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Thread: Project: Combination Kitchen Island/Eating Table (Build)

  1. #1
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    Project: Combination Kitchen Island/Eating Table (Build)

    This will be a "build" thread with a bit more detail than I've been doing lately, but it's an interesting project. Some might find it useful; some might scoff. But I just can't wait until the end to start posting because it would be too much to post all at once.
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    For background, our younger daughter and her now-fiancé just moved into a tiny, recently renovated walk-up studio apartment in Old City, the more historical part of center city Philadelphia. (second floor thankfully, rather than higher!) It's a great neighborhood, her new job is a short 7 block walk and it should be a nice adventure for them. While we certainly miss having them close here in our local community all the time, they will be taking the choo-choo on a regular basis and staying here every few weekends. Her car and their teardrop camper live here now, too.

    Relative to the apartment, there is minimal counter space in the kitchen, exactly one drawer that isn't even large enough for their silverware and due to the size of the apartment, furniture has to be multi-purpose. So they made a request..."Can you make us a kitchen island so we have more counter space?" Of course, I can. Things evolved from there when I mentioned that they might consider combining the island with an eating space so they didn't need to take their table and didn't need to eat sitting on their couch and using the mid-century walnut coffee table I made them a while ago. And then I said, how about I make it like an extension table with a leaf so you can also seat two guests when necessary. Oh, and it needs to be knock down to actually get it there and into the apartment up a winding stairway. And then the issue of drawers came up, changing the design from a "simple" knock-down to a cabinet that gets all dressed up pretty with removable panels. You know...if you're going to do a project, make it a PROJECT. So be it. So I made some sketches using PowerPoint (I hate the online version of SketchUP and no longer have the subscription...and didn't need that level of detail) to create the basic vision. That was followed by scribbling basic dimensions. This is an example...more numbers ensued as I started work, but establishing the basic, overall project size made it possible to get started.

    A-Plan.jpg

    Like any project, it starts with materials. I ordered a bunch of sheet goods from Industrial Plywood for this project as well as two others I have planned...it's more economical and practical that way for delivery. Here at the new shop, the truck cannot pull up to the shop building, so it all went on my utility trailer and was then moved to the shop by the BOPT. (Big Orange Power Tool)

    IMG_7146.jpg IMG7147.jpg

    The lumber rack was raided for solid stock. This project will use black walnut, most milled off our previous property, but I had one "yuge" 10' by 16" 5/4 board hanging out for a few years now that also got the nod. The 8/4 board will likely be used as leg stock but at the time of this posting, I have not fully worked out that portion of the project. The solid stock was measured, chalk marked and then cut down for easy handling.

    IMG_7153.jpg

    While some folks might make the cabinet first because that's, um..."easy"...it would be more risky here, especially since this is the first time I'm using the table hardware every and am using it in an unconventional way with a "fixed" end and a "movable" end and at relatively small dimensions compared to a typical dining table. Let's say at this point that the initial goal for the footprint of the top is 1220 mm wide (~48") by 915mm (36") when in the smallest form and about 1220mm (~48") square with the leaf in. So I started out with the top, bringing that to nearly final so it can be on the bench, upside down with the slide hardware installed. Why? Because the size may (will) be slightly variable from original intent based on the material and it means I can do the final layout literally on top of the bottom so that the cabinet is sized exactly to the project and doesn't interfere with the sliding hardware. You'll see more about that in a bit.

    That large board I mentioned produced rough components that are too big to be processed by my jointer/thicknesser which tops out at 350mm...they were over 400mm wide (~16") and I am not one to ever rip a wide board to narrow if it can be avoided. (They were trimmed later to remove some sapwood but even then, they would have been too wide for the jointer/thicknesser) So I had two choices for flattening and surfacing the material...my big slab flattening table or the CNC. Since the rough pieces didn't exceed my CNC's capacity, I chose that option, even though it would be slower because it would be more precise. With a table top that has a leaf, that's a desirable characteristic. This process took some time as taking material off at 1 or 2mm a pass allowed for sneaking up on the maximum end-thickness. The goal was 25mm (1") but in the end, 22.5mm (~7/8") and perfectly flat was the end result.

