More Countertop Questions

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VanFan

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The latest plan for my sink/countertop is to start with a 2x2 piece of plywood from Lowes. The top will be attached to the top of an 18x18" wire shelf unit. The top can be as wide as 19" and as deep as 24", but will only be supported on the corners of an 18x18" square where the poles for the shelving unit are.

The drop-in sink needs a round hole 9" across. I plan to cut that with a hand compass saw. No other holes will be needed, except 4 small ones for screws at the corners.

Lowes has 1/4" and 1/2" panels in birch or luan. Is one better than the other?
 
1/2 inch will be best. It will hold up longer. You are removing a relatively large amount of material compared to overall length and width. So that void in the center compromises the overall strength of the plywood panel. The increased thickness will keep the panel stronger and increase its durability over time. The extra weight involved in the increase in thickness is not significant and neither is the cost.

As to it being Birch or Luan. Birch is a smoother surface to put a finish onto. Neither choice is all that much superior than the other for water resistance as a species although luan might be slightly more rot resist. But you are not using it out of doors and you will be wiping up any spills . But do coat the cut edges at the sink hole and edges that are against the wall with some caulking. If plywood is going to delaminate it generally starts by water soaking into the open end grains on a cut edge. Those edges will be hidden from view so it does not matter what color or type of caulk you put on them as a sealer as long as those end grain capillaries get sealed up. .

The surface hardness difference between those two wood types is not substantially enough different to be a factor. Neither one is a super hard or super soft wood.

Now the tough part, make the choice. I can’t make it for you as I do not know what finish you are thinking of putting on the countertop.
 
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I forgot to add put a sealer coat of varnish or paint on the underside of the countertop. You do not need it to absorb moisture. It helps keep it from warping which is unlikely but possible. It seals the wood helping to prevent mold growth issues on a hidden surface, also unlikely but possible.
 
1/2 inch will be best. It will hold up longer. You are removing a relatively large amount of material compared to overall length and width.

But do coat the cut edges at the sink hole and edges that are against the wall with some caulking.
This is very helpful! I would not have thought to caulk the cut edges of the sink hole, and that is a vulnerable area. The rear edge will not be up against a wall, so I should probably figure out a way to fashion a backsplash or lip there.

For the top, I picked up some peel-n-stick vinyl floor tile at the dollar store. It is not heat resistant, but doesn't need to be. I remember, Maki, you mentioned iron-on edging as an option for plywood, and I will likely use that around the outside edges.

This is all a little "quick and dirty," and somehow I doubt this will be my last go at this, but I'm having fun so far!
 
This is very helpful! I would not have thought to caulk the cut edges of the sink hole, and that is a vulnerable area. The rear edge will not be up against a wall, so I should probably figure out a way to fashion a backsplash or lip there.

For the top, I picked up some peel-n-stick vinyl floor tile at the dollar store. It is not heat resistant, but doesn't need to be. I remember, Maki, you mentioned iron-on edging as an option for plywood, and I will likely use that around the outside edges.

This is all a little "quick and dirty," and somehow I doubt this will be my last go at this, but I'm having fun so far!
My plywood counter tops are edged with oak edge molding strips from Home Depot. They are 1/4” thick by 3/4” wide and that shape of trim molding is sometimes referred to as “screen molding” . Oak is an attractive, very hard and durable wood. The edges of the molding have a slight round over so that makes it comfortable on hands. A little carpenters glue and small finish nails secure it to the plywood edges. I sealed it with three coats of a clear water based varnish.

Adding a backsplash is a good idea!
 
I have used plywood as a counter top in the past. I agree with Maki2 and would suggest you using at least 1/2" plywood. Using methods like maki2 pointed out is the key to success. The bottom line is.....how much water/heat it will be asked to deal with.....and how much weight it will have to hold. My latest install was over a bathroom vanity and the top had to span 30" x 48" so I chose 3/4" pine. Covered in a nice varnish, it's holding up nicely.
 
Ya'll (grin) have been a huge help on this little (big to me) project! I went with 1/2" birch plywood, and cut the 9" hole for the drop-in sink with an aptly named compass saw yesterday.

