DIY Recycled Wooden Countertop

This post was most recently updated on March 18th, 2020

To go with the rustic look of our house I decided to go with a DIY recycled wooden countertop. Here in New Zealand all of our old houses were built using beautiful native timber for the framing, flooring, and cupboards.

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These houses are often getting demolished these days, making room for newer, warmer homes. I found a local man that inherited a whole warehouse FULL of old native heartwood framing, nail holes and cracks and everything.

It is BEAUTIFUL. Well, it looks pretty crappy when you first see it, all rough sawn, dusty and dirty, but by golly is polishes up nice.

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How to Build a Wooden Countertop

Step one: Collect enough timber for the countertop – The wood I found was between 3 and 6 inches wide and I needed enough to make a counter 4.5m x 1.2m (15 x 4 ft). I needed about 40m in total and I paid $200 for this.

If you don’t strike a gold mine like I did, hunt at demolition yards and dumps and see what you can find.

Step two: Spend several days breaking your back bending over a benchtop planer that your mother’s workshop has no room for on the workbench.

Or get them professionally planed. Alternatively, you can just sand the bejeebers out of them with a grunty belt sander.

Using the benchtop planer/thicknesser really tidies up the timber for the  DIY recycled wooden countertop quickly and cleanly.

Step three: Glue and clamp together. I used Titebond III


Step Four: Turn the countertop over and nailgun some plywood onto the back to hold everything in place.

Step five: With a handheld planer level up the lumpy bits.

Step six: Using a belt sander finish off leveling/ evening up benchtop.


Step seven: Apply lashings of wood filler. The stuff from the shop was TERRIBLE! It was the wrong color, it cracked when it dried and it was hard to use.

The two things I found worked best were some glue mixed with sanding dust and some epoxy resin mixed with sanding dust.

Excuse the mess, the brickie was using it as a work surface!

Step eight: Fill knots and cracks that you want to see with 2 part epoxy resin. You can use it to fill any bumps and hollows as well.

Leave it to cure for 24 hours.

Step nine: Give everything a very good sand with 40 grit, then 100 then 120 grit sandpaper until you are happy with the finish.

As we are going for the rustic look, ours is still a bit bumpy.

Step ten: Apply 4-6 coats of marine grade polyurethane, sanding lightly between coats.


bench 2

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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