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Old 05-13-2005, 10:47 PM   #1
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Countertops...Again!

Can anyone think of a good reason NOT to replace my laminated countertop with a solid wood "butcher-block" countertop?

I ask because I'm not inclined to go with Corian (because of cost) and the fact that I found a new "butcher-block" countertop in a size I could use in my trailer for less than $100.00.
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:25 PM   #2
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There are 3 reasons I can think of:
1. The tendancy to crack and warp as seasons change. I once made a woodshop work table out of an old shuffleboard table. Same maple as a chopping block. Wow! did that stuff ever shrink, swell, and crack. The only way I could keep it flat was to belt sand it about once every 6 months.

2. Weight. A thin light weight butcherblock countertop is not going to be very stable based on the above. To make it more stable, it has to be thicker (read heavier). The interior wood is protected from big swings in humidity. Corian can be 1/2" thick (mine is). Butcherblock, probably 1.25" thick.

3. The difficulty to sterilize the surface! With few exceptions, health departments no longer allow butcher blocks in commercial food prep areas because they can't be sterilized. Too much cross contamination with chicken, etc.. Too many crevices for bacteria to grow.

On a positive note, you may be able to create a "wood under glass" finish on it by coating it with epoxy, and then the bacteria issue will be eliminated.

I love the look of beautiful maple, so hopefully someone else here has a way to overcome the issues mentioned above.
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:31 PM   #3
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Fake It

There is a Butcher Block pattern Formica in maple.

Looks ok
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:49 PM   #4
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Formica GOOD, exotic counters BAD!

What's wrong with laminated? If it wears out or is damaged it's cheap and easy to replace. It's easy to clean and maintain and fairly durable.

Your small kitchen is a work area and, next to your toilet bowl, is probably the germiest place in your trailer.

Anything you have there needs to be easy to really scrub and pretty much impermeable to liquids from food prep. Formica and other laminates tolerate almost all household cleaners well. The real key to long term satisfaction with a formica installation is getting the edges sealed well or using the preformed ones with integrated back splashes.

There are lots of color and texture choices... and again if you (or your wife) get sick of it and want to change it... it won't cost a fortune and is a lot easier than most other remodeling projects.

Make a beautiful miniture maple butcher block as display object. Hang it on the wall and only use it to serve a cheese ball at a party! Go for cheap utility of a laminate on the countertop.

Paula
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Old 05-14-2005, 02:27 AM   #5
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Funny... we were just at Home Depot where we were looking at Wilsonart and Formica countertop material to replace the countertop in our Overlander. Nice selection, very retro, too!

I'm inclined to go with Paula's thoughts on this. I've had limited experience with rv countertops, but, with the experience I've had I think the laminate is the best choice. I had an older home countertop redone in Wilsonart and it came out beautiful. It was redone in '93 and it still looks new today!

With regards to the maple, professional kitchens and home kitchens have used butcher block tables and boards for eons. They do well if they are steralized 'often,' kept free of contaminants and replaced when divets are too many. But they do stain and show their wear.

You might want to check out the laminate samples before you make your final decision.

Kimber
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Old 05-14-2005, 08:46 AM   #6
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I agree with what Bob said. My main thing besides the bacteria is the weight. Of course you could talk to Lou and Axleman and they could help get you a more stout axle (if you needed one) and the butcher block might be a non-issue in regard to weight.
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Old 05-14-2005, 10:21 AM   #7
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Re: Countertops

Thanks to all that replied. You all have given me several more ideas about how to achieve my goals.

I have nothing against laminate except for my current laminate countertops.

The butcherblock countertop got my attention because of it size and cost.

I'm not worried about weight, I doubt if it's more than 25 lbs. more than my current countertop. The prospect of warping didn't occure to me as I'm never seen a warped piece of butcherblock.
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Old 05-14-2005, 10:55 AM   #8
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We replace orange laminate with a more neutral color - and added wood edge (sealed with urethane) It gives that wood feel but is more practical to maintain..... We also redid the table to match counter.
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Old 05-14-2005, 10:58 AM   #9
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Actually, I think that there is a change in attitude about using butcher block ( hard maple) as a cutting surface. In a woodworking trade publication I recently read that just the opposite, smooth manufactured surface allow the breeding of bacteria much more than solid wood. As far as wood movement ,laminated Maple is used for gym floor, bowling alleys, and work surfaces of all types without warping. In countertops and cutting surfaces you lamite it with the edge grain up, so any wood movement is in thickness not width. I say go for it, it'll make a great surface. Oil it with mineral oil , it doesn't turn rancid and is safe with foods.
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Old 05-14-2005, 11:26 AM   #10
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craftsman

i too have heard the reversal in thought about wood vs plastic cutting surfaces!

the new thought is that the wood surface is naturally antibiotic when it is allowed to dry. the worst work/cutting surface for bacteria growth was nylon type cutting boards that are deeply grooved from repeated use!

all we use in our kitchen and trailer are maple cutting boards, we do have formica for counters though!

john
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Old 05-14-2005, 12:04 PM   #11
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I've always heard that maple gym and bowling alley floors are stable because the urethane finish nearly eliminates fluxuations in moisture content of the wood and thus cracking, warping, and swelling. The "wood under glass" effect if you will. Oiled surface butcherblock would be similar. I can see how the mineral oiled surface could work if you stayed on top of keeping it saturated with oil.

Janet: that looks beautiful! Great job! From what I could see, the rest of the trailer is sweet......sweet......sweet. That quality of work is good to see!
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Old 05-14-2005, 01:37 PM   #12
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Natural wood certainly requires more care than most any manufactured surface but does look nicer the older it gets if well taken care of. You are right that bowling lanes, etc. are pretty well sealed from the elements, but again they are installed flat grained like most flooring and butcher block is usually either edge grain or with true butcher block, end grain.
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Old 05-14-2005, 02:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I agree with what Bob said. My main thing besides the bacteria is the weight. Of course you could talk to Lou and Axleman and they could help get you a more stout axle (if you needed one) and the butcher block might be a non-issue in regard to weight.
There is one member on here that is doing just that. He replaced his countertop and now his trailer "leans" to the galley side. He is getting a heavier axle to take the weight. Of course, his old axle was shot.
Just like on any trailer, when you add weight, even within the GVWR of the trailer and axle, to one side it will tend to focus that weight in one area first, before it spreads it out. I can tell you from experince with a utility trailer.
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Old 05-14-2005, 02:34 PM   #14
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Post wood edging

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
We replace orange laminate with a more neutral color - and added wood edge (sealed with urethane) It gives that wood feel but is more practical to maintain..... We also redid the table to match counter.
OOOH - classy looking! Nice job. After burnt orange - do you walk in to your Airstream smile and sing "I'm to sexy for my..."?

Tin Lizzie
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