    IMG_7154.jpg IMG_7160.jpg

    The first iteration of the flattening/thicknessing was the two wide boards plus on other board that represented either the movable piece or the leaf...I don't recall. The second round, was just the one remaining board.

    IMG_7172.jpg
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
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    The four boards for the island/table top then went through the drum sander to remove the milling marks with a couple of very light passes...minimal material removal was the goal here

    IMG_7175.jpg IMG_7176.jpg

    Typical processing followed to straight line rip one edge including removal of some sapwood, square the ends, and then parallel ripping to remove the sap on the other side. Note, I was not shooting for any specific width on any of these boards...maximum heart wood for appearance is the goal at this point. The resulting sizes are what dictates the actual dimensions of the island/table top.

    IMG_7180.jpg IMG_7177.jpg IMG_7178.jpg IMG_7179.jpg

    With the boards for the island/table top processed, it was time to decide on the best layout for the boards based on grain and color match. Only a small amount of shuffling was required and things actually worked out well here, despite the two narrower components coming from a different tree from a different place at a different time. As you can see, the CNC not only cuts things, it's also a great and perfectly flat surface to do the shuffling...

    IMG_7181.jpg IMG_7182.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2024 at 10:39 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    There is only one glue joint for the island/table top and that's for the "fixed" island end. In that last photo, I did the layout to throw a few Dominos in to help keep the alignment of the top surfaces exact and then glued the two larger panels up with Titebond II Dark...which literally disappears with the walnut. Since the boards were already on the CNC bed, I did the glue up there. It's perfectly flat and I was able to use my workbench top for some other things that needed doing.

    IMG_7183.jpg IMG_7184.jpg

    Sanding is "fun". Sure it is. Necessary evil despite the "fun". 80-100-120 for now, both sides.

    IMG_7190.jpg IMG_7192.jpg

    Put it all back on the CNC bed to view both the normal and extended top and it's pleasing at this point.

    IMG_7195.jpg IMG_7194.jpg

    One of the narrower boards had a small knot that needed to be dealt with and that was done by cleaning it out well and then using a little Total Boat resin tinted to a dark brown.

    IMG_7197.jpg

    This completed the preparation of the island/table top components so next we move to the workbench to work out the extension slide setup and alignment dowels.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2024 at 10:50 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    I bought the shortest wood table extension slide system that Rockler sells to use for this project. Yea, I probably could have made something, but given this is a first time, I chose to buy the components as well as the "bullet" dowels and leaf latches from them. With the island/top components on the workbench in the order they will live together, the locations for the "bullet" dowels was marked for three per edge; center, left and right. These have to be "exact" both in position as well as the same distance from the top and bottom surfaces (centered in the thickness is ideal, but not an absolute necessity as long as they are indexed off the same surface just like with a Domino, dowel, spline, M&T, whatever) I started out by making a drilling jig, but had some issues and decided to just, um...wing it..since there was going to be a little bit of play. a 3/8" drill was a hair too small but a 10mm was "just right" relative to wiggle room that glue would address on the fixed side of the "bullet" dowels. Spoiler...it worked out just fine doing this hand-held.

    Marking and drilling...

    IMG_7204.jpg IMG_7205.jpg IMG_7206.jpg IMG_7207.jpg IMG_7211.jpg

    Next came working out the position for the extension slides. The "fixed" end was easy; the normal table end was somewhat narrow, but I was able to position such that all three screws would be in that component with enough clearance on the end for the apron and while is planned to be slightly splayed legs. (this is also a somewhat mid-century style to match the coffee table already in the space) I'm using "temporary" screws as I had to order longer ones from McFeeley's with the washer head that I wanted to provide maximum strength without poking through the top (!). That meant 1 3/4" long screws,

    IMG_7212.jpg IMG_7213.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2024 at 11:05 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    This process turned out to be reasonably straight forward with a slight challenge of insuring the slides are absolutely parallel because they have some built-in wiggle room. This was actually the first part of doing the project layout on the bottom of the top, as it were. Once the slides were fastened, the "bullet" dowels could be glued on the fixed side and the components were brought together just enough to insure the dowels stayed straight and true while that glue dried, but not fully seated. It would have been a "bad word" moment to have them tight for that and have any little bit of squeeze out glue the top together. LOL Once the glue dried overnight, it was time to test the two configurations and once again, things worked well. The final part of this particular exercise in assembling the table was to install the leaf latches which securely pull and hold things together. They must be installed in exactly the same plan for every leaf as well as for the fixed portions of the table top also with the markings "right on the joint" for proper operation.

