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IKEA Beech Worktops - UPDATE

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Argee

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I've got six large IKEA Beech worktops (laminated from blocks) to fit next week with three right-angle joints involved. I've had a quick look at the tops, but didn't have a tape with me. They looked slightly more than 600mm and they have a <2mm chamfer all round. I was wondering what the beech is like to work using a worktop jig - anyone tried it? I can reinstate the chamfer on the plain ends easily enough.

Two of them will be joined longways to form a wider breakfast bar, then a curved end cut in the end-of-peninsular overhang and the chamfer reinstated again. I'll probably use a double row of biscuits and a few worktop connectors, unless anyone else has a better idea. TIA

Ray.
 

Barry Burgess

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If they are the one I think you are using they are 650 and when I joined them as they are 2440? and I had to get them 2600 I first cut the end to remove the chamfer ( I used my router to cut the board). I then cut the chamfer on the piece to be joined and used 4 biscuits to join them. It was noteasy to gat the pieces to match up. I was not that happy with the joint
I did not have to do ant right angled joins. I had a very uneven oak and plaster wall to butt up to- not fun at all trying to cut the back You have to allow some over hang at the back of the cupboards because of the width of the top. Ikea recommend an oil to treat the top with. Use less than half there recommendation as it leaves the top sticky
This was about 3 years ago
 

Scrit

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Hi Ray

The clue is in the description "beech" worktops. They don't need a mason's mitre joint at all (which are intended for post-formed laminated worktops) and if jointed this way will pull themselves apart eventually. Just treat them as though you were jointing any other piece of solid wood (like a table top) with the connections allowing for differential expansion and contraction between long grain and cross grain - so loose biscuits or a loose tenon to locate and figure eights to pull up. As for width jointing I'd suggest a loose but snug fitting (plywood) tongue referenced off the top surfaces almost end to end then glued with UF glue (a D3 exterior grade would do but isn't as good) and cramped up. I've done this with other beech tops and it works OK - I find that biscuits tend not to pull up well enough in the vertical plane. You'll still need to go over the joint with a hand scraper and belt sander afterwards before oiling. As for the oiling the trick there is to flood the surface then wipe it off fairly promptly 3 to 5 times - don't leave the oil for ages to soak in or you'll get the sticky mess Barry was talking about. Make sure that you oil the undersides, too and pay special attention to the ends (including the butt joints) which will tend to absorb more. I also tell my customers to oil again at the end of the first week, at the end of the first month, after 3 months and then at least every 6 months thereafter for the life of the tops and to wipe-up splashes immediately. Ends by Agas, Rayburns and the like need special consideration and I'd advise making breadboard ends for them to reduce the tendency to split along the joints - although then you will have to point-out to the client that they dob't expand or contract at the same rate as the cross grain they are protecting.

BTW if you are installing a Belfast sink or underhungs don't forget to rout a capillary groove on the underside of the worktop. I also rout a falling drainer on the top if requested - and present the customer with the sink cut-out converted into a chopping board complete with finger grooves at the ends and rounded edges (if they've been nice to me! :lol: )

The other thing I should have mentioned - it is sometoimes easer to "ease" the plaster and masonry in the wall behind the units than try to scribe the back edge of a solid beech worktop. Use an SDS drill with rotation stop and a chisel bit - much faster if a bit messier (so unclip and remove doors, etc)

Good luck! Let us know how you get on...

Scrit
 

Sgian Dubh

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Argee, here's a couple of old tricks for scribing the back edge of worktops to walls. Actually it works pretty well for most scribing needs.

1. Create a generous rebate on the underside of the worktop leaving something like a 12 mm or smaller tongue.

2. Offer the rebated back edge of the worktop up to the wall. To do this set the front edge parallel to the front edge of the cabinets (or adapt the technique for other built-ins) so the back edge only touches the wall in one or two places.

3. Get a washer of the right diameter, lay it flat on the worktop with the edge against the wall. Stick the point of a pencil in the hole of the washer and push the washer against the wall as you roll it along. This will give you an accurate scribe line to cut to. You can also use a compass to create the scibe line or a short narrow bit of wood, and anything else that's handy.

4. Rip off the thin back edge of worktop to the scribe line-- saws, planes, spokeshaves, whatever you have, electric or hand tools all work fine. Slainte.
 

jasonB

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Argee I fitted a couple of the Ikea ones at the end of last year, You will have to use a masons mitre because as you say they have a chamfered front & back edge( unlike the more expensive ones which are square edge) Cuts easily with a sharp router bit.

