Cara’s Office – Part 6

Today I am working on getting the layer of MDF that goes under the oak plywood countertops.  I don’t know if the pictures show the work space accurately or not, but I am actually very intimidated by this part of the project.  Our countertop is 23 feet long!!  This will be seen by everyone and needs to look good.  I used MDF for the under countertop part.  I rip them all to 24 inches wide and lay them out so I can start marking all of my cuts.

Now I get to cutting.

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Now, don’t you get all jealous about my pink tool belt.  That was my mother’s day gift from my daughter!

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Here I am doing a dry fit of the MDF before I drill it in.
Umm, yeah, instead of modeling my pink tool belt, I should have been paying more attention to my cuts.  I had some that were not exactly straight and I had to use a power sander to sand down the MDF to get them correct.

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Now that all of the MDF substrate is in, I can start on the actual top that will be seen.

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Unfortunately all of the lumber yards in my area only cater to the building industry and are only open 7-4 M-F, so I am unable to get around to them to see my choices of lumber.  Instead I went with the big box store and selected a cabinet grade oak plywood, and oak 1X2 for the facing.  Same as with the MDF, I rip the plywood into 24 inch width and use my Kreg Rip cut!

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I also make all of my other markings and use the jigsaw for the smaller cuts.

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Cutting wood is always fun!

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Now that all of the pieces are cut, I use today to glue and nail down the top.

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Now that the countertop is down, I move forward with adding the facing edge.

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I use a router with a bit and give the facing a curved edge, since I will be working here every day.  I wasn’t too thrilled about having a sharp edge on my forearms all day.  The router worked like a charm!  I love the smooth round edge.

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Next my husband sanded the top of the countertop, while I sanded the facing.  We used 220 grit to get a super smooth finish.

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Here it is all ready to be stained.

Making oak plywood countertops

I really wanted to use Sandra’s method of Waterlox tung oil, however there is no store within a 50 mile radius of us that sells it, therefore I am forced into stain and polyurethane.  To prep the wood, I wiped it down with papertowels and then I wiped it down once with mineral spirits.

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Then the fun begins!  I selected an ebony stain.  Because this is oak and is a hard wood, I had to let the stain set for 15 minutes and then iwpe it down.  I repeated the process the next morning.

Plywood countertops - oak

June 29th, 2013

I applied the second coat of stain and then I went swimming and took a nap and enjoyed the rest of my weekend.  I can honestly say that I.LOVE.IT!!  My countertops turned out better than I could have hoped for.  I still need to put three coats of polyurethane on them, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Staining the oak plywood countertops

Read all of Cara’s posts here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 7, Reveal.

The free plans for the Cara Collection office furniture built-ins are available at

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