After toying around with the dollar store vinyl floor tiles, I decided not to use them. Instead, I'll try a tung oil finish.

I plan to go into more detail than most will care for on my conversion thread once it's all done.
 
This project has really come along, in spite of my training wheels. To take it to the next step, I would like to add a 6' wide pull out extension to one side of the counter.

Is it possible to mount "regular" (side mount) drawer slides to the underside of the counter and then fasten the extension to those? The extension does not need to be flush with the main counter when pulled out.
 
This project has really come along, in spite of my training wheels. To take it to the next step, I would like to add a 6' wide pull out extension to one side of the counter.

Is it possible to mount "regular" (side mount) drawer slides to the underside of the counter and then fasten the extension to those? The extension does not need to be flush with the main counter when pulled out.
I do not know of any 6” long extension drawer slides being sold by cabinet hardware suppliers. But you could potentially fabricate a U shaped channel on each side for the edge of extension to slide into. But 6 inches means you needed at least 4 inches of material still engaged in the slides for stability to resist the downward force on the extended piece. There are a number of ways it could be custom fabricated. But my describing those is more time than I want to spend when you have given me insufficient information to create a workable solution. So it would really help a lot when asking for design advice if you posted some photos of the cabinet(s) you want to modify. You will then receive the best practical solutions.
 
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Replying to the previous post of 6" drawer slides: If you're looking for a 6" drawer slides, there's quite a few if you type 6" drawer slides available.
Here's one: https://www.rockler.com/accuride-38...MInpGswY7ehQMVwimtBh3P_wxuEAQYAiABEgLxKfD_BwE

Re. mounting the drawer slides flat; you can do this however the weight rating diminishes quite a bit. There are flat mount drawer slides but usually its a single drawer slide placed in the center bottom of the drawer and the right and left have support from the face frame. The slide itself also needs a support rail.

What you may be looking for is a keyboard slide. These have brackets mounted on the drawer slide already, with another L bracket that attaches to the underside of your desktop/countertop.
Something like this: https://www.rockler.com/centerline-...MI-L-Nr47ehQMVHg6tBh1o6Qa6EAQYAiABEgLajfD_BwE
 
Doing a visualization of this situation you did mention you are mounting a sink into the center of that counter which means there is clearance on all sides of it. It sounds like you have clearance on one side for the 6” deep shelf. If that is the case with your 9 inch sink in an 18” wide cabinet you would also have space to install a pair of drawer slides that are much longer than 6 inches since your sink will not be against the front or rear edges. Using much longer slides and mounting that 6 inch shelf on those slides would mean you do not need to purchase the more expensive full extension slides. A regular 12” or 14”
inch slide will do the job just fine and it will allow that shelf to pull out a full 6”. That type of slide is considerably less expensive than full extension slides. You will also have fewer problems finding that length of regular style side mount drawer slide in a store. Look for the ones that mount on the side but also have an L shape that wraps just under the lower edge. Many times that style of slide has a white paint coating on them to allow for easier cleaning.
My internet connection this morning is too slow to do any online shopping at Home Depot for you.
 
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Replying to the previous post of 6" drawer slides: If you're looking for a 6" drawer slides, there's quite a few if you type 6" drawer slides available.....

Re. mounting the drawer slides flat; you can do this however the weight rating diminishes quite a bit...

What you may be looking for is a keyboard slide...
Thank you very much for this information! I had seen some 6" slides on Amazon, but there were quality complaints. We used to have a Rockler locally. I bought supplies to recane a set of chairs there.

The slide out extension would not need to support much weight (although no one likes surprises!). And yes, a keyboard slide was what I initially had in mind, but probably won't work for this set-up. My "countertop" is just a piece of 1/2" plywood screwed into the plastic end caps on a wire shelving unit, so the underside of the ply is really the only mounting point.
 
Using much longer slides and mounting that 6 inch shelf on those slides would mean you do not need to purchase the more expensive full extension slides. A regular 12” or 14”
inch slide will do the job just fine and it will allow that shelf to pull out a full 6”.

(Hmm. Having a bit of trouble with the scissors this morning. Can't seem to get rid of the box above.)

