We saw a picture in a magazine of a great arts & crafts style trestle table that we thought would be a fantastic island/bar in our kitchen - it was small so it would fit our plan & space. We've been trying living with an island for several months (using the old, too low, too big table temporarily) to see if we were island people. We thought it might be a pain to constantly walk around it, but instead it was so convenient & comfortable we decided to go with the island plan.
We started by trying to get a really cool, old cast iron barrel stand we found at a construction site in town - they were re-doing an old factory. The guy got greedy and wanted a lot of money for a mostly broken, rusty piece, so we gave up on that. Then we decided to use a sewing machine stand (also cast, period style) as the base. Not only did ours show up here broken after we found one we wanted, but it ended up being too small for the piece of wood we found for the top.
OK, backing up to the wood: we wanted a big slab, not strips of wood. Ken's friend who does carpentry happened to have a 20" wide, 2" thick, ~40" long slab of pine that had been sitting around for years, and let us have it for free. We took it to the local cabinetmaker for planing along with some other project wood (we don't have a plane, let alone one wider than 20"!) and it came out great.
So now we had a table top and were unhappy with the base option (look for it at this year's yard sale!). We went back to the magazine picture and realized that we could just build the base from other pieces of pine, now that we knew the slab was pine too. So, off to the garage to find some wood. We used joists left in the garage by (perhaps) the orginal builders for the legs, and cut some capitals and feet from good old 2x4s, hand planed to sharpen the edges. We remembered that we saves all kinds of large screws from the piano deconstruction, and we had free hardware. Amazingly, there was just about a perfect amount of hardware.
We used $2 of cull wood from the big box store, which happened to have a pile of 5/4 lumber months ago that we stockpiled, to create the stretcher bars (with through tenons, since we learned how to cut them as part of the pergola project) and shelf, and then just sanding, filling, sanding, staining, and voila! New kitchen island.
We got a couple of stools from the local liquidator for half price,
and made a little table runner with the design from our future backsplash tiles and a scrap of linen, using fabric paint (neat stuff, never used it before).
Then the big expense: sticking on felt feet. The table is done, and ready for us to bring the rest of the kitchen up to speed!