A kitchen island is an excellent addition to any kitchen. It provides extra storage, an additional surface for preparing food and can be customized to fit your needs. We particularly like this DIY kitchen island from Popular Mechanics because it has a counter-height work-station with drawers, a pullout waste bin, a storage shelf and a drop-leaf top. And, because the island isn’t nailed down-you can relocate it to suit the occasion, and take it with you if you move.
Keep in mind that Eco Glue Premium Wood Adhesive can be used not only when a plan calls for adhesive, but also in place of nails or other fasteners for a more streamlined look.
Cutting Plate Slots
First, build up leg blanks by gluing together full 1 x 3-in. poplar boards with Eco Glue Premium Wood Adhesive. While the glue is drying, make the face-frame parts and the stretchers. Cut double plate slots 1/4 in. apart in the 1-in. stock, using a 1/4-in. spacer under the plate joiner to register the second slots. Then cut single plate slots in the 3/4-in. plywood panel without using a spacer. Transfer the plate locations to the legs. Use a 3/4-in. spacer followed by stacked 3/4- and 1/4-in. spacers to register the double slots that match the face-frame slots.
Assemble the back face frame and front face frame with glue and plates, double-check that the assemblies are square, and leave them clamped for at least an hour. Join the stretchers to the face frames with glue and plates. Note that the rear stretcher fits inside the face frame, while the front stretcher simply joins the top end of the mullion. Be especially careful with this joint. Until the side/leg assemblies are in place, this stretcher joint can break. When the glue has dried, join both face frames to the partition panel. Drive a screw through each stretcher and into the partition top edge to strengthen the joints, and fit the back panel. At this point, it’s time to glue the two leg assemblies to the case, one at a time.
With most of the island assembled, glue and screw the support strips for the floor of the waste-bin compartment, and glue and nail the floor in place. Set the nails and fill the holes with FAMOWOOD Wood Filler. Make the open shelf by fastening poplar boards to the lower rails, notching the first and last pieces to fit around the legs and frame pieces. Screw the boards in place through counterbored screwholes and then plug the holes. A shim ensures uniform spacing.
Assemble the main top from 5-in.-wide cherry boards. Strictly speaking, you don’t have to use plate joints in the assembly, but we did because they help in alignment. They’ll also add a little extra strength if some of the joints are less than perfect. Note that the drop leaf has end boards that help keep the assembly flat. Lay out the drop-leaf hinge mortises and remove most of the waste with a router-then finish up with a chisel and install the hinges. Attach the top with screws that pass through elongated holes in the stretchers. The holes allow the top to move seasonally.
Drawer and Waste Bin
The drawers are made with dadoes, grooves and rabbets, which produce strong, locking joints. We made these cuts on a table saw with a dado blade, but a router table will work, too. Assemble the drawer boxes with nails and glue. Install spacers and blocking around the partition to support the drawer slides. Fit the drawer faces after the drawer boxes are in place so you can adjust the faces for a uniform gap all around. Screw the waste-bin hardware to the floor of its compartment. Then, edge the plywood waste-bin door with poplar and install the door.
For a great paint finish on the base and drawer fronts, sand with 120-, 150- and 220-grit paper, and apply a latex primer. Lightly sand the primer with 220-grit paper, remove all the dust, then apply two coats of a quality latex paint. We finished the drawer boxes and top pieces with three coats of alkyd varnish, lightly sanding between coats. When the final coat is dry, rub the surface with 4/0 steel wool.
Here are some other great DIY kitchen island instructionals:
DIY Network – How to Build a Custom Kitchen Island
Do It Yourself – Building a Kitchen Island in Four Easy Steps
HGTV – How To: Build a Kitchen Island with Cabinets