Easy as Pie

I'm pretty new to the whole blog thing, but here goes!  I wanted to do a quick feature on a kitchen island that I built for my mom this past summer.  She has always had problems with storage in her kitchen and problems with the kitchen feeling too crowded whenever she has company over.  A lot of the problem is that she had a full table and chairs in the kitchen which really minimized the open floor space.  The island really helped to combine storage with the functionality of seating and counter space all at the same time!  It looks like the bear is really enjoying it!

After talking to her about what some of her requirements were for the space, we decided on an opening for the portable dishwasher to slide into, three drawers, and two large cabinet doors.  The final product was 8 feet long and 3 feet wide.  Quite a substantial addition!  The counter top is an acacia wood block finished with dutch oil and polyurethane for durability.  Wood block like this is cheaper than most people would think.  This piece ran about $150 at Southeastern Salvage   here in Chattanooga, TN.  The rest of the piece is made from cabinet grade pine plywood from Home Depot ($30 a sheet) and select pine trim boards (price varies).  The counter top had a 12 inch overhang to allow stools to comfortably next underneath it, so I had to support it with some metal braces.  Home Depot has a good variety of options to fit most decor, but estimate probably around $8 each for these additions.


As you can tell, the paint went on very smoothly!  I'm terrible with a paint brush, so I like to use an HVLP (high volume low pressure) paint sprayer which makes the job much easier.  The sprayer that I have is the Wagner Flexio 890.  I was a little hesitant in getting it at first because the price is just under $200, but the results have been amazing!  I don't dread painting anymore!  The main structure and drawers were assembled using a kreg jig with 1 1/4" screws.  Since building this piece, I also purchased the kreg jig K4 which is a must have for furniture assembly and joinery!


The last thing to do was to paint the drawers and cabinet doors before putting the whole thing together.  I definitely learned a lesson during the final construction.  Measure, remeasure, then measure again!  Drawers can be really tricky if the slides aren't perfectly level and parallel to each other.  If the frame of the cabinet itself is a little off, even if your measurements are right, then the drawers will still be loose or sloppy.  Make sure the drawers slides are parallel to one another, and if necessary, adjust them a bit, or even use some filler pieces to make sure the drawers slide smoothly.

Regardless, the final product turned out pretty good.  I think the final material cost including the acacia butcher block ($150), three sheets of cabinet grade pine plywood ($90), about $100 in hardware and drawer slides, and $30 in paint ended up being around $400.  Clearly, this doesn't factor in how much time it took!!  Material may be somewhat inexpensive, but nothing is more expensive than your own time.  Putting something like together this isn't as hard as you would think, and the time definitely pays off in the long run!  The one thing you do have to remember is how HEAVY the piece will be!  I recommend transporting the base and top separately to make the weight more manageable.  If you have any questions on how to get started with something like this, shoot me a message!  I'm always happy to help other woodworkers get started.  Good luck!

I think she likes it.  Sorry for the cameo, mom!