Ikea Shelf recreation

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Forum topic by Chase posted 02-17-2010 11:12 PM 1190 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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448 posts in 2446 days

02-17-2010 11:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Most people are probably groaning already, but here is the story. My girlfriend is into knitting, and a lot of knitting stores keep their wool in displays similar to or exactly like this one. I want to make one that is probably 3×3 squares. In the past i have used my pocket hole jig to attach shelves like this, but the close space won’t let me get in there properly. I could use a track system or melamine with the holes punched in it for pegs, but I want it to look better than that, and I don’t need the shelves to move.

I figured it was best to make all the uprights, and do the shelves as smaller pieces. I don’t have a dado kit, but this would be a good excuse for one. Would using a biscuit joiner be good enough? Wouldn’t mind buying one of those either!

I have most basic tools and wouldn’t mind expanding my selection. Not looking for this to be a work of art, I will probably make it out of pine or poplar and paint it something fun for her. So hit me with some slick suggestions if you wouldnt mind please.

ikea shelf

Thanks for the advice!


-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

5 replies so far

View Dragonsrite's profile


136 posts in 2817 days

#1 posted 02-17-2010 11:38 PM

Let a rookie give it a shot.

I think I’d have the shelves one piece and use dowels (all the way through the shelf) to attach the middle divider(s) and “normal” doweling to connect the outer vertical pieces.

-- Dragonsrite, Minnesota

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3545 days

#2 posted 02-18-2010 01:30 AM

I’d use a Domino because I have one, but the thickness of those bottoms and tops can give you a lot of racking strength, so I think a biscuit joiner would work just fine for this. If I didn’t have a Domino, I’d just use a biscuit joiner.

Heck, you could even just route shallow (you could go as deep as 3/8” on the sides, maybe 3/16” in the center) 3/4” grooves where the shelves are and inset the shelves into the sides. Do this out of birch veneered plywood, put some iron on edge banding on the faces, those shelves will be price competitive with Ikea and a heck of a lot stronger.

So, yeah, biscuit joiner, router, lots of options and I think they’d all work pretty well.

The real question is: Do you have enough clamps to do the glue-up?

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 2446 days

#3 posted 02-18-2010 02:15 PM

I looked up that domino thing, and WOW that is awesome! Also, WOW that thing is expensive! I might end up just picking up a Freud joiner I have had my eye on for a while. A few more clamps might be in my future too, I only have a few.


-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View AaronK's profile


1436 posts in 2884 days

#4 posted 02-18-2010 02:45 PM

What are the dimensions of that thing? 3”x3” cubbies sort of makes me think that the sides will be 3/4” and the dividers 1/4” ply. In any event, the piece will not be heavily loaded (like, say, a chair), and dowels should work for the carcass. routing dados for the dividers should be sufficient as well.

I was thinking of making something like this for my wife too – using hardboard as dividers in an egg-crate type configuration, with some removable panels for storing larger things, like rolls of fabric, etc.

FYI, the Wolfcraft dowel jig (reviewed on this site) is pretty nifty and much less expensive than a biscuit joiner. I’ve been using mine and love it.

View AaronK's profile


1436 posts in 2884 days

#5 posted 02-18-2010 02:48 PM

ah, i misunderstood. i think you want 3×3=9 squares total, not tiny little cubbies :-). in any event, dowels should work for all the joinery. i’m pretty sure that a big problem with dowels is that people dont use enough of them. If you take a look at an old article Krenov wrote about the subject, he has them spaced about 1” apart – so using several for carcass and shelf joinery. If you want extra strength (and easy of assembly), as someone said above you can have the dowels go all the way through the carcass – that way you drill them in from the outside and dont even need a doweling jig.

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