How to make a zinc island counter (part 3)

In which we actually succeed in making a zinc counter for the kitchen island and it looks GOOD!!!

Beth standing by zinc counter
We flipped it over...

Sunday morning we took off the weights, unscrewed the counter top from the island, and flipped it over. The next step in the zinc bending was harder – we needed to fold the zinc under and up behind the edge, so that if someone runs their hand under the edge of the counter they won’t slice it open. This meant creating two 90 degree bends just ¾ of an inch apart, around all four sides. We tried several different methods but ultimately found that if we achieved a slight bend with a piece of wood and a mallet, a channel lock – followed by solder and a grinder –  could do the rest.

Steve uses a channel lock to crimp the edge of the counter
Crimping the edge
A corner, from underneath

We vacuumed up all the sawdust and zinc dust, flipped it over, vacuumed it again, placed it, re-attached it with screws from underneath, drilled the hole for the faucet, and made sure the sink still fit before sticking it down.

Applying silicone sealant to underside of sink
Sticking the sink down

Then we soldered and ground the corners.

Grinding the corner
We inherited this grinder from Steve's dad Fred, who worked in metal - we had never used it until now


zinc counter edge with decorative nails
I could not resist the shell casing...

Steve measured and placed the Capita bar supports we bought at Ikea months ago while I measured and placed the decorative nail heads around the edge – all stars except one made from a shell casing that I just couldn’t resist. Note to self – if you just try to hammer these into the zinc, they will break. If you use a punch first to pierce the zinc, they slide right in.

zinc counter with Capita bar supports from Ikea
Installing the bar supports

The last thing we did before heading home was to place the walnut burl bar counter I slaved over this summer on the supports. It’s actually not quite finished, because we have to take the Capita supports off the island counter so we can reach all four screws that will hold the bar in place, and then reattach the whole thing, and then I want to do one final coat of marine Spar varnish, and we didn’t have time Sunday night. But we got it attached enough so that, while you can’t lean on it, you can see what it will look like – and I have to say, as weekend warriors who are doing everything for the first time, we were amazed that it looked – pretty much exactly as we’d envisioned it.

Zinc island with walnut slab bar counter and antique-wallpaper-on-beadboard accent
Zinc island with walnut slab bar counter and antique-wallpaper-on-beadboard accent

The only thing I’m not sure about is the pink. I might change that.

Beth stands by finished kitchen island
Just like we planned!


  1. Hey Beth,

    I’ll try to do a post about some of my things in the future. My blog is more about tips so I try to shy away from my own stuff unless I think it would help someone do their own project but once in awhile it’s good to toot your own horn, right. Something else you might like which I will try to include is that I used natural trees (minus branches and roots) for my porch columns. Very fun. Took a bit to realized why people were slowly driving by our house staring. Thought I was going to be a drive-by victim.

    Have fun with your school house and I look forward to more posts/pics!


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