The other day my brother gave me a call, asking if I wanted to build something for his shop. He owns a Cigar shop in Whitecourt Alberta called Cheap Smokes and Cigars. It’s a really cool shop, very classy and nostalgic, they have the basic inventory of cigarettes which they sell cheaper than any gas station or grocery store can offer, but beyond that they have an array of humidors (My creations will soon be joining this inventory), Pipes, Tobacco, Vaporisers and a massive walk in humidor with boxes of cigars from all over the world.
Since I greatly appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail within the cigar culture, I was thrilled to contribute. He had a few cedar deck boards left over from the shelving in the walk in humidor and wanted a tiered rack with it’s shelves angled forward. He asked me to build it at his shop so I packed up all my tools into my truck and drove 2 hours to his shop only to spend most of the day hunched over a desk sketching out concepts until we finally settled on the dimensions and design. Naturally I only had enough time to mill one board down and begin building the side frames of the display before it was time to pack everything back up and drive home.
I found an angle that I liked, about 8:1 incline, for the shelves and chiseled out a dato for some small runners to be glued into, these will support the cross slats. I decided I wanted a lip at the front of each shelf. My brother wanted a well defined lip but the more I looked at it the more I realized it was time to finally do a dovetail in an actual project (Rather than for practice on scrap boards). I laid these out and cut them so the front of the shelf would form a V with the two apposing angles, rather than a rigid Lip.
I dry fitted the dovetails as well as some cross supports that I added to the back with some simple half lap joints. I was very pleased with how the dovetails turned out, much better than my first few attempts (Luckily on scrap boards).
I than took it all apart and began milling the cross slats, these took almost an entire 8 foot 2×6 board to get enough slats for the entire project. I sanded every face of every slat up to 400 grit. I than dry fitted the entire project and sent my brother a picture to see if he liked the final design.
He sent back an enthusiastic approval and was glad he wasn’t just getting a bunch of planks pinned together to resemble a display rack but rather something with attention to detail and a bit of craftsmanship.
I decided I wanted some kind of contrast to the wood rather than having a piece that is all the same colour and texture. I ended up using a few coats of boiled linseed oil on the frame pieces. with the intent of leaving the rest unfinished
I let this soak in and sanded between coats and while I waited I sanded every slat up to 600 grit, giving them a nice smooth finish which seemed to bring the attention back to the joinery.
I used a slat on it’s side as a spacer than began the slow process of gluing up and clamping each slat one by one.
I sanded then entire piece a few times, removing any imperfections than put a thin coat of wax on the frame pieces, and buffed it one last time with some steel wool. I was very pleased with the finished product and had to snap a few of the following pictures to show off my first successful dovetails.
my brother loved the display and sent me a few pictures of it in it’s final resting place within his shop.
He decided to pay me with a nice big box of cigars to add to my collection.
In summary, I had a blast building this little display, got to put some of my skills to the test that I had been practicing, got some cigars and a bit of scrap cedar as a bonus!
If your ever in the area, I highly recommend you check out this shop or one of the other franchise locations in Alberta, even if you don’t smoke, there pretty cool little shops and are worth the visit.
-- Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing - Nick Offerman