Decorative Shelf with 70 dovetails

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Project by Adam posted 02-18-2014 02:58 AM 3815 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


2327 posts in 2303 days

#1 posted 02-18-2014 03:01 AM

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


116815 posts in 3453 days

#2 posted 02-18-2014 03:08 AM

Wonderful job and cute kids .

-- Custom furniture

View roblove65's profile


4 posts in 1435 days

#3 posted 02-18-2014 04:53 AM

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


11497 posts in 2743 days

#4 posted 02-18-2014 04:57 AM

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

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2168 days

#5 posted 02-18-2014 04:59 AM

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


2522 posts in 2901 days

#6 posted 02-18-2014 06:50 AM

Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4001 days

#7 posted 02-18-2014 12:16 PM

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


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Buche's profile


70 posts in 2825 days

#8 posted 02-18-2014 02:34 PM

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


View helluvawreck's profile


29784 posts in 2742 days

#9 posted 02-18-2014 02:37 PM

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

294 posts in 1488 days

#10 posted 02-18-2014 03:20 PM

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

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

View Adam's profile


84 posts in 2938 days

#11 posted 02-18-2014 04:43 PM

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


441 posts in 1673 days

#12 posted 02-18-2014 05:37 PM

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


52 posts in 1475 days

#13 posted 02-18-2014 05:55 PM

Very nice work!!

View SPalm's profile


5314 posts in 3758 days

#14 posted 02-18-2014 06:46 PM

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


5845 posts in 3461 days

#15 posted 02-18-2014 07:53 PM

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

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