularly buy their stuff and ask for a couple of names to see if they a cut-off. Alternately, try Craigslist. You can make up most of the difference by not buying overpriced knobs/pulls.

  25. Spencer says:

    If you’re exploring stainless, zinc is a popular, attractive and less expensive option.

  26. Tom Bier says:

    I’ll put in a vote for soapstone. You get to test drive it now before spending the really big bucks for a whole kitchen. It is soft enough that you can trim it with your tools to fit the curved wall. And it would be a great landing pad for hot pots and pans.

    I grew up in an1890’s farmhouse with a big soapstone sink, the stuff can take abuse and still look good.

  27. db says:

    Megan, great blog. I took a class from you years ago at UC but now work in the building industry and have enjoyed following your adventures. It may be the only renovation blog that forces me to regularly consult a dictionary. (and by dictionary I mean right click and choose “search google for ….”)
    My vote is the 7″ of IKEA wood for $129. It may not be the highest quality 7″ wood you can find, but I bet it’ll fill the void quite nicely for the time being.

    • fitz says:

      You did?! Freshman comp, Shakespeare, “topics?” Just curious…because I can’t see your last name. Whatever the class was, I’m glad I’m still teaching you a vocabulary word now and then 😉

  28. carter choate says:

    as the english woodworker great David Savage might say, “keep a stiff upper lip and have a woody day”.

  29. Bob Burgess says:

    Fitz- just found your blog and very much enjoyed reading through it…

    Mark (11 April) may be right – buy a new piece that matches, and use the offcut to make something else – keep it in the kitchen and use a chopping board?? or an over-range work top??

    Question?? How do yiou find time to write this as well as everything else you do??

  30. Eric T. says:

    How wide is the countertop you’re seeking? It looks like perhaps 12-13″.
    If so, how about a scrap of Paperstone:
    http://www.paperstoneproducts.com

    Easy to work with woodworking tools, and can be waxed, poly’d, etc. to suit your taste.

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