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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First Steps Carcase Construction

We've started a new kitchen island project. This will be interesting in many ways but for one, my wife and I are doing it together. She has recently developed an interest in learning woodworking and wants to try building the island with me.

I don't have any formal plans for this project. I searched the internet for free or paid plans but there isn't much for kitchen islands of this size and nothing similar to what we wanted. I drafted up the basic cabinetry with all the measurements and cut plans myself, but there will be a fair amount of design-as-we-go in this project.

First stage is complete with the carcase construction done. It's made from 3/4" double face oak ply. I used pocket hole joinery for all the assembly and am totally sold on it for cabinet construction where the pocket holes can be hidden. It makes things so much easier because you don't need a million clamps for the glue up. Everything was dead square.

We then cut dados and panels for the dust frame and vertical cabinet dividers. Did some redesign along the way. We were going to have an open bookcase for cook books in the middle but then realized the amount of wasted space in behind the cookbooks. That was when we decided to put a narrow cabinet in the middle specifically for cookie sheets, trays and all those annoying large flat objects that normally bang around in the drawer below the stove. Had I been thinking better, I would have kept the bookcase part open in the back so you could store books on both sides. However this will work well we like the idea of having a vertical cabinet for those trays.

The top will be much larger than the sub top you see here. The actual top will have a 12" overhang on the back of the cabinet to serve as an eating bar and also overhangs 8" on either side. There will be turned legs and I will be turning the door knobs myself on the lathe. The front will have a solid oak face frame with inset doors. At least thats the plan, lets see what it looks like when I'm done.

 

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First Steps Carcase Construction

We've started a new kitchen island project. This will be interesting in many ways but for one, my wife and I are doing it together. She has recently developed an interest in learning woodworking and wants to try building the island with me.

I don't have any formal plans for this project. I searched the internet for free or paid plans but there isn't much for kitchen islands of this size and nothing similar to what we wanted. I drafted up the basic cabinetry with all the measurements and cut plans myself, but there will be a fair amount of design-as-we-go in this project.

First stage is complete with the carcase construction done. It's made from 3/4" double face oak ply. I used pocket hole joinery for all the assembly and am totally sold on it for cabinet construction where the pocket holes can be hidden. It makes things so much easier because you don't need a million clamps for the glue up. Everything was dead square.

We then cut dados and panels for the dust frame and vertical cabinet dividers. Did some redesign along the way. We were going to have an open bookcase for cook books in the middle but then realized the amount of wasted space in behind the cookbooks. That was when we decided to put a narrow cabinet in the middle specifically for cookie sheets, trays and all those annoying large flat objects that normally bang around in the drawer below the stove. Had I been thinking better, I would have kept the bookcase part open in the back so you could store books on both sides. However this will work well we like the idea of having a vertical cabinet for those trays.

The top will be much larger than the sub top you see here. The actual top will have a 12" overhang on the back of the cabinet to serve as an eating bar and also overhangs 8" on either side. There will be turned legs and I will be turning the door knobs myself on the lathe. The front will have a solid oak face frame with inset doors. At least thats the plan, lets see what it looks like when I'm done.

good cabinet work ,look forward to more photos
 

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First Steps Carcase Construction

We've started a new kitchen island project. This will be interesting in many ways but for one, my wife and I are doing it together. She has recently developed an interest in learning woodworking and wants to try building the island with me.

I don't have any formal plans for this project. I searched the internet for free or paid plans but there isn't much for kitchen islands of this size and nothing similar to what we wanted. I drafted up the basic cabinetry with all the measurements and cut plans myself, but there will be a fair amount of design-as-we-go in this project.

First stage is complete with the carcase construction done. It's made from 3/4" double face oak ply. I used pocket hole joinery for all the assembly and am totally sold on it for cabinet construction where the pocket holes can be hidden. It makes things so much easier because you don't need a million clamps for the glue up. Everything was dead square.

We then cut dados and panels for the dust frame and vertical cabinet dividers. Did some redesign along the way. We were going to have an open bookcase for cook books in the middle but then realized the amount of wasted space in behind the cookbooks. That was when we decided to put a narrow cabinet in the middle specifically for cookie sheets, trays and all those annoying large flat objects that normally bang around in the drawer below the stove. Had I been thinking better, I would have kept the bookcase part open in the back so you could store books on both sides. However this will work well we like the idea of having a vertical cabinet for those trays.

