green idea: diy wood counter and table top

Yesterday I showed you the lovely vacation home that my uncle and aunt renovated. They did all of the work themselves, and my uncle is quite the handyman. He hand-made the polished wood counter top for the bathroom instead of buying new.

He was kind enough to give me instructions on how he managed to get that rich, dark, ultra-smooth finish, and so I'm sharing his secret with all of you.

1.  Top is made from 2' x 4' x 3/4" knotty pine plywood (you can purchase from hardware stores in 1/4 sheet size).

2.  Edge is made from 1" x 2" x 4' pine.

3.  Cut plywood to size and draw and cut out the hole for your sink.

4. Attach edging with water-based carpenter's glue and by countersinking a finish nail on each end. Make sure to wipe up any excess glue with a damp cloth right away. Use a non-shrinking and stain-able wood filler to fill in the holes - he likes LePage.

5. After drying for 24 hours, sand with 320 grit sandpaper.

6. Apply wood sealer as per manufacturer's instructions.

7. Apply 3 coats of stain (waiting 6 hours between each coat) in your choice of colour- he used Flecto Varathan Diamond Wood Stain in Dark Walnut. But here's the trick- DO NOT wipe off excess stain when applying the coats. It allows it to sink into the wood for a darker finish.

8.Once dry, apply 5 coats of latex polyurethane - he used Flecto Varathane Diamond Wood Finish in satin. Sand with 320 grit paper in between each coat until smooth to the touch. Make sure to use tack cloth to wipe the counter down after each sanding.

He also made this side table from scratch, with the same kind of smooth wood top, but painted instead of stained.

1. Made from 3 knotty pine 2" x 6" boards, cut to 24" lengths (an old butcher block would also work well).

2. Ideally, use biscuits to join the boards together; alternatively use wood glue and clamps and let dry for 24 hours.

3. Sand and prime.

4. Apply 3-5 coats of black satin paint, lightly sanding with 320-400 grit between each coat.

5. He never mentioned a protective coat on the top, so don't think he used one here, but you could use a latex polyurethane if you want, sanding after each coat.

Don't these look amazing? What a great way to be eco-friendly and not over-spend or over-consume. Sustainable design that is within reach for all of us!

PS- I have the full instructions on how to build the rest of the table if anyone is interested- just ask.