Shoe Cabinet

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Project by Luis M posted 08-23-2012 04:04 PM 8317 views 13 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just completed this shoe cabinet last night, and to be honest I couldn’t wait to post it here. I got the idea for it from IKEA, but unlike the one they sell this one is made entirely out of solid wood. Also, I sized it to fit in a nook in the kitchen. Every component in my cabinet is made out of poplar for a few reason:

1) This is only the third project I’ve made out of solid wood (no plywood), so if i messed up no problem poplar is cheap.
2) I wanted to experiment with new joinery, the top and bottom of the case are blind dovetailed to the sides.
3) I was going to paint it, so there is no reason to use a more expensive hardwood

Like I mentioned before, the top and bottom of the case are blind dovetailed to the sides. I used the band saw to cut the tails, and the pins were cut by hand. There were some gaps (this is only the second time I’ve used dovetails), but who cares. I was painting this project and was more concerned about learning new techniques.

I used 1/4” steel pins to make the drawers pivot down. There is a 3/8” radius on the top and bottom of the drawer fronts for clearance. The drawers where rabbeted and dado-ed together and reinforced with dowels. The top portion of the back of the drawer sides were cut off to allow clearance for the drawers to open. I glued two small wood blocks to the top left and top right of the drawer openings to act as stops. These stops serve a dual purpose, 1) they keep the drawers flush with the front of the case and 2) they prevent the drawers from opening all the way out. I inserted rare earth magnets on the stops to keep the drawers shut, but that was largely unnecessary. The drawers are extremely well balanced and when closed they stay shut even when they are loaded with shoes.

The table top is about 7/8” thick and has a small hand cut under bevel.

The feet are my own design. They were shaker inspired from an article on Popular Woodworking. I rough them out on the band saw and template routed at the routing table. They’re also mitered and reinforced with bisquits and screwed to the bottom of the case.

The back of the case is ship lapped and screwed to the back of the case. The ship lapped slats are approximately ~3” wide by 3/8” thick. I left them unfinished.

I finished the piece with two coats of red milk paint, sanding in between coats with 400 grit paper. To make the red pop and to protect it, I put three coats of wiping poly and once again i sanded with 400 grit paper in between coats. I also applied a top coat of paste wax with #0000 steel wool. These sounds like a lot of work, but the payoff is amazing. The whole piece is really soft to the touch and looks great.

Now, I won’t lie and say the piece is perfect. I made several mistakes along the way. Some mistakes were fixed and others were ignore. But, overall this was a great project and I’m very happy it’s over. Now on to the next one….

PS. If anyone is interested, the Google Sketchup drawing can be found at:

-- Luis

10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117179 posts in 3663 days

#1 posted 08-23-2012 04:57 PM

Wow That is a cool design and super build Luis,very nice.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2274 days

#2 posted 08-23-2012 06:58 PM

I like it ! Looks very functional and has a nice, old world look to it.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2261 days

#3 posted 08-23-2012 07:39 PM

Neat idea and super job on the shoe cabinet

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View cricket324's profile


17 posts in 2201 days

#4 posted 08-23-2012 09:50 PM

Very nice. I too am currently building a shoe rack, but with an open front and slanted shelves. I like the idea of tilt out drawers better and would be interested in getting your sketchup plans.

View Luis M's profile

Luis M

74 posts in 2716 days

#5 posted 08-24-2012 12:40 AM

I’ve added a link to the google sketchup drawing at the end of the post or you can also get it here:

-- Luis

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8277 posts in 2414 days

#6 posted 08-24-2012 02:44 PM

Great design and execution…

I added to my favorites as we have a naked corner in our mudroom and a gazillion kids shoes laying all over (which make the room stink, of course)...

I definately want to build a similar unit sized for our location and finished to match a pair of shaker jellies we have.

thanks for posting…

got any pics of the dovetails &/or the construction process???

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Luis M's profile

Luis M

74 posts in 2716 days

#7 posted 08-24-2012 07:00 PM

ssnvet: I didn’t take any constructions pictures or pictures of the dovetailed case top, but I just uploaded an image of a sketchup drawing that reflects the actual case construction.

-- Luis

View GerardoArg1's profile


980 posts in 2080 days

#8 posted 03-10-2014 05:53 PM

Well done. Excelent design. Thank for share.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View BeamMeUpScotty's profile


1 post in 1521 days

#9 posted 06-21-2014 10:22 PM

Looks great. Do you have the complete plans available? I would love to give it a go.

View Luis M's profile

Luis M

74 posts in 2716 days

#10 posted 06-23-2014 01:34 PM


I don’t have complete plans. Just download the google sketup file, it will give you all the measurements you need:

-- Luis

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