Many of you asked for instruction on building an island (and drawers) and now that I have my pictures and time…here goes!
Note: This is just an overview of this project. Check out my Cabinet Building Tutorial for more general “Cabinet Building” tips.
The base of the island is 4 separate, very simple cabinet boxes built out of Melamine.
After cutting all my pieces, I marked both sides of each board where I would attach my bottom shelf. I purchased my base board first so I would know where I wanted the bottom shelf to be.
I attached the bottom and sides, making sure the pieces were square while screwing them together. I predrilled and countersunk.
Next, I used the table saw to cut 4″ strips that I will use for cleats to attach the countertop and the backs.
Attached the cleats with nails and screws.
And that is the basic box. I made 4 just like this.
I cut backs out of 1/4″ backerboard (hardboard) and primed and painted them white. It is much easier to paint before you attach them. (I pieced one together rather than buy a whole additional sheet. It will be hidden by drawers so won’t matter.)
Backs do more than make the cabinet look finished! They help hold the piece square so it is important that you make sure the cabinet is square when you staple/nail it in place. This is a very important step!
*Here’s how to check for square: Lay the cabinet on it’s face. You should have exactly the same measurement when you measure diagonally from top to bottom in both directions.
If you are square on the first measurement, staple the back on QUICK before you accidentally kick your cabinet and mess it up!
If it’s not square, kick it on purpose and measure again. If you’re lucky, it will have gone in the right direction and be square now! If not, kick it again in the other direction, harder, and measure again.
Repeat until you finally get it square. I prefer a staple gun over a nail gun to secure the backs in place.
Note: The face frame is not attached on the front yet so there’s no need to worry about scratching it with all the kicking!
OK, back to my own progress!
All square with backs stapled on! I put them together to make sure they all turned out the same size. Honestly, you never know!
At this point, I had to haul them all down into the basement before I went any further with this project. It would be impossibly heavy to haul it in one piece – and wouldn’t fit through the doors anyway.
Wes is really good at helping me with that kind of stuff. Thank goodness!