Introduction: Simple Kitchen Island Build

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

I start by grabbing materials and bringing them down in the subterranean woodshop. It only took (9) 8' long 2x4s, 2 sheets of 1/4" oak plywood to match the old cabinets, and a couple of pieces of oak trim for the outside corners and base of the cabinet.

Step 1: Materials & Tools Used on This Build


- (9) 8' long 2x4s

- (2) sheets of 1/4" oak plywood

- Shims

- Miscellaneous deck screws

- Construction adhesive

- Wood glue

- Oak corner trim

- Oak quarter round

- Golden oak stain

- Lacquer

- Granite countertop


- Miter saw

- Large speed square

- Drill and driver

- Circular saw

- Caulking gun

- Brad gun

- Strap clamps

- Oscillating saw

Step 2: Cutting Materials

I start by grabbing materials and bringing them down in the subterranean woodshop. It only took (9) 8' long 2x4s, 2 sheets of 1/4" oak plywood to match the old cabinets, and a couple of pieces of oak trim for the outside corners and base of the cabinet.

All of the pieces are measured out on the 2x4s and they are cut down to length with the miter saw.

Step 3: Assembling Walls

I use my giant speed square to mark out all of the stud locations in both of the top and bottom plates. I make sure to line them up and then I can mark them all out at once.

Then I assemble all of the frames in the shop so I can move them up to the kitchen and attach them as modules. There are 4 "hall walls" total to make up the island, each one being a different side. There are 2 long ones that extend the length of the island and 2 shorter ones that fit in between. They are made from a bottom and top plate with studs every 16"

Step 4: Attaching Walls Together

Now it's just a matter of carrying the walls into the kitchen and installing them. Makes a lot less of a mess then if I built everything up there.

The 4 sides are carried in and attached to one another with screws making it into one solid unit.

With it attached together we can then judge where we want it to actually be installed. You can just barely see the blue tape on the floor here. I move it around until it's in the right spot and then mark the floor so we don't lose the perfect spot. Also, the cat is a fan and it's not even done yet!

Step 5: Installing Box

With the location established, I figure out what the highest corner is using my level and attach that into place by screwing directly through the plate and into the floor.

Then I use shims around the perimeter to move the big block level in all directions by lifting them up to match the highest corner.

Now I want this thing to be rock solid since there will be seating on one side and I'm sure people will lean on the countertop. The plywood attached to the outside will likely act as enough of a diaphragm, but this will make sure the cabinet box won't budge. I use some scrap pieces of 3/4: pine and screw them in place on the inside of the studs.

Step 6: Installing Plywood

I can now skin the outside of the box. I use a piece of 1/4" plywood for this and start by cutting it in half to make it easier to bring inside. I then use the top of the box to mark and give me a line of where I need to cut it to fit perfectly.

The pieces of plywood are then brought outside to be cut down to size. Notice I have the back side of the plywood up here -- cutting with the circular saw will cause the tear out to be on the top and in this case, that will be the face that's going against the box and won't be seen.

To attach the plywood panels in place first by applying a bead of construction adhesive to all of the studs on that side.

I then move the plywood into place and use brad nails around the perimeter to hold it in place. The brads on the corners and base will be covered with trim so you'll never see them and the brads along the top will get covered by the overhang of the countertop once it's installed. Luckily the panels were bowed out slightly on the edges, so when it was brad nailed in place, it pulled tight to all of the studs. Once dry, the construction adhesive will hold everything rock solid.

Step 7: Installing Trim

Next, the trim pieces can all be installed. First, I apply wood glue to the corner trim and install the pieces in place. I leave them about an inch longer than they need to be so I can cut them perfectly flush later instead of worrying about measuring each of the 4 corners exactly and not mixing them up before install. These pieces are just L shaped and sit on the corners so I use some strap clamps around the whole thing to hold it while it dries.

With everything held in place, I can then use my oscillating tool too cut the corner pieces flush with the top of the box.

Next is the base board, which is just a piece of quarter round to keep the look simple. I apply wood glue to these too and nail them in place. I can use some color matching putty to fill those holes later since they are at floor level and you'll never see them (especially in something like oak).

Step 8: Finishing

Now for finish I need to match the existing cabinets to make sure it doesn't look out of place. I make some test pieces of oak with different colors of stain and clear coat and find that golden oak with a couple coats of lacquer matches the cabinets perfectly. First I rub on a coat of stain with a rag and let it dry.

Lastly, it's a few coats of lacquer clear coat on the whole box with some fine sanding in between and we have a perfect finish. I think the cat enjoys the fumes... Now it's just a matter of waiting for the countertop guys to come in and replace all of the counters with granite. Meanwhile I'll be coming up with a design for bar stool since I think that'll be my next project. (spoiler: they're already done!

Step 9: Glamour Shots

Thanks for checking out the build! Be sure to watch the full build video linked in the first photo. This video in particular is a bit of a ride. Enjoy!


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Epilog Challenge 9

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Epilog Challenge 9