The first thing that we could ruin was the subway tile. The people who installed the previous counter top used really large amounts of caulk, so we had to be very careful prying the backsplash away from the tiles. We managed to uninstall the counter with only 1 broken tile and two that were pulled out of their grout. A number of tiles that would've been behind the backsplash were also missing. We found some tiles under the counter on top of the cabinets, but we are still missing 2.5 tiles. I will head to the Historic Albany Foundation Parts Warehouse this weekend to try to find properly worn replacements.
The second thing I could ruin was the sink. Someone from the Old House Web forum suggested I look for sinks at Ikea. I shot her down and then marched out and bought a sink from Ikea. It wasn't expensive, but it took two trips to Paramus, NJ to get it and I didn't want to make a third trip. The sink only had one faucet hole and we needed two so I got out my trusty Off Brand Rotary Cutter and porcelain bit and hoped for the best. I taped everything because I was worried about chipping, but it turns out that the OBRC worked like a dream.
The third thing I could ruin was the counter top. Fortunately the sink installation didn't require me to cut a rectangle in the oak slab, I don't think my 10$ jig saw would've been up for the job. Since I didn't think my wimpy cordless circular saw (it seems I don't have a lot of faith in my tools) was going to do a very nice job either, we dragged the 9 foot long, 100 pound counter top to the basement so we could cut it on the table saw. This worked superbly, but it was a little nerve wracking for me. Obviously I couldn't use the fence, so I tried to dig up some geometry skills to ensure a square cut. I'm not saying that the cuts were square, but I'm saying that if you don't have a T-square with you and you squint your left eye a little, they look pretty good.
The right side of the counter butts up against the wall, so I tried to scribe it and then measured that angle and then tried to cut it so it would fit. For this one you'd have to squint both eyes, but it looks OK. The back corner is about 1/2" from the wall, but when I put the cookie jar full of dog treats there no one will know, so don't tell them.
Here are some pics:
The oil rubbed bronze disposer flange has not arrived yet, so the sink is not fully functional, but Chris finally got the right supply lines yesterday (plumbing always requires at least 3 trips), so we have water. Hurrah!
The gap on the right side of the sink is where the disposer switch will go when we get that wired up.
I'm sure I'll ruin something during that project too...