Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kitchen countertop - installed!

After much delay, yesterday (Wednesday) the countertop guys finally installed our new maple butcher block countertops in the kitchen.

Here's how things went down... Tuesday evening after work I started removing the plywood sheets we have used as temporary countertops for the last few weeks, taking out the sink and the cook top, as well as several drawers that were in the way.

There were a couple work-items I wanted to do while the tops were off.
  • Build simple shelves between the cooktop cabinet and the corner cabinet for storing cutting boards.
  • Properly align the false drawer fronts on the sink cabinet.
  • Install filler pieces to the left and right of the dishwasher.
A couple hours work I estimated. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. First off I failed at building a jig to allow me to make perfectly straight cuts for the filler pieces with my jigsaw. The jigsaw didn't want to go straight along the ruler I set. I bent and almost broke off the blade along the way.

Next I tried with the portable circular saw, but quickly realized that the left over cover pieces I'm cutting the fillers from are too narrow in order to both guide the saw and provide sufficient support to put it on.

Which means I had to go back to the table saw. Since by that time it was way past 9pm, I left the table saw in the garage, cut one piece, and ... bad idea. Not only was this really loud (and the kids sleeping), but the air in the garage was filled with saw dust. Those boards are made from a fairly soft material (I think it's Masonite), which produces ridiculous amounts of dust.

At that point I gave up for the evening and vowed to get up early on Wednesday to get everything done before contractors show up around 8am.

... and I did get up early. By 7am I was outside with the table saw cutting pieces, and fitting them around the dishwasher. The corner piece turned out to be not perfect, but I'm out of left-over pieces with a finished corner, so I installed it with a cut corner facing the dish washer and figured that'll work.

Next I built the cutting board shelves. Sounds fancy, but in reality those are just rectangles cut to the right dimension and installed with screws through the side panel of the adjoining cabinets. Again, those didn't really satisfy me, since there are gaps between shelf and cabinet wall, and I had to cut them slightly crooked because the cabinets are not at an exact 90 degree angle. Lots of swearing, freehand sawing, and filing to make them fit. Another Thank You to the crooked walls in the kitchen...

Shortly before 9am I had the second shelf in, and was just about ready to install the backstop, when the countertop guys showed up. Thank you for arriving towards the end of the promised window.

While I got out of their way and devote time to my regular day job, they installed the countertop with some fuss (thank you to crooked walls...)
We did expect a bit more overhang around the sides, but it actually looks really good the way they built it. [Yes, there will be photos]

Once they were done, I started hooking up the dishwasher and water to the sink and ... ooops, the drain pipe between sink and the wall no longer fit, since the sink was installed about 1/2 inch closer to the counter top edge to allow space for the new window sill in the back.

After some flailing around, I loosened all the fittings, pushed and shoved the plastic pipe pieces around, and ... voila, was able to connect it back together, tighten the fittings, test for leaks, ... and found none. Phew.
Later I talked with our general contractor and he confirmed that this will work at least until they come out next week to attend the final inspection.

So I turned my attention back to the dishwasher and ... Patricia points out that the cut corner looks bad. At the very least it needs to be white. What the woman wants, the woman gets (she's right, it did look crappy). So I went back in the garage to find the laminate strips that were originally meant to be installed on the sides of the toe kicks, but I didn't need them there.
Hmmm, after trying for 5 minutes to remove the backing paper, I concluded they are no self-adhesive. Looking at the instructions confirmed this. They are supposed to be ironed onto the pieces with a warm iron and then trimmed to fit with a sharp knife. I'd have to remove the dishwasher completely from its nook under the countertop to gain enough space to get to that corner with a cloth iron and laminate the strip to the corner piece. Which also means releveling the dishwasher afterwards in a really tight space now. Urgh.

Heat glue ... hot glue ... hot glue gun! Hah! I can do this without pulling the dishwasher out! I used the hot glue gun we normally use for arts and crafts (and the model railroad) to laminate the cover piece on. It actually looks reasonably nice now, especially since it's mostly hidden by the dishwasher.

Fixing the dishwasher in position and installing the last filler piece was easy in comparison.

Strangely enough the false drawer fronts I set straight on the sink cabinet Tuesday evening are now slightly crooked again and I can't get to the screws without removing the sink. I have to keep that in mind and do another try on Thursday next week when the sink is out for the last time.


CHRistIAN said...

Na siehste! Hat doch alles geklappt! Diese Unkerei von Deinem Vater beim kürzlich durchgeführtem Telefonat!
Kleinigkeiten werden von Dir doch rasch beseitigt (so 8/9 Stunden sind doch kein Wert!) und den schiefen Wänden sei dank! Da kommt man doch endlich mal zum Freihand-Sä(e)gen!
Und hinterher nützt die Modellierkunst vom Bahnbau auch in der Küche !

Aber im Prinzip sieht es doch toll aus oder ???

Bernhard said...

oh ja, es sieht gut aus :-)

W.C.Camp said...

WOW a kitchen builder and a model railroader. You really DO have some expensive hobbies. Sounds like a nice job but probably too tough for me. I would have ended up gluing myself to the dishwasher instead of the countertop? Interesting post - Thanks@