Making a small rolling island for kitchen

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zannej

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Yet another back burner project that I want to try because I already have some of the lumber and can see what I can use & what I need to buy.

Friend's kitchen looks somewhat like this (my sketchup drawings) minus some cabinets over the sink (those are planned but not purchased yet)
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There's an air fryer and other appliances on the counter next to the tall pantry. There is now a barn door between the living room and kitchen. There are 6 panel doors to the two bedrooms that connect to the kitchen.
The space is small but lacks prep space and could use an island, but it needs to be portable and relatively small.
I saw these plans on Ana White's site: Rustic X Small Rolling Kitchen Island | Ana White
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Instead of slats for the bottom drawer I want it solis and I want it to span the entire width of the island instead of halfway. I'll eliminate the middle shelf. On the opposite side I want to have a shelf behind the drawer. Instead of using a thin project panel framed out with trim on the top I want to go with 2x2s made into bucherblock style. I figure 6 of them cut into 3s will get the right length. With kerf factored in they should be approximately the right size. Will get an extra board or two just in case. I want the side panels behind the X pattern to extend all the way. These will be painted gloss black on the outer side. Rest of the unit will be painted to match the cabinets. I'm knocking 1/2" off the span between the top and bottom frame pieces because I want to use 1/2"x2'x2' plywood panels on the sides and the extra 1/2" would leave a gap.
I want to use ball bearing full extension drawer slides instead of the block system used in the plans.
Off the top of my head, the change in the length of the X pieces would make the long one around 27-1/4" & short ones 13-5/8". Although, I'm considering making two long pieces and notching them in the middle. I think they would be sturdier that way.
I want to use 1/4" lauan for the bottom of the drawer, the panel behind the drawer (back wall of the upper shelf) and possibly for the shelf, but I might use 1/2" plywood there instead. Under the drawer and the face of the shelf will be trimmed out with 2x2s. Debating using the 1/4" for the bottom shelf as well, but if I do that I would want an additional 2x4 in the bottom middle for extra support. The lauan is less expensive than the 1/2" plywood.

Right now there is debate on whether to use locking casters or some kind of furniture slides on the bottoms of the feet. Personally, I'm in favor of casters. Friend is worried the cart will roll too easily when unlocked because the floor is so unlevel. Flooring people said slides would grind dirt into the vinyl planks. I also worry that it might slide when they don't want it to without locking casters. Also worried it will mark up the floor. But if I did switch to slides instead of casters I'd extend the bottoms of the legs about 3" down (still leaving the X thing at the planned size).

Also, I don't like pocket screws so I want to use glue and nails instead. I have different types of nail guns and nails to use. I can still use screws for some parts. Any exterior nails will get hit with putty & painted over. 2x2 strips are cheaper than 1x2s in my area.

My biggest quandary is how to get the drawer slides in the right position. I want to make the drawer's outside width around 22" (instead of the smaller one they had in the plans) but with the 1/2" side panels that might be more difficult to build up to the right size. I wonder if using the 1/4" lauan would work better instead. Drawer slides are 1/2" thick and something like 1.77" high & 12" long. My brain is not wanting to compute the math.
Any ideas? I mean, absolute worst case scenario, I could notch the sides of the drawers in about 1/4" and have 2x4s on top of the 1/4" plywood.
Is any of that making sense?
Sketches of the version with casters
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Without casters it looks about the same but the bottom parts of the legs extend below to where the casters meet the floor. Not even sure what sort of sliders to use on the bottoms if I did use them instead of casters.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?
 

Eddie_T

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I'm going to use Ana White's method of installing drawer slides in the carcass first then measuring between them to determine precise drawer box width. My island will have three drawers (no shelf). Drawers are next on my list as soon as I decide whether or not my Ryobi RAS will be safe to use. I have a 10" Rockwell RAS but it's hard to access for ripping due to clutter. I had planned to use the little 8 1/4" Ryobi outdoors. Drawers will be easier to install before I build the top. I line drawer bottoms with lowes cheap vinyl tile.

 

Eddie_T

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For sealing the edges of plywood prior to painting I have added plaster of paris to a little paint to make a paste but recently saw a hack using spackle. In the past I have cleaned my paintbrush on the edges of plywood to help seal it. Also PVA wood glue will work but I don't know if it would be cost effective these days. I wonder if flour and water paste would work?

I have sheet formica for my plywood top but haven't decided whether to purchase matching formica ogee edging (as I did with my other countertops) or use a wood rope edging and finish it in antique gold as I did for edging my tumbled tile backsplash. Decisions · · · decisions.

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zannej

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I meant to say bottom shelf instead of drawer. Oops.

