Thursday, June 26, 2014

Free Manicures!


It's not done, but all the functional pieces are in. (Um, except the refrigerator. I guess my standards for functional have gotten pretty low...)


Here's what we did! (And yes, this really does have to do with manicures. Read on, friends.)

We did the countertop install ourselves, so we ordered all this gorgeous butcher block. Most pieces could just go right in or only needed one end trimmed down, and the installation was pretty painless. Butcher block needs to be able to expand and contract or it will crack, so it's held down with just a couple of floating screws in each piece. 

The largest, three-million-pound piece, of course, needed the most work. We were pretty nervous about cutting the hole for the sink. Our style of sink sits underneath the counter, so there's no lip to hide any imperfections in the cut. It had to be perfect on the first try. So we did the smart thing, and went crying for help.

We worked with the fabulous and amazing John Steiner who helped us make a template, cut it out with a jigsaw, and then finish it with a router. Then we took it home, plopped it in place (where it fit - hooray!) and I sanded the heck out of it to make it smooth and lovely. Then we sealed the cut edge with many coats of polyurethane.

 After weeks of worrying about this cut, it felt like we were finally done. Except for the fact that the sink didn't actually, y'know, work. Apparently you also have to install a faucet and hook up to a water source. Who knew?

So then we had to drill a hole for the faucet. This was still pretty nerve-wracking, but straightforward enough that we knew we could do it ourselves. We bought a special drill bit and tested it out on an off-cut so there weren't any surprises. And it worked perfectly! Victory is sweet. Then I finished off the hole with more sanding and polyurethane.

Then the plumber came - the awesome and super-reliable Wes from Kitsap Peninsula Plumbing - and hooked it all up. 

Once the plumbing was installed, Brett used silicone caulk to seal the edges around the sink and the joints in the counter top.


Here's where the free mani bit comes in.

The wood had been through a lot - shipping, moving back and forth to a shop, cutting, sitting around on our floor for a week - so it was getting dry. I moisturized the heck out of it. First I used John Boos Mystery Oil, which I suspect is just overpriced mineral oil. I let that sit for five minutes, then wiped off the excess. Then I coated the counter again in Board Cream, which is an oil and wax blend. I worked that in with my hands, then left it overnight.

Unexpected bonus: my hands were ridiculously soft. Nothing like massaging oil and wax into them for half an hour! I'll need to moisturize the counters again periodically, so I'm going to think of it as a home spa experience instead of a chore.

Double bonus: this really warmed up and deepened the color of the counters, so they are even sexier than before.

There are still lots of cosmetic projects to do, but we can cook again!

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