Everything old is new again when you repurpose items in the home. An antique or stock kitchen cabinet can have a second life as a kitchen island, expanding meal preparation, socializing, and storage space. This project takes only one weekend and an intermediate level of skill.
You will need:
• 36-inch base kitchen cabinet
• 3/16-inch x 4×8-foot white hardboard wall
• ¾-inch x 8-foot pine stain-grade outside corner molding
• ¾ x 49 x97-inch MDF
• Sheet laminate
• Circular or table saw
• Handsaw or jigsaw
• Nail set
• 1-inch disposable chip brush
• Trim router with laminate-trimming bit or a laminate trimmer
• Drill bits
• Tape measure
• Contact cement
• Wood glue
• Wood filler
• 5/8-inch finish nails
• 8 ½-inch dowels
• Interior latex primer
• Latex paint
Step 1: Measure the height of the two cabinet sides and measure from the back of the cabinet to the back of its face frame. Use the saw to cut side panels in the appropriate size from the hardboard wall and cut out notches for a toe kick on the front of the cabinet.
Step 2: Spread the wood glue onto one side of the cabinet and affix the relevant cabinet side. Hold the panel in place while glue dries by hammering in the finish nails. Repeat this step for the other side of the cabinet.
Step 3: Measure the width and height of the back of the cabinet. Cut the back panel to the correct size with the saw. Glue and nail this panel into place. Use the wood filler to fill all nail holes. Let this dry and then finish-sand the back and sides of the cabinet.
Step 4: Cut the corner molding to match the height of the cabinet back. Sand the molding until it is smooth, then glue and nail it into place. Fill in nail holes with wood filler and let this dry. Finish-sand and wipe the area clean with the rag.
Step 5: Unscrew the cabinet doors from their hinges. Unscrew the front of the drawers from drawer boxes. Finish-sand each drawer front, wipe it clean, and set it aside. Apply primer to the drawer fronts, the exterior frame and faces of the cabinet, and backs and fronts of doors. Let this dry and apply two paint coats, letting the paint dry after each application.
Step 6: Measure the cabinet depth and width at the top. Add 1-inch to each measurement, then cut the MDF to these dimensions. Cut strips of MDF that are ¾-inch wide and long enough to cover the sides of the top of the cabinet. Glue the strips around the edges of the underside of the top of the cabinet. Nail the strips in place, let the glue dry, and sand the area smooth.
Step 7: Cut laminate strips for the back, front, and side edges. These should be 1 ¾-inches wide and approximately ¼-inch longer than MDF edges.
Step 8: Work on the edges one by one, applying contact cement to the MDF edge and back of a piece of laminate. Allow the area to sit for the recommended time so the surfaces become tacky. Without allowing the surfaces to touch, center the laminate piece on the appropriate MDF edge. Gently lower the laminate into place. Roll the J-roller over the area to create a bond without any air bubbles. Repeat this step for the opposite edge of the cabinet.
Step 9: Use a router with laminate-trimming bit or a laminate trimmer to remove any excess laminate. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 for the two opposite edges that remain uncovered.
Step 10: Measure from side to side and from front to back of the cabinet and add ¼-inch to each measurement. Cut the top laminate to these dimensions. Apply the contact adhesive to the underside of laminate and to the MDF top. Allow the surfaces to stand until they become tacky. Place one row of dowels approximately 10 inches apart on the MDF. Rest the piece of laminate on these dowels while aligning it so it will overhang on each edge.
Step 11: Once the laminate piece is in the correct position, remove one of the middle dowels so the laminate touches the MDF. Continue to remove dowels, working from the center to one edge and pressing the laminate into place as you progress. Repeat this process in the opposite direction. Bond the MDF and laminate by rolling the J-roller over the laminate.
Step 12: Trim the laminate with the router or laminate trimmer so it is flush with the countertop edges, being careful not to gouge the edges. If there are sharp edges or rough spots, wrap a piece of 220-grit sandpaper around a block of scrap wood and use this to lightly sand the areas. Keep the block angled to prevent scratching the laminate face.
Step 13: The cabinet should have holes for mounting a countertop. Use these to screw the centered top into place.
Step 14: Reinstall cabinet doors and screw drawer fronts on drawer boxes. Add any accessories and hardware necessary.