Homemade Kitchen Island: Project Completed

| 8/14/2012 9:58:00 AM

 GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.In a mad rush to get our 106 year old farm house ready for a couple of week's worth of family visits, Karen and I put the finishing touches on the kitchen island project. To summarize, this is a project we started almost a year ago, with the sawing of an old dead pine tree into lumber. We later added some home-sawed American black walnut to the mix - from a tree we removed from a pond dam. Sawing our own lumber made the project take longer, but it made our material cost insignificant and allowed us to source hardware from a blacksmith and stools from an artisan maker in Arizona (we gave each other a stool last year for Christmas).

Hank's homemade kitchen island in the kitchen 

Karen finished the kitchen island's base by first sanding and then staining the pine with a walnut stain. The final touch is a single coat of satin enamel that allows some of the stain to show - she was going for an antique look and did an excellent job with it.

Another shot of Hank's homemade kitchen island.  

The towel bars were wrought by a blacksmith friend from Volcano, California. The walnut top was glued up using 5 planks. I added breadboard ends and routed grooves for some slightly contrasting strips between the planks on the upper surface. The top was glued with epoxy to which I added some pecan wood flour as a thickener. The assembled top was then encapsulated with three coats of epoxy (no additives) with an additional 5 coats of satin polyurethane. So far the thick walnut pieces have remained dimensionally stable.

Horizontal shot of Hank's kitchen island 

Hank Will
12/10/2012 3:24:21 PM

Thanks, Frank. I would only encourage you.

Hank Will
12/10/2012 3:23:45 PM

David, the epoxy encapsulation takes care of the wood moving around too much. I learned that back in my boat-building days.

Hank Will
12/10/2012 3:22:37 PM

Thanks! We occasionally cut a slice of cheese on it, Robyn, but mainly use it as a surface. We have lots of cutting boards for hard-core cutting, slicing and chopping.