DIY Rustic Island Counter Top

Sooo, as most of you may already know we have been steadi­ly work­ing on con­vert­ing an old dress­er into a kitchen island. My num­ber one goal out of this entire con­ver­sion process has been work­ing toward cap­tur­ing an old, just pulled out of a barn feel. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you but that is lit­er­al­ly the phrase I have been using to describe my vision. Rusty hard­ware (that I also DIY’d HERE) , chip­py paint…you name it. This has pre­sent­ed itself to be quite the chal­lenge but I was eager to get this part of the project knocked out. After a cou­ple snags along the way, late evening and work­ing in between ship­ping orders and being a wife and mama I am hap­py to say we are near­ing the fin­ish line. At this point, we are so close I can almost taste it. Thank you from the bot­tom of my heart for stick­ing this one out til the end.

The jour­ney to build­ing this beau­ti­ful coun­ter­top began in a local Amish work­shop about 5 min­utes from my home. I was­n’t able to pho­to­graph the process of them actu­al­ly cut­ting the boards but we did get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make a good con­nec­tion with them for future projects! 

Josh hand select­ed each board. He chose a soft maple, which isnt soft at all, if you were won­der­ing. This par­tic­u­lar wood has beauit­ful flow­ing grains that set it apart. Once we brought the boards home, I sat out to sand down all of the hard straight lines. I did ask that they keep as many blem­ish­es as pos­si­ble for the sake of giv­ing this piece some age. This is what Inwas work­ing with. I want­ed a 36 inch­es in depth, hence the one board in the cen­ter cut to size. I was okay with the one being dif­fer­ent, it just added that much more character.

I failed to get a pic­ture of the egdes straight from the wood shop. They were very crisp and clean and new look­ing. I want­ed round­ed and worn. All I had to do was sand each straight edge using this 60 grit sand­pa­per and my cir­cu­lar sander.

Need a sander? This is the one I use!

Here you can see the edges are nice and round. It may seem like a small unim­por­tant detail but trust me, if you want the aged look you DON’T want to skip this step.

Next up..glue! I sim­ply applied wood glue to each seam before clamp­ing them nice and tight. DO you­self a favor and make sure each piece is going to lay flush with the one beside it. Any sort of gap will result in the boards not touch, there­fore mak­ing the glue worth­less. I learned the hard way on this and acci­dent­ly left a raw edge in the cen­ter. The result? My coun­ter­top broke…in half. Yeah.…let me help you avoid this mis­take and dou­ble check that your seams are nice and tight before com­mit­ting to the glue.


Once the glue has been applied and your seams are touch­ing. Cinch both ends with clamps and allow your boards to set forat least 24 hours. Ide­al­ly, if you can per­form this step inside the room where the wood will be used then that would be best. I also learned that it’s best to not place your wood on con­crete while it’s accli­mat­ing. Con­crete retains mois­ture, even when it feels dry, and can actu­al­ly cause defor­ma­tion in your wood.…mind blown. I had no idea. Like I said, learn from my mistakes.

After about 24 hours of cur­ing, the top was ready for stain. I used a stain lay­er­ing tech­nique you can read about here.

Learn how to lay­er stain HERE

A few extra blem­ish­es, cour­tesy of a pry bar, for good measure.

Seal your top with a water resis­tant seal­er. I pre­fer Poly­cril­ic because of its dura­bil­i­ty and it does­n’t hav­ing a yel­low­ing effect like polyurathane.


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