How To Make a Kitchen Island Unit

Posted: 03/19/2013 5:00PM


Pictorial build up of a kitchen island unit by French cabinetmaker Philip Voice in Villereal, France.

The carcass is made from softwood. The stiles and rails of the cupboard doors, as well as the drawer fronts, are made from kiln dried pine to minimise movement.

The contrast between the lighter pine and the deeper red of the kiln dried pine makes for a really pleasing effect should it be decided to leave the wood natural.

The oak work top is constructed using air dried stock, hand selected from the timber yard. In this video you can see how easily it cuts on my Holz Profi band saw.

I use a combination of biscuit joints, screw, glue and frame fixings in a pocket hole fashion.

As the unit builds up, each right angles joint helps to increase the strength and rigidity throughout the unit. By the time the counter top work surface is glued on the whole unit is extremely strong and robust and there's not reason it shouldn't last a lifetime.

A bit about wood.

It's always worth remembering when buying any piece of furniture that wood is a living medium and even long after it's been cut and dried it will continue to move.

Swelling and shrinking is common, especially in a kitchen environment. Expansion and contraction has to be regarded as normal.

I always consider knots and fissures as pleasing features and I do not try to discourage them or hide them with filler.


The unit in this video is 2 metres long by 1.2 metres wide and .92 metres high. Units can be made to measure to suit your needs.

The Fermette unit is 1.2 metres by 1.2 metres:


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Albert Rietzsche    
USA  |  May, 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM

It was interesting to see how our woodworking brethren construct kitchen islands in France. He had an impressive lumber supply on hand. Once you are familiar with decimal dimensions, the metric measurement become simple, no fractions or complex calculations.


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