Sniffle Island - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Sniffle Island

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sketch up island

I’d planned to go to the office/shop today (Saturday) to work on the personal project that’s been a millstone ’round my neck for months – a kitchen island/microwave stand. But I’ve got a bad case of the chest and sinus crud; the very thought of sawdust makes me cough (even more than I already am).

And that’s OK (well, the staying home part – I’d rather not be ill), because I swore to myself I wouldn’t touch my pile of lumber again until I’d worked out a new island design in SketchUp. But now I have.

Months ago, I’d decided on something modeled after a Roubo bench; in August, I bought the wood.

But life has gotten in the way, so it wasn’t until two weeks ago that I got around to surfacing any lumber and then I decided the Roubo idea wasn’t going to work; the walnut top looked too nice flat-sawn to rip and reglue into a thick, workbench-like top.

There are all kinds of limitations that preclude adopting many of the helpful suggestions I’ve received: immovable, tangible things such as floor grates and window ledges getting in the way of legs, and the position of the window and door between which this thing must fit.

There are also immovable intangible things, such as my simply not liking microwaves on top of counters…no matter how convenient others find it, and my insistence upon having a tabletop at which to eat, under which I can fit a stool and my knees.

So the above is what I’ve decided upon – a sort of a mix of Shaker and modern, adapted and combined from a number of examples (with particular credit to Mokuzai Furniture for the shelf dado inspiration). The top and two shelves will be in walnut; the rest is sugar pine. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be feeling well enough to drive to the shop and work on it.

And if not, well, I’ll just keep working on improving my SketchUp skills and coming-up-with-creative-solutions skills, because I’ve still a table/counter/cabinet/something (with space underneath for the cats’ food and water) to design and build for the wholly vexing curved corner to the left of my stove. (Note how the window doesn’t allow for full counter depth – fun!)

sketch up island

Yes, yes…I need to caulk in the moulding around the curve (and install shoe moulding). I’m ashamed, but there it is.

— Megan Fitzpatrick


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Showing 9 comments
  • toolman71

    Did you take a class for sketch up? I would like to take one to learn it faster.Do u know one on line? Love the Island with walnut.Get well soon. want to se the finshed product.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      I watched Bob Lang’s SU videos and read his book…and of course, worked in the cube next to him for years. But really, I don’t know much; I just learn what I need to know as I draw things (they key, I think, is to use it consistently…because I’ve forgotten lots of cool stuff about it that I learned, because I didn’t use it).

      We do have some new videos from Joe Zeh (SU has changed a bit since Bob did his) here:

      And I think we have an online class coming up, but I’ll have to check on that.

      • toolman71

        thank you and i will look at the videos

        • Megan Fitzpatrick
          Megan Fitzpatrick

          I just found out we have an online SU course starting Dec 1 with Joe Zeh (no link yet for signups, but I’m sure we’ll have that soon)

  • jlsodowsky

    What type of bracing are you using to prevent racking in your island table/

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      The two shelves in well-fit 1″-deep dados (and secured by screws) are the braces. Those, along with the top once it’s screwed in place, ought to protect against racking. (And if I discover down the line that I’m wrong, I suppose I could add a through-tenoned stretcher just under the bottom shelf, but I’ll be surprised if that’s needed.)

  • pmac

    “…Note how the window doesn’t allow for full counter depth…”
    If you do your addition, the window can be gone.

    • Megan Fitzpatrick
      Megan Fitzpatrick

      This is true. And the (debt) ceiling would be raised…

      • K Anderson

        I built a taller version of the revolving bookcase from Roy Underhills Eclectic Workshop book a while back and it held an amazing number of books in a fairly small space that fit well into a corner. It is hard to tell exactly how much space you have in the corner but a taller, skinner version might fit, if you don’t mind the open storage.

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