Shoe storage box made with avian supervision

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Project by Don Johnson posted 02-05-2017 01:15 PM 1269 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife, Avril, spotted a Shoe Storage Box in a sales magazine and asked if I could make one for her. Although the cost of materials exceeded the price of the commercial version, I could make it from white melamine coated chipboard so that it would sort of match other furniture in our bedroom, and it would also give me an opportunity to play with my new Festool Domino DF500, so I agreed. I used Sketchup to work out the design, trying to get the dimensions to suit Avril’s rather small shoe size, but the funny angles of the shelves, and the rotation to two positions, did give me a few problems, and I obviously I had to use board instead of metal pieces for the shelf supports. Eventually the design seemed OK, so I set to work, with all the joinery to be done using the Domino.

One problem with melamine coated board is that it is very unforgiving: it is not easy to avoid little edge chips – which are difficult to hide, and if one puts a hole in the wrong place it cannot simply be masked with some filler! Another problem is associated with the Domino – the very smooth, shiny surface makes it very easy for the Domino to slide away from the reference line, especially when working in the middle of a board. In that situation, with the Domino ‘vertical’, it is peculiar that the on/off switch will not work – it has to be set to on with the Domino horizontal. Then, when manoeuvring the running Domino into position, it is so easy to accidentally push the slider down and cut a slot in the wrong position – as I found to my cost! The last small niggle is that when releasing the on/off switch in this configuration, it has a tendency to pinch one’s finger!

Anyway, despite the fun of coping with these little problems, construction proceeded – over several days because I needed a number of separate glue-ups which I decided to leave to reach full strength overnight. The slightly bizarre thing about this period was the continued presence of a one-legged robin, who came each day – apparently to watch my progress. We had observed our red-breasted friend quite often in our front and back gardens, hopping (literally!) around picking up the food we put out for the various birds that visit us, but I was surprised to find that each time I opened our (workshop) garage door – which I need to do to get full access to my table saw – ‘Hoppy’ would fly down and perch on a flower planter box. With the typical head tilted to one side attitude of robins, he would ignore the food crumbs and seemed to be watching me at work. As I neared completion of the project, he would come inside the garage and perch on the flexible pipe of the dust extractor, and on the last stage of clamping the feet supports in the box, he actually sat on the table saw to get a close-up view. Having apparently satisfied himself that my work was up to scratch, he then brought two of his pals down to the garage doorway to see what I had done, so I had THREE robins (only one with a single leg) clustered together watching me – which apparently is quite unusual for such territorial little birds.

Avril was pleased with the finished result, so I await the next request to make something, wondering whether it might also be of interest to my little avian friend.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

5 comments so far

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2858 days

#1 posted 02-05-2017 03:14 PM

very interesting i like it

View JCinVA's profile


164 posts in 1345 days

#2 posted 02-06-2017 03:35 AM

That’s a neat project and great story with your helper.

View Ivan's profile


15092 posts in 3382 days

#3 posted 02-06-2017 07:43 AM

Such a small storage but can take a lot of shoes!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23404 posts in 3620 days

#4 posted 05-14-2017 12:18 PM

Great shoe box, Don. I made a couple years ago and my daughter still uses hers all the time!!

Cheers Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3622 days

#5 posted 05-14-2017 02:03 PM


-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

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