Bathroom shelves with sliding dovetails

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Project by nwbusa posted 02-28-2013 11:29 PM 4101 views 8 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed a set of shelves in my bathroom to hold my shaving equipment, so I decided to build a set out of western maple. This was my first attempt at sliding dovetails, which I mostly just wanted to use for the visual effect with the contrasting wood colors.

I cut the joints with a 5/8” dovetail bit in the router table. They were tight but I got them seated using moderate persuasion with a deadblow hammer.

I didn’t use any glue in the dovetails, but I did pin them with a dowel. In hindsight, I wish I would have placed the dowel close to the front edge, to limit wood movement on the front end of the joint. Oh well, water under the bridge.

The roasted maple darkens up nicely with a tung oil finish. If you’ve never used roasted woods before (also sometimes called baked, or thermally modified) it’s pretty cool stuff.

After it was all assembled, I hit the edges with a 1/8” roundover bit, and applied a few more coats of tung oil, sanding in between. I routed keyhole slots on the back sides to hang it on the wall, and there she sits.

-- John, BC, Canada

10 comments so far

View steve's profile


363 posts in 2500 days

#1 posted 02-28-2013 11:49 PM

Nice job!
I like the difference in wood, it makes the doves stand out.
I use sliding doves for my cabinetry sometimes, I always apply glue but I guess it’s okay not to.
I put glue on the pin of the dove at the front, half way, and on the tail (groove) half way from the front, and run it in…the glue spreads out and doesn’t come out, but your doweling will hold them fine…one in the middle, I feel, is fine, the expan/contr. would be minimal if any.
Real nice shelving, god job

-- steve/USA

View jack1's profile


2130 posts in 4534 days

#2 posted 02-28-2013 11:52 PM

Looks good.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3337 days

#3 posted 03-01-2013 12:16 AM

That looks great. Nice contrast. Where did you get the roasted maple?

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View taoist's profile


124 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 03-01-2013 12:18 AM

Nicely done. Love the contrast.

View jeff's profile


1155 posts in 3971 days

#5 posted 03-01-2013 03:22 AM

nice contrast with the woods and the sliding dovetails add some craftsmanship…nicely done…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Bruce Taylor's profile

Bruce Taylor

21 posts in 2444 days

#6 posted 03-01-2013 03:51 AM

Nice looking shelves, John. I want to make a set of low corner bookcases to go behind a gas stove in my living room. This looks very attractive and, with the right choice of woods, would complement the rest of my furnishings. Guess I’d better get started. (Being a full-bearded guy I don’t have any shaving stuff but some of yours look very collectible).

-- Captain Bruce, Washington State

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2793 days

#7 posted 03-01-2013 04:54 AM

Thanks for the kind words!

Gary, I get the roasted maple from my local lumber guy here in town, who sourced from a local kiln that is since (unfortunately) out of business, so when it’s gone, it’s gone. He has about 200 bf left, and its taking considerable willpower not to go buy the remaining stock.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Bruce Taylor's profile

Bruce Taylor

21 posts in 2444 days

#8 posted 03-01-2013 05:36 AM

John, considering that I’m a nice guy and wouldn’t steal candy from a baby, would you consider sharing this source and what width and length boards do you think he has? I haven’t done a cut list yet for my project but will do one this weekend. Thx.

-- Captain Bruce, Washington State

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2793 days

#9 posted 03-01-2013 07:35 AM

Bruce, let me check with my guy and I’ll shoot you a PM.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Not4Prophet's profile


12 posts in 3526 days

#10 posted 03-01-2013 07:40 PM

beautiful shelf for your shaving gear, but it appears to be full already.

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