Redneckgrump, I'm not a fan of low drawers just for the fact that its harder to bend down and reach them. LOL. I'm thinking that leaving that big of a space underneath the drawer could lend itself to adding an adjustable shelf in the middle or having hooks on the interior side to hang pots & pans or something. Maybe small appliances can go on the lower shelf.

Eddie, I like the idea of using cheap vinyl tile as drawer/shelf liner if it is less expensive than the liner. I usually seal up edges with wood putty or filler that is paintable. I sometimes have to add a touch of water to the putty to make it easier to spread bc out of the container it can be a bit dry and gritty.

Ana's videos are always good. I do like how she does her drawer slides. I'm sill trying to figure out how to stack up the wood inside the island to make it so the 1/2" slides are even with the edges of the 2x4s so they won't hit the sides. I suppose I could have them be a little proud of the sides bc it will be mostly hidden by drawer face. I'm now thinking having the 1/4" plywood for sides and bottom shelf. I have enough 2x4s that I can put a 2x4 spanning the middle of the bottom underneath the shelf there. Still debating what to use for the upper shelf behind the drawer. The 24" stuff is not wide enough to reach the edges so I can either piece things together on top of some other wood, or I can use a a larger chunk of plywood (which I think I already have lying around).

Friend is dead set on not having casters & just having slides. So this is the current sketch.
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Ignore the blue line in the one on the left. I accidentally selected it before screenshotting and just now noticed it.

As an aside, I'm watching this video now:


I would probably still use nails or screws.
 
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Eddie_T

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I used simple rabbet joints for all my kitchen and vanity drawer boxes and put them together with 17 ga nails and a good wood glue. Bottoms were 3/8 or 1/4 plywood nailed and glued. None have failed over the years. I used pocket holes when I added drawers to the pantry shelves for canned goods. I will be using thinner plywood scrap for the island drawers so probably back to simple rabbets.

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zannej

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I need to clear off my tablesaw (its serving for storage space right now), get new blades, and get it adjusted. For now we use a handheld circular saw for cutting so I'm trying to do things less complex. I do have a router attachment for my matrix so I wonder if I can use that to cut the rabbets. I learned to do dado cuts back in high school but no longer remember how. I know I will need some sort of straight edge when cutting.

The 1/8" gap around the drawer face bugs me. I envision bugs climbing in through the gaps so I did a sketch with 1/4" overlap to see how it looked.
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I personally like it better but am waiting for my friend to reply. I might reduce side overlap to 1/8". I want top overlap to be 1/4" so I can pop on those little dots that buffer the drawer hitting the trim.
I will likely use a combo of nails and screws for parts that won't be visible (like on the drawer). I need to learn how to use my router better and get the right bits for it. I also need to check the workshop and see if there is a handheld router in there somewhere.

What method do you use to cut rabbets? Router? Tablesaw? Other?
 

Eddie_T

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I just do multiple cuts with the radial arm saw for rabbets and dadoes.
 

zannej

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Ah. I don't have a radial arm saw. LOL. I think maybe a router or multiple cuts on the tablesaw will have to do.
 

Eddie_T

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The only advantage I see for the RAS is that I don't have to measure. I just use a piece of scrap stock to mark the width of the rabbet. Then I make the first cut at the line and the others don't require precision. My brother used a table saw and set up a dado blade which is good if making a lot of rabbets. I was always leery of cutting a lot of pieces and maybe duplicating a mistake.
 

zannej

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I will probably skip rabbets on this particular piece. the frame Ana did for her drawer seemed sturdy enough. it's going to be light duty anyway. I also like how she put the blocks behind the slides at just the ends-- making the whole piece lighter. I'm also starting to consider pocketholes in some places but am trying to find a good jig that isn't too expensive. the ones I've been looking at have had customer complaints of breaking.

Friend likes the overlapping drawer better. Oh wait, I forgot that I will cut rabbets on the inside edges of the drawer face so the middle part will go in about 1/4" more than the rest of the drawer. I think. I might see how it looks with just a flush fit of a 3/4" thick face.
 

Eddie_T

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I made my drawer boxes to fit flush then used 3/8 plywood trim to get the overlap. I may do the same with the Island but use 1//4 ply for shaker style trim. Rabbets are flush, the pic is not that good but maybe you can see the rabbet.

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zannej

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That is a very pretty drawer. I think I see the rabbets where the front of the drawer frame meets the sides.
One of the reasons for rabbets on the drawer I want to make is so the drawer face won't be too thick. Most of the drawers in the house are only 1/2" and this would be 3/4" because of the size of the board. I can't seem to find 1/2" thick wood anymore. At least not in the size I want for a decent price. They had some 1/2" x 6" x 2' but not 1/2" x8".
 
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