The Top Subassembly
The counter supports and apron (pieces 3, 4 and 5) will serve to elevate the counter and bring the top pieces together as one subassembly. The shaping details for the outer supports are in the Drawings. Now is the time to machine them, along with the inner support and the apron. The apron fits into dadoes in the outer supports, and the inner support fits into its own dado in the middle of the apron. After test fitting the parts, glue the pieces together. Now you’ve arrived at one of the trickier aspects of this project. The counter will bear a lot of weight during its lifetime, so I thought it best to bolt it right to the top. But it’s about 7″ from the top of the counter to the bottom of the top, which means drilling in series.
Here’s how I did that: First, lay out the six 35mm holes on the counter’s top for the large tapered plugs (pieces 6). Using a 35mm cup hinge bit, drill all six holes to a depth of 3/4″ and then line up the counter, the support subassembly and the top. A couple of wooden handscrew clamps came in really handy here. Firmly attach one wooden handscrew clamp to each outer counter support and then use smaller bar clamps to hold them in position on the top. Carefully line up the counter on top of the supports, clamp them in position and, using a 1/2″ brad point bit, drill through the center of the inner three holes until you’re slightly into the support pieces. Switch to a countersink bit for a moment and drill through the outer two holes (the outer center hole is just for looks) until you’re into the supports. Then remove the counter and switch back to the 1/2″ brad point bit to extend the three inner holes, this time through the supports, just into the top.
Finally, loosen up the wooden handscrews, remove the support subassembly, and use your brad point bit one last time to complete the 1/2″ hole right through the top. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to flip the top over and use your 35mm bit to countersink the three bolt holes from the other side to keep the nuts and washers at the end of the bolts contained. Blow away the chips and bring the counter, the support subassembly and the top together as its own subassembly, using the three bolts (pieces 7) and the two long wood screws (pieces 8), as shown in the Drawing. Glue 35mm plugs (pieces 6) into all six top holes (leaving them just a bit proud) and, once the glue dries, sand them flush to the counter.
Moving on to the Casework
The next step is to make the casework and add the face frame to it. The casework itself couldn’t be easier. Two sides, a top, bottom and middle divider, a small drawer divider and the back (pieces 9 through 12) come together with a series of dadoes and rabbets; follow the details in the Drawing. Using your nail gun (or you can screw it together if you don’t own a nail gun) and glue, assemble the carcass and then attach the back, which conveniently helps to square everything up.
A Simple Face Frame
The face frame was built “in place,” which really simplified matters. Cut the stiles, rails and middle stile to width (pieces 13, 14 and 15) and then glue and nail the left side in place, followed by the top, the middle stile, the middle rail, the bottom rail and, finally, the right stile. Each piece can be positioned in place and marked as you go … the good news is that the joinery is covered by the legs and drawers!