Saturday, January 2, 2016

kitchen remodel part 0 - island cabinets

Our little North Oakland bungalow from 1911 will have some hefty work done on the kitchen and adjacent jack/jill bathroom in the coming months. Small movements of one wall in the bath will give much needed elbow room. We'll raise the ceiling to its original 108" height and improve the overall flow of the kitchen cabinet/storage.

Cabinetry will be done in my shop, as much as possible in advance to reduce the downtime and save $. Cabinets will mostly be done euro-style using prefinished birch ply, however we're going to continue to use a kitchen "island" benchtop, using a narrower, but wider top.

for reference, here's the original kitchen. island here is 30"x60". We'll do something much longer and narrower at 24"x96"

The new island will have two lower cabinet units which will be made in frame/panel style. Posts are 2,1/4x3". rails are 9/8". Used vg fir ply for panels.

Note above you can see a stack of 1/2" boards on teh tablesaw calming down after an initial milling. These are alderwood from my mom and dad's farm that my dad shipped to me a few years back. much of this wood had been infiltrated by boring insects, however I figured they had been gone. Only after I had milled all the drawer parts to final thickness did I notice some larvae still soft to the touch of my pocket knife. Much sorrow was expressed at this point. It's Alderwood from a wind storm that took down a large swath of trees on mom and dad's farm, and I wanted to use this wood somewhere important, and now it's been spoiled by the bugs. I'll set these boards aside for now. Heat kills them but I don't have the time now to bring everythign up to 150F in my kitchen oven.

I'll use Russian birch ply as drawer boxes for now.

Below, an initial frame test fitment. Double tenons for each rail that I will then reinforce with a 3/16" oak dowel for belt-suspenders treatment.

Milling down reclaimed ship-lap fir for the rails, laminating up the posts, too.
I use the cabinet maker's triangle to help me orient all the pieces. all the tenons were cut using my bandsaw and so there was some regularity to the layout. I also used my drillpress to beaver out most of the mortises, while using my 13mm japanese chisel(the only one so far that's sent me to the ER) to take care of the rest of the waste

Reclaimed wood means pulling nails. Sometimes nails that had been sheared off by an infernal sawzall

My first japanese paring chisel from Hida Tool off S. Pablo Ave. really helpful in getting my mortises dialed in.


  1. Nice remodelling tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    Neeta from Drum Sander Specialists

  2. This is an most ambitious project! Thanks for letting us watch. There's plenty more Alder planks up here ready for a south shipment. Too bad about the bugs in the wood. I suppose the concern is that they would eat the drawer contents and after that they'd start on the drawers themselves. Knowing how much yer Mom loves worms if that happed up here I could see her just scrapping them of into the soup/chili and keep going...

    What is the overall plan for the kitchen? Will the 'refer' stay in the same place? - and then there is the exhaust for the cooktop. That, I assume will be directed to the outer atmosphere?

    I like the heavy structure of the center isle - 2 cabs with a nice top deck. What will the top be made of? Doug Fir?

    We'd like to know some other ideas. What is the floor going to be like? The sink? The lighting? Is there gong to be a profusion of ceramic tiles in the neighborhood?

    Keep going! It's all worthwhile and will very likely have your traditional mark of excellence.

  3. thanks for notes dad - the worry i had about bringing infested wood into the kitchen drawers is that the insects might start in on the rest of the house...

    overall arrangement is going to be a bit different than now. fridge will stay put but sink will be narrower, single basin. oven/stove will move to right of sink. "L" bend will be gone. galley style. haven't decided countertops but likely some sort of butcherblock arrangement. tiles on backsplash. floor stripped down to baseboards and left as is. it will be fairly aggressive remodel. life is always hell, but for two months it will be extra hell.

    meeting architect friday morning for brass tacks.

  4. Sounds fabulous. Don't forget, the fridge, whenever time for replacement, is MINE! Also bathroom fixtures, if any replaced. (-: