Introduction: Nearly Free Kitchen Island

About: Hobbyist, multidisciplinary...

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!