How would you make this?

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
9 Jun 2020
Reaction score
I’ve been asked to make the below set of units, replicating the design exactly. I’m comfortable with how to build the carcasses and doors etc, but it’s the top that throwing me.

It’s 5.4m long and they want it to be in a dark wood style. The outer cupboards are only 250mm deep and the centre drawers section is 500mm deep.
I initially thought I could use some 18mm thick wooden board, with a further piece at the front to give the impression of it being thick, and stain it dark. However, I’m concerned that a natural wood will warp/twist, especially when it’s a long length. I called my local wood supplier and they confirmed not only could they not supply anything 5.4m long, they agree there’ll be issues of the wood moving.

Any ideas/help please?

Make it as 3 independent units. More value as could also be re-arranged etc.
Or cheaper - built-in but with 3 pieces of top just butted up. Who's going to notice the 2 joins?
You may struggle to find a solid wood top that long in one piece and even if you do i expect the cost would be high and as said wood movement could be an issue. Maybe two 40mmx 3m man made solid wood counter tops as used in kitchens etc carefully cut to give the correct depth and length would be better and give a single join in the middle,precise clean cuts should give a near invisible join when butted together and pulled tight with two or three of those fittings used by kitchen fitters to pull the counter tops together.
Could you use a scarf joint for the boards to get the length like they do in boat building? If the wood is well seasoned, I don't think you'll get any contraction along its length. If the top is then held down to the carcass/frame along its length with screws, with slotted holes to allow expansion and contraction in the boards width. I built a couple of tables like this and I've not had any problems with warping
If worktops you could run 2 pieces 250mm deep, 2.7m long joined in the middle across the full length then add a 250mm piece in the middle on the front over the drawer unit if that makes sense.

You could use MDF and edge it, one piece of MDF on each unit with the joints in line with the edge of the drawer unit.

I think a lot of places would just use 3 pieces of worktop, one on each unit with an obvious v groove on the joints to hide any movement.

Guess the best job would be to make up your own stave type top in situ.
You can glue up a veneered MDF top, out of three 18mm thick lengths, to line up with the cabinets beneath. These can be glued and screwed to two long backing boards, to offset the joins. It can then be lipped, as a whole, with a substantial wood edging to the front. It's best to use biscuits to ensure that all your tops remain level with each other, just as you would a kitchen worktop

I have successfully used this method to build a continuous top for a reception desk, On this there was the added refinenent of a section of board running crossways at each join , to visually disguise where the boards butted.

My task, however, was not hampered by having it fit between walls, so it would probably be more expedient to divide the top into three separate pieces, as others have suggested, to fit the break-front design.

There might even be a case to be made for fixing a pain 18mm MDF/chipboard top, first. To this you can then apply the three sections of your finished top, ready lipped to a thickness of 36/40mm
wood movement is a red-herring. not to be worried about in counterops.

Length is.

suggest 3 sections or start cutting yer own trees, milling, drying etc!!!

Not likely

I don't think even custom veneer suppliers could accommodate that

Eric in the colonies

Latest posts