Add to My MSN

Building A Kitchen Island Part 2: Working With Hand Tools

11/8/2011 12:50:00 PM

Tags: kitchen, woodworking, DIY

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.For me, building a kitchen island with wood grown and milled into lumber on my farm is a labor of love. It's also slower than if I bought all the materials and didn't take the time to appreciate the process itself. In the first installment, I reported on using my drill press to rough out the mortises for the front and back frames. I decided to switch to hand tools for cutting the mortises for the framing members that connect the front and back and that will support the drawers. I still used the table saw to form the tenons. I was surprised at how easy it was to square and plumb the assembled frame. My thoughts are now aimed at completing the drawer slide framing, building drawers and then milling more lumber for the sides, back and cabinet doors.

Kitchen island frame is nearly complete.  

I used a level concrete floor to plum and square the kitchen island's mortised and glued frame. In this shot I have not yet removed excess glue -- yes, I used Gorilla glue just like last time and it expands a bit as it cures and pushes out of the seams.

Some of the and tools used to assemble the Kitchen Island.  

Chopping mortises is much easier if you remove as much material as you can with a boring tool of some sort. The ships auger chucked into an old fashioned brace makes for easy boring. Take care to keep the bit plumb and you'll have an easy time cleaning the excess material out with a pair of heavy-duty mortising chisels and mallet.

Clamping the homemade kitchen island's farme 

Since I only have a few bar clamps long enough to span more than 24 inches, I just use binder straps where practical. With two bar clamps and two straps, a little tapping, wracking, and setting a 100-pound plank on top of the frame it was amazingly easy to get it all plumb and squared up. It'll be a few weekends before I get back to this project, but at this point I'm very motivated to finish it. Stay tuned.


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .



Content Tools




Pay Now & Save 50% Off the Cover Price

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $14.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $19.95!

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here