Thank you for the thoughts on this! That possibility calls for more measuring. The joke around here is that that's my favorite thing to do. Truth is my favorite is van Tetris. Measuring just facilitates it.

The 18" counter has been wonderful. It's a crude set-up, but OMG, it's working well. A 6" extension would be pure luxury and is not urgent, so no need to slow the web. (I really miss being able to see and feel hardware, fabrics, etc. more readily!)
 
...my sink/countertop is to start with a 2x2... plywoods...sink needs a round hole 9" across...1/4" and 1/2" panels in birch or luan. Is one better than the other?
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A couple points.
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1)
Waterproofing?
All countertop surfaces need to be permanently sealed.
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I wonder about a top-grade plywood without voids.
As I sort lumber, looking for the appropriate sheet (for your friendly neighborhood cheapskate, this means finding a wrecked corner or other blem, then dicker while prepared to walk), I notice a lot of former knots, but lost during manufacture... leaving a 'knot-hole'.
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Without that knot in the peel, that layer of the finished sheet has an often-significant void... an inch or two across.
Sawing through the sheet, exposing these types of hidden flaws, requires significantly more attention to gooping your waterproofing slop deep into the cavernous caverns.
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2)
We owned a restaurant business for ten years.
We are happiest with stainless steel.
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If I was me, I might forage through a used restaurant-equipment store.
Our local version is dark and dusty, cobwebs and rancid reeks of a million meals over the decades.
I love the place!
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If I was me, I might scour decrepit stacks of tilting boxes [tilting stacks of decrepit boxes?] for a small sink-counter combination in the dimensions to fit the space.
Mostly.
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An aside:
As we describe in our introduction, we have zero indoor plumbing.
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With our rear-entry and permanent porch, any worshing occurs outside under the permanent porch-roof.
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After a half-century of make-do camping in lesser rigs, we try really really -- really -- hard to keep our interior dry.
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Another of these confounded seemingly-perpetual asides:
Instead of a fresh-water tank plus instead of a gray-water tank, we use a spritz bottle.
We can thoroughly scrub and sanitize any kitchen pots and pans using barely a couple-three ounces (80ml) of water.
.
A faucet with a pump makes it too easy to run through gallons.
For sad tragic horrific examples, YouTube has thousands of documentaries about RVers (aka 'straights') showing the proper way to dispose of hundreds of pounds/kg of used water...
... several times a week.
Sure.
.
Suggestion:
Pay particular attention to these fine fine splendid examples of complicating the simple...
...then do the opposite.
 
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...my sink/countertop is to start with a 2x2 piece of plywood from Lowes. The top will be attached to the top of an 18x18" wire shelf unit. The top can be as wide as 19" and as deep as 24", but...
.
1)
2x2 or 24"/60cm occupies a substantial column of cubic space.
18"/45cm is more like it.
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Coincidentally, in our ExpeditionVehicle, we have a 4'x16"/1.2m x 40cm wire-rack shelf unit bolted to one wall.
To keep stuff from wandering, I have the upper eye-bolts flush to the wall, the lower eye-bolts protrude about 3"/8cm from the wall, tilting the shelves toward the wall.
Good so far.
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2)
Decades ago, foraging a used restaurant-equipment store, we discovered a 5'/1.5m flat steel shelf designed to mount the indented poles just like the wire-shelves.
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A decade prior, we foraged a stainless steel sink -- single yuge tub, zero carnsnargled divider in the center -- of usual size for a galley in a stand-still house.
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An interruptive explanitive aside:
To reduce those irritating wire-rack topplings, we bolt through the wall using 'eye-bolts'.
A 3/8" shank usually has an 'eye' opening about the right size to slide through the rack-pole.
Two eye-bolts secure each pole to the wall; for a corner, a couple more could triangular secure it.
Key to finalizing the installation, say the magic words:
* "That puppy/bad-boy ain't going noplace!"
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Anyhoo, back to the solid shelf and sink.
Using a jig-saw (and hearing protection because holy! shemoly! that's loud), I cut the shelf so the sink snuggles right in.
Instead of centered, I cut the hole toward one end, leaving room for a dish-drying rack, while the rest of that horizontal real-estate serves as a prep-counter and such.
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Unfortunately, none of our rigs had use for this beautiful contraption (that 'dry interior' concept).
Irregardless, too potentially-practical to sell or donate, the components sit in one of the storage trailers around the farm.
 
