Half Wall Top

Finished Top for the half-wall

This article continues my basement half-wall finish with the construction of the top. The top is approximately 135" long and 21" wide, and has a curve on one end. Its thickness is beefed up to match the cabinets by gluing 1/2" and 3/4" plywood together. Two separate plywood pieces are needed to make the length, and they are scribed to the main wall, which isn't square to the room.

The construction of the built-in cabinets is covered in series' first article, "Half Wall Built In Cabinets".

Table of Contents

The Curved End

Curve cut in 3/4 inch plywood

The curve was scribed off the wall to a piece of 3/4" plywood, and cut with a jig saw just outside the line. I then sanded to the line using a random orbit sander. Sanding free hand with the sander brought the edge out of square with the top, and so I used the quick jig shown below to try and bring it closer to square.

Right angle sanding jig

Glue-up of the lamination for the curved piece

I then glued a 1/2" piece of plywood to the first board, and then flush trimmed to the curve using a router. This was followed up with more sanding using the same jig. Perfection wasn't required because slight variations are later covered by a skim coat of wood filer applied to edges.

The Straight End

Glue-up of the straight piece

Similar to the curved part, the straight end starts with a length of 3/4" plywood. Instead of using a solid sheet of 1/2" plywood, I glued 4" wide strips to the bottom of the board to beef up the edges. The strip running along the back was pulled in a few inches to give room for scribing to the wall.

The strip running along the front could have been a little bit wider to make installation easier. There wasn't much meat on the front to screw into because of the overhang and the wall framing. I used spacers and shims to fill in the gaps when screwing the top down to the half-wall.

Termination into the wall

Installation and Finishing

The two ends, straight and curved, were brought down to the basement and scribed to the main wall after ensuring the overhang was consistent across the front. The top was then attached to the framing using 1-1/2" pocket-hole screws from underneath. I cut and glued on a small transition to terminate the cap into the wall opposite the curve.

Wood filling the seam between pieces

The seam between the curved and straight ends was filled in using "Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler". I used my curved drywall trowel to feather out the seam, and sanded it smooth. It took a second, skim coat to fill in some of the pits and bubbles from the initial covering, but the seam is completely hidden.

The same wood filler was skim coated on the edges to fill in any voids and hide the plywood layers. After sanding everything with 150-grit paper, the top was given a coat of primer and 2 coats of the trim paint.

The final article in this series will cover the trim as well as the shelves for the built-in cabinets.
 
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