Nearly Free Kitchen Island





Introduction: Nearly Free Kitchen Island

My kitchen needed more counter space and it has a large square floor in the middle, just the right size for an island. I spend a lot of time on craigslist looking at what people give away. I'm surprised on a daily basis how often people give away very nice furniture. I also see potential in a lot of things that aren't top notch. This is the second one.

I saw an old tool cart and a solid pine Ikea coffee table, and I thought island. Both were less than 15 minutes from my house and both were free. I brought them home. My wife groaned...just a little. I dumped these two items in my carport and got to work.

I removed the legs and runners from the coffee table, and saved all the hardware. I then cut the table top to make it a square using a skil saw. I sanded it down to raw wood on both sides, and shaped the side I cut to match the other edges with a power sander.

Step 1: The Tool Cart

The tool cart I got was a little too short and had wheels. I took off the wheels. They're in a box somewhere now.

The tool cart, without the wheels, was 8 inches short of the rest of my counters.

The width of the base of the wheel-less tool cart 25".

The base needs to be "underneath" the rest of the piece for it to look natural in a kitchen. Look at your kitchen cupboards and notice there's an "undercut" at the bottom. This is for your toes. So that you can get just a little closer to your work surface.

I needed a base that was 8" tall and gave me a 1" undercut all around.

I grabbed some plywood I had around and cut 4 pieces. Each was 8 inches tall, and 23 inches long.

I joined the corners of the plywood with 2x2 from the coffee table legs using glue and screws to make a box. I attached the box to the bottom of the tool cart, using the L brackets that had joined the table runners to the table top. I rounded the corners of the box with a sander and filled any gaps and screw heads with wood putty and then sanded everything smooth.

Step 2: Add Trim

I sanded the table runners to bare wood. I used a mitre saw to cut them at 45 degree angles and fit them as trim around the top section of the tool cart. I used clamps during fitting and then glued and screwed them to the cart from behind. I filled any gaps with wood putty and later sanded everything down smooth.

Step 3: Attach the Top

I laid the square top piece down on the ground, finished side down, and turned the cart upside down over it. I centered the tool cart on the piece of table top and drew the outline in pencil. I tipped the cart down and put a ton of glue inside the pencil marks. I tipped the cart back up and screwed the cart to the table top down from underneath. I stood the cart up and let it dry for 24 hours. I gave all the pine a good sanding with fine sandpaper and a sanding block.

Step 4: Paint

The tool cart was ugly and the plywood base wasn't much nicer. I have old farmhouse cabinets in my kitchen that have been painted many many times, plain white, so I taped off the wood and painted everything else with 2 coats of white paint.

Step 5: Stain and Varnish

Plain pine isn't pretty so I stained all the wood and gave it 3 coats of a high durability oil based varnish.

Step 6: The End

There you go. A new island for my kitchen. It cost me less than $40. All I bought was paint, varnish and sandpaper. Another mans trash is now a beautiful addition to my kitchen. Spend what you saved on beer. Take THAT consumerism!



    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Pro Tips Challenge

      Pro Tips Challenge
    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    I tried. Every time I try to update it the first step disappears. I then have to edit the "2nd step" to include pics and info of everything that disappears. The first step you currently see used to be 4 steps.

    I've tried uploading different pictures twice, and both times it has deleted the first step.

    It looks really nice! My only suggestion is to replace the thumbnail image in the instructable to one of your final pictures.