The Walnut “Continent”

I almost gave up on the idea of a walnut countertop for the island. We lovingly call it a continent since it’s so massive 78″ x 103″. It took me 7+ months to make it happen! Perseverance during a stressful time is so hard but God was the source of strength! I couldn’t come up with that kind of strength, sanity and solutions on my own.

The walnut countertop all started with an inspiration on Houzz of a white kitchen with a dark wood island top that warmed up the space. It fulfilled my big idea of having a unique work of art and it would be warm to the touch when you are having long coffee chats.

Then the search for material and a craftsman began. I found several online companies who make and ship wood tops. I quickly was overwhelmed to the vastness of materials, thickness, widths of boards, edge details, finishes, and prices. Put your head in your hands kind of amount of information!

Online was still a viable option. At the end of the day, I always try to find local options, if possible. We started with our cabinet maker who couldn’t get walnut in our budget and instead sourced Rock Maple that he was going to stain. He started gluing it up and the boards began twisting and warping because of the length and width. He wasn’t comfortable moving forward with the project and politely bowed out. Ok, back to the drawing board!

Back to online. Now I’m worried about shipping a top that big and during transit could look like Jenga by the time it arrived.

Back to Craigslist? Since I bought all our appliances and tile on Craigslist maybe, just maybe something will turn into a lead for the island. As I type this, I realize why the hubs shakes his head at me and then he’s totally amazed when I pull it off. He knows it’s a miracle because it makes no sense! So I searched “wood counter” “walnut” and up popped an ad for walnut slabs nearby. What? I know!

So, I drove up the next day and saw amazing, huge slabs of walnut. Not in my budget. I was wandering around asking lots of questions and in awe of the massive tree slabs I was looking at! I showed the owner my inspiration photo to which he showed me the walnut planks that get glued up. I think I heard angels singing! This is it!

I knew it was perfect but now to find someone who can do the execution to build and finish it. I asked for any referrals and they sent me to Norman Windrose of Windrose Fine Furniture. It took me some time to go to his shop, look at his FB pictures of work, get referrals, etc. By this time 5 months have ticked by and I was totally tired of my cardboard countertop with white table clothes! Time to press on!!

Norm specializes in fine furniture, slab countertops and tables. This would be the biggest top he’s done but he was fearless and confident in his craft. So we engaged him and I ordered 160 board feet of 3″ American Walnut planks 12-14″ wide, S4S meaning milled on all four sides and very few knots. The hubs scoured the internet for the biggest router bit he could find on the internet. We went with a Roman Medium Ogee which is gorgeous!

Now on to the photos!! This is the top being delivered.

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Me helping since it was about 400 pounds…

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And here she is all warm and inviting…

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Some close ups… We chose an oil finish, articulating faucet and a granite composite Blanco sink that will be used for washing my commercial size pans.

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A close up of the hand carved 90 degrees angles that just can’t be routered! It took Norman one full day to do the four corners (8 90’s). He also had to go around 8 times with the router going down a little “bit” at a time.

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So glad we persevered through the end! So very happy and thankful for the end result! Now time for some coffee!!

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