That possibility calls for more measuring.
Preliminary mezurin' is done. On the right side, where a pull-out extension could go, there is a generous 7-1/2" from the edge to the sink underneath. Slides would go to the rear of the counter (plenty of room) and the front (1" available on the top; 1-3/4" underneath). The sink was installed as close to the front and left side as possible. I'm afraid the front clearance will be the issue.
 
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1)
Waterproofing?
Not really. Top has four coats of tung oil; bottom, two. This is repelling water enough for us, for now. The sink is not even caulked, although I did take Maki's advice, kind of, about treating the cut out. I found I don't like working with silicone caulk, and just covered it with Elmers. (Tacky, right. LOL.)

2)
We are happiest with stainless steel.
.
An aside:
As we describe in our introduction, we have zero indoor plumbing.
.
Instead of a fresh-water tank plus instead of a gray-water tank, we use a spritz bottle.
Stainless rocks. I was thrilled to find stand alone hand washing and prep sinks that almost fit--just needed four more inches (don't).

As a compromise, I have a half-sheet pan. Face up, with non-slip shelf liner inside, it's handy for making hot drinks, using as a snack tray, or playing games on the bed (board games, that is). Face down, it's a nice, raised heat-resistant surface (not used yet; we cook outside). It lives under the shelf unit, serving as a drip catcher for one of the pumps and an early warning system for a slow water jug leak.

"A faucet with a pump makes it too easy to run through gallons."

The Future Van has not one, but two pumps. Since they are USB, I suspect they are junk, but I like the way they are working out so far. Our under counter fresh water jug is 3 gallons. Another 3 gallons is in the back. Both have spigots, because... suspect pumps are... (The Once Van had a 6 gallon carboy with a manual pump on top, inside a container to contain possible leaks.)

"For sad tragic horrific examples, YouTube has thousands of documentaries about RVers (aka 'straights') showing the proper way to dispose of hundreds of pounds/kg of used water...

Another big reason we didn't "upgrade" to an RV: tanks. To be fair, tanks (or bigger tanks) are a major reason some folks choose just that.

I've been emptying, at most, three cups a day from our laundry soap bottle gray tank (downsized from a cat litter jug in the Once Van). Sometimes, I keep a second laundry soap bottle handy when cooking/washing up to pour liquids into for later disposal. The amounts are quite small. I love how easy it is to "manage" our tanks!

Suggestion:
Pay particular attention to these fine fine splendid examples of complicating the simple...
...then do the opposite.
This is a great way to go! Lately, I've been slipping into the depths of... the opposite.
 
My "countertop" is just a piece of 1/2" plywood screwed into the plastic end caps on a wire shelving unit, so the underside of the ply is really the only mounting point.
In that situation you screw metal L shaped angles to the underside of the countertop and the screw the drawer glides to the dropped down leg of the angle. Where there is a will there typically is a way to suspend something from overhead.

I have spent a great many hours of my life in hardware stores. I see things. Sometimes when I need to make something and the answer does not pop immediately into my head I just go and wander the aisles of a hardware store.

I wanted to put my toilet on a low rolling platform that I could roll across the floor out of a cabinet. I wanted the rollers to move inline only. I was not seeing anything online that would work just right so I took a trip to the hardware store and there was the solution. The rollers people used to put under refrigerators in the days before most companies started building wheels into fridges. They were on a low steel frame easy to mount to a board, they moved inline and they were more than strong enough to support the weight of an person.

When you do not know what to do just go on an excursion to a hardware store and visualize your problem while you wander around looking at stuff. That visual stimulation is often enough to unlock you out of a stuck with no viable ideas mindset. You got stuck thinking the drawer rollers had to mount overhead and forgot to think how could they be cheaply but with sufficient strength be suspended from overhead.
 
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