DIY Wood Countertop Progress (the hard part is over!)

I managed to get my countertop sanded and get the excess wood cut off of the countertop yesterday.  Know how I did it?

I dragged that sucker outside!  All 12 feet of it!  All by myself!

You know the saying.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  😀

Actually, that’s not the whole story.  Here’s how the day actually went.

The last picture I showed y’all yesterday looked like this…

DIY Wood Countertop Made From Cedar 2" x 4" lumber

The countertop was together, and I had slathered wood filler all over the top.

I wish I had gotten a better picture of the top to show just how uneven this thing was.  The height difference between some of the boards was as much as 3/16-inch.  So to say that there was a lot of sanding needed would be an understatement.

The countertop is 12 feet long, and wedges perfectly between the two walls of the living room.  So needless to say, getting the thing unwedged, and then getting it out the door without dropping it was quite a chore.  But I managed.  Again, all by myself.  🙂

I started off sanding with my electric sander using 80-grit sandpaper.  It was doing the job okay, but was going to take forever.  So when I ran out of sandpaper and needed to go to Home Depot, instead of getting more sandpaper for my rotary sander, I picked up this instead…

Rigid belt sander from Home Depot

Oh yeah…the belt sander did the trick!  It sanded that countertop so smooth, and did the job much faster!

So I got most of it finished, and had about five more minutes of sanding left to do, when my neighbor (yes, the same neighbor) came over and asked me to stop because it was just soooooo loud and she was trying to study (inside her condo….which is about 85 feet away from mine).

(And FYI, Matt, who was sitting inside right by the breakfast room window, said that the noise from the sander — through the wall/window — was quieter to him than a vacuum cleaner. In fact, he was able to watch a video on his computer with no problem…and without having to crank up the volume.)

Long story short, I told her that I had to get my work done, and that I was on a deadline, and that there were plenty of places in town where she could take her books, but I couldn’t very well drag my 12-foot solid wood countertop to another location to work.

To put it lightly, I was furious.  I finished my sanding (about five more minutes), but felt like such the bad guy that I then dragged the countertop back inside, got it situated on top of the old cabinets (which are still in my living room) on one end, and a chair on the other, and did the cutting with the circular saw inside.


My living room is 12 feet by 11 feet.  So just imagine me trying to wedge that 12-foot countertop around to an angle where I could actually work on one end, and then wedge it around again to work on the other side.

It still makes me mad just thinking about it, and I’m actually angry at myself for letting her make me feel like the bad person and shaming me into using my circular saw (and making a complete mess!!) inside my condo just because she couldn’t be bothered to go to a library or one of the other 15+ quiet places there are to study in this city.

That won’t happen again.

But anyway, on to happier things.  The countertop is sanded, the excess wood has been cut off, and I’m very pleased with how it’s turning out.

DIY Wood Countertop For Built-In Bookcase 6

I don’t think that the pictures do it justice.  The top is so smooth and pretty.  I still need to go back over it with 150-grit sandpaper to really smooth it out.

DIY wood countertop made from cedar 2" by 4" lumber

DIY Wood Countertop For Built-In Bookcase 8

DIY Wood Countertop For Built-In Bookcase 9

I can’t wait to get stain on it, but I have one more thing I need to do before I can stain.

I want to trim out the front edge with cedar 1″ x 2″ lumber, just to give the front edge a nice cohesive look.

DIY Wood Countertop For Built-In Bookcase 10

I would have done that yesterday, but the Home Depot I went to was completely out of this size…and a lot of other stuff.  I thought it was quite strange for them to be out of so much, but then an employee reminded me that probably a lot of people from West are going to that Home Depot to get supplies for rebuilding.  So today, I’ll head over to the other Home Depot (I love that we have two of them!!) and hope that they have what I need so that I can finish up this countertop.  I’m anxious to get this countertop stained!!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I really love it, it looks good. Keep your head up and take a deep breath. Some people just like to complain because they have nothing better to do.

    Take care,

  2. It’s looking great, Kristi! Tell the neighbor to kiss your grits. Noise from the neighbors is to be expected in condos and its not like you were doing it at night. She can easily go elsewhere. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out. I just did a butcher block counter top for around my stove and new bar area, but Menards sold a size close to what I needed so I took the easy way out. 😀

  3. It must be so smooth even the kitty can’t believe it! :). PS. You can’t keep a good woman down! Looks great.

  4. You are amazing! I would never have tried to make a butcher block. That belt sander really did the trick though and it is going to look great! Re your neighbor: She has a lot of nerve. I could NEVER repeatedly complain to a neighbor like that. What is wrong with her? I think she should be embarrassed about her OWN behavior and she needs to just back off. Honestly, I would just do what I wanted and ignore her and her complaints. Tell her libraries are for studying! 🙂

  5. Your neighbor is nothing but a whiny bully. She doesn’t want to be bothered, but in her selfish little mind it is perfectly OK for her to bother you. If you did this every day all day she might have reason to complain. You don’t, so she doesn’t. In my part of the south we call females like her a witch with a capital B. I hope you can politely but firmly put her in her place the next time she has the temerity to complain.

    You are a wonderfully creative and resourceful woman. Consider your neighbor a pebble in the road and keep going. 🙂

  6. I love a belt sander. It really makes sanding a large project like a counter top or table top go so much faster. In fact, I love all my power tools. I am a lucky girl with all the great toys.

