Essential Oil Display Shelf - Cherry

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Project by BenDupre posted 03-08-2017 01:30 AM 2244 views 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So something for the wife’s birthday. She has started collecting these essential oils. She is hoarding them like I hoard tools. She asked me a while back if I could make her a shelf to store them. I threw out a few choices of wood that I had in the pile and she picked Cherry.

Sketchup model

As I though about the best way to produce these repetitive shelves I decided to make hardboard templates to guide the drilling and the shaping.

The joinery is simple dado in the rails

The 13 inch radius curve dies into the rail terminating on the outside end.

The most accurate way I could think of to reproduce this was to use my dado set to notch out the shelves. I gang cut them. I was a little scared to take this much wood away in one bite but I fed slowly and all went just fine.

Drilling was simple with the template taped on. I just set the depth stop on the drill press and slowly lowered the fostner bit until it “found” the hole in the template, then ploughed it out. The bits I have are pretty sharp and they are serrated but I still got some burning in the cherry and the final holes were a little rough. I don’t know of any way to clean up these holes, and there were a million of them…

Cut as close as possible on the bandsaw… leave the line!

Double-stick the template on and route using a pattern bit. My table does not have a start pin so this was a little scarry but I started in an area under the ear of the shelf where there was no material to cut. This worked okay, but now I want some spiral downcut pattern bits. I got a little burning on the cuts but it sanded off. If you notice my shetchup design and patterns for the rails included a compound curve, but the final piece has a simple radius. This is because I had a total disaster trying to pattern route the end grain. It got violent and now I am afraid to try routing end grain cherry like this again. Thanks to Lumberjocks forum, I got some good tips for next time. You can read them here.

Glue-up was straight forward. I couldn’t figure out how to clamp down the ears on the shelves, but they stuck in there just fine without clamping.

For finish I used some clear Watco Danish Oil. Then I sprayed on three coats of satin lacquer, steel wool in between. Finally I rubbed the whole thing down with Minwax.

Thanks for looking. Let me know what you all think!

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

14 comments so far

View WoodwolfAtl's profile


39 posts in 2117 days

#1 posted 03-08-2017 03:00 AM

Very nice. I hope you win the hoarding contest!

View AJ1104's profile


836 posts in 2171 days

#2 posted 03-08-2017 11:34 AM

Very nice design. I like the radius shelves.

-- AJ

View RichCMD's profile


427 posts in 2453 days

#3 posted 03-08-2017 02:32 PM

I really like this. The acid test, though, is how does she like it?

-- Ride the bevel!

View BenDupre's profile


722 posts in 1000 days

#4 posted 03-08-2017 02:54 PM

Thanks Rich. I will not know until next week. I don’t think it’s going to surprise her. The kids told me every time i take a picture of it mom can see it on her iphone. Doh! Gotta love Apple. For now she is being coy and hasn’t said anything.

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View pottz's profile


6386 posts in 1496 days

#5 posted 03-08-2017 02:59 PM

i wouldnt worry ben i think shes gonna love it,i do.very cool design.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3275 days

#6 posted 03-08-2017 04:47 PM

That’s a lot of space for CBD ! Love it ;o]

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View dmo0430's profile


67 posts in 1515 days

#7 posted 03-08-2017 04:47 PM

That looks great!! I might “borrow” it for a modified spice rack (on the inside of a cabinet door) someday in the future.

View BenDupre's profile


722 posts in 1000 days

#8 posted 03-08-2017 05:17 PM

Dmo that would work well with different size holes.

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View diito's profile


30 posts in 2105 days

#9 posted 03-08-2017 07:25 PM

I know you won’t see them when they are all full but the spur holes from the forstner bit and lack of finish in the holders bother me a little bit. I think I’d finish them and line the bottoms with some adhesive backed cork or similar.

Side note:

As someone with a wife that also likes essential oils this is a pretty dangerous project. Now your wife is going to want to fill that sucker up, and that crap isn’t cheap! That’s probably a few grand in oils. <sarcasm><> Of course you’ll never get sick, heal 100x faster, be more alert, and be in a perfect mood all the time </sarcasm>

View BenDupre's profile


722 posts in 1000 days

#10 posted 03-08-2017 07:32 PM

Ditto. I agree with your comment. If i make another one of these i will think of a solution to this. I matched the size of the holes to her bottles within 1/8 inch but i still wish they fit tighter. Maybe i could flock them or felt line them somehow. I am about out of time on this. There are 64 holes! Thanks for the suggestion. And i know what you mean about the oils. I dont aske her what they cost but i think i may already need to make a second shelf!

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View Ivan's profile


15084 posts in 3380 days

#11 posted 03-08-2017 07:54 PM

Very cool design. I would like to see it filled with oil bottles.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Mean_Dean's profile


6994 posts in 3659 days

#12 posted 03-08-2017 09:16 PM

That’s a very nice looking essential oils bottles rack! I like the cherry, and it looks like you’ve got enough space for all of her bottles. I’m sure she’s gonna love it!

By the way, I don’t really like flush trimming endgrain either. One time the bit flung the workpiece across the shop…...... I think a spiral UPcut (not DOWNcut) bit is the way to go, it’s just that they’re kind of expensive.

The reason you want an UPcut bit, is that the bit is upside down in the router table, and you want the bit to pull the workpiece down do the table. If the router were right-side up it would pull the workpiece up to the router, and that way everything stays connected.

So just remember that everything’s upside-down with the router table, and you’re all set!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Lutzy's profile


4 posts in 1013 days

#13 posted 04-08-2017 10:35 PM

BenDupre, very cool design for a creative way to store the oils. My wife is also stating to collect these oils. Thinking something like this might do well for storage. Do you have a PDF of the Template you used for the hole cutouts?

View BenDupre's profile


722 posts in 1000 days

#14 posted 04-08-2017 11:42 PM


I do not have a pdf. The layout is very simple though. I have a sketchup plan if you want dimensions. If you go on 3d warehouse and search for author BenD you can download it. I cant get a direct link to it right now. I could email it if that isnt working for you.


-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

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