Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dovetailed Shelving Unit

Spring fever has prompted me to try to get more organized in my shop. This means building a storage unit for the moulding planes and other tools that have been making their home in cardboard boxes.
Pine is the wood of choice--it's inexpensive, smells good, and makes you feel like a champ when you handcut dovetails.

I already covered dovetails in an earlier post but here are a few additional comments.

The shelves are nothing fancy, but they do provide a nicer place in which to park my planes.

I decided not to add doors, even though they would help to keep dust out, because I love to visit other woodworkers' shops and see their planes in plain view.


naomi said...

Beautiful dovetails--and beautiful cat!

Kari Hultman said...

That's Anders Hjalmer (Andy), my parents' cat. He's pretty, but BAD!

Anonymous said...

Very nice work. The proportions are just right, it seems. Is the lowest shelf just a little shorter than the two above?
You can built more - if you need - stack them or put them side-by-side, or why stop there, you could cover a whole wall with them.
By the way, I use a strip with about 1/4 inch of cork from an old bulletin board to deal with pin overhang (up to 1/8 inch).
I'm amazed at the cleanly cut slices of endgrain between the tails in your picture. What kind of chisel do you use? One with a very acute angle?


Eric said...

Wow, them's some nice tails! Well done, Kari. And great job on the pics too.

Anonymous said...


A decent bit of pine there.... getting hold of some good quality deal is easier said than done.

Here's a tip about dents - you can remove dents in long grain very easily with a damp cloth and an electric iron.

1 - Wet the cloth; if the dent is severe, wet the wood area first and allow it to soak a little.

2 - put the cloth over the affected area and with the iron set on high heat, steam away until the ding is removed by the steam pressure.

When it's dried off you can sand it away.

..... hope I'm not teaching a version of egg-sucking....!

All best, Howard

Geemoney said...

Having previously registered my dislike for pine, I can now clearly see why you like it so much. You get much nicer stuff than I can!

As for the cat, I have to admit I was confused; I always thought you were a dog family. How does it go between the cat and dogs?

Finally, I have been considering building some sort of a shelf type thing to go between the lower stretchers on my bench. My theory is that if I can store my planes there, where I use them most of the time, I might, might!, be better about putting them back where they go right after I use them. Have you ever seen anything like this? Is there some basic usage trap that I might be falling into?

Kari Hultman said...

Alfred, the bottom 3 shelves are the same height--just the top one is taller. That's an excellent idea about the cork board--thanks! I use a Japanese chisel and do not hollow grind it. It has just the right amount of beef and bevel (about 28ยบ) to cut cleanly.

Thanks Eric!

Howard, thanks for the comment about raising dents with an iron. I thought about doing that, but was too lazy to try to find where I hid mine (not even sure I still own one).

Geemoney, that's my parents' cat, Andy, in the photos. We were babysitting him for month. He's cute but ornery! One thing that I suggest you do with your bench storage is to make sure you leave space between the underside of your benchtop and the top of your storage box. That way you can still clamp things along the benctop's apron and can still use your bench dogs. If you have workbench questions, I will direct you to Bob Giovannetti at cherrycreekwoodworks.blogspot.com. Bob has made like nine benches.

Angostura Bitters said...

this is just a wonderfully documented sequence of photos and a very elegant project, to boot. thanks for posting, I look forward to seeing more of your work on your site!

Woodbloke said...

Kari - nice job. For what it's worth, I have two master woodworkers like the one shown in your pics...mum and daughter, both not quite so 'slimline' though as yours - Rob

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks Atticus. :o)

Rob, Andy's the only "slimline" creature in my house.
; )

Anonymous said...

Hi Kari,
Very nice... and you got all the fun toys. I'm green with envy.

I think maybe the cat just needs a bath to make him feel better:

Anders Hjalmer, where does that name come from?

/ Mattias in Durham, NC

Kari Hultman said...

Mattias, that's probably the only safe way to bathe a cat: hands-free! Anders and Hjalmer are two family names (Swedish). Others in the running were Gunnar, Magnus, and Axel, but I think those names would apply better to a really, really big dog.

Ethan said...


The only problem with open shelves is that your significant other can more easily see when they mysteriously start filling up on their own. With doors, at least she can't see the magic happen. :)

Along similar lines, that's why I hate it when I get stuck working late on a Thursday afternoon when I know a small package from P.Leach is supposed to arrive that day...

Sure enough, I was greeted at the door yesterday evening with a small box and a grimace. :-\

Love the pics of Andy. My master woodworker is quite a bit fuzzier, which oddly also makes her my apprentice (sweeping the bench as she goes).

That usually earns me another grimace when I let her get upstairs without being brushed off.

Kari Hultman said...

Ethan, maybe you should start having deliveries sent to your workplace? heh heh
You have the best of both worlds--master woodworker AND apprentice. Maybe if I fluff up Andy's hair under the blowdryer....

The Cottage Workshop said...

Nice shelf Kari! I have a couple of tool shelves on my list for the shop as well. How did you choose to cut the Dados?

Kari Hultman said...

Mag'sblog, while I have cut dados by hand before, I "cheated" with these ones and cut them on my table saw.

Anonymous said...


nice tail, dear. You need to showcase it more often. However, the entire article seems suggestive with Pussy cats and tails. Perhaps it's my personal perverse perception. Regardless, good post. I enjoyed it greatly.


Mark DeLuca said...

what are the dimensions of the shelf? It feels right to me, I would like to build one. That right feel is all about the dimensions, anything that you can share would be appreciated.

Mark D.

Kari Hultman said...

Here you go, Mark. The wood is 3/4" pine, except for the back, which is 1/4" plywood.

Outside dimensions
29 7/8" wide x 34 1/4" high x 11 1/8" deep

Bottom (3) shelves, inside dimensions
13 3/4" wide (a little more) x 7" high (a little less) x 10 7/8" deep

Top shelf, inside dimensions
28 3/8" wide x 9 5/8" high x 10 7/8" deep

You'll want to double check my dimensions since some are off by a hair.