*Today, I'm excited to to tell you that Phase 1 of our kitchen remodel is complete! I'm letting Mr. Chadwick tell his side of the story today, so I hope you welcome my first "guest blogger." Don't hesitate to leave him comments at the end of the post. I'll make sure he gets to read them.*
Chop block countertop...say THAT 4 times fast. Fun, eh? I built my sweet wife a walnut chop block to sit atop the replaced cabinet that you might have read about in previous posts on our kitchen adventures... Well, the woodworking bug has hit me. Hard. I enjoy it a lot, and my favorite part is when I get to use the router!! Here's my story:
One day in a land far away...wait. Sorry. Not a bedtime story for my 2 year old.
The short of it is that we were experiencing some trouble with the drop-in range that came with the house we bought, and a wonderful couple graciously GAVE us a free standing range. Cool beans! After many thanks to them and some help from some friends, we discovered that the new range was a bit too wide...so, out with an end cabinet, which didn't survive, and in with a pre-built, no-top-attached cabinet from Lowes. At this point, the only power tools I had handy for a countertop project were a circular saw and a jig saw. Not bad, but not great either. Earlier I mentioned, "my sweet wife," and here's just how sweet she is: She told me to "have at it" with this countertop. ... excuse me? did I hear you correctly?? Should someone pinch me? Maybe Shakespeare had it correct after all: "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream," because I just might be dreaming here. Well, I thought back to my days in shop class in 9th grade, and I remembered that Walnut is absolutely gorgeous wood, along with Oak and Poplar, so I took to the drawing board and designed a striped, mixed wood chop block. The image in my head was stunning... my wallet reality was not so stunning. So I scaled back my design to only one species of wood - Walnut - and it was probably for the wiser, as this was my first detailed home improvement project. The hardest part was finding the Walnut. I called 3 places before I was given the name of a local, small-scale sawmill, Butler Adams Lumber, who told me he had what I was diligently seeking. I loaded up Little Man, and headed out of town. It was a gorgeous 25 minute drive to the most agrarian part of the county, and the store room of lumber was just as nice. I picked up 11 board feet of a well-sawn piece of Walnut, had him chop it in half so it would fit in my Durango, and left the sawmill awestruck that trees I see everyday could look and smell THAT wonderfully... I remembered that it had been quite some time since I had experienced lumber that made me happy. A Porter Cable palm sander, Porter Cable orbital sander, a Porter Cable router, and some chop block oil later we had ourselves a nice countertop. (I'm fast approaching poster child status for Porter Cable) Here's what I learned:
1. Plan everything. On-hand materials, needed materials, budget, and look for ways to cut cost and keep quality.
2. Enjoy what you're building. It's going to be an arduous chore if you do not.
3. Practice your cuts. Our chop block has a nice characteristic gash in the back because I decided it wasn't hard to make a bevel cut with a jigsaw on a piece of hardwood...hence the reason I now have a router, which corrected most of my mistake. (Upon purchasing my new favorite tool, my ever-wonderful wife looked at me and said, "Happy Father's Day, Birthday, and Merry Christmas!") It actually wasn't too expensive, AND I got it on sale! :)
That's basically it. Enjoy the pictures!
*Again, a big thanks to my sweet darlin' for all of his hard work on this gorgeous counter top and for taking the time to share his story here with all seven of you. Phase 2 of our kitchen remodel will start with painting the walls (whenever I can bring myself to do more painting...*