Apartment Projects #16: Quick Kitchen Shelf...

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Blog entry by littlecope posted 09-12-2012 08:38 AM 2913 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Details... Part 16 of Apartment Projects series Part 17: Hanging it up... »

The order came down last week, “Honey, could you make something for over the sink? This thing is no good!”... What I'm replacing...

I couldn’t agree more!!
Having a small shelf over the kitchen sink is a great idea, but a store-bought one?! This one was left to us by the previous tenants and it’s no wonder that it is sagging in the middle, it’s not even one board across the whole span…"Fine" joinery of the store-bought shelf...

Okay, it has got to go…
I searched around and found some Oak that’s barely long enough, but it’s all I have, so it’ll have to do… I also found some Douglas Fir that will make decent legs…After selecting Wood...

Ordinarily, I would use through-mortise and tenon for the joinery, but the Oak isn’t long enough for that…
Box joints would work, but I’d like the thing to be able to be taken apart for cleaning…
Dovetails?? They would be perfect, but I’m no good at cutting them…
Well, that settles it, Dovetails it is! I’ll never get any better at them if I never make any…
The only time I ever tried them was on a very small box (they were terrible!); this time I’ll be using more substantial lumber… I hoped it would be easier…
And it was…
First I cut the pins…Cutting depths of pins...Pin cutting...

Then came the tails… these were cut with the Scroll Saw…Cutting tails...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I present my first dovetail-connected lumber!! Dovetail joints...

Lots of room for improvement, but a lot better than my first efforts!
Next, was to trim the top to width and to cut the sides down to size…Ripping for width...After cutting sides down to size...

I’m going to use that off-cut for a cross brace… First I cut slip-fit slots for it in both sides…Slip-fit for cross brace...

Then I chiseled out a small saddle and cut a saddle notch in the cross member… It’ll slip up and over, and be held down by a couple of wedges…For lack of a better term, a "saddle" joint...

A few final details, and this thing is ready for some finishing… :)A few final details...Ready for finishing...
12 September 2012

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

16 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3522 days

#1 posted 09-12-2012 08:43 AM

What a grate improvement! It really makes a difference doing things right. This is a great way to get your feet wet on a couple of newer techniques without getting overwhelmed. It looks really nice, Mike!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View stefang's profile


17034 posts in 3936 days

#2 posted 09-12-2012 09:37 AM

You did yourself proud Mike! It’s nice to have a touch of class in the kitchen. Good work on your first dovetails by the way.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Lenny's profile


1645 posts in 4129 days

#3 posted 09-12-2012 09:49 AM

I think I will dub you, Mike the Maverick. I give you lots of credit for trying the dovetails. I would have to be dubbed, Chicken Little as I have yet to try them. Great job on the shelf I like how you create as you go.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View ellen35's profile


2746 posts in 4034 days

#4 posted 09-12-2012 10:31 AM

Nothing like improving on the original! Love the style of the legs and I bet you use that cross brace for hanging something!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Porchfish's profile


860 posts in 3134 days

#5 posted 09-12-2012 01:37 PM

Way to go Mike. Not just functional but gorgeous ! Nice work and it will be around a long time to come with the care you used and the joinery ! Nice !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3793 days

#6 posted 09-12-2012 06:07 PM

Looks nice Mike, and I think your dove tails look good and tight. Pretty great accomplishment when you don’t have the 200 dollar chisel set, or the $150 japanese pull saw, or the $100 scribe tools. The curves on the legs are a nice touch. I also like the slip notch and wedge design, I have never seen that before. It looks like you were really thinking out of the box on this one. ;)


-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3717 days

#7 posted 09-12-2012 06:57 PM

you can mark one of the honey to do list now …. :-)

thanks for sharing the sadle joint never heard of it before

but one thing wonders me though I know we can have tunnelvision
when using tools and have learn one way of doing things
why the super exstra work (time) of boring the holes for the scrollsaw blade
when having a free edge to start the cut from …. :-)

I cuoldn´t resist to punch you sorry … :-D

take care

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18781 posts in 4278 days

#8 posted 09-12-2012 07:15 PM

Nice work Mike. Looks like I should last a long time!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3638 days

#9 posted 09-12-2012 07:31 PM

Much better, well done, Mike

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3905 days

#10 posted 09-12-2012 08:35 PM

a really great improvement there mike, i like seeing the dovetails, that way everywhere you look , you see quality, maybe a new business…mikes quality kitchens…i can see it…...grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 3588 days

#11 posted 09-12-2012 10:04 PM

What a nice job in turning some scraps of wood into a sturdy and useful shelf mike. You sure are a handyman!

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3524 days

#12 posted 09-12-2012 11:42 PM

Nice improvement. Like to make one out of wood that is waterproof. Cutting dovetail with a chisel on pine is impossible but you made it using handtools coping and hand saw. I made it before by rough cut using backsaw then rasp file to finalize it. Thanks for the idea.

-- Bert

View lew's profile


12931 posts in 4357 days

#13 posted 09-12-2012 11:49 PM

Now that’s a shelf Debbie and you can be proud to use!!
Nice job, Mike!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View littlecope's profile


3076 posts in 4104 days

#14 posted 09-13-2012 02:39 AM

Thanks to you all very much…
I’ll never give the two-minute dovetail guy any competition, that’s for sure!
I tried using a chisel to bust out the waste, but it was too noisy…
There is really nothing mystical or magical about them, nothing that a clear mind and determination can’t overcome…
The “Saddle” joint with wedge… I’m sure something like that has been used or done before, but I just made it up for my purpose here… I made up the name too, simply to describe its function…
I’m going to make some better wedges for it, but even with the ones in there now, the shelf is impressively strong and rigid. And yes, I did sit on it! It’s a little low for my comfort, but would make a great bench for a couple of kids!
Dennis: I use “Flat” pinned blades exclusively and have to hit sharp corners from two different directions… The holes are to give me a place to pull U-ies… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3717 days

#15 posted 09-13-2012 04:56 PM

OK Mike make sence …. Not like using a jigsaw in sharp corners :-)


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