Sometime in the past my wife and I considered building a bar in our finished basement. It is a large room—approximately 40 feet long by 16 feet wide with a nook that increases the space even more—that is used infrequently. There is a large television, like every other house in America it seems, but it is turned on maybe once a week.
Our two kids have aged out of “baby toys,” so we sold the old play table that I built and the toy storage bins from IKEA that dominated one half of the room. As it sat empty we returned our thoughts to building a bar.
Like every starry eyed couple on HGTV we discussed using the space to entertain, even though we do not entertain, and were hopeful that it would become a space where our kids would spend time as they grew up instead of disappearing to friends’ houses.
In reality, what we really wanted was a large flat space to contain art projects, wrapping at Christmas time, in-process LEGO builds, and whatever creation our son starts to dream up with whatever found materials he brings out of his room. It was never about a bar, per se, but rather a large kitchen island that could serve multiple functions.
With that realization the discussion turned to building an ersatz kitchen island that would not require a major construction project (e.g. plumbing that required breaking concrete, flooring being removed, etc.). Enter the Modern Craft Table over at Ana White.
This is the completed Modern Craft table:
A lot of modifications have been made to this particular plan. Let’s go over a few of the major differences:
- Adjustable shelves:
Each end—total of four—has two or three adjustable shelves that sit on ¼” chrome shelf pins:
The holes were drilled using a JIG IT shelving jig. If you are drilling shelf pins with any regularity get one of these.
- Wider bases with a set of shelves on either end:
This is a modification that was made by a number of people on the “brag board” on Ana White’s website, so I cannot take credit for the idea. It does provide for a wider base, which allows for the larger top described below.
- Larger top made with double stacked ¾” plywood that has been edge banded with runners underneath to provide additional rigidity and sag resistance:
The top is similar in construction to what was used on a prior furniture project. The 2”x2” runners along the bottom provide rigidity to the center of the top preventing sagging over time. Like so many furniture projects we have built over the years this top got a little out of hand. It weighs a lot. How much? It is well over 100 pounds. This is not flat pack particle board construction.
The table is big. How big? The top measures 85.5” by 49.5” edge to edge. Yes, that is almost the dimensions of a 4’ by 8’ sheet of plywood. It is also double stacked for strength and stability. This sucker is not going anywhere.
The end result is a craft table that can comfortably seat four at counter height chairs with plenty of room for whatever project is in process. The real problem is now that the far wall looks a little bare with a floating shelf of kids’ artwork the vestigial reminder of pre-school classes. We are already looking at a variety of plans to complete our basement build. Stay tuned.