Asian shoe bench - Wedding Gift

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Project by Chris Cunanan posted 07-08-2010 08:06 AM 6914 views 27 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

i was so happy i could get this finished and delivered for one of my best friends’ big day, it was great to be at the occasion. i started one week before i had to deliver it 500 miles away up in northern california, so needless to say I thought i might be in for a nail biter, especially if anything went wrong…and for the most part they didn’t, the biggest error being a miscalculation on one side of the leg’s mortises and having to do a big chunk last minute patch job…i was actually somewhat surprised with how well it came out, although i know my fit on the mortises and laps were no where near stellar. I have a lot of tools, but a lot of rusted/cheaper stuff, so at times i knew there was a better way i Could be doing things, but i had to pass on just to get it done in the sake of time. This was my first attempt at an all solid exotic wood piece, i had to get over being scared to work with the nice stuff and just go for it cuz hey, it’s a wedding gift!

top – from a single piece of curly walnut (need to get my “wet” pictures of the top uploaded, it is beautiful)
aprons – from a single piece of walnut
legs – laminated mahogany
shelves – teak (recycled from old umbrella =])

finish – 1 coat teak oil (yikes! i was in such a rush and didn’t know what to do, seemed like it had the least chance of failing and getting decent results, and that i know my friend could reapply and have a nearby source for it….what do yall think?)

end cost of materials – ~$30? the legs are actually door framing material that i got for $3.50 per 8’ off craigslist! teak oil and other finishing stuff, the walnut was retrieved/received

time – probably >40 hrs with all my mistakes and newbie-isms.

Appreciate all the comments and criticisms….

20 comments so far

View tomakazi's profile


686 posts in 3797 days

#1 posted 07-08-2010 08:34 AM

nice design, I would have to make about 10 of these for my wifes shoes. hahaha Great job Chris!!

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4389 days

#2 posted 07-08-2010 09:04 AM

Really classy. Nicely done.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Ken90712's profile


17752 posts in 3703 days

#3 posted 07-08-2010 10:33 AM

Great looking shoe rack, like the legs alot. Wood choice looks good as well. I’m sure they loved it.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3565 days

#4 posted 07-08-2010 01:27 PM

Elevating a utilitarian item such as a shoe rack can have eye catching results, such as you’ve done here.

I like how you have three rails/shelf, but wonder if, going back to the utlitarian roots of a piece like this, and in looking at those heels, if it wouldn’t be better to have more of a solid shelf so that the heels aren’t falling through or off all the time?

I’d definitely keep the legs as they add a nice touch here.

Do you know what the dimensions are here?

I agree with tomakazi. I built one of these as my first project, and it was full before it even hit the ground! I knew that though when I built it to only hold 14-pairs of her shoes. And to make matters worse, I’m going to have to keep making shoe racks because my wife jokingly (I think?) said to me that if I get more tools, she gets more shoes!

I’d love to see a picture of the seat/top, by the way.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View woodworm's profile


14475 posts in 4105 days

#5 posted 07-08-2010 01:27 PM

elegant design – love the leg’s shape too.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View WoodSimplyMade's profile


188 posts in 3834 days

#6 posted 07-08-2010 01:31 PM

Chris, Great Project!!! What a great use of materials too! I wanted to build my wife a shoe rack but couldnt creatively come up with anything. A shoe holder similar to this would be ideal. Great Work!

-- Mike, Florida,

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3591 days

#7 posted 07-08-2010 01:56 PM

My bride would have a fit over this. I absolutely love the legs. Very well done Chris.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3710 days

#8 posted 07-08-2010 04:55 PM

Really nice shoe rack/bench. Great gift.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View bigbuddha's profile


200 posts in 3734 days

#9 posted 07-08-2010 06:25 PM

Great job!!!! very elegant design and glad you made it in time :)

-- helen

View Built2Last's profile


234 posts in 3992 days

#10 posted 07-08-2010 07:13 PM

Really nice!! Do you remember the dimensions???? I would love to build a couple for my daughter’s.

View dakremer's profile


2746 posts in 3606 days

#11 posted 07-08-2010 07:45 PM

really awesome design! I love asian style furniture. Great job

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View RayCurtis's profile


128 posts in 3678 days

#12 posted 07-08-2010 08:54 PM

Good Job!! I really like the design, You just don’t find things like this at Ikea.

-- RayCurtis

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 3956 days

#13 posted 07-09-2010 12:35 AM

Nice rack I mean shoe rack nice styling


View Chris Cunanan's profile

Chris Cunanan

339 posts in 3995 days

#14 posted 07-09-2010 04:51 AM

thank you all for the compliments and good humor, it is always much appreciated….i checked out (and re-checked some already favorited) everyone’s stuff and it’s an honor hearing these things from people who i would consider big league, and i’m not even in the minor’s yet! hehe I come from an engineering background but also 3d car cad, and it has helped me greatly in trying to become a “woodworker” i believe….

for those that asked, from memory, the size is roughly 3’ wide x 16” deep x 20” tall

Jonathan – I contemplated the design largely based on my available “free” stock and always keeping Time in mind. My final design choice was to have a half-lapped “grate” look for the shelves, which i may do later, but for this piece as you can tell i barely finished and that would have added much time to the process. at first i started with the solid shelf idea, but later decided i wanted it to look more “open”....hahah about the wife, i guess it just comes with the territory, right? lol i’ll try to get the pic up this weekend.

mikeswoodshop – i would be flattered if you used my design, please let me know if you i’d like to see how it comes out!

built2last – same to you as mike…i checked out your projects and success story with handing down the business and keeping it in the family…that made me really happy to read, i hope it keeps going thru the generations as far as anyone could foresee!

raycurtis – thanks, unfortunately most of my “market” (middle class families) in my area still shop there, so often before i think of trying to make it selling certain things i would look at the baseline cost of what a shoe bench would be (in this case)...if theirs looks decent at 1/3 the price and they can get it a 100 times faster than i will deliver it, u always have to keep that in mind…it’s a sad reality but just that, a reality…most think (including myself sometimes) that i am foolishly optimistic, but hey, i’d rather be that than a pessimistic pauly who never tried anything cuz he was sure he would fail. I would call this piece a “success of many failures” LOL

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 3723 days

#15 posted 07-09-2010 04:57 AM

That’s a nice looking shoe rack. I like those graceful curves on the legs. It almost makes me wish I had a “thing” for shoes like most other women. But given a choice of a new pair of shoes or a new tool for the shop… I would go barefoot!

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