Need a way to support a wooden countertop/cutting board


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Old 12-20-16, 04:16 PM
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Need a way to support a wooden countertop/cutting board

My mother's kitchen has one countertop that functions as an installed wooden cutting board.

It's made up of 1.75" x 0.75" boards arranged so that their narrow dimension points up, combined so they're a tad under 24" from front to back (to the wall) and 44" side to side.

It was placed so that a bit under half of that total width (19") sits on top of a cabinet; the rest hangs free over nothing. I have no idea what if anything attaches it to the wall or the cabinet, but a metal bracket holds up the back 6" or so of the hanging portion.

It's been there some 50 years, but lately two of the slats about midway between the front and the back have begun to separate. I don't know what kept them together; perhaps glue, though they have two sets of three screws going inward from the front (parallel to the floor), though for all I know they're only a few inches long and obviously don't help with the separated boards..

As a result, that part of the cutting board is dropping downward.

So I'm left with a problem: how do I fix this?

I could try regluing the slats, but I don't know that I can get glue in there without first disassembling it completely, which will likely cause other problems, and I can't exactly clamp the pieces together (except at the top and bottom).

A mending plate at the bottom would be all but useless, and at just 3/4" wide I don't think the boards could handle it. Ditto a mending plate over the end.

I'd rather not try putting a column support in. Not only do I think that would be ugly, but it would lead to other problems (floor is composite tile) plus it's a busy corner and would likely get kicked over and over.

If I wanted to screw the boards together from the front... well, I'd need a really long drill bit and screws at least 14" long (and a steady hand and a perfectly horizontal bit placement), or similarly long self-tapping screws.

That basically leaves some sort of bigger version of the existing bracket, attached much lower and extending outwards. But AFAIK that would have to be something custom.

To complicate things, most of the wall space under the cutting board is taken up by a radiator, limiting where I can put any support brackets.

Below is a picture to illustrate what I've described (the arrow points to the split). At the far right, on the outer wood board, you can just barely see three of the screws I'd mentioned.

Any ideas?

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Last edited by vanderdecker; 12-20-16 at 04:55 PM.
  #2  
Old 12-20-16, 05:01 PM
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Here's what I'd do to salvage it.

I would clamp two pieces of 2x4 on edge running front to back to get all the pieces back in line.

Then I would install a countertop support bracket, like one of these:

Countertop support brackets - hidden steel brackets for countertops, shower seating and more.

They are available up to 20 inches deep. Install it into the stud closest to the end of the extension.

Once bracket is installed, I would again clamp the boards, this time to the bracket. Then I would run a router with a 1/4 inch slot cutter along the end grain edge. Run it on top of a piece of 1/4 plywood or MDF so you cut a nice clean slot. Into the slot I would insert a spline made from hardwood or even steel to keep the ends of the boards aligned.

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 12-21-16, 04:50 AM
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Thanks for the reply.

One issue and a question.

There's just maybe 10" of clearance between the bottom of the counter and the top of the radiator. That would limit me to, at most, the 14" long bracket on the linked page. Since the separation is a bit more than 12" from the wall, I'm concerned that this would be too short and wouldn't give me enough support where it's actually needed (the 16 and 18 inch long brackets have a 12" height). With the 10x14 bracket I'd also have to build out from the wall with a shim to bring it level to the trim around the radiator.

I don't currently have a router (a few years back Superstorm Sandy destroyed a lot of my stuff) but I think I can borrow one.

I'm not sure what you mean by clamping the boards to the bracket before making the slot. To better align the ends? I'm not picturing how I'd attach the boards to the bracket to do so.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 08:08 AM
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You could use the shorter bracket but first fasten a strip of 3/4 or thicker hardwood (Maple or oak would be good) that runs the full depth of the boards and then put the bracket under that. You could screw through the oak into every strip above to pull them into line and hold them together. You could try that first and if it keeps them aligned well enough you could skip the router step.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 09:16 AM
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Would it pay at all to use a hardwood board, i.e., 6-8 inches wide and put in three or four screws per strip... or maybe every 2 or 3 strips?

And should I use self-drilling screws? I was thinking #8's because the strips are only 3/4".
 
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Old 12-21-16, 09:36 AM
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Sure, wider will provide better support and multiple screws will help pull it all tight. Something like a spax screw should work, but if the wood is very hard you may need to drill pilot holes.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 04:59 PM
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Would #8 screws be too thick for 3/4" thick wood? Should I go for 6's?
 
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Old 12-21-16, 05:54 PM
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No, not at all. But if it's hardwood (likely) you will still probably need a pilot hole either way. And that will make the screws much easier to drive.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 03:02 PM
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Here's a bracket that will work. It's from the same site already posted.
This bracket requires the wall to be cut open to install it, but I wouldn't hesitate to do that.

Countertop Supports - Floating Inside Wall Mount - Hidden

As far as aligning the ends, a 1/4" slot cutter on a router would be ideal as CT suggested.
The boards could be clamped by using only two C-clamps and some wood strips.

There's all kinds of decorative end caps that are designed to fit into a 1/4" slot.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 04:37 PM
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Here's a bracket that will work. It's from the same site already posted.
This bracket requires the wall to be cut open to install it, but I wouldn't hesitate to do that.
That wouldn't be practical here. For one, there's wallpaper over the wall to be opened up; at the least, I'd lose that, with no way to replace it. Second, I don't see how I can attach it. I wouldn't be able to screw in the top of the bracket--the counter would be in the way. I'd have to open up a second section of wall--over the counter--and that's covered in tile that there is no way I could replace. This would be fine for a new-install, but I don't see how I can put it without significant demolition.

