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Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes for the New Kitchen an Paperback – April 15, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
--Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big House and Creating the Not So Big House
"Over the past decade, the most requested article from our back issues has been about making concrete countertops. And more than anybody, Fu-Tung Cheng has been the innovator calling the public's attention to concrete as a material worthy of the finest interior detailing. This is the kind of book that will make you see a common material in a whole new way, and maybe even make you want to roll up your sleeves and play with it." Chuck Miller, Special Issues Editor, Fine Homebilding Magazine
"This book celebrates the beauty of design drawn from nature.. Fu-Tung Cheng demonstrates that we can bring art and creativity back home in sustainable architecture that is both timeless and elegant." -----Alice Waters, Chez Panisse restaurant
Top Customer Reviews
A few comments:
First, contrary to the author's comments, an electric sander is completely inadequate for vibrating the concrete. Buy or rent a professional vibrator unless you want pinholes in your work. Hand "massaging" and rapping the sides with a hammer will not completely eliminate the problem either. I tried all three methods and still ended up with a moderate amount of honeycombing. As the author mentions, this is easily patched, and it even adds character to the work if you use a slightly different color, but be aware: properly vibrating the mix is not nearly as simple as it seems to be in the book. My comments pertain to a mix that has proper slump (i.e., not too wet).
Second, the author makes a reference to plastic cabinet legs being inadequate to support a concrete countertop. That may be accurate for the flimsy off-the-shelf cabinets, but the plastic cabinet legs that are quickly becoming a standard ... are load-rated at 650 pounds EACH. This is more than enough to support a think concrete countertop (probably even better than a shimmed 2x4 base).
Next, I would have to say that I was slightly annoyed at the lack of "recipes" needed to produce some of the stunning work shown in the book's illustrations. Visiting the author's website was also annoying since there it doesn't help much (unless you want to buy one of his pricey kits.Read more ›
Fine Homebuilding had an article featuring the author that stopped short of being an all-inclusive 'How-To' on creating countertops from concrete. This book is all of that.
The book takes the reader through the process of creating a kitchen countertop step-by-step. It includes instructions for building the form, concrete composition (including a recipe), coloring, finishing, handling & installation and maintenance. The author includes numerous hints and tips gleaned from his experience that should help the first-time countertop maker avoid problems.
Other titles I've purchased from Taunton included great photos and illustrations. This book is no exception. It's packed with hundreds of full-color photographs of the process and of completed kitchens that will fuel your imagination.
My only disappointment is that the author didn't include more specific information and/or recipes that would allow a do-it-yourselfer (like me) to achieve some of the looks featured in the book. By adding various dyes and aggregates, a wide variety of looks can be created using concrete. I understand Mr. Cheng's need to protect some of his secrets but it will be difficult for me to experiment as I lack the time and resources to duplicate some of the examples shown.
Thank you to Taunton Press and Mr. Cheng for providing a great book. I can't wait to get started...
The only drawback, is that Fu-Tung Cheng keeps too many things secret, or he was limited by space from REALLY getting into the nitty gritty. But with some common sense and trial-and-error, you should be able to fill in the blanks.
A warning to do-it yourselfers: Because a lot of trial-and-error is required on the reader's part, whatever you do, do the seperate mold technique (which is heavily covered) and do not attempt to cast it in place (not covered much) unless you really know what you're doing.
This book gives you a great starting point from which to practice your own functional art, and is well worth the price.
The book has a stylish and modern look, with beautiful illustrations, though not as many photos of actual countertops as one might think. It contains a fairly detailed description of how to make a countertop using the inverted mold method with sections on making the mold, concrete mixes and additives, surface finishes and sealants. The cast-in-place method is mentioned briefly.
The process is not inexpensive and is extremely labor intensive. When you are done you have a countertop that is high maintenance and subject to scratching and staining. Concrete is intriguing because of the design flexibility it offers, but the material looks more suited to bar tops or other area that are not working surfaces. This book gave me the information to make an informed choice and ultimately saved me a lot of work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are looking for an "idea" book, this one is excellent. If you are looking for a hands-on type of guide with step by step construction information, you may be better... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Adam J. McKee
This is good for beginners like me trying to figure out if I want to tackle a desktop.Published 2 months ago by Desert Tom
Love this book! The detail and pictures really help visualize what the final product could be.Published 3 months ago by brandon j duhon
Not really useful for everyday simple countertops. More for eclectic stuff.Published 5 months ago by Scott Edward Bobrow
Just as described. Good product at a good price. Highly recommend.Published 5 months ago by Paul T.