Recessed Hall Shelves for my Favorite Client

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Project by Peter Oxley posted 945 days ago 2371 views 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a lot of great clients, but my favorite is my wife, Marianne. Unfortunately, just as the cobbler’s son has no shoes, the woodworker’s wife has no custom furniture! Well, I’m trying to start to change that … at least a little. One step in that directon: I just completed these shelves in our hallway.

The cabinets are Brown Hard Maple finished in clear semi-gloss laquer. The door panels were all bookmatched except one where bandsaw drift messed up the panel.

The cabinets are inset into the wall between the studs. None of the studs were where I expected them, so the actual case widths are all over the place. Rather than build the doors various sizes to fit the cases, I built the faceframe to evenly divide the face and hide the irregularity of the case sizes. This wall has varying thickness because of features on the other side, so the shelves have depths between 6” and 12” while only encroaching into the hallway by about 4”. They are already full of books and board games.

It’s hard to get a good photograph, because I couldn’t get far enough away from the cabinets – the hall is only so wide! My camera, which usually takes really good pictures, rendered these a little grainy.

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12 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14125 posts in 2226 days

#1 posted 945 days ago

From beautiful lumber into the beauty!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View a1Jim's profile


112026 posts in 2213 days

#2 posted 945 days ago

They all look great Peter. A real cool design and super maple.

-- Custom furniture

View Blackie_'s profile


3378 posts in 1148 days

#3 posted 944 days ago

Peter, what a great way to make use of unutilized space, looks great and nicely done,

If I understand what you are saying, you built around the studs and your walls are greater then 4” thick, also by your 4” protruding into the hallway that’s giving you that extra 4” of space as well?

Adding to my favs


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Roger's profile


14436 posts in 1440 days

#4 posted 944 days ago

beautiful. bookmatches are very nice. what’s the inside look like?

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View CharlieM1958's profile


15693 posts in 2854 days

#5 posted 944 days ago

Really excellent work, Peter!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Eric71m's profile


11 posts in 1038 days

#6 posted 944 days ago

Nicely done!!!

View StickleyStyle's profile


59 posts in 1871 days

#7 posted 944 days ago

I was contemplating doing something very similar Peter. Do you have any pics with the doors open? I would be interested to see how much room you get inside and how the studs come into play. Very nice job!

View billculpepper's profile


66 posts in 1600 days

#8 posted 944 days ago

Thumbs up on recognizing your favorite client.

-- Bill Culpepper, Indiana

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 1133 days

#9 posted 943 days ago

If that’s the drift on the right, I like it much better than book matching. Hope you don’t have to move, for her sake.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2510 days

#10 posted 943 days ago

Thanks for the great comments, everyone!

Let’s see if I can answer a couple of questions …

@ Blackie – you are correct, the cabinets are built around the studs, so they only have to extend into the hall about 4”.

@ Roger and StikleyStyle – I’ll try to get some photos of the interior posted in the next couple of days. I’m going to set up some better lighting and see if I can get some better photos of the exterior, too.

@ vipond33 – the drift-match (or slip-match) is on the right in the first photo. It didn’t come out too bad. I prefer the bookmatch myself, but if it had to happen, this was the right panel for it … some of the others wouldn’t have looked as good. I hope I don’t move, too! Projects like this would be hard to leave behind.

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View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2510 days

#11 posted 908 days ago

As promised (and better late than never) here are a couple of photos of the interior of the shelf cabinets. This is the spacing you can expect with standard stud locations, which I didn’t have in the other two cabinets. I’ve removed some books so you can get an idea of the depth.

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View Roger's profile


14436 posts in 1440 days

#12 posted 908 days ago

oh yea. very nice. that is deeper than i pictured in my mind. really nice. lotsa room

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

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