Homemade Kitchen Island: Project Completed

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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 <a title=”artisan maker in Arizona” href=”http://shop.retro.net/?page_id=1332″ target=”_blank”>artisan maker in Arizona</a> (we gave each other a stool last year for Christmas). </p>
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<p>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.</p>
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<p>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. </p>
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<p>This shot shows some of the stain bleed-through on the island’s base. The overhang is about 12 inches — those stools have wonderfully wide seats. </p>
<p>We’ve been using the island for about a month now and it performs very nicely — even the old fashioned wooden-slide drawers I made. We did soap the slides before inserting the drawers. </p>
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<a href=”http://www.grit.com/biographies/oscar-h-will” target=_self>Hank Will</a>
<em> 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 </em>
<a title=Google+ href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/117459637128204205101/posts” target=_blank rel=author>Google+</a>.</p>