    IMG_7214.jpg IMG_7215.jpg IMG_7216.jpg IMG_7219.jpg

    At this point, the island/table top is functionally complete. There will be some edge treatment later, but for now it's done. I did do some minor trimming of the edges using the track saw to take away some minor variability so that moving on to laying out the final dimensions for the cabinet to live below could proceed. That right there made for the "final final" size of the top, both for the island portion as well as the table portion in both configurations. I previously posted what the initial intent was for those sizes. The actual, end size was about spot on for width, but the length was slightly more in all configurations. The depth of the island/table in the "normal" configuration was intended to be 915mm (~36") but is now 1020mm (~40"). The "extended" depth is now 1300mm (~51"). That gain is actually beneficial for seating legroom for both configurations without materially making it too big for the space where it will be living.

    As previously noted, all of the layout to correctly size the cabinet that will support the island portion can now be done on the bottom of the island/table top to arrive at more or less exact dimensions, taking into account both functional and decorative needs. This was pretty straight-forward and also provided the opportunity to slightly rethink a few things as well as confirm the quantities and sizes of some decorative elements.

    IMG_7221.jpg IMG_7222.jpg IMG_7223.jpg

    Once I had those dimensions, I could create a cut list for the plywood components that would make up the basic cabinet. I'm not going to show cutting up said plywood, but suffice to say, I chose to tilt the sheets up on my flattening/cutting/clamping table and use the track saw for this process. My right wrist is still not fully recovered from last November's surgery so it was just a lot easier to do this cutting in this manner. I will say that I made a mental mistake in not buying prefinished for the cabinet like I did for the future projects, but the order went in before the switch to a cabinet from a simple knock down happened. I'll address that in the next post.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2024 at 11:46 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    For the last piece of this first installment about the build, the basic plywood components for the cabinet are cut. (sides, back, top and bottom) The cabinet back needs to be notched for the extension slides so once again, we return to the "layout" on the bench and place the back in position to mark for those cut outs. It's a good best practice to take measurements/marking directly from already established work as that accounts for any minor variability. We're all human, you know... (Professor Dr. SWMBO sometimes claims I'm too weird to be human and may be an alien, but that's a whole 'nuther subject..)

    IMG_7224.jpg IMG_7227.jpg

    These notches were cut with the jigsaw. Note that the small ones at the edge are to accomodate a planned apron extension that slides into the cabinet when the island/table is in "normal", non-extended mode.

    IMG_7228.jpg

    I put the cabinet sides on the CNC and drilled the shelf pin hole, using a symmetrical pattern to avoid dealing with left/right considerations. I later returned them and put two additional columns spaced exactly between them for convenience in sizing the shelf without it getting tippy. (Normally, I'd do a right/left for this, however)

    IMG_7229.jpg

    Then there was more sanding. followed by taping off glue surfaces since I need to pre-finish these panels before assembling the cabinet...I hate spraying into boxes. You'll notice I use whatever surfaces are convenient for this kind of thing. In this case, the table saw got the nod 'cause it was close enough to the bench to be able to use the sander and I didn't have to disassemble the top and move it from the bench.

    IMG_7230.jpg IMG_7236.jpg

    So far, I'm very happy with how this is coming together. I'm trying not to rush and giving careful consideration on how things will go together to achieve "the look" while being able to be disassembled easily for transport into the big city.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2024 at 12:03 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    This is great stuff Jim! Loving the build details. I've never built an expanding leaf table, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes together.

    Using the CNC as a "planer" is a great idea and comes in handy from time to time!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Burnside View Post
    This is great stuff Jim! Loving the build details. I've never built an expanding leaf table, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes together.

