Wood Countertops: Slab (Book-matched) Countertops

texas treads bathroom vanity slab wood countertop

This is an example of slab wood countertop applied vertically.

Hello, Thank you for joining us again at Texas Treads.

Today Iʼm going to talk about solid slabs of lumber used for countertops and tables. The difference between using a slab as opposed to dimensional lumber is the following: Slab counters are usually made out of one or two large pieces of wood. You can see the edging, which is called the sap of the tree (video).

Slabs are usually large pieces of wood and you get them from your mill. The advantage of the wood slab is that a slab will show much more of the natural contour, of the knots, of the movement of the tree. Very little of this beauty is available in dimensional lumber. Slab products will be usually 2 to 3 inches thick, as opposed to dimensional lumber that will be thinner. Dimensional lumber comes pre-cut and kiln dried. It looks like typical lumber that you’ve seen, is ready to be cut and glued together. It is a lot easier to work with. Examples of both are here.

Difficulties of working with slabs: every slab is unique and it takes some work to find the right slab to match the right countertop. It is not a common product because it is mostly done by hand and requires detail and skill from a craftsman. We use traditional systems of joining combined with the newest glues and pressure, and dowel techniques within the slab.

An example of our craftsmanship detail is a technique called bow tie. Bow ties fasten two pieces of wood together. We usually make them out of something like Brazilian cherry, Brazilian walnut, because these are very, very strong woods (examples are in the video).

In this particular case we did what is called a book match. A book match is where you take a piece of wood and cut it in half and you open it like a book. The movement of the wood repeats a mirror image like butterfly wings. This is only possible when you buy slabs.

Wood slab countertops and tables are more costly to make. The result is capturing the beauty of the tree that is lost with other types of construction. Slabs are made for kitchens, vanities, powder room vanities, and can also be constructed horizontally as shown in the photo above.

Well thatʼs it for now, thank you for reading!


About woodcountertops

Texas Treads builds custom wood countertops (and stair treads and custom molding) in Houston, Texas. We produce both edge grain (butcher block style) and face grain countertops. We can ship down the street or across the United States. This blog has been created to help you make great decisions about your wood countertops. Starting with how to choose wood, we will be adding other how-to's like scratch repair and why buying American is buying green. We also have related videos and podcasts that are linked at the bottom of each article. Choosing the character of wood, where it is grown and manufactured, environmental and social impact are all important. We at Texas Treads want you to know us and we to know you. Give a call with questions or to place an order
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