Time for the pizza spade to get to work again! I cut most of the waste away, then the router plane took care of the rest while ensuring a dead flat bottom of the dado at the same time.
With that out of the way, it was time to close shop for the day. I placed all the parts on edge on the work bench. This will keep them from warping.
The offcuts from two parts was glued to form the divider in the lower compartment.
I chose the tools carefully – nothing worse than running out of reach with your clamps when the glue has been applied! I might have gone slightly overboard, though – but I don’t have shorter clamps like this.
Bessey? Wanna hook me up?
Here’s the joinery lined up.
The next day I chopped the mortises for the upper shelf. Having a huge chisel is really handy – squaring up the edges is a breeze!
I then chopped a stopped dado for the divider. Strike a knife line, remove a sliver of wood to create a knife wall, chop the waste and use a router plane to flush and refine the bottom of the dado.
I cut the divider to length and assembled the shelf to check that everything fit together as intended.
The plan (the sketch on the back of an envelope…) calls for a rail running across the top and back of the shelf. Since there will be very little long grain to long grain glue surface, I decided to make sort of a “haunched rabbet” joint. At the time I did not completely agree with myself on the best way of hanging the shelf on the wall, and thought the rail might be used for that.
I marked the stopped rabbet, made knife walls (ensures a crisp edge and a line to pare back to), then chopped out the waste. Note how there’s fuzziness at the back? that’s because I stay away from the knife line and pare back to it when I am finishing up.
The rabbet on the left was made by error, and I sawed it off. Late evening work should be avoided when one has small children in the house. I was a bit too tired that day. Oh, well. Not critical – the shelf ends up 20mm lower than planned, but that won’t matter at all.
I used the router plane to smooth the bottom and to get to final depth. Here I am trying the fit of the haunched rail. Removing the last sliver seated the rail nicely.
I then made mortises for the divider rail. The top shelf is divided into two “compartments” so that you can put large books at the back, small ones at the front. An oak rail supports the big books from tipping forward while the smaller books can lean against it.
The rail is inserted into mortises in the sides and will not be glued. I chopped the mortises with a chisel and checked my progress with the combination square sat to half the thickness of the board. I made the mortises a hair too deep so that the rail won’t bottom out before the other joints. That could either prevent them from fully seating or bowing out the sides.
By making knife walls all around, we avoid fuzzy edges in the soft part of the pine.
The rail slid in and the fit was snug as a bug. Lovely!
I then made stopped rabbets for the front rail. It will be glued to the top shelf as well. I then assembled the shelf to check my work and to determine how to form the top of the sides. I don’t want a “classic ogee” look; this should be a more contemporary looking piece. At the same time I don’t want to make a “small kid furniture” look that the girls won’t be able to utilize once they grow older. After all, there is a bit of a difference in preferences between a five year old and a ten year old girl. I anticipate removing any decor and giving this a new paint job at some point, so I do plan for that.
I used a roll of tape to mark two semi-circles which I joined with a line tangent to both circles. This created more of a tudor-ish style, which accomplished the goal of breaking the square look, and to remove sharp corners.
And I got to take my new oscillating spindle sander out for a spin!
Yes. I am a dad. You knew that when you started to read. Dad jokes should be expected…
I gave all the faces that will be hard to reach once the shelf is assembled, a quick sanding with 120 grit Mirka Abranet pads on my random orbital sander. I inspected the parts and prepared for the glueup.
Turn page for sticky stuff!