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Hardwood Shelf / Kitchen Counter
By: Craig Shipp


It seems no matter what we do there is never enough counter space in our kitchen. In my kitchen a toaster and a VitaMix took up a large part of the available space. This left limited counter space for prep work.

As you’ll see in the pictures the solution we came up with was to extend the counter with a hardwood shelf that is screwed to the wall in such a way that no legs to the floor were needed. This allowed us to place our trash can under the shelf/counter and fully utilize the space.

The folks at Hardwoods, Inc. in Frederick had the perfect piece of Bubinga (an African Rosewood) for the project. This is a hard durable wood that will hold up to heavy use for generations. They even cut the corner off for us to make for a less obtrusive outward edge.

Mounting the supports which were made out of left over 2” x 4” lumber only took about 30 minutes and sanding and finishing the hardwood took about an hour. The result is a strong, beautiful and useful addition to our kitchen.


PS: I've made several wall-mounted shelves for holding radios and each project started with a piece of wood from Hardwoods, Inc.

Below are the Janka Hardness scale numbers for various hardwoods (for comparison Red Oak is 1280).

Jatoba: Janka hardness 2800. Weight: 55 lbs. per pcf. very hard and heavy. Has a three dimensional glow and great shimmer. JatobŠ (Hymenaea courbaril), also known as Brazilian cherry, is a tree common to the Caribbean, Central, and South America and Brazil. It is a hardwood that is used for furniture, flooring and decorative purposes.


Verawood: Janka hardness 4600. Weight: 80 lbs. per pcf. This and Lignum Vitae are the heaviest hardest woods known. Used for bearings and gears in machinery and bushings in propellor shafts for ships due to its extreme hardness and self oiling properties.They are so hard and heavy and naturally oily they will outlast any of us. Called the "wood of life," it flourishes as an ornamental tree. Verawood is hard to come by in long enough lengths as the tree can grow to 100 feet tall, it is thin, and most of the wood is used for machinery and smaller turning blocks. Very, very expensive, but worth every penny.

Bocote: Janka hardness 2200. Weight: 48-65 lbs. pcf. The most figured, even more so than Ziricote. Very oily, with a nice natural luster. Would be considered endangered if it only existed in its natural small habitat in Costa Rica but man has done something right by planting it from Argentina to Florida as a nice ornamental tree singularly and in groves. Bocote is a Spanish name used in Central America for several tree species in the genus Cordia. What species (singular or plural) it refers to will vary.

African Paduak: Janka hardness 1725. Weight: 42-51 lbs. pcf. Orange, turns to red and black when finish is applied. Will turn chocolate brown or burgundy within three years or so unless high UV filter finish is applied. Texture much like Red Oak.

Ipe: Janka hardness 3670. Weight: 75 lbs. pcf. The heaviest and oilest wood next to Verawood and Lignum Vitae. Also used for machinery and bearings. Much of the ipÍ imported into the US is used for decking. Starting in the late 1960s, importing companies targeted large boardwalk projects to sell ipÍ, beginning with New York City Parks and Recreation (“Parks”) which maintains the city’s boardwalk, including along the beach of Coney Island. The city began using ipÍ around that time and has since converted the entire boardwalk — over 10 miles long — to ipÍ. The ipÍ lasted about 25 years, at which time (1994), Parks has been replacing it with new ipÍ.

African Zebrawood: Janka hardness 1700. Weight: 46 lbs. per pcf. Always quarter sawn, giving a brown to black strip on blonde. Shimmers, glows when glossy finished. A tree that grows to 150 feet tall and can be 6 feet in diameter. Garbage wood to them, and exotic to us. The name zebrawood, also known as Zebron, is used for wood with a figure that reminds of the striping of a zebra. The name will usually refer to a wood yielded by the species of Microberlinia, particularly Microberlinia brazzavillensis , but may be applied to other woods; for example: Astronium fraxinifolium and Dalbergia melanoxylon.

Zebrawood is used in a limited way for veneer, wall paneling, custom furniture, furniture trim, inlay bandings, marquetry, specialty items and turnery. Because of its hardness, it can also be used for skis and tool handles. It is a decorative exotic wood, and as such has only a small following that even knows it exists, but those that do venture to use it, are awed by its dramatic colour banding.

