My most used emoji is the eye roll one. It’s a perfect response to so many scenarios. My real life eye roll, and WTF face, is a response I have given more than once to the statement: “Looks like you don’t need a man.” I hate that statement. It drive me nuts. But to be honest is says more about the person speaking the words than the person they are speaking them about. But what can I say? I’m pretty independent, maybe too independent. But at the same I know when to swallow my pride and ask for help. Case in point, my latest project involving iron pipe for the kitchen island I built. Let’s just say my Crossfit goals of #tinylats and #tinytraps didn’t help me when I somehow managed to get one piece of pipe a little too tight and wasn’t able to loosen it…….it was a little frustrating (a lot frustrating), but I found a friend at the gym to fix the problem. Thank goodness for Crossfit friends! After I crossed that hurdle, it was pretty much smooth sailing, but here’s the fully story:
When I purchased my home in 2012, one of the options was a kitchen island. It was $1,000 bucks extra. I decided to forego the island. I knew I could easily find an island kart, refurbish an old dresser, or build one down the road. It was one of those options that wasn’t a make or break decision that couldn’t be modified in the future. Fast forward to nearly 4 years later and I finally decided to put in an island. I toyed with the idea 2 years ago, but after pricing out a design, it was more than I was willing to spend. I started tinkering with the idea for an island about a month ago. I started out by taping off a section of the floor in the kitchen to get an idea of how much room I had to work with. I opened the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, and pantry to see the wing span for each of these doors. I originally planned on a 3’L X 3’W X 3’H island, but after doing some research at Lowe’s, I had to modify my specs to 2’W X 4’L X 3’H. The top I wanted to purchase for the island only came in widths of 24,” which became my limiting factor.
After settling on the configuration, the only other thing I need to figure out was the design. I wanted to add a shelf and partition so that bar stools could be place on one side and there was some storage on the other side. This part didn’t go exactly as planned. I wanted one long partition that would go for the entire height of the island and on the other side there would be two shelves. But due to the nature of the pipe and how it’s put together, it was only possible to add one shelf.
I utilized the black iron pipe for the island. It’s a little cheaper than the galvanized pipe, and I planned on painting it anyways, so the original color wasn’t a big deal for me. In order to get the exact specs configured for a piece like this, you kinda have to put it together in the aisle at Lowes. A piece of pipe might be labeled 8” but when you attach it to a flange or connector, some length is lost in the process. If you don’t account for that, you could end up with a smaller configuration that you planned on. Needless to say, the Lowes employee responsible for the pipe aisle was not too thrilled with me “playing legos” with the pipe in the middle of the aisle. He steered me to a display of pipe configurations made specifically for bar karts and islands. Although these were really cool and a good option, they do not screw together like regular pipe and the configuration plans that were offered where not what I had in mind/already sketched out. I thanked him and then kept on making a ruckus plumbing aisle, which I cleaned up before going over into the lumber section. Here’s a quick look at the pipe configuration for the base of the island.
To make the same configuration in this post, you’ll need the following pieces of pipe:
8 – Flanges
6 – “T” Connectors
4 – 10” Nipples
4 – 24” Pipes
1 – 36” Pipe
2 – 6” Nipples
2 – 8” Nipples
I used ¾” diameter pipe, but would probably use 1” or 1 ¼” pipe next time.
For the top I bought one pre-fabbed butcher block type surface that measured 24” X 48”. Then to make the shelf and partition I bought 2 similar pieces that were 12” X 36”. I got some screws for the top (#12 1″ screws) and for the shelf (#10 1.25″ screws) and some rubber foam to put on the bottom flanges so that it wouldn’t scar the floor.
Once I got everything home, the first thing to do was to get all of the grease off of the pipe. Some soap and warm water should take it off.
The next thing to do was to put it all back together. It’s honestly easier to paint the pipe once it’s put together versus all the individual pieces. When I did the industrial pipe shelf for the bathroom, here, I painted all of the pieces separate. The down side is that the paint gets into the threads on the ends and makes it difficult to put it together. As you’re putting it together measure each side to make sure each piece has been tightened the same amount and that the pieces are level. This part was a little more finicky that I anticipated. It was easy to think that the sides were even because everything seemed tight, but you definitely have to measure to make sure. To paint the pipe, I used a self etching primer and a darkish metallic paint.
Once the pipe base was configured, the rest was pretty easy. I routed the edges of the top so that they were rounded a little bit. Here’s a picture of the top before the edges were rounded a bit.
The shelf and partition were cut down from the two other boards.
When it came time to stain the top and the shelf/partition, I contemplated several options. The first was to go with my tried and true favorite dark walnut. It’s my go-to stain color. It’s dark, rich, and goes with anything. The second option was to go with the vinegar and steel wool stain I used on the mirrors and shelf in the master bathroom, here. It’s easy, non-toxic, and a decent color, but I felt like it was too light of a color. The last option was Minwax’s Provincial colored stain. I used it on a project that I did for a friend, and loved how it looked. It really brings out the wood grain, whereas the wood grain can get kinda lost in the dark walnut stain. And ya know, it’s nice to branch out and try something new every once in a while.
Here’s a picture of the wood before the stain and after.
Before staining, I tried to sand out some of the burn marks left by the router. I wasn’t 100% successful, but hoped that once the stain was on, they would be less noticeable. And I was right. You probably wouldn’t notice unless I pointed it out to you.
The last part was to seal the top and shelf with a poly to protect it from water and other markings. I like to use a water based poly. It’s less likely to yellow over time, and it doesn’t have an odor. This is my favorite one, here, and I used the satin finish for this project. I ended up with 4 coats of poly in order to get a smooth finish.
All the pieces were then put together and wa-la! Overall not a terribly difficult project. Although it is MUCH EASIER to put the base together with two people so that one part doesn’t get over tightened and you can’t get it undone. I need to find some barstools to go with it, but for now I have some counter chairs from another table that’s up in my office.