After searching for a kitchen island for a couple of weeks, I decided on the Catskill Craftsmen Empire Island. I was fully prepared after reading the buyers' feedback, so there were no surprises for me: yes, the wood color does vary from very light to medium dark so there is no uniform look to the piece. Yes, the work surfaces were "fuzzy" on arrival. Yes, it takes a while to assemble and it is not for a faint of heart. Yes, there are only two wheels that lock. But after reading the Q&A on Catskill website, here is what I did: 1. Before starting the assembly, I read the directions, laid out the parts and marked them with the sticky notes. 2. To even up the color of the island, I used Danish Oil (needs at least 2 to 3 applications to get the plywood pieces to look better, and boy does it smell! Be sure to air out the room after every application). 3. Took care of the "fuzz" with fine sandpaper block and used mineral oil with wax to condition the work surfaces (apply warm and do it twice). The result is just wonderful. 4. Placed the locking wheels diagonally from each other - it makes the island less prone to move. Now that I have been using the island for a few weeks, I just love it! The construction is very solid and the pieces fit together like a glove. The sliders operate very smoothly and feel sturdy. The space inside is very generous keeping my oversized pots, pans and bowls easilty accessible and well organized. The drawer is deep and wide, so I bought a couple of bamboo dividers to keep things well arranged. The handles are solid and double as kitchen towel holders - a great help in my kitchen. This is not a cheap buy, but is a great value for the money. It is made in the US, and it makes me feel good that I can support American manufacturer for a change.
- How did the color on site compare with the actual product? Very close
- Please tell us about the quality of the product. Except for a couple of "veneers" (read "plywood"), this is a very solid and beautifully crafted peace.
- How accurate was the on site description of the product? Quite accurate