Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • No votes yet

    Build a Shaker-Inspired Wall Shelf






    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    By Peter Turner

    My wife, Colleen, occasionally asks me to build a piece of furniture for our home. I would love nothing more than to honor these requests, but there never seems to be time. But a hanging shelf is one project that I figured I could finish quickly.

    I got the inspiration from a drawing of a peg-hung Shaker shelf in Ejner Handberg’s book, Shop Drawings of Shaker Furniture and Woodenware, Vol II (Berkshire Traveller Press, 1975). The shelf sides in Handberg’s drawing are curved on top, but the bottom is straight. I added another curve at the bottom, experimenting with different curves until one satisfied my eye. Handberg’s Shaker shelves also hung from a wall-mounted peg rail. I don’t have a peg rail at home, so the first time I made this piece, I used brass keyhole hangers. In later versions, I used simpler brass hangers mortised into the second shelf from the top. These are less expensive, easier to install, and make hanging the shelf a snap. We use one hanging shelf as a spice rack. The varying heights and sizes of our spice jars helped establish the shelf spacing and overall width.

    Consistency is the key to this piece. If you start with flat stock of uniform thickness and length, the joinery follows smoothly. To ensure consistency, do all your milling at once (all the stock is 1/2 in. thick), and use a plywood pattern and flush-trimming router bit for making identical curved and tapered sides.

    The trickiest parts of this piece are the sliding dovetails. Routing the grooves is easy, but the long tails on the ends of each shelf take some patience and finesse. I use a router setup in which the router is mounted horizontally; it seems to make it easier to get a straight, even cut (see the drawing).

    By holding the pieces flat on the router table, I have more control as I slide the piece past the bit. I make test pieces out of scrap, which I milled at the same time as the final pieces.

    The Shakers housed the shelves in dadoes, rather than sliding dovetails, and you can do the same. It won’t be as strong, but if you’re worried about the shelves, you can toenail them from the bottom with finish nails or brads.

    This project originally appeared in the March/April 1998 issue of Fine Woodworking (FWW #129).


    How to Make

    Rout dovetail grooves in the sidesclick to enlargeRout the dovetails

    Rout dovetail grooves in the sides: After milling all the material to a thickness of 1/2 in., cut the sides to length, but leave them at least 1/4 in. wider than the widest dimension (4-3/8 in.). Then mark the centerlines for each shelf on both pieces. Using a slotted piece of plywood to guide a 1/2-in. router template insert, cut the dovetail slots. First rough the slots with a 1/4-in. straight bit, and finish them off with a 3/8-in. dovetail bit.

    Rout dovetail grooves in the sidesclick to enlarge

    Trace the pattern and cut out the sides: With the grooves routed, cut the curved and tapered sides. Make a plywood pattern matching the shape of the sides of the shelf, trace the pattern onto the back of each side, and bandsaw the shape close to the line.

    Rout dovetail grooves in the sidesclick to enlarge

    Flush-trimming bit makes both sides identical: After roughing out the sides on the bandsaw or jigsaw, clamp each side into the plywood pattern using hold-down clamps fastened to the plywood. Then rout the edge with a 1/2-in. flush-trimming bit, either using a router table or a handheld router setup. This step will remove any tearout created when you routed the dovetail grooves, and it makes each side identical.

    Rout dovetail grooves in the sidesclick to enlarge

    Routing the dovetails on the shelves: To cut the dovetails, mount your router horizontally on the router table. This makes it easier to adjust the height of the cut. It also lets you hold the workpiece flat on the table rather than against a fence. Adjust the depth and height of the router bit to match the depth of the slots. I cut the tails to fit by trial and error, testing on scrap stock milled at the same time as the shelf parts.

    Rout dovetail grooves in the sidesclick to enlarge

    Cut shelves to width and assemble: Don’t cut the shelves to width until after you cut the dovetails on the ends, so you can remove any tearout caused by the router. The front edge of the top three shelves is angled to match the tapered sides, which you can do by transferring the angle to the jointer fence. After sanding all the pieces, slide each shelf into the sides, starting at the bottom and clamping each shelf as you go.



    Peter_Turner

    Comments

    This is a great inspiring

    stuartlittle1122
    stuartlittle1122 stuartlittle writes:

    This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.  https://www.rebelmouse.com

    I just couldn't leave your

    stuartlittle1122
    stuartlittle1122 stuartlittle writes:

    I just couldn't leave your website before telling you that I truly enjoyed the top quality info you present to your visitors? Will be back again frequently to check up on new posts.    ex factor brad browning pdf review

    I was looking at some of your

    stuartlittle1122
    stuartlittle1122 stuartlittle writes:


    I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up..     Alasdair Gray experience expert

    Thanks for taking the time to

    davidalan1122
    davidalan1122 davidalan1122 writes:

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.                                                                               fortsetzen

    Having such a powerful theme

    rompo
    Ronan Cohaley writes:

    Having such a powerful theme can prove to become quite a challenge when picking up furniture pieces. But if you add some fleur de lis wall art it can really save you some much needed space and also can prove to make your house a little different than the rest.

    This is very educational

    stuartlittle1122
    stuartlittle1122 stuartlittle writes:


    This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!   watch movies online streaming yahoo answers

    i hove you win

    arridersz
    muhamad aminuddin writes: Hello, i am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited and happy to say that the webmaster has done a very good job here to put all the information content and information at one place sewa mobil bali wisata pulau tidung pemutih wajah yang aman

    I have bookmarked your blog,

    stuartlittle1122
    stuartlittle1122 stuartlittle writes:

    I have bookmarked your blog, the articles are way better than other similar blogs.. thanks for a great blog!          NYC houses

    I am hoping the same best

    ashleydanielle
    ashley danielle writes:

    I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me.      get your ex back and keep him

    It is a very informative

    Velen291
    Nicol Hugef writes:

    It is a very informative information, air duct cleaning imperative to preserving healthful indoor air. https://archive.org/details/ZetaclearReviews

    I really want to say thank

    ashleydanielle
    ashley danielle writes:

    I really want to say thank you for the information you have shared. Keep writing these kind of posts and I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.     gereedschap tuin

    This is such a great resource

    ashleydanielle
    ashley danielle writes:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine.    buy instagram likes real

    Great article with excellent

    ashleydanielle
    ashley danielle writes:

    Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information.  here's how to make guys want you online by following the online allure formula

    I think this is one of the

    ashleydanielle
    ashley danielle writes:

    I think this is one of the most significant information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The web site style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheer    watch movies online free divergent

    Its a great pleasure reading

    ashleydanielle
    ashley danielle writes:


    Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.  old school new body

    Thanks combination of

    Meelajasmine
    Meela Jamine writes:

    Thanks combination of suitable and useful information and well-written sentences that will certainly entice your sense. Judi Bola Online

    Great blog post. Your article

    nokinoki
    noki ari writes:

    Great blog post. Your article affects a lot of urgent issues of our society. We can not be untouched to these problems sepatu futsal adidas adinova

    good job for you

    prastyo
    catur prastyo writes:

    very nice article & info

    please visit on my website , on usaha sampingan

    First time on this site

    Bsmith8495
    Brian Smith writes:

    I've been reading  a lot of woodworking sites lately and this one is quickly getting to be one of my favorites.  Good plans, excellant writing and easy to follow pictures.  The shaker wall shelf is excellant.

    Login or register to post comments