the kitchen is the hub of our home, it always has been, and no doubt always will be. I’m sure it’s that way with a lot of people. As such, it’s construction deserved due consideration, thought and work.
Back in September 2015, I made, then installed the kitchen, and we finally moved into the house at the end of October.
I had given this phase of construction a great deal of consideration, and in keeping with the overall style of the house, I wanted to make a very paired down kitchen, in the method of the shaker’s (in case you didn’t know, the shaker’s were a religious movement that originated in the early 1800’s in Manchester England, before moving to the U.S.), whose fundamental attitudes were essentially those of Quakerism. They became famed for their simple, elegant designs, built to exacting standards, that were born out of their ideology and requirements in all aspects of their life. It has been their attitudinal approach toward construction of all things that I aspire to, and adopt where I can. They didn’t shun modernity like the Amish, but held a desire for simplicity, clean lines, functionality, and no separation between form and function. In terms of the kitchen I designed it had to relate to the stairs, which were built with the same premise, and with all future cupboards.
I made a plan of all the unit sizes I required, and developed a cutting list.
So I made the kitchen (well phase 1 of it so far), and not just assembled another flat pack series from Ikea this time. I know where the kitchen itself grew, all the timber for it, and not just the things we bring to eat and drink in it. This for me is vernacular.
The construction process really began when we arrived, I had fallen a number of walnut trees for future use, then milled and stacked boards, and set them aside.
They had sat and seasoned on site for years, and now their time came for reprocessing, through the thickness planer, the table saw, then the glue bench. they were glued up as wide board staves, and sanded fair. Later they were oiled with tung oil.
The panels for the cabinets are block-board I made up from left over pieces from the flooring process. Timber that grew in our forest, that I felled, milled (ripped) first at the yard in the near by town, then re-milled (thickness planed) at the farm, then re-sawed, and cut to length, biscuit jointed, glued and clamped, sanded and painted.
The panels were cut to correspond to the cutting list requirements, then joined by routing out housings for the shelves (of bought ply).
Then I cut all the material for the rails, top and bottom, that finished the frame, and inserted the kick boards. each cupboard was joined, glued and screwed where necessary, then when painted, set out in their respective places, scribed to the floor, and co-joined.
The work-top pieces were fitted, along with a walnut splash-back.
The butchers block is from planed and thicknessed timber, end grain up, butt jointed, glued, clamped and sanded fair. it was then screwed to the end unit of the island.
The doors are morticed frames with a drop in back, from pine and ply.
All the drawers have hand cut dovetails on all joining faces. Just glued and clamped, sanded, and riding on waxed hardwood runners. Even though there were a lot of them to do, they were a joy. They were cut with a handsaw (a stanley fatmax fine saw, nothing exciting).
An adjustable square, and adjustable bevel, a chisel and a mallet, one clamp a wooden trestle and a pencil. Nothing complicated. Just setting out some lines, and cutting to them.
A number of them didn’t even require paring with the chisel, just sawing and they went together pretty perfectly, tight with an interference fit. The half blind dovetails, for the drawer fronts I elected to rout out.
The drawer and door knobs and pegs I bought.
The butler sink came out of a friend’s field.
The taps i’m making (see phase 2)
The rayburn stove was a great find on ebay, a really well spent £100, which I converted back from gas to burn wood, as it was when it was built.
There’s a gas hob and oven, set into the island, the hob for general use, and the oven only for summer, assuming the rayburn doesn’t warrant being used at that time of year.
The biggest single cost of constructing the kitchen was glue, followed by paint.