Step 3: Scribe the template

using a compass and utility knife, cut the cardboard strips exactly to size and shape
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Open a compass so its legs match the widest gap between the cardboard strip and the side wall. Run the tip of the compass along the wall, with the pencil on the cardboard, to transfer the contours of the wall to the strip.

Using a utility knife, cut the cardboard along the scribe line. Push the strip back tight against the wall, using the combination square to verify the overhang depth. Retape the strip in place. Make a second strip in the same manner for the opposite side of the counter.

Cut a longer strip to fit along the back wall, and scribe it if necessary. Tape it in place between the two sides. Create another long piece with a perfectly straight edge to act as the front of the template. Double-check that the countertop overhang stays consistent between the edge of this piece and the cabinet fronts as you tape it down.

TOH Tip: For larger countertops with sinks or ranges, tape down strips to outline where the rough openings for the necessary cutouts should go.
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    Tools List

    • combination square
      Combination square
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • pencil compass
      Compass or scribe
    • hot glue gun
      Hot glue gun
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 1/8-inch drill bit and ½-inch paddle bit Caulk gun

    Shopping List

    1. Butcher Block Must be ordered in advance; plan six weeks for delivery

    2. Cardboard to make a template for ordering the butcher block. An old packing box will do, as will poster board—as long as it's stiff enough to hold up to scribing but flexible enough to be folded for mailing.

    3. Painter's tape

    4. Scrap wood to use

    as blocking on open-topped cabinets or as furring strips on solid-topped cabinets. Blocking should be 3/4-inch plywood or 1x material, but ¼-inch plywood will suffice for furring strips. 5. Kitchen and Bath Sealant for gluing the butcher block to the cabinets. Look for a 100 percent silicone product

    6. 1-Inch Fender Washers

    7. 1½-Inch Deck Screws to attach the blocking and the butcher block to the cabinets

    8. Mineral Oil or any other FDA-approved oil for food-prep surfaces. Walnut oil is a good organic alternative to petroleum-based mineral oil because it won't go rancid like other food-based oils.