"Shaker Workbench" inspired Kitchen Island

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Project by edapp posted 12-15-2015 03:12 PM 6714 views 17 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project contains many firsts for me:

First project on Lumberjocks
First project starting from a tree.
First time using sketchup for more than a general design standpoint (really helps when you start the milling process!)
First experience with milk paint
First try on any real traditional joinery (through dovetail/wedged tenon on the top, second time doing a breadboard)
First time making drawers from solid wood, and with no mechanical slides
First time using dyed epoxy to fill voids/knot holes
and I am sure there are more.

This project, starting with the tree, took 10 months to complete. The construction phase took roughly 5 months. The design of the case was heavily inspired by Benchcrafted’s “Shaker Bench” but I combined it with the traditional legs/joinery of the Roubo bench and a breadboard end which makes a nice space for my son to eat breakfast. Beyond the top, the “joinery” consists of pocket holes, glue and screws or in some cases just 1.25” drywall screws. I liked the look of some of the hardware being exposed on the inside of the case, I think it makes the piece look simple (like maybe it didn’t take 5 months to complete). The only wood used other than the original poplar tree is a few inches of oak dowel in the breadboard, the visible walnut on the top (plugs, wedges) and the beech door pulls.

My original plan was to paint the case and stain the top, but once I started milling I started to feel like painting some of this grain would be a sin. As a way to hedge my bets I chose the best grain for all visible portions of the project and waited until it was complete to decide whether to paint or stain. I spent a lot of time bookmatching the panels and drawers only to determine the variances in color and dark knots came together to create a more dark and heavy looking piece than I was going for. That, along with some pressure from my wife, made the final decision. I think the natural top and inside (drawers, cabinets) complement each other well and make it look lighter than it is. I really wish I could get some of the figure in the top to show in these pictures (the breadboard especially!).

The milk paint was fantastic. I absolutely loved the application process (its very simple and forgiving). The final product has 2-3 coats of 2/3 tavern green mixed with 1/3 snow white. The matte, chalky look is unique and has gotten a lot of complements from guests. The top was finished with 4 coats of general finishes arm-r-seal top coat (gloss) and one final coat of arm-r-seal top coat satin. Johnsons paste wax to top it off and this thing feels great and cleans up easily. The soft poplar is showing wear as expected and I think will show its age nicely.

Overall I am extremely happy with the project, and very proud to display it in my home. Thanks for looking!

17 comments so far

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 12-15-2015 03:16 PM

A look at some of the grain before painting.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4107 days

#2 posted 12-15-2015 03:41 PM

This is a nice piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Wiggle's profile


1 post in 2134 days

#3 posted 12-15-2015 03:55 PM

Great job!!

View pottz's profile


20625 posts in 2224 days

#4 posted 12-15-2015 03:55 PM

man i love it without the paint and the through tenons look nice all around great build congrats and welcome

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2670 days

#5 posted 12-15-2015 04:01 PM


Painting it was not an easy thing to do. A lot of time and board feet went into selection the right boards for the 4 drawers and 4 doors. I do think though that in the end, it makes a better kitchen island (in my house anyway) after the paint. If it were in a different setting I would have loved to see the finished product w/o paint!!!

View Ken90712's profile


18067 posts in 4429 days

#6 posted 12-15-2015 04:10 PM

Great job, fun project congrats

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View BurlyBob's profile


9322 posts in 3506 days

#7 posted 12-15-2015 04:48 PM

I totally love it. You have every right to feel happy and proud of it. You did a wonderful job and it looks amazing.

View fivecodys's profile


1761 posts in 2876 days

#8 posted 12-15-2015 05:03 PM

Hey! That is really cool!
I love the colors.
Thanks for sharing it with us.

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


118252 posts in 4817 days

#9 posted 12-15-2015 05:19 PM

Cool design and great build .you’ve got lots of first going on there. I know you couldn’t have done it without the help of you cute little helper.


View nkawtg's profile


302 posts in 2491 days

#10 posted 12-15-2015 05:49 PM

Very nice project, and you have quite the helper there.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


854 posts in 4244 days

#11 posted 12-15-2015 11:04 PM

Dude…. DUDE!

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2670 days

#12 posted 12-16-2015 12:27 AM

Thanks so much for the feedback everyone! It means a lot to me!

View Ben's profile


504 posts in 4097 days

#13 posted 12-16-2015 12:42 AM

Excellent job!
I will soon be building a shaker workbench very much like this and this inspires me!

View Thom's profile


36 posts in 2663 days

#14 posted 12-16-2015 01:02 AM

Awesome job really nice work on the top love the details on top and can see why you had a tough time painting the lower piece that is beautiful grain. Thank you for sharing

-- Thom CT.

View drewpy's profile


1074 posts in 2597 days

#15 posted 12-16-2015 10:54 AM

Great piece and craftsmanship. Hope you had fun with all your firsts. Thanks for sharing.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

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