They are also only just wider than the units so you don't get a lot to play with. I also found that there is only one good side, the other having damaged/under thickness staves so just watch they don't come where you have an exposed end.

Jason
 

Scrit

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Jason

The problem with a template mason's mitre in solid timber is that there is a tendency for the joint to move and open in time, hence my feeling that enormous mason's mitres done with a jig are not the right way. I'd say it was better to run a rebate cutter across the bevelled butting part of the top edge and glue-in a small square slip of beech with a bit of deft chisel work to form the mitre corner. That way any movement will have minimal visible impact.

Scrit
 

jasonB

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Agree with you scrit, if the top shrinks away from the front edge the mitred part will open up, thats why I butt joint the sq edge ones.

Maybe best to cut say 6mm (half cutter diameter) into the long grain to loose the chamfer on the female and just round over the corner to 6mm radius to form a "mini" miteron the male. or just cut a small 45 degree mitre as you would when making window frames etc, just deep enough to miter the moulded part.

You could probably do this with a standard jig if you put a packer between the front edge of the worktop and the pins, provided it was a 700mm plus jig.

Jason
 

Barry Burgess

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I would have chased the wall as well but for the oak beams running down the wall. I felt that the Ikea top could be cut rather than the old oak.
I only do this for fun rather than a living as you guys do..
I removed one of these tops and replaced it with a regular Ikea top and found that the top removed was wider than the standard Ikea top which presented a real pain in the a**
Good luck Ray with the install next week - hope it goes quickly
 

Scrit

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Hi Barry

I wouldn't cut into a timber frame beam either, but I've been presented with a number of houses in the past where the wall was best described as "a bit knobbly" and it was quicker and cleaner to "knock a few small lumps" off the masonry than scribe the back of a 40mm iroko or teak top (man are they ever hard work). I've seen the granite guys do the same sort of thing for much the same reason. A couple of times I've had to chisel clearances into the masonry to get a replacement worktop in where the customer didn't want to remove their existing tiling - probably one of the more awkward jobs to do but still cheaper than having to rip-out and replace all the tiling. Not for the faint of heart, though! :twisted:

Scrit
 

Argee

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UPDATE

The IKEA worktops are in and look quite good (if you like that sort of worktop, that is!). In the end, I removed 2mm from the joint end width to clear the chamfer, then removed the same amount from the joining face having marked the amount need with a 2mm vertical saw cut. Routed then finished with a chisel, which gave a very clean butt - secured with butterfly bolts.

I've put some pics up, which can be seen here if you're interested. The joint described is the fourth shot down.

Ray.
 

superunknown

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Looks very nice. I have 4 kitchens to do over the next few months with very similar worktops (40mm beech) they are complete blanks, they have no edge detail. I still have to decide what to do there, just a simple small round I think will look best.

Did you use a router jig for your bolt holes? If so, did you make it yourself?

Steve
 

SVB

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Would you reccommend these w/tops with a softwood under-frame and edging piece as a budget alternative to a solid wood workbench top.

Other than general mass of a really nice 4" top, what would be the drawbacks of going this route?

Thanks
Simon
 

Scott

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SVB":39ba3tvj said:
Other than general mass of a really nice 4" top, what would be the drawbacks of going this route?
Movement and lack of flatness I reckon Simon!

Our kitchen has these tops and they do move a bit seasonally. You should be able to cope with that with proper construction but the flatness thing might be a problem if you like a perfectly flat bench. You might find you're planing it so often that there's not much left in no time.

Our worktops are oiled but, to be honest, more so on the top than the bottom and that shows. Running your hand over them you can feel the bulges of each individual stave in some places (more so at some times than others, presumably due to moisture content). It's not that the tops are cupping across the full width, just a bit humpy really :D

If it's not that critical for you then they might be OK. You're clearly aware of the lack-of-mass issue

ATB
 

Argee

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nola":gui06pvx said:
Did you use a router jig for your bolt holes? If so, did you make it yourself?

Steve
I've got a Hafele worktop jig which I used to rout the three bolt pockets (at 150mm spacing) for the returns. I used six bolts to join the breakfast bar along the length, spaced so that they didn't clash with the sides of the three base units supporting it.

SVB":gui06pvx said:
Would you reccommend these w/tops with a softwood under-frame and edging piece as a budget alternative to a solid wood workbench top.

Simon
If I was going to use this type of worktop for a bench, I'd cover it with a sacrificial material as the worktop has already marked where the client dropped some cutlery on it! Solid enough, though.

Ray.
 
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