Ya.. not the island time that we're all thinking of.. MAN that would be nice though, right?
I'm actually talking about our kitchen island. When we finally made it to planning out our kitchen finishes, we were tossing back and forth between stone on the island (Same as the rest of the c.tops) or butcher block. We found a few places to quote us stone & a few others to quote butcher block. Butcher block was significantly cheaper than stone but it was still juuuuust out of our budget. We decided to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate which direction to go.
Until one day.. on our daily trip to Lowes, we spotted a stack of giant bamboo slabs... ON SALE! we stood in the aisle and quickly started googling bamboo countertops. After some quick research & review checking we decided we couldn't pass up the deal. The larger slab wasn't quite long enough so we had to purchase a smaller piece to add in. Lowes carried both. Piece 1 was 6'-1 1/4" x 3'-3" & Piece 2 was 6' x 2'-1 1/2".
Let the DIY-ing begin.
First things first, measure measure measure! and maybe measure one more time. We had to measure what the width of the "extension" piece was going to be that we were cutting out of the smaller slab. Steve, again, measured & measured & measured & calculated quite meticulously.
We were finally ready to fire the saw up & yes he cut right there on the floor. There’s nothing quite as stressful as watching someone run a skillsaw through a slab of bamboo 2 inches away from your brand new flooring. Now I like to think I trust his judgment but I still panicked! It all worked out; he did not cut through the floor, phew! After cutting, we placed all the pieces on the island for a dry fit and also to admire what it would all look like. Ahhhh Love.
Hold up. One itty bitty problem, that small piece in the middle there, remember we measured about a thousand times, well.. we didn't measure a thousand and one times because it was too small!!! UGH the joys of diy-ing. We forgot to add the countertop overhang into our calculations. Rookies. (Insert disappointing face emojis ),(And person smacking itself in the face emoji).
Have no fear, Kirsten's near! I had a solution to our mistake, cut two strips from the scrap bamboo to fill the gaps. But to make it more of a design feature we turned the strips on their edges to expose the slab core and create a unique bamboo pattern. This way the mistake looks INTENTIONAL. :) Now it has become a future diy for anyone who wants this very cool eye catcher on their butcher block, we are actually happy it happened.
Final step was to join them all together. We borrowed a handheld router from a family member & did a few test runs on some scraps. Our goal was to create a spline between the slabs to keep the surface flush and create strength between the slabs. This is done by running a ¼ inch router bit down the center of each joining edge. Then a ¼ inch piece of hardwood is ripped to fit within the groove and a hearty dose of wood glue is used to join the slabs. Once glued, the entire piece would need to be clamped as tight as we could to avoid any gaps. The middle "mistake" piece was first & then we attached each additional piece one at a time. Making sure to leave suitable dry time between each join. The clamping took some creative thinking.. which included a strap because the island was so long. I was a tad unsure about it but Steve assured me, yet again, that it would allllll work out. It did. ( Why is he so smart? )
Boom, Bang, Voila! We have an island countertop. Next steps in our future now is to sand, fill & finish, which is still currently not done.. (It's so easy to get comfortable when something is almost done, right? ).
If anyone has oiled ( or stained ) a bamboo countertop, please reveal your tips to me in the comments, which oils or stains you used, what worked for you and what didn't. I want to keep it as natural as I can, or maybe a dark finish would look good? As you can see I'm in a bit of a pickle here & need your expertise :)