The extensive use of zebrawood in Prada's flagship Manhattan store in 2002 resulted in protests from environmentalists and a promise from Prada never to use wood from endangered forests again.

A heavy hard wood with a somewhat coarse texture, with the typical so-called zebra stripes, often with an interlocked or wavy grain. The heartwood is a pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale colour of the sapwood and features narrow streaks of dark brown to black. Zebrawood can also be a pale brown with regular or irregular marks of dark brown in varying widths. It is almost always quartersawn to get the exciting alternating colour pattern and a straight grain. It is a true exotic wood, with limited availability and relatively high prices.

This wood is easy to saw but difficult to work with. Of all the woods I have handled, this rates as the worst to plane. It does not seem to matter which direction it is feed into a planer, it tears out badly in either direction. Experts recommend the use of a belt sander as the only feasible way to get a good smooth finish. If you receive it presanded, it is relatively easy to cut to size for all your woodworking projects. Can be glued if done with care.


Bolivian Rosewood: Janka hardness 3200. Weight: Up to 75 lbs. per pcf. Rosewood refers to a number of richly hued timbers, brownish with darker veining. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for flooring, furniture, turnery, musical instruments, and wooden chess sets (black pieces). In general, supplies are poor through overexploitation. Some species become canopy trees (to 30 m high), and big pieces can occasionally be found in the trade.

The pre-eminent rosewood appreciated in the western world is Dalbergia nigra, Brazilian rosewood (now CITES-listed). It is also known as Rio rosewood or Bahia rosewood. This wood has a strong sweet smell, which persists over the years, explaining the name "rosewood".

Another classic rosewood is Dalbergia latifolia known as (East) Indian rosewood or sonokeling. Other rosewoods can be found in tropical America, Southeast Asia, and Madagascar. About a dozen species of the large genus Dalbergia, are recognized as rosewoods.

The woods of some other species in the genus Dalbergia are notable, even famous, woods in their own right: African Blackwood, cocobolo, kingwood, and tulipwood. The Indian souvenir trade tries to sell objects made of Dalbergia sissoo (sometimes stained purple) as if they were rosewood. The wood of some other species is usable for toolhandles, at best.

The timber trade will sell many timbers under the name 'rosewood' (with an adjective) due to similarities in figure. A fair number of these timbers come from other leguminous genera: one that is often mentioned is Machaerium scleroxylon.


Bubinga: Janka hardness 1980. Weight: 50 to 60 lbs. per pcf. Can be nicely figured. Bubinga wood is often used by luthiers for harps and other instruments because of its mellow and well-rounded sound. These species are found in Equatorial Africa, from Southeast Nigeria, through Cameroon and Gabon to the Congo region. They occur in swampy or periodically inundated forests, as well as near rivers or at lakeshores. Bubinga timer is known for its use as wood trim in the 2008 Lexus LX570. Guibourtia is a plant genus of the family Fabaceae (legume family). It contains 16 to 17 species in tropical Africa. The genus is well-known for its luxury timbers. The best-known timber is bubinga (Guibourtia demeusei, aka kevazingo). Another is ovangkol. Species of Guibourtia also produce Congo copal.

Santos Rosewood: Janka hardness 2800. Weight: up to 75 lbs. per pcf. Heavy oily colourful wood, with purple black, brown and orange.that sands to a smooth finish.

Purple Heart: Janka hardness 2090 to 3630 so I am told. Weight: 50-66 lbs. per pcf. I don't believe the 2090 as I know how quickly it dulls tools. It is hard to cut or plane or router without burning it. Dry and hard. Purple means purple but can fade to a burgundy or burgundy brown over time without UV preservative.

East Indian Rosewood: Janka hardness 3200. Weight: 53 lbs. per pcf. The darkest of the Rosewoods.

Pau Ferro: Janka hardness 3200. Weight: 68 lbs. per pcf. Pao Ferro or Pau Ferro (Caesalpinia echinata) is an exotic tree in Bolivia. Its wood is used for making fingerboards for basses and electric guitars. It has a similar feel and tonal qualities to Rosewood but has a slightly lighter colour.
For more info visit http://hardwoodsincorporated.com


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Hardwood Shelf / Kitchen Counter
By: Craig Shipp
   
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