Decorative Shelf with 70 dovetails

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Project by Adam posted 184 days ago 3007 views 16 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was a long time in the making. I purchased the 11.5 wide hard maple boards for the project and then broke my leg and was out of commission for three months.

Each corner is dovetailed and the shelves are in dados with through tenons. While I had a good sketch-up plan each shelf was slightly off and therefore I had to be custom fit each shelf which meant putting it all together and taking it apart way to many times to get the fit just right. Then there was approximately 15 hours of scraping and sanding fun to be had.

The finish is a cot of General Finishes sanding sealer to try to prevent blotching on the hard maple then 2 cotes of brown stain which was made up of 1 part General Finishes brown dye and 1 part espresso water based stain followed by three cotes of poly and then rubbed out with way and 0000 steel wool. The finish had to be applied in the laundry room as the garage was -17 C for several weeks.

Questions and comments are always welcomed, thanks for looking.

-- Adam, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

20 comments so far

View exelectrician's profile


1521 posts in 1052 days

#1 posted 184 days ago

A labor of love – You and your family will enjoy this for a long time to come.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2202 days

#2 posted 184 days ago

Wonderful job and cute kids .

-- Custom furniture

View roblove65's profile


4 posts in 184 days

#3 posted 184 days ago

Very nice design! My wife collects Starbucks mugs, so I think I’ll take this design and tailor it to display her mugs.

View majuvla's profile


3305 posts in 1493 days

#4 posted 184 days ago

Looking great. I see someone else is enjoing (instead books)

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4482 posts in 917 days

#5 posted 184 days ago

Attractive design and nice build—a project your whole family can enjoy.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View deon's profile


2171 posts in 1651 days

#6 posted 184 days ago

Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View schroeder's profile


667 posts in 2751 days

#7 posted 184 days ago

Great piece! – Your design and attention to detail is amazing!


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Buche's profile


53 posts in 1574 days

#8 posted 184 days ago

That is one impressive book (kid)-shelf. the joints look impeccable! Very well done!


View helluvawreck's profile


15582 posts in 1492 days

#9 posted 184 days ago

That ended up nicely. It makes a great unit for storing all kinds of whatever.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

231 posts in 238 days

#10 posted 184 days ago

Those have to be some really nice joints. Its hard to imagine that thing not racking with no attached back. Very nice work.

-- I'm just a simple caveman

View Adam's profile


80 posts in 1687 days

#11 posted 184 days ago

Matt – My wife and I carried it upstairs and it on its side and it was stiff as a board – I believe due to the through tenon’s on all the shelves and the dovetailed boxes. It was so stiff I did not feel the need for a back.

-- Adam, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

View natenaaron's profile


367 posts in 422 days

#12 posted 184 days ago

Nice shelf. You might want to get a bit more strict with your employees. They seems to not only be lieing down on the job they are doing it on the project.

View Steve's profile


34 posts in 225 days

#13 posted 184 days ago

Very nice work!!

View SPalm's profile


4783 posts in 2507 days

#14 posted 184 days ago

I can not imagine the glue-up. Getting everything to mate at once must have been a bear.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5347 posts in 2210 days

#15 posted 184 days ago

Don’t get me started ! If this didn’t look so good, I would steal it for my metal working machine shop .Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

showing 1 through 15 of 20 comments

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