Repeat as necessary

In the display shelf build I’ve been working on, we already went over the housed mortice joint that will hold the shelves to the sides.  The real trick is not in making that joint…

…it’s in making six of them, and they all have to line up.  It can get a little tedious.  But eventually you end up with a pile of boards, all with little nubs on the end.  One thing we did not go over was that after cutting the mortices on the first shelf, I tapered the sides.  The bottom is 12″ wide, narrowing to only 4″ at the top.  This is to prevent against a hulking look, and to let more light in on the middle shelves (which helps the various wares look their best).  I cut off the waste and then planed the two sides together so they would be even.

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Even though the shelf is mostly ready to be glued, there’s a minor detail to work out first: it has to hang on the wall!  I chose to use a cleat, as it’s strong and straightforward to install on site.  First, I rip at an angle down the length of a strip of wood (I’m using Douglas Fir because it is strong, stiff, and I had some lying around after I ran out of yellow pine).  The actual angle is pretty unimportant.  Nothing too sharp, but a standard 1:7ish slope should be fine.

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Then, since I had decided to mortice the cleat into the carcase, I went ahead and cut tenons on the end of one of the beveled strips.

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Using the tenons as a template, I went ahead and cut the mortice in the sides.

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Tomorrow we’ll assemble everything, but I wanted to end with a word of warning.  If you’re like me, you try to wring every last bit of storage out of your workspace.  But especially when you’re working with something big, that can work against you.  Keep an eye on the overhead, and be doubly cautious when working with a recalcitrant joint.  The problem might not be what you think…

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