01/16/2018 Center Island Shop Build

Center Island Shop Build

Having space in the shop (garage) is important when building something like a huge center island. For years I’ve put some boards down on movable legs. However, after a while that gets old and you end up running out of space. In my shop I had an L shaped ¬†section that housed all my tools and miter box. When I made the L Shaped section I made it too tall and constructed it quickly and poorly.

As you can see, it was a mess. The old stereotype that it may be messy but I can find everything I need, got a little crazy with this. When we moved houses a few years back, I took these with us when we moved. I constructed the table with the miter box on it and It was hanging on with some screws that barely connected the pieces together and the rest I used some 1 1/2″ brads that made it very wobbly.

Use What I have

I enjoy repurposing what I have for both cost and creativity. I started with the miter box area and took that all apart. It was tough cutting boards on the ground while I was making the center island but I dealt with it. IMG_3731.JPG

What’s awesome when you take things apart, you find stuff under stuff. I found lots of screws, drill bits and tools I’d be trying to find. I took the legs down, piled them up and reused them to help with supports and the new miter box station (which came later). I also reused many of the screws in the legs for the island which helped cut down cost as well.

The next thing I did, since this section was out of the way, I started constructing the center island.

The Island

I wanted a big area that I could on multiple projects, especially since I’m low on clamps, if there was something I was working on that required glueing and clamps, I could move those and still be able to work on something else.

I started off measuring the space in the shop (garage) and trying to figure out how big was too big and how much space I wanted. On one of the tables (which you can see a little bit in the third picture) I had a piece of MDF that was about 69″ long, and I wanted to make sure that I used that on the new island.

Knowing that I wanted the island now 69″ wide and 8 feet long I started making the leg supports for the table (seen below). I predrilled some counter-sink holes in the 8 foot long boards and cut the ends at 30 inches tall. I then put a piece in the middle at 4 feet to have some stability in it.IMG_3733


As you cans the side sections roughed in. IMG_3734

After getting the sides done, I needed to add some strength to the island and reinforced it with some stacked 2×4’s in the middle. After I added the center pieces, I took down the table with the MDF on it (seen below). I forgot how heavy the MDF was and ended up pulling my back a bit which sucked big time. I have an inch and half space on the sides to allow for clamping to the work table if need be.

What can’t be seen is the back (close to the garage door) there is a piece of 2×4 off set to all for clamping as well. I really wanted to make sure that I had enough space to clamp things. And I did it well for sure.

After some fine tunings and clearing off the other tables I was deconstructing at the same time, I added some plywood to the bottom so I could transfer the tools and power tools over.

Here you can see the boards going in and supports going in to help with the heaviness of the tools. I had to cut around the supports on one side (right picture, left side). I still haven’t finished putting boards down on the right side (near the fire extingusher) because I’m working on the dust collection system and not sure how I’m going to add the hose.

Miter Box Table

Once I had the majority of the table finished, I finished tearing down the L Shaped Sections (seen in the background) and made the first table for the new miter box station. Once I built the table, I put the miter box on it so I didn’t have to keep cutting boards on the floor.


After completing the miter box table, I slid it down closer to the garage door and added a dropped down piece so that the miter box was flush to the table top. I’ve still got one more table to finish on the other side of the dropped down section, but I’ve ran out of money right now.

Table Saw

Below is my youngest son, Owen, watching something on my phone while I work on getting the table saw section ready. Here’s what I did.

I measured the table saw with the portable base on it to begin with so I knew how tall to make the entire island. So there was a reason behind making it the heigh I did. I ran with Owen to Lowes and got a 4×8 sheet of MDF, had Lowes cut it down to fit. There’s a picture above where there was an empty space (where Owen is sitting) (you can also see the dropped down section of the miter box in the background too).


I added the cut piece of MDF and screwed it down. You won’t be able to see it but I ended up cutting back one of the center supports and did a lap joint with another piece of 2×4 that extends from roughly the end of the table saw to the end.

Fine tuning the table saw was a pain in the butt. Its hard to see but the table saw is bolted to the base and I ended up adding some shims to raise the table saw about a 1/2″ to allow the outfeed section of the table saw to sit perfectly with the MDF (soon I’ll be making a cross cut sled, floating table, dutchman and I’ll add the grooves in the MDF for it to continue the cut).

I then added some wings to the left and right of the table saw. On the right side I’m going to put my router, attached from underneath so I can use all the space I have.

FInal Thoughts

If you have the space in your shop to build one of these, do it. I have so much more space and stability then previous. Since I reused the 2×4’s I had from the L Shaped Tables, it really cut the cost down. I think I spent about $60 for some 2×4’s and the MDF. I still have left over MDF that I used for making some jigs for the table saw for legs and whatnot.




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