  7. It’s looking great – your projects always impress me. Have you considered rounding off the corners of the part that protrudes ? Can’t wait to see it all finished. I would think it’s going to be difficult to move after all the gorgeous improvements you’ve made. It will really raise the value of the condo.

  8. Kristi, beautiful work, as usual! I am a smallish woman and I know what it’s like to muscle big objects around the house in any way I can. Are you sore from that yet? Sorry about that neighbor. I wonder who she will pick on when you are gone?

  9. Kristi, first, your countertop looks AH-mazing! You do such incredible work. I wish your condo was out here in L.A., not only would you get a mint for it, but I’d buy it from you in a heartbeat (if I could afford it), it’s such a wonderfully cheerful place. Second, you are a far better person than I! After all the time and effort with making the counter and the frustration with moving it outside (jeez, you must be strong!) h-e-double-hockey-stick would’ve frozen over before I dragged that sucker back into my house to use a saw on it INSIDE just because you’re witchy neighbor insisted on it! I can’t imagine the mess! The words I would’ve had for that woman would NOT have been neighborly at all. Please do not let her do this to you again. Just tell her to buzz off. What’s she going to do? Call the police?

  10. Wow! You are one determined gal! I can see that the countertop is going to be fabulous. What a lot of work. So sorry about your neighbor. 🙁

    P.S. Just wanted you to know that I’m celebrating my blog’s anniversary this week…with giveaways too. Thanks for helping to make it become a reality for me, Kristi! I’d be delighted if you could pop by. Blessings!

  11. Amazing job! I would have reacted the same as you when confronted by a whiny neighbor. Let’s just agree to never do that again. Some people just suck. Her life is much smaller than yours, I’m sure.

  12. It’s amazing how you manage all of this yourself! You go girl! Don’t let the neighbor get you down…you have as many right as she does! And anyway you’ll be out of there soon.

    I have question. What wood filler product do you use? I was always under the impression that once you used a filler you could no longer stain but must paint (because the wood filler would show through the stain.) But obviously that is NOT the case!

    I’m dying to hear what you use!


    Small House / Big Sky Donna

    1. Hi Donna~
      Wood filler is sandable and stainable. Caulk isn’t. And wood glue isn’t stainable either. 🙂 There’s nothing more frustrating than getting wood glue on a project, not realizing it, and then trying to stain it and watching the stain separate where the wood glue is!!! I’ve done that plenty of times. 🙂

      The wood filler I use is by Elmer’s (same company that makes the glue), and I get it at Home Depot. It comes in a little tub.

  13. Its awesome. I showed it to my husband along with your bathroom makeover and said I want to do that in our bathroom. He agreed and we will do it together. I am not that great with the tools yet but I am learning. As for the neighbour she just likes to whine. I would completely ignore her. I bet she complains about everything. There are noise bylaws and you did not break any of them. she needs to get a life and if the noise was so bad a set of ear plugs. Some people are just not nice. Hang in there and keep going.

  14. It’s going to be awesome!

    I thought of you yesterday as I was proofreading a website on deadline and ideally it would be quiet in the ‘hood so I could concentrate. Unfortunately, my neighbor was having a new porch added to the front of their house with lots of sawing and pounding. I would NEVER even consider going over there to ask the workers to stop nor did I think or utter expletives about the noise. To the crabby neighbor I say “perhaps you need to mosey your hiney to a deserted island because you certainly haven’t a clue about living within a population of people!

  15. When I got home from work yesterday my neighbor was having his home reroofed. Lots of noise from that. I would never dream of going over there to ask them to turn off their noisy equipment because that is part of living in a neighborhood. Your stupid neighbor can just suck it up – ignore her!

    The counter is really coming along nicely. Can’t wait to see it trimmed and stained. Will you be staining the countertop and cabinets/bookcases all the same?

    1. Hi Sue~
      I’ll be staining only the countertop. The bookshelves on top, and the cabinets below will all be painted the same creamy white that’s on the board and batten on the lower portion of the walls. I love stained wood, just as long as it’s balanced by lots of bright white and color. 🙂

      1. I think that is wise. Too much stained wood can make a room seem dark. White is clean and bright and adds light to a room.

  16. Looking good Kristi! So happy for you that you have just a couple of months and then you won’t have to deal with the crabby neighbor anymore! 🙂

  17. I just remembered this. Have you seen those plastic and foam disks you can get at Home Depot that you put on each corner and slid the piece of furniture. Or the pipe method, where you put a heavy piece on pipes and roll it along the floor, you do have to move the pipes as you go along but it could move it a short distance. Love your work.

  18. Wow. Looks fabulous, as usual. Kristi, as long as you bow to your pesky neighbor’s complaints, she will never stop. Let her know that you are well within your rights and continue with what you are doing. And DON’T FEEL GUILTY! That’s just what she wants to get her way. Some people just can’t help themselves.

  19. I was wondering how you were going to do that! Great job. Your neighbor is wayyyy more annoying than the everyday noise of living in a community could ever be. I can’t imagine asking my neighbor not to mow their lawn or work on a project to improve their home just because I don’t like the noise. That’s just asinine. You keep doing what you gotta do!

  20. Kristi, Everything you do is so amazing! I’m always so impressed by your creativity and can do spirit! You go girl!!

  21. Your counter looks great! You should just keep working outside next time. Don’t let people get to you. You own your condo the same as she does. You were working in the day time when noise is expected. If you were working at night when people are trying to sleep that is different. You do so much, just be careful .