Step 1: Make the Legs

illustration of butcher-block island with legs highlighted
Illustration: Gregory Nemec
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Glue and screw together doubled-up 34½-inch-long 2x4s into fat legs using 2¼-inch trim-head screws. (Note: Use poplar, found in specialty lumberyards, for all the parts here; it's more stable than pine.) Use a 6-inch-long block and a 27-inch piece to create a 1½-inch notch 6 inches from the bottom.
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    Tools List

    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
    • speed square
      Speed square
    • drill
      Drill/driver, ½-inch bit, and 1-inch forstner bit
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • putty knife
      Putty knife
    • paintbrush
      Paintbrush

    Shopping List

    1. Butcher block. Order a 36-by-48-inch block.

    2. Poplar 2x4 to build the legs. Get four 6-footers.

    3. Poplar 2x6 to build the apron. Get two 6-footers.

    4. Poplar 2x3 to frame the bottom shelf. Get an 8-footer and a 6-footer.

    5. Poplar 2x2 to build the shelf slats. Get nine 8-footers.

    6. Poplar 1x3 to build the crosspieces and bracket for the towel bar. Get two 6-footers.

    7. 1-inch dowel to build a towel bar.

    8. Silicone caulk to adhere the butcher-block to the crosspieces and frame.

    9. Surface-mounted corner brackets to hold the butcher block, apron, and legs together. Get four.10. 2¼-inch trim-head screws

    11. 2½-inch trim-head screws

    12. 3½-inch trim-head screws

    13. 2-inch deck screws to attach the butcher block.

    14. 1-inch fender washers

    15. Wood glue

    16. Wood filler

    17. Fine-grit sandpaper

    18. Primer and paint