A.Dan Vos, owner of DeVos Custom Woodworking in Dripping Springs, Texas, responds: We make a lot of kitchen countertops from a variety of hardwoods. One important thing to keep in mind is that the wider the countertop, the thicker it needs to be to remain stable. A finished thickness of 1 1/2 inches is ample for counters up to 25 inches wide; for larger tops we'll go to 1 3/4 or 2 inches. In most cases, we use Titebond (or Titebond II Extend if we need a little extra working time) for gluing up the top, although we use West System Epoxy (866/937-8797, westsystem.com) for oily tropical hardwood. We find that biscuit joints aren't necessary, because a properly made glue joint is stronger than the wood itself.

For a finish, we use either a 50/50 mixture of pure tung oil and pure citrus solvent, or a product called Waterlox (800/321-0377, waterlox.com), which is a polymerized tung-oil-based penetrating finish. If the tung oil/citrus mix is used, the homeowners can cut and chop directly on the countertop as long as they reapply the finish once or twice...

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