|Project by toddbeaulieu||posted 03-06-2017 03:38 PM||973 views||5 times favorited||10 comments|
First, let me say that of the home improvements that I’ve done so far, this was my most practical, most useful and most enjoyable to date. This island has changed our home life in the sense that we now have a place to eat, play games, read, work and just hang out. The old kitchen was smaller and the small table we had was always buried. We ate on the couch. Onto the story …
One year ago in December I took three weeks off from work to make an island for the kitchen. I just finished the now island! In my defense it took that long because I also decided to first gut and rebuild the kitchen myself. Here was my original idea. The kitchen was too open to not have an island, but too small for anything useful. Upon realizing this I decided to rip up the floor, walls, ceiling, windows, cabinets … everything must go!
Our home was built in the 1730s and we embrace rustic and farmhouse materials and design. I’m winging it as I go, but it’s finally starting to come together. Here I’m focusing on the island itself.
I wanted something really beefy. I built the cabinets from 3/4” pre-finished plywood. The drawers are 27” deep, so we have lots of storage. I wanted to incorporate turning in the project, which led to the four legs. Maxed out my lathe, length-wise. They’re nothing fancy because I wanted simple. Also, I’m a crappy turner and was lucky to produce these, which was only made possible through the assistance of wood filler to hide the catches! The ends are symmetrical, offering basic storage with bead board paneling. Here, my Wife is test driving a 30” wide by 27” deep drawer. For drawers, I used 5/8” thick birch and cherry that I purchased locally from guys with band saw mills. 1/2” thick pre-finished bottoms. The larger drawers are 3/4” thick solid wood with 3/4” pre-finished plywood. All with half-blinds. These drawers will last until someone doesn’t like our style. Oh, and I went with Blum Blumotion slides. They were expensive, but highly adjustable and they work great.
While I did edge-grain walnut counters I wanted the island to be face grain. 8 quarter, rift and quarter-sawn lumber. I knew it would H E A V Y, at almost 4’ wide by 7’ long and 1 3/4” thick, so I built the top in place, flipping multiple times for the Arm-R-Seal finish. But first …
I tried a few sizes shapes with plywood in the weeks before the actual top build, but really struggled with the shape. I needed to allow for sufficient walking space, especially on the inside end, were all the traffic is. Once the top was built I got lucky and it just came together after looking at other people’ s previous works.
I hand scraped the top first, being sure to capture plenty of detail and variance. My scraper “lets” me capture chatter marks, which I absolutely love to touch and look at.
I wanted plenty of power – all four corners have double outlets and there is a nice, stainless pop-up outlet with USB power in the center.
I installed toe-kick lighting on the work side and routed a channel around the under side of the top, embedding LED light strips.
And finally … our first public use of the island. Super Bowl Sushi and Chinese!