The top will be much larger than the sub top you see here. The actual top will have a 12" overhang on the back of the cabinet to serve as an eating bar and also overhangs 8" on either side. There will be turned legs and I will be turning the door knobs myself on the lathe. The front will have a solid oak face frame with inset doors. At least thats the plan, lets see what it looks like when I'm done.

I agree with Jim…very nice cabinet work. Keep the pictures coming, I look forward to seeing the completed project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Latest progress - June 21 2009

Progress on the island has been slow due to a very busy work schedule. My wife and I worked on it this weekend. We installed the oak face trim and a 2×3 sub-base frame that will give the cabinet additional support on the bottom. Into that we installed the turned legs and began to install the 2" base skirt/trim that hides the sub-base frame. You can see the front piece of trim installed in the photo.

We cut all the rails and stiles for the raised panel doors, only to realize we forgot to include extra material on the rails for the coped tenon that goes into the stiles. We've never worked with rail and stile bits before so this will take some trial and error. We've also decided to go with European Blum hinges instead of the regular inset door hinges we originally planned. The extra easy adjustment of the Blums will make it easier to fine tune the gaps on the inset doors.

Putting the unit upright on it's 4 legs we were pleased that everything is dead level and no uneven legs.

Next step is to finish the base skirt trim and then start work on the raised panel doors.
 

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Latest progress - June 21 2009

Progress on the island has been slow due to a very busy work schedule. My wife and I worked on it this weekend. We installed the oak face trim and a 2×3 sub-base frame that will give the cabinet additional support on the bottom. Into that we installed the turned legs and began to install the 2" base skirt/trim that hides the sub-base frame. You can see the front piece of trim installed in the photo.

We cut all the rails and stiles for the raised panel doors, only to realize we forgot to include extra material on the rails for the coped tenon that goes into the stiles. We've never worked with rail and stile bits before so this will take some trial and error. We've also decided to go with European Blum hinges instead of the regular inset door hinges we originally planned. The extra easy adjustment of the Blums will make it easier to fine tune the gaps on the inset doors.

Putting the unit upright on it's 4 legs we were pleased that everything is dead level and no uneven legs.

Next step is to finish the base skirt trim and then start work on the raised panel doors.
Looks great Jim. I like those legs, they are a little different and in good proportion to the cabinet. Looking forward to see the finished product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

 

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Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

Great looking doors Jim…I can't wait to see the finished island. And I agree with the flat panels. While 90% of all the doors I make are raised panel….sometimes the clean looks of a flat panel door are just the ticket.
 

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Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

Looking great well done
 

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Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

Nicely built doors.
 

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Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

Looks like you got the door thing down rather quickly. Good job.
 

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Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

Some great looking doors. Nice job asnd a new skill
 

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Doors complete

We worked on the cabinet doors for the kitchen island today. It was my first time using a rail and stile bit set. Took some experimenting but eventually we got them figured out and it worked nice. I'm pleased with the result. I found the secret to coping the ends of the rails was to use a coping sled on the router. It looks like this.





We were originally going to use a raised panel door but decided to go with a flat panel. It matches our current kitchen doors and we liked the very simple and clean design.

This narrow door (the one still in clamps) is for the center of the cabinet. It will hold cookie sheets, pizza pans and all those assorted large metal trays that will be nicer to store vertically instead of laying on top of each other in the bottom of a drawer under the stove.



Another view of the joint. I went with a flat panel in the centre of the door instead of a raised panel. Shari liked this look better and it saves us a lot of oak.

I made my first door like this a few weeks ago, it was raised panel though. Once you figure out the mystery of it all and do the math so that it comes out right it's pretty satisfying to see come together. Nice job.

I like the little tutorial thing in there too. I saw lots of these sharing tips when I made mine. I think they're important to show that it's not magic, just magical. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
 

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Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
For cabinets I like wiping stain from Sherwin Williams and a clear water base on top .
 

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Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
I agree with Jim…I really like their wiping stains…what color is your existing cabinets ?? As far as color…I may be old fashioned…but I love "Golden Oak" as a stained color in a kitchen.
 

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Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
Jim, like Don I tend to favor using golden oak stain for my oak projects. This tone gives the wood a little color without overwhelming the grain. The danish oil that you are considering should do the job. Shellac will provide the island with surface protection but it does not handle exposure to water as well as poly does. If I were doing this, and did not anticipate water problems, I would go with several layers of a shellac topcoat over a golden oak stain.
 

