'Horizontal' Magazine Rack

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Project by Don Johnson posted 02-03-2018 01:21 PM 1041 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We purchased a magazine rack that looked fairly stylish, but like all racks of this type that store papers and magazines ‘upright’, it never looked neat, and when removing one item, because of the ‘V’-shaped recesses, it often dislodged others that had been wedged in with it. It lived beside my wife, Avril’s, armchair, where it also hampered access to a cordless ‘phone.

Avril asked me if I could make (how many of my entries on LJ contain that phrase) something better, without the ‘V’ recesses that made things untidy so quickly, so I looked at the space and what was going on there and decided that something with a flat top would be handy to lift the cordless ‘phone up and make it more easily picked up. That led me the idea of using horizontal shelves as well, of different depths for different size magazines, etc. To keep items in place by having the shelves sloping slightly seemed sensible, so I drew up a design in Sketchup to see how it looked.

To fit a folded copy of The Daily Telegraph the shelves needed to be about 15 inches wide, and I guessed that 1/8 th inch thick plywood sheet would be strong enough at that length as it would only have to support fairly light items. Also, I had a flat-topped table saw blade that I had used before with this thickness sheet, and the combination worked well. I realised that when I cut the slots for the shelves on the table saw, it would be easiest to cut all the way from side to side, but that this would leave gaps on the edges, that would need filling. However, since I was using veneered plywood sheet for the carcass parts, I would be adding iron-on edge banding veneer which would cover the gaps. Result!

To cut the slots in the sides I needed some way to do this accurately, and I remembered the YouTube video 30 minute Straight Line Jig with MATCHFIT Dovetail Clamp at and realised that this would be ideal for the job as I already had the dovetail clamps – but had not yet used them. I made the jig, and when I got to cutting the shelf slots it worked beautifully. These clamps are brilliant, enabling me to hold the sides just about anywhere, to line up marks for a slot’s start and end with the edge of the jig. The last picture shows the jig – made from a board with a blue plastic coating – but the saw blade is NOT the flat topped one.

Construction was straightforward, using Dominoes for the joints. I had intended to overlap the top on all four sides, but mistakenly cut the width of the top piece to that of the rack itself, forgetting to add two lots of overlap. This actually made cutting the Domino mortices easier, although overlaps would have hidden any imperfections in the joints at the top. The last job was to put on the edge banding on the sloping front as this had to be done after the shelves were installed. I finished the unit with two coats of neutral Danish Oil, but the white oak veneered plywood looked too light to match the other oak items in our lounge, so I put on a last coat of Canadian Cedar Danish Oil, that brought the match much closer. An application of Renaissance Wax was the final touch.

The missing top side overlaps actually meant that the rack fitted more easily into the gap beside the armchair, where besides storing magazines and the ‘phone, it also is a convenient place to keep a TV controller, some pens, spectacles and a coaster for Avril’s glass of scotch! She was delighted with the outcome, but has now moved on to improvements I might make in the kitchen area.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

2 comments so far

View handi's profile


159 posts in 5723 days

#1 posted 02-03-2018 02:35 PM

Nice! A great mid-century feel to it!

-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime!

View Ivan's profile


17049 posts in 4151 days

#2 posted 02-03-2018 02:58 PM

Interesting cocncept.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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