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Tom Silva shows how to fabricate a kitchen island out of stock cabinets. (See the shopping list, tools, and steps below.)

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Shopping List for Build It: Movable Kitchen Island:
– Two 30-inch-wide upper wall cabinets
– 24-by-48-inch piece of 3/4-inch plywood, to make base of island
– Four 4-inch swiveling casters (two with brakes)
– 14/-inch x 1 1/2-inch carriage bolts with washers and nuts, to attach casters
– 1 1/4-inch drywall screws, for attaching the plywood base to the cabinets
– Wood shims, used as spacers between the cabinets
– Carpenter’s glue
– Wood butcher block, to make the island top
– 100-grit sandpaper, to hand-sand the edges of the butcher-block top
– 120-grit abrasive disk, for use with random-orbit sander
– 2-inch drywall screws, for attaching the butcher-block top
– Towel bar
– Mineral oil and cotton cloth, to finish the butcher-block top

Tools List for Build It: Movable Kitchen Island:
– Circular saw
– Cordless drill
– 5/16-inch-diameter drill bit, to bore bolt-clearance holes
– 5/32-inch-diameter drill bit, for boring screw-shank clearance holes
– Ratcheting box-end wrench, to tighten nuts on carriage bolts
– Utility knife, to trim wood shims
– Random-orbit sander, for smoothing the butcher-block top
– Straightedge guide and clamps

Steps for Build It: Movable Kitchen Island:
1. Stock kitchen cabinets come in a wide variety of finishes, colors, sizes, and configurations.
2. Kitchen base cabinets are too tall for use in a mobile island, unless you cut them down to size.
3. Upper wall cabinets at 12 inches deep by 30 inches tall are ideal for building a mobile island.
4. Use a circular saw to cut away the raised lip from the bottom of the cabinets.
5. Place the cabinets upside down and back-to-back, then saw a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit across the bottom of both cabinets.
6. Attach a 4-inch caster to each corner of the plywood panel; secure each caster with four 1 1/2-inch-long carriage bolts, washers, and nuts.
7. Drill four 5/32-inch-diameter screw-shank clearance holes through the bottom of each cabinet.
8. Set the plywood panel with casters on top of the cabinets, then attach the panel with 1 1/4-inch drywall screws.
9. Bore four screw-shank clearance holes through the upper back of one cabinet.
10. Insert wood shims between the two cabinets, then fasten them together with two 1 1/4-inch drywall screws.
11. Turn the cabinets upright and trim the shims flush using a utility knife.
12. Cut four 3/4-inch-thick plywood filler strips to fit across the tops of the cabinets.
13. Secure the filler strips with glue and 1 1/4-inch screws.
14. Use a circular saw with a straightedge guide to cut a 36-inch-long wood butcher-block top for the island.
15. Set the butcher block on the island, allowing it to overhang one end by 4 inches and the other by 2 inches.
16. Secure the wood top to the island with 2-inch screws.
17. Smooth the butcher-block top using a random-orbit sander fitted with a 120-grit abrasive disk.
18. Use a clean cotton cloth to apply a coat of mineral oil to the butcher-block top.

Tom used upper cabinets attached back-to-back for the base unit. In this case, he used two 30″ cabinets made by Hampton Bay and available at The Home Depot [].

Tom used two swiveling 4″ casters, and two stationary 4″ casters, which he mounted to a piece of ¾” plywood. These are also available at The Home Depot.

For the top, Tom used the Numerär beech butcher block countertop with a mineral oil finish from Ikea [].

Build It:
This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, This Old House host Kevin O’Connor, and special guests including Jimmy DiResta, take you through step-by-step DIY projects in this popular video series. From end-tables to cutting boards to wine racks to chicken coops and more, learn how to build from the best pros in the game. Segments include mention of all tools and materials needed to get the job done.

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