Carter Oosterhouse shows how to add counter space with an eco-friendly bamboo counter.
Every chef wants a butcher block cutting surface in their kitchen, and an eco-friendly bamboo butcher block that spans the length of a peninsula is even better! This peninsula has a great natural look and feel and will add both counter space and storage space to your kitchen. Using pre-made lower and upper-cabinets makes it easy to build, too.
Materials and Tools:
bamboo butcher block
one pre-built lower cabinet
two pre-built upper cabinets
MDF (medium density fiberboard)
maple (for rails)
hex head screws
drawer slides and glides
pocket hole jig
drill with hex head bit
1. Start by arranging the structures for three pre-built cabinets together into an L-shaped formation. A great option is using one lower cabinet, which can sit up against an existing countertop, along with two upper cabinets since they take up less space than lowers.
2. A toe kick will give style to a peninsula and also allows the two shorter upper cabinets to be the same height as the lower cabinet. Measure the depth of the upper cabinets and cut the MDF to the depth of the toe kick, about two inches shorter than the depth of the cabinets, so it can be recessed an inch on either side.
3. Create a four-sided toe kick by gluing and nailing the MDF into a long box. Add two dividers inside the box that will provide support where the cabinets meet. Add triangular braces to the areas inside each section for more support (figure A). Paint the toe kick if desired.
4. Using a pocket jig, create four holes in two pieces of maple that will serve as the rails in-between the drawers (figure B). Set the rails flush to the front of one of the empty upper cabinets, forcing it in place with a hammer if necessary. Secure the rails with glue and hex head screws, attaching them from the inside so the screws are hidden.
5. Next, assemble three drawers that will fit inside the cabinet. Pre-made drawer pieces in finished maple work well since they do not require staining or sealing. Rip a quarter-inch dado cut along the bottom edge of the drawer components. Cut the MDF down to size for the bottom of the drawer and slide it into the dado cut. Secure the drawer components together with brad nails.
6. Attach slides to the outside of the drawers and glides into the inside of the cabinet where the drawers will line up.
7. Secure the two upper cabinets by screwing them together through the sides and face frame. They should face opposite directions for easier accessibility.
8. Paint the three cabinets and drawers. Install shelves to the remaining upper cabinet with shelf pins.
9. Flip the cabinet unit upside-down and screw in the toe kick, with the triangle braces against the cabinet bottoms (figure C).
10. Flip the unit back to its upright position. Screw drawer faces on to the front drawer panels and slide the drawers in place (figure D).
11. Set the lower cabinet in place next to the existing kitchen countertop (figure E). Place the cabinet unit next to the lower cabinet, forming an L-shape. Check to make sure the cabinets are level. Secure the cabinet unit to the lower cabinet with screws.
12. Attach doors with hinges to the lower cabinet and the cabinet with shelves.
13. Now that the cabinets are in place, it’s time to get started on the butcher block countertop. In order to determine the correct size to cut down the bamboo butcher block, lay cardboard on the top of the peninsula and create a cardboard template by tracing an outline. Remember to leave an overhang if you’d like room for bar stools next to the peninsula.
14. Place the template on top of the large butcher block (figure F). Cut the straight end with a circular saw and slowly cut the rounded edge with a jigsaw. If you are too fast with the jigsaw, the cut will be uneven and could cause damage to the bamboo. Sand down the edges with an orbital sander and apply a sealant.
15. Place the fitted butcher block on top of the peninsula and secure it on top with 2-1/2 inch screws from inside the cabinets.