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Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
I built 3 pieces for my bathroom in Cherry and used wipe on polly by Minwax on 2 of them and a more expensive wipe on finish on the other with the same results. Fantastic. You will achieve what you want "I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic". That's what I was looking for and I love it. It's been 2 years and the humidity hasn't touched it and the Cherry is aging well. Absolutely no build up in delicate corners and smooth as glass because you wipe it off a 220 sanded finish and it stays almost as smooth. Sometimes I'll steel wool if it starts to pick up dust. I am now doing my kitchen in Sapele and I'm using the Minwax Antique oil and it looks great. I went with the oil on this one because it does not have any polly in it, the wipe on polly by minwax will build up to that plastic look if you apply 8 coats. I say 8 coats because that's what I did to some natural birch doors and have a nice gloss and very smooth, the best I every did. I also don't like the finishing end and was looking for fool proof approach. I suggest to buy a small can of your choice Danish oil, minwax etc and do some test pieces. Mike
 

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Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
Shellac can create a "plastic" look just as any other finish and is not as durable as poly's and pro-grade catalyzed varnishes.

There is a huge misconception about film finishes looking like plastic. They look that way because people put them on too heavy and any film finish can be applied too heavy.

The safest method for the amateur to apply a finish is to use a wipe-on polyurethane because each layer goes on very thin. You will have to put on several coats (no less than 6) for good protection in the kitchen, but since the coats are thin they dry fairly quickly.

Brushing lays out the heaviest coats. I spray everything because it gives the best results, the coats are thinner than brushing and easier to control. Wipe-ons provide a good fall back for those that are just tapping into their finishing skills.

I used wipe-ons until I invested in a pro-grade pressure pot and now I spray everything with pre-catalyzed lacquers and conversion varnishes. I have also sprayed water borne lacquers, oil based and water based poly's as well. I always go back to the solvent based lacquers because of the speed and finish they give, which is great.

The most important thing here is that the "plasticy" look comes from finish being applied too thick more than anything else.
 

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Need your advice - finishing

We are more than half way to completing this project and are now thinking about the finish we want to apply. I was originally thinking of a clear or orange tint shellac to keep the wood as close to natural as possible. However looking at it now, it's very light and might be better with a slight bit more colour. I hate finishing so I'm looking to take the easiest and most fool proof approach that will give me a nice look. I don't want a high gloss varathane, I like it to look and feel like wood, not plastic. I was thinking of a Natural or Golden Oak Danish Oil but still haven't written off Shellac. I'm looking for opinions. If this was your project, how would you finish it?

Jim
I agree with Todd. Don't apply your finish as if your a bricklayer laying mortar and your project won't end up looking like it's wrapped in plastic. Wipe-on/wipe-off products assist in building thin layers by the very nature of they way they are applied and therefore can be a great finish for those who are unsure of their finishing skills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Doors are installed

The cabinet doors are now installed. I've got to say I love those Blum (European) Hinges. In this case I have inset doors so the gap around the doors is really finicky. The slightest deviation stands out like a K-Mart blue tag special that has a flashing light saying "He screwed up look here!" With the Blum Hingest you can quite literally "dial in" the desired gap and face depth. I also like the fact that the hinges are invisible when the door is closed. The trade-off is that the hinges are a little bulky on the inside but that's ok because it's the inside.

I also installed the Soft Self Closing Drawer Slides. They are really nice and super easy to install. I simply cut a 60 mm strip of 3/4" ply as a guide. I set it on the bottom of the drawer space along the side wall where the slide is going, then placed the slide on top. The ply strip temporarily holds the slide in place, nice and square. A few screws and it's done. The drawer slides will support 100 lbs and they are also self closing. That means you push the drawer most of the way but then in the last 2" it self retracts. Now my kids can't slam the drawers and they also can't leave them hanging slightly open.

I made a slight design change today. The face frame was originally to be flat and flush with the inset doors. It was bugging me because it looked like it was too plain and missing something. I installed a 3/4" x 1/4" strip of oak rounded over on the edges along the face frame between the doors and drawers as well as between each of the doors. I thought I would try it to see how it looks and instantly realized this is just what it needed. It gives some depth to the face of the cabinet.



Tomorrow, drawers and drawer faces.
 
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