To prove that the gods have a sense of humor, I went out and bought the supplies today, going with this bracket along with a 1x6x24" piece of poplar and some Spax screws (1-3/4" #8s made for hardwood/mdf) plus shelf screws.

I went to test out the bracket and found that though the label says it's 10x16, it's actually more like 10.5", and that's only if you measure that length to the underside of the right-angled part, not the total length. But that doesn't even matter, because I just realized that the 10" clearance I had is cut down to about 9.25" once you account for the poplar board it's going to be attached to.

Back to the store....
 
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Old 12-22-16, 04:57 PM
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FWIW, front view of the cutting board. I have no idea what purpose those screws serve (there are two more outside of the view in that right-hand group).

Name:  cuttingboardfront.jpg
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Old 12-22-16, 05:23 PM
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I wouldn't be able to screw in the top of the bracket--the counter would be in the way. I'd have to open up a second section of wall--over the counter
Trying to save wallpaper that will barely be seen is impractical IMO.
If you cut a wide slot above the radiator just below the counter you will be able to get a drill in there to secure the bracket, even above the level of the counter.

If you like this idea the first step is finding where the nearest 2x4 is from the end.
Ideally it's 3-10" from the edge.

You could also skip the bracket and use a 1x6 board, but I would still secure the board to the inside of a cripple stud with 4 screws similar to how the bracket is attached.

The cut in the wall can be covered in many nice ways.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 05:22 AM
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I think I found a much less destructive workaround for installing that side-mounted bracket. I'm going to look into buying one--i.e., see if there's something like it locally, order if not--and get back.

Question, though. On that site with the brackets they had two styles: one where the stud attachment plate only extends below the counter support, and one where it's both above and below (both items shown on the page linked here). My gut tells me that the one where it's attached above and below the support section is stronger. Am I mistaken?
 
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Old 12-23-16, 05:37 AM
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Why not run a 1x4 under the repair and then install a support at 45 degrees that returns back to the cabinet to provide the support. Stain it to match the cabinets. Here is a rough sketch for you.

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Old 12-23-16, 05:48 AM
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Another alternative

Seems like a lot of good advice. Here's a source for a beefy larger bracket, intended for granite overhangs. Countertop Support Bracket for Granite, Quartz - hidden - Front Mounting

I used these to support a wooden kitchen bar. You can have them drill counter sink holes in the horizontal part, and could also drill some small holes to put screws in right in the problematic places and then clamp and screw to get the boards to line up again.

(edit: I see you found another solution at this same site)
 
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Old 12-23-16, 06:11 AM
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My gut tells me that the one where it's attached above and below the support section is stronger. Am I mistaken?
The one that attaches above and below is stronger, but you don't need the extra strength.
The second one you linked to is plenty strong enough. They are designed to hold granite which is much heavier than your wood.

My advice would be to drill the holes as accurate as possible into the side of the stud.
Use an automatic center punch to mark the holes or clamp the bracket in place and use a self-centering drill bit for the pilot holes.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 08:17 AM
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Thanks for the advice. Should I make the pilot holes every so slightly off-center--centered right and left but maybe 1mm high--to push the bracket up more firmly against the countertop>
 
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Old 12-23-16, 01:46 PM
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The bracket should be perfectly level in relation to the right side of the butcher block, I wouldn't raise it.
If the left side of the counter is sagging as is, fix the end first as discussed and push it up a little with a temporary T support and shims. That will allow you a little room to get the bracket in and set the counter back down.

Don't overtighten the lags or screws into the studs, they only need centered and snugged up firmly.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 04:10 PM
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Thanks for the information. What's the proper size pilot hole for #12 lag screws into a stud? That's what the bracket comes with (I ordered it today).

I've read three different number on three different sites: 7/64, 1/8, 9/64.

From what I hear, the pilot hole (for soft wood) should be about 75% of the screw diameter. I believe a #12 is 7/32, and 75% breaks down to 0.1640625" which is 21/128, and that leads to approximations.

Just found my blob of beeswax for the threads.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 05:23 PM
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I would use a 1/8 or 9/64" bit.
You can scrape bar soap or beeswax on the threads to make driving them in easier.
It's OK to use a ratchet or a box end wrench to tighten the screws, just don't over do it.

Here's a link to a self-centering bit designed for a #12 screw, it's 11/64". I use these often, but not to full depth. I let the bit center, drill a little and then drill a deeper pilot with a smaller bit.
Shopping
 
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Old 12-24-16, 03:32 PM
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Here's the stud I'll be attaching the bracket to. I'm glad I cut in carefully!

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Last edited by vanderdecker; 12-24-16 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-29-16, 04:37 PM
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And done!

Got the bracket today; I had the poplar board already cut and predrilled (I used a drill guide to be sure the holes were perpendicular), so it was a matter of double checking the bracket's fit so I could place the board properly and drill/screw it in place.

Getting the bracket in place took a bit of work. It was heavier than I'd expected; it has to weigh about 10 pounds! Frustratingly, I'd cut out the slot in the drywall perfectly, so that the bracket would slide right in without leaving any gap around it. But the bracket is so heavy the weight crushed the bottom edge, almost doubling the size of the slot.
I might cut a little trim to fit around it.

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I cut the poplar back a couple of inches from the edge and beveled it, so it's nearly invisible from above--you can just barely see the hardwood if you bend down and step back:

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Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 12-29-16, 04:59 PM
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That looks great

I would get rid of the little bracket, people might think that's what's holding the counter up and get bad ideas

I like the setback and the bevel on the poplar, professional looking.
 
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Old 12-29-16, 05:34 PM
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Nice work. That should hold it nice and solid for a long time.
 
 

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