We needed a few shelves for our home, and I made the mistake to open up Pinterest…
A couple designs and ideas later – if one can use such a sentence when one talks about Pinterest – and I decided on a shifting wall shelf design by Liminal Studio. Before you bring out the pitchforks and torches, let me point out that I made this shelf based on one image and only for my personal use, which is okay according to Norwegian law. I will NOT make shelves for sale based on this design. That would be both illegal and immoral.
I rummaged about in my stack of wood and found a nice piece of red oak. After cutting the parts roughly to length, I planed the and took them down to dimension. I used the router plane to mark the thickness, then planed to the line.
I then cut dovetails for the frame joints. My first hand cut dovetails.
This was my first time cutting dovetails by hand, and the first one was catastrophic. I cut it off. The next one was passable. It goes against the wall. The next three were a lot better – almost perfect!
I cut the dadoes for the shelves using Paul Sellers‘ knife wall method: mark with marking knife, use a chisel to create a small groove for the saw. Then I used my dovetail saw and cut down to the line. I pared most of the waste with the chisel, then I used the router plane to clean up the dado and get to exact depth.
A quick dry assembly to check everything. The shelves fitted snugly!
I rounded the ends of the shelves and then glued the dovetails. Once the glue was hardened, I rounded the outer corners of the frame with a rasp and a file. I gave the whole shelf a light sanding before finishing.
I made a small recess for some hanging hardware to invisibly mount the shelf to the wall.
I then applied two coats of oil based laqcuer. Between coats I used a card scraper to remove any raised grain, and gave the whole shelf a light once-over with some sand paper. I mounted the shelf to a plank with two screws so that I could apply finish on all faces except the one facing the wall. I did that one separately.
After the finish had cured for a couple of days, I hung the shelf on the wall where my wife made my work shine by decorating it with her own craft. She does needle felting – please follow her on Instragram. She also made the heart from twigs of larch.
I have a board on Pinterest labeled “wall shelf”. Thankfully, we have a big house and lots of wall estate…
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