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How to Build a Bamboo Butcher Block

Carter Oosterhouse shows how to add counter space with an eco-friendly bamboo counter.

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Step 1: Arrange the Cabinets

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.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Cabinets

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.

Step 3: Add Triangular Bases

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. Paint the toe kick if desired.

Step 4: Attach the Rails

Using a pocket jig, create four holes in two pieces of maple that will serve as the rails in between the drawers. 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.

Step 5: Secure the Drawers

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.

Step 6: Attach the Slides and Glides

Attach slides to the outside of the drawers and glides into the inside of the cabinet where the drawers will line up.

Step 7: Secure the Upper Cabinets

Secure the two upper cabinets by screwing them together through the sides and face frame. They should face opposite directions for easier accessibility.

Step 8: Install the Shelves

Paint the three cabinets and drawers. Install shelves to the remaining upper cabinet with shelf pins.

Step 9: Attach the Toe Kick

Flip the cabinet unit upside-down and screw in the toe kick, with the triangle braces against the cabinet bottoms

Step 10: Attach the Drawer Faces

Flip the unit back to its upright position. Screw drawer faces on to the front drawer panels and slide the drawers in place.

Step 11: Place and Secure the Lower Cabinet

Set the lower cabinet in place next to the existing kitchen countertop. 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.

Step 12: Attach the Doors

Attach the doors with hinges to the lower cabinet and the cabinet with shelves.

Step 13: Create a Cardboard Template

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.

Step 14: Place the Template

Place the template on top of the large butcher block. 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.

Step 15: Secure the Butcher Block

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.