Archive for ‘Kitchen Island’

Island Study

By , 22 August, 2014, No Comment
Makenna Studying

Makenna Studying

The island has been in use for some time.  Here my oldest Granddaughter concentrates on homework during an October afternoon.  No doubt this is just the way that Grandma had envisioned when she asked for a recessed area on the side for the grands to sit.

Of course we use it daily.  Our silverware lives in one of the drawers, and we keep other necessary items stored in various places.

We eat breakfast every morning at the island.  There are a number of ways to sit around it, and I typically find myself under the overhang on the end in the mornings.

A lot of activities have taken place with the use of the island.  Our first was Thanksgiving last year, and it has been in constant usage since.  Because it is mobile, Judy moves it around where ever she needs it.  Sometimes it is in the middle of the floor where the grands are snacking and watching a little television.  Sometimes it is against the wall where it serves as a buffet.

But, mostly it sits right where it is in the picture with Makenna.  Could there be anything sweeter to a woodworker than to have something you made for your family becoming a center piece in their lives?

 

Island Ebony

By , 5 March, 2013, No Comment
Ebony at the Breadboard Joint

Ebony at the Breadboard Joint

The past weekend I spent time gluing in the ebony inserts that bridge the gap between the breadboard and the main body of the island top.  Each piece was hand fitted to the slot, and very roughly cut out so that I preserved as much of the leftover ebony as possible.  The piece glued in was at least 1/8 inches taller than the finished height.  I then used a router with a pattern bit that had a larger than normal bearing.  After a pass over with the router, the ebony protruded a 1/16 inch above the oak.

Look closely and you can see the ebony curl formed as I moved across the edge.

Sanding the Ebony

Sanding the Ebony

Using a sharp butt chisel that you can see in the second photo, I carefully bevelled every edge to take the sharpness off the ebony and give it a much smoother transition from the oak to the ebony.  A lot of hands will slide over these parts in the future, and I don’t want them catching a rough edge.  But I do want the fingers to spend time searching along the ebony and enjoying the discovery.

After the chisel, I taped off the surrounding oak with blue tape and sanded down those new bevels and the surface. I started with 180 grit on the bevels, moved to 400, then to 600 and finally hit it all with 1000 grit to give the surface a nice smooth look.

Corner View

Corner View

With all the ebony on the sides and the edges bevelled and sanded, I took a picture from one of the corners.  Under those small pieces of ebony on the ends are sockets with 3 inch stainless screws holding the breadboard to the top.

Work on the Island Top

By , 24 February, 2013, No Comment
Cutting Ebony Socket

Cutting Ebony Socket

An update on the state of the island.  At this point, all the drawers , shelves and doors are sanded, stained and finished.  Each is in its place, and functioning properly.

Last weekend, I chopped out the sockets on the sides for the ebony highlights.  I had chopped out sockets months ago, but they were preliminary and far to short.  These are the recommended length of 5 inches and 3/8 inches wide.  In the first photo, I am using the mortise chisel to clean out the waste.  I chopped one of these entirely by hand, and then dropped back to my Mortise Pal jig to hog out the other three.  Those I cleaned out and squared up by hand.

Ebony Socket In Breadboard

Ebony Socket In Breadboard

When the breadboard is tight to the top, this is what it looks like.  The socket is just over 1/2 inch deep.  After chopping out the sockets, I fitted the breadboards to the top and did some work to get the top and the breadboard to fit well.

Following the recommendation of Darrel Peart, I glued about 7 inches in the center and the ends are screwed on.  You can see the small sockets on the ends.  There are two screws on each side, one in each socket.  These have play in the breadboard end which allows the screws to slide a bit with the movement of the top.

I was disappointed to realize that I had a deep blemish in the middle of the top side, and I spent some quality time with a smoother trying to carefully take it out. I put that aside and tried power sanding it with a 5 inch sander.  I finally dropped down to 60 grit and I still was not seeing the success that I wanted, and I could tell that the top was getting a bit wavy as they will do when being sanded with rough grits.

