Finishing the counters

Once we got the counters in place and the sink installed, we took some time to consider finishing options before jumping into the process. We knew we wanted the counters to be finished darker than their natural color to coordinate with the wood floors elsewhere in the house. The processes that would give us the best finish and color were not going to be food safe to use the counters as a cutting service. Ultimately, that was more important to us, so we just finished them as we would any other kind of furniture: stain and polyurethane.

Bryan used a left over piece of butcher block to create a matrix of test finish processes before we got to work on actual counters.

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We were able to get the color right with multiple coats of stain, but there were a lot of very dark tones coming out in the wood. So next, Bryan tested using pre-conditioner on the wood before staining (and also a different color). The right side of the diagonally divided swatches was treated.

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That seemed to do the trick!


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Multiple coats of Special Walnut stain:

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Then multiple coats of poly and sanding between coats:


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Everything was looking great – except for the fact that we were totally ignoring dealing with this round end cap piece:


We saved that piece of counter when we removed the others, thinking we could use it as a template and cut it with our router. We tried on a test piece, but our router was just not powerful enough to cut through. In fact, we broke it trying :(

So we just ignored the problem for a while and then finally gave in and let a professional cut it for us….. for over $100.



Then Bryan was able to finish the piece like the other side of the counter:

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As you can see – a lot more work happened before that last picture was taken. We’ll get there eventually, I guess.

Here’s where we started:

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And here are the finished counters:


Collecting pictures for this post was hard as it reminded me of the ridiculous living conditions we endured for far too long while we worked on so many projects all at once. It also was a nice little reminder about how much I love Bryan. I know that he really does love doing these projects; in fact, he moped around for the entire time we were executing our put-an-offer-in-on-a-house-in-much-better-condition backup plan when it looked like we weren’t going to get this house as we wouldn’t be able to do as many projects on that house. But still, I am so lucky to not have to deal with the husband-admonishing-wife-for-honey-do-list trope and that fact is not lost on me. <3 you B.