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Building A Kitchen Island Part 3: Enclosing The Sides

| 11/28/2011 12:01:00 PM

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.I finally managed to get back to the kitchen island project last weekend (see part 1 and part 2). This time, I focussed on framing in the drawer slides and enclosing the sides and installing the bottom shelf. As fate, or luck would have it, I ran out of suitable lumber for the sides so I took the opportunity to put a Hud-Son Homesteader HFE-21 sawmill to work. I cut another 9-foot long length off the long-dead pine that I felled last spring. That tree will have yielded all of the lumber needed for the island except the top and then some. Even though sheet goods might make more sense for the drawer bottoms and the cabinet doors, I am committed to building the entire kitchen island from lumber grown and milled right here on the farm. I know that's no great feat for folks living in New England, but here on the Kansas plains, dead trees of any kind tend to get bucked for firewood, dozed into holes and buried, or dozed into piles and burned.

 Hank's homemade kitchen island with bottom and sides installed.  

The kitchen island is finally taking shape. The pine planks and timbers will be painted or stained once we decide what the top will look like. We're leaning toward solid American black walnut at the moment, but that is subject to change.

Hank's kitchen island with drawer slide framing installed. 

This is only the third time in my life that I've built and installed drawers in cabinets. This time I am making old-fashioned wooden slides that I plan to lubricate with soap or hard tallow -- the slide framing is installed here. I broke down and used some carefully placed screws to help with the installation. As always, bore pilot holes for best results.

The Hud-Son homestead sawmill made short the work of sawing planks for siding the kitchen island. 

Hank Will_2
12/5/2011 2:29:28 PM

Hey Dave -- I do like those power tools, especially when it comes to cutting slabs of hardwood or hard pine. I am amazed by the tree resources at our place. The fencelines are over grown with American elms, osage orange, green ash, silver maple, red or scarlet oak, hickory, hackberry and some black walnut. We have lots more black walnut growing in a draw and in front of one pond dam. I miss the big river cottonwoods, but we do have a couple nice specimens. Cottonwood makes fine barn timbers and corral material. One of the largest and lovliest barns I know in central Nebraska is completely framed with huge cottonwood timbers. It's in Wheeler County as I recall. Mulberry is a relative to Osage Orange and makes pretty rot-resistant fence posts ... just saying :-)

Nebraska Dave
12/2/2011 8:13:14 PM

Hank, I knew you would resort to a tool with a manly engine on it sooner or later. Just kidding. Your project is coming together wonderfully well. I'm always surprised at the amount of trees you have on your place. Kansas doesn't really have a lot of trees in most places that I've seen. Nebraska is was void of trees when the pioneers came or so I've been told. The prairie grass was tall and it looked like an ocean waving in the wind. Almost all of the trees in Nebraska have been planted since then. Of course now they tend to seed themselves along river banks and fence lines. The main wild trees here are Mulberry and Cottonwood which in my humble opinion are both very close to noxious weeds. At least the Mulberry has usable fruit but I've yet to find a use for cottonwood fuzz. You are very fortunate to have good usable wood for projects. You are going to have a great looking and functional kitchen island when your done. Have a great wood shop day.

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