As Long as I Don’t Answer Back…


I was in the shop last weekend surfacing lumber for the Roubo bench-style kitchen island I planned (lo these many months ago). But as I was surfacing the walnut, it started talking to me. It whispered “Please don’t rip then reglue me into a thick benchtop. I’m too pretty.”


OK. I’m listening. But now it’s back to the drawing board. Or really, to the sketchbook (napkins) then to SketchUp.

So now, thanks in part to a couple comments resulting from my chalk drawings posted on the PWM blog, I’m thinking of something inspired by a library table. I still have strict requirements for this piece: counter height, hold a microwave on a shelf underneath the top, no wider than about 22″, no longer than about 52″, has to clear an air vent, must have  room at the end for two stools…and four knees. But a thinner top will bring the microwave shelf a few inches higher, and, because it will weigh significantly less, I won’t have as much concern about tippiness* at the end where the stools (and knees) will go.

I’ve spent some time over the last couple days poring over Internet images. Below, I’ve posted three inspirations pieces that I’ll use as a (re)starting point. (The first two are unattributed pieces; the last is by Frank Lloyd Wright.)

Time to sharpen my pencils. I have to get this thing (re)designed and built…so I can move onto the next thing. (I’m tired of thinking about islands that involve no beaches or umbrella drinks.) More to come…and soon.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.51.20 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.50.36 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.51.44 PM

*Fun with neologisms.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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16 Responses to As Long as I Don’t Answer Back…

  1. John Vernier says:

    I’ve always liked that FLW table. I think it’s an early example of his ‘fun with plywood’ phase.

  2. jonathanszczepanski says:

    That walnut does look too nice to rip and reglue. I think you are making a wise choice.

  3. Russell Pitner says:

    Yes, Too pretty to rip and re-glue. I particularly like the first of the possible choices of design. Great for the purposes you mention

  4. The shelf will need to match the top for depth to make it practical to open and close the microwave door, but the second one has the most life to it to my eyes, and lots of opportunity for routing cable without cutting a hole.

  5. Norm Reid says:

    I agree that the second one has the most life, but it really depends on the style you prefer. The FLW piece opens up an entirely different venue for development but the table would be more tippy (I can’t speak to the state of the guests but at least they’d be seated!). BTW, I did a search on Pinterest for tables and table design for a natural edge walnut table base, but these examples beat anything I found.

  6. jmwagle86 says:

    The FLW may be THTC (too hard to clean) for me… signed “no cleaning lady”

  7. toolnut says:

    I know you want the lower shelf, but since you are ( or were) planning on eating at the end of the table/ island (per your chalk drawings), why not build a standard trestle and plop the microwave at the end you don’t eat at?
    Bending over to use the microwave will get old real fast. Just something to ponder in your new design phase.

  8. alanjbishop says:

    You might like to take a look at Leon Sadubin’s Refectory Table…

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