Contemporary Shelving

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Project by Thomas Porter posted 04-24-2008 05:46 AM 2080 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was quite an undertaking. I had no idea what I was getting in to when I started it, but it turned out great and I’m glad I got to do it. It taught me a lot about a number of techniques. As you’ll see from the pictures, these shelves were made to hold up a pair of 90 lb. vases. The problem was that the client didn’t want any supports and no visible hardware. He also wanted the shelves to be elliptical so that nobody would catch on the edges passing by. So… this meant that I had to weld up a steel subframe and mount it with lagbolts to the studs. The subframe would be drilled to allow the screws to hold the piece from below. I also had to do a bent lamination and build a form to clamp everything together properly. Since I knew the glue wouldn’t hold on the end grain I used small triangle pieces on the inside to act as “kerfing” to secure the front to the top. Oh yeah… and the toughest part… matching stains. He wanted the project to match as closely as possible to the chairs at the table. Eeeek. All in all… I need more projects like this. It taught me a lot. I love a challenge. If I could change anything I would cover up the bottom or paint it darker so that it was less noticeable from below, but he didn’t want to do it because from just about every normal angle he went to in the room you couldn’t see the bottom. Only if you got on the floor and looked up…. so oh well. It turned out nice, and we’re both happy with it.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

4 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4789 days

#1 posted 04-24-2008 12:10 PM

Hi Thomas,

This is a nice project. One that I am sure would stretch the capabilities of any woodworker. You were given an unusual set of circumstances by the client and successfully met them. I agree with you that the bottom should have been covered. But this is a very interesting project and one that enabled you to expand your woodworking horizon.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 4681 days

#2 posted 04-24-2008 02:22 PM

Really nice job. well done.

-- JJohn

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5186 days

#3 posted 04-24-2008 03:46 PM

As an interior design choice, I can’t say I like the client’s idea to have those big bulky vases up on shelves,
BUT….the shelves themselves are a work of art and engineering worthy of display on their own merits!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View moonroc's profile


44 posts in 4655 days

#4 posted 04-29-2008 01:56 AM

Nice job. Sometimes the fun is in the problem solving. Looks like they will be part of the house as long as it is standing. I hope you signed and dated the bottom side.

-- Richard

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