IKEA hacking 2: wraparound counter

We wrapped another kitchen/dining room project this weekend. Where prior projects had put cabinetry on the opening between the dining room and the kitchen, this new project put a wall + base cabinet combo around the corner, in the dining room. The placement echoes the corner cabinet directly opposite, but doesn’t try to be a corner cabinet. But we did want to keep continuity with the kitchen cabinetry. Specifically, I wanted to use a single countertop surface that would wrap around the outside corner from the existing cabinets to the new ones.

This turned out to be a little more challenging than I thought. I had to construct it in two pieces, and had to do a fair amount of trimming. We are using very narrow base cabinets (really just wall cabinets mounted on legs and hung so that they stand on the floor), so I had to trim the IKEA butcher block countertop that I had purchased. Fortunately, I had already done this for the doggy bench, so it was just a question of getting enough crap cleaned out of the garage so I could set up the sawhorses and run the circular saw. This time I managed to make the cut straight and clean, so I was able to rough it in pretty quickly.

The challenging part was the transition. I saw three options: a mitered cut that would come to a point, a straight line transition that would have left a triangle of linking surface between the two cabinet tops, or a curved transition. Lisa wanted the curve, so I gulped and worked it out. I used a piece of string stretched between an awl (for a fixed point) and a pencil to draw the semicircle, then bullied my poor SkilSaw, which really isn’t intended to cut one-inch butcher block, into negotiating the curve. Amazingly it turned out pretty well, especially after I sanded it down with the orbital sander.

I have a few things left to do before I post pictures: I want to put a piece of trim on the back of the countertop to mask the fact that the wall isn’t square; use some putty or something to mask the transition between the pieces; and put the plinth on the base. But the whole project was a strict weekend: hang two cabinets, doors and hardware, and cut and mount the butcher board including the transition. It was actually kind of fun.