Ladder Shelf #2: Making shelves, cutting dados, sanding

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Blog entry by MasonJay posted 10-23-2020 10:48 PM 442 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Building the Frames Part 2 of Ladder Shelf series Part 3: Shelf build, assembly, finishing »

I got the frames cleaned up and cut the pieces off that stuck out and took time to sand what I could while it was easy to access. During the most recent progress I cross cut my shelves to rough length and began the glue up process. I only have so many clamps so it was done one at a time which was painfully slow. Once those were glued up, they were sanded down and cut to final width which is just over 23”. I took the time to cut down some more alder to create what will be a small lip along the sides and back to prevent small things from sliding off to the abyss.

The shelves plus this little lip is 1 1/2” so it made for an easy time cutting the dados to the side frames. However, the not so easy part is cutting the dado into the frames which have to be mirrors of each other. Having the angled front legs makes it difficult to set up a stop block and make the same cuts on each leg. So my solution is clamp the frames together, show face down. I measure consistent spacing for the five shelves and use a longed square to translate my cut marks to each frame.

It takes time to get these exact and it’s especially important to sneak up on the cut lines. So far so good. three down, two to go.

One thing I found helpful was to make my top dado cut and use material that is just shy of 1 1/2” to help hold my frames together and in line in addition to a clamp. I use material shy of 1 1/2” because it makes it a super snug fit and if it’s to tight, a little sanding on the shelf lip or the shoulder of the dado will help things snap together much easier.

I also started gluing the lip of the shelves on, which again is going to take time since my clamp numbers are weak.

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