– (2) 8′ long x 24” wide cherry tree slabs
– (1) pack of 60 grit belt sander pads
– (1) pack of 120 grit belt sander pads
– (1) pack of 220 grit belt sander pads
– (1) pack of 220 grit orbital sander pads
– (1) pack 300 grit sand paper
– (20) 2” torque screws
– (1) oil-based paint brush
– (1) gallon Spar polyurethane
– (3) circular saw blades
– tape measure, framing square, pencil
– circular saw
– belt sander, orbital sander
– cordless drill, torque bits, drill bits
The two cherry slabs are very heavy. Each piece weighs 200 lb. +. Once I got them home I set them up on the sawhorse tables and gathered all the necessary tools. The slab width is perfect for the countertops, so I do not need to make any rip cuts. The straight cuts however, were slow and tedious. I will be leaving the live bark edge on to maintain this tree’s character.
I put a new blade on my circular saw, and within one cut it was beginning to burn up. The cuts had to be made very slow to keep from turning. I first had to square up one side, before measuring where to cut. Using the framing square I was able to make a straight line, mark it and slowly cut. Once the one end was square, I measured each piece to the desired lengths as countertops. I used 3 circular saw blades to get through these cuts. Once the slabs were cut, I dry-fitted them in the bus, to make sure that they would go in smoothly.
The longest step in making the tree slabs really pop, was the extent of sanding that needed to be done. The slabs have 1/4” drag lines from the previous saw that milled it. I put the 60 grit paper on the belt sander and began to work the wood as best I could, eliminating all the bumps and bruises in the wood.
Once the roughness was worked out, I switched over to the 120 grit paper and started on the details. The further I sanded, the better the lines in the tree shown and began to really make the slabs look powerful. After about two hours sanding the slabs with the 60 and 120 grit paper, I switched to the 220 grit for the last finish sand. Now that the countertops are prepped I can install them in the bus.
Each base cabinet has four corner braces to fasten the counter tops. In each cabinet I predrilled the slabs and with the 2” torque screws I screwed the countertop to the bases.
Now that the cabinets are fully installed, this is where the magic truly happens. Over the next week I brushed 7 coats of polyurethane onto the tree slabs. In between coats I used 300 grit paper to lightly sand any air bubbles out and imperfections. It is vital to do this between every coat, for if there are bubbles and cracks continually brushed over, it will be very hard to remove them later and keep the same look. The bark that is still attached I wanted to be bonded tightly to the slabs. I l brushed 7-10 coats of polyurethane onto the bark. The slab begins to look like a mirror after this many coats, and the tree lines show brilliantly.