Ebony End Sockets

Ebony End Sockets

I finally gave up, and got out a Lie-Nielsen cabinet scraper that I bought a few months back.  It was nicely sharpened, and I began to work the top.  Wow, what a pleasure.  I stopped twice and redid the edges of the scraper; finally I ended up with a nice smooth surface with all the tear-out gone.  If you don’t have a scraper, you should get one.  They are amazing.

Top Dyed

Top Dyed

From That point on, I got the sander back out and worked the bottom side a little.  Only a small portion will be exposed.  I flipped to to work the top, and cleaned up the top with 150-180 grit.  It is hard to see, but every edge has a 1/8 inch round-over.  I used a router to put the round on most of the edges, but I had to hand work the area where the ebony goes on the sides and especially there where the breadboard meets the main top.  There is a 3/32 offset that I worked by hand.

After sanding quickly with 220 grit, I wet the surface and let it set for several hours to let the hair raise.  After it dried, I quickly hit the entire top surface with 320 grit and the edges with 400 grit so that it was silky smooth.

Then with the assistance of my wife, I dyed the entire top surface and the sides.  Her help was invaluable.  I have not dyed a surface this large before.  I have discovered however, that the secret is to keep the entire surface and sides flooded and wet while working across and down the sides,  With Judy’s eye, we kept things wet and even until I felt that everything was equally covered.  Then together we quickly wiped everything down until we had a nice even coverage.  Several hours later, when I took this last picture, all was looking very good!

 

Corbels and a Shelf

By , 21 January, 2013, No Comment
Corbel and Shelf Side View

Corbel and Shelf Side View

All good Arts and Crafts pieces need corbels, do they not?  I think so.  At least this island needs corbels to make the one foot overhand of the top on the right end look proper.  After asking my wife, youngest daughter, her husband, and their 2 1/2 old which length looked better, everyone agreed on the shorter length — except me.  Even the two year old who loves me voted with Grandma and his parents!

So I cheated a bit and added about 1 3/4 quarters inch to the length of the shorter version.  Builder’s prerogative on that one.

My wife and I discussed the value of having a shelf underneath where she could slip her tablet computer, books and what ever to clear off the top when she needed the top for cooking and serving.  To maximize the amount of space, the shelf is made to start right at the curve and go all the way to the back.  I ended up with a shelf that is near 22 inches long and over 8 inches deep.  There will be three inches between the shelf and the underside of the top.  That is plenty of room for most of today’s books and tablets.

Corbels and Shelf

Corbels and Shelf

The funny thing is that I spent almost as much time getting the edge of that shelf to blend with the curve in the corbel as I did making a drawer.  A lot of hand sculpting went into that fit.  I started by marking the ends that stood proud with a pencil and then taking a number 5 plane to shave off all that I could on the front.  If you look closely, there is a little dip about 2 inches in.  I used a shoulder plane here to shave out some of the recess, and then smoothed it out with block planes, file and sandpaper wrapped around a piece of closet rod to give me a nice radius.

 

Stained Frame and Liners

By , 31 December, 2012, 1 Comment
Front Face Stained

Front Face Stained

During the holiday break, the island face frame got stained and the inside of the storage areas was lined.  Using the dye combination of orange and medium brown from General Finishes, the front face frame now has color.

As I gain experience with the water based dye, I am growing to like it.  There is virtually no smell, and it dries nicely.  The trick is to constantly be moving or you will have a lot of unevenness.  I moved quickly and went back over everything to smooth out the problem areas.  I have also discovered that a nice clean rag to wipe everything down before it dries works wonders on the evenness.

Inside Storage Area

Inside Storage Area

The cabinet has 7 drawers and two storage areas with doors.  I lined the storage areas with 1/4 inch oak veneer plywood — the same plywood that I used in making the sides.  However, I left the plywood a natural color.  I left it natural to make it lighter inside the box.  When my wife stores things in there, I want there to be as much light in the box as possible.  If I had dyed the liner, then I’m certain that it would have been very difficult to see into the back.  I am applying several coats of poly to seal the wood and to provide some protection against scuffing and possible moisture from the storage of damp plates or pans.

Drawers To Finish

Drawers To Finish

Lastly, I have those 7 drawers to which I want to apply a finish.  Here they are ready to start getting a coat of poly.