open kitchen shelves

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Project by harum posted 05-10-2014 06:25 PM 1084 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Done with finishing touches for three open kitchen shelves this morning. Made of red oak (on one of the photos), they were originally planned to be finished with a varnish to show off the grain, but I eventually painted them with oil-based white enamel to “match the cabinets”. The brackets are 11-1/2” by 11-1/2” and connected to the frame with loose tenons. Each shelf is 3/4” thick x 41” wide x 12-1/2” deep and is a glue-up of two narrower boards. A No.4 Bailey with a couple of winding sticks turned out to work great for flattening the glue-ups.

For the finish, I put two coats of white shellac-based BIN primer, then sanded almost everything off, coated with the primer again, scuffed the surface, brushed on two coats of white enamel with sanding/scuffing in between. Sanding all the details was the longest step in the finishing process and quite a chore.

I used 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” aluminum angles screwed to the wall studs (seen in one of the photos) as a backbone for the shelves. The lights will go underneath the bottom shelf. The distance between the brackets is 33”, which, theoretically, means no visible sagging for oak even for a 100 lb. load in the center.

Well, glad I am finally done with this project. Oak was a great wood to work with. Next time will try to use wood filler to close the pores more efficiently.

Things I learned from these shelves to keep in mind for my next projects:
—use food filler for porous woods for a smooth finish;
—a prototype in soft wood actually saves time, because it helps fix design flaws;
—small pieces of hard wood can split and fray (and fly) when routed against the grain;
—hammering a tenon into a tight mortise cracks the latter;
—an extra minute or two of measuring save much more time later on;

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

2 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1626 posts in 1434 days

#1 posted 05-10-2014 07:09 PM

Very nicely done, Harum, looks nice and solid with a flair for style.

Best Regards.
Work Safely and have Fun. Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View harum's profile


190 posts in 804 days

#2 posted 05-12-2014 05:37 PM

Thanks Len! Open shelves seem like a reasonable substitution for a cabinet or two in the kitchen around the windows: the same or even more storage space without the bulkiness of cabinets.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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