    Using the CNC as a "planer" is a great idea and comes in handy from time to time!
    Thanks, Michael. I enjoy building this way but have learned to be careful about making "snap decisions" because they can bite back. And yes, the CNC is the perfect tool for flattening with precision when whatever needs flattened can fit. And the dust collection works reasonably well compared to "zero dust collection" other than a broom when I use the flatting table. The downside is, again, speed. Even running at 400 ips, it takes a bit of time for each full pass with material that wide and long on the table. BTW, the hot glue gun was stellar for this...zero mechanical fasteners or clamps used for the flattening process.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
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    The only thing that was done today was to pre-finish the cabinet panels, interior sides...three coats of EM6000 gloss as that's what I had available. As previously noted, I should have bought pre-finished for this, but the design changed after I ordered the materials.

    IMG_7240.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Looking good! I just inherited a drum sander similar to yours. New parts arrived today. I am optimistic. Slider and CNC envy continue to grow. Your kids know they are fortunate to have you, right?
    -Maurice

  11. #11
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    Maurice, I scored that drum sander out of the classifieds here in an estate sale near Harrisburg PA. It was nearly unused and cost me half of what they sell for new. I had a 22-44 Performax years ago, never used it and sold it here to another 'Creeker who, to the best of my knowledge, still is using it up near where I grew up. And my daughters (and future son-in-law) do seem to appreciate the stuff I make for them.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Great project Jim...those wide walnut boards are beautiful.

  13. #13
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    Mark, I was absolutely delighted when I realized that big board actually was walnut. It was pretty dirty, but had a "hue" in the rack that made me think it was otherwize and I got it gifted to me years ago by another woodworker who was moving. I guess I just plain forgot what it was. A few strokes with a block plane fixed that "ass-umption". All of this is air dried walnut, too, which is my preference due to the rich coloration. There is going to be a visual aspect of this project that will further highlight the walnut, but I'm saving that part for later.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    I missed a few days of posting, so it's time to catch up. I'm enjoying this project for sure and the "clients" got to see the progress yesterday when they arrived for the weekend.

    Once all that interior pre-finishing was completed it was time to put together the cabinet carcass...which is admittedly not an exciting thing. Since the island/table top is currently on the main workbench, I chose to put this thang together on the CNC table. It's perfectly flat, too. Before all that, I took advantage of the tape marks where I masked off glue lines and placed two of the pre-drill locations for screws centered in the glue line. That made it a lot easier to "connect the dots" with a pencil and rule during assembly for screw locations without having to measure. It's a simple thing that I'm glad I remembered to do.

    IMG_7245.jpg

    For the end panels, I applied the permanent doubler that will be below the cabinet bottom as well as a temporary strip up at the top to hold the interior top "shelf" in proper position for fastening.

    IMG_7248.jpg

    Another helpful thing I did was to pull out the two hand-screws I own and use them to support the panels on the worksurface. I rarely use these things, but they are the "bee's knees" for this particular operation as it's easy to create a "foot" on the panel with them. Other types of clamps can also be used for this kind of thing, too.

    IMG_7249.jpg

    From there, glue, brads and screws followed to create very strong butt joints. The side panels will not be visible in the end...there will be decorative end panels that cover them and the cabinet back will be filled and painted black to "disappear" under the table. Nothing exciting here...

    IMG_7250.jpg IMG_7251.jpg IMG_7252.jpg IMG_7253.jpg IMG_7255.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    While the glue was cooking on that, it was time to sort out my walnut stock to select and prepare various things necessary to complete the project...decorative items, face frames/edges, doors, aprons, legs for the table end. Some of this I've already processed since this photo; some is still waiting to find out what its job will be.

    IMG_7256.jpg

    But back to the cabinet...off the CNC bed and onto a mobile platform so I could complete the "up top" structure that will support the walnut island/table top as well as accommodate two drawers.

    IMG_7265.jpg IMG_7266.jpg

    As noted, I've started to prepare material for the walnut things and will continue to work on the project this week. With the CNC table freed up, I can cut the templates for the two splayed legs that will grace the table end and get working on them. They incorporate angles and direct integration into the apron...so a bit of interesting machining and hand tool work.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-16-2024 at 10:19 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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