|Project by Bagtown||posted 11-30-2011 05:19 PM||3548 views||3 times favorited||10 comments|
So I poured a concrete top for the kitchen island.
It turned out pretty good for my first try, but I realized that my cheap factory built cabinets weren’t about to support this two inch thick monolithic piece of concrete on top of them. So I was at the lumberyard about to step up to the desk and order some 3/4” maple plywood, which I had planned to surround three sides of the island with. I’m pretty sure that would have sufficed. But just as I was about to open my mouth and buy the plywood, I had a thought and suddenly backed away from the confused clerk working the desk. I told the next guy in line to go ahead and I started to think about was what at home in the shop. I remembered all of the finished one and an eighth thick rock maple that was filling my lumber rack at home in the basement. I scored the maple from the local university (Mount Allison University), when they were selling off some things. This wood is from bunk beds that they were selling that were from an old residence. They were going for $50.00 a set. I looked at them and told my wife I was buying a set of bunk beds. She wasn’t sure we needed them as there are no children living at home anymore. I told her they were worth a lot more than $50.00 just in wood cost. So we had a set picked out and when the fellow taking our money found out that I wanted them for the wood in them he said “hang on a minute, come over here”. I followed and he showed me a bunch of mismatched pieces that he couldn’t build a full set of beds from. There was a LOT more than one set of bunk beds worth, but just not quite enough of the right pieces to build one full set. He asked if I would be interested in that pile of unuseable parts… I payed him $50.00 and loaded up…
So, I got off track a little. . .
I decided not to buy the plywood and went home to my shop and started looking through the rack full of maple. As it was all drilled for bunk bed parts it was difficult at first finding enough clear pieces to build the support. Then I got to the bottom shelf and found all kinds of nice long planks clear of holes. So I went up to the kitchen and measured the island that was actually built from two old bottom cabinets that were screwed together and were never going to support much more than melamine top. I drew a sketch and headed for the basement, and the result is what you see in the picture. I built it so that the outside support is about a sixteenth higher than the cabinets, that way the vertical maple pieces are taking all the weight. I finished it with three coats of poly. I though about putting some moulding around the inside of the panels but I like the look of it without, I think it looks very heavy and matches the concrete top.
Just a couple of notes on the concrete top for anyone interested, it’s five feet long and twenty seven inches deep and two inches thick. I mixed up just a little more than two cubic feet of concrete and had excess. I think it weighs between 200 and 225 pounds. I have been wanting to try making concrete counters for years and finally decided to go for it. I made a square well 1/2”deep and just slightly larger than my large cutting board for it to sit in. As well I inlayed a shallow bowl for fruit, you can see avocados in it in the picture. There is also a slice of a blue geode inlayed in the middle that I exposed some aggragate around to make it look like a comet or shooting star (at least that’s what I was thinking when I was polishing it). There are poly fibres in the mix and i have remesh in it as well. After the initial polishing small pinholes were revealed in the surface. I mixed up a thin mix of concrete in a slightly different colour and filled the holes. After it hardened again I polished some more and found more pinholes, I mixed another batch and repeated that step three times before it was clear. I bought a special polisher to do this that has a GFCI built into the cord and has diamond pads and a waterfeed in the centre of the polishing pads.
I learned quite a bit from this first one and plan to do more, I may even start a business if there is enough interest, so far everyone that has seen it is has shown some amount of interest.
So that’s my latest project.
-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta