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Forum topic by RickJ posted 02-26-2011 09:22 AM 6348 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2854 days

02-26-2011 09:22 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

This is my first attempt at building furniture and I would love any advice. We bought a new stove which is a foot narrower than our old stove so we have an odd sized space between the stove and a doorway. I want to build a small table/shelf with a butcher block top to fill the space. I am thinking of using Cherry or Maple.

I designed something in SketchUp but before I start buying wood I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions/criticism of the basic design. I don’t think I have all of the dimensions in the file exactly right but I am only worried about whether the general structure is sound. In particular I am wondering:

1. Do I need thicker legs? I was initially imagining it with 2×2 legs but drawing it up it started to seem like 1×2 might be enough (and I am trying to keep the cost down).

2. Do I need some kind of cross member on the ends or apron around the top to hold it together? I would like to keep it as simple as possible but I worry about it not being stable enough. Mostly it will just hold jars of oil, etc but with the butcher block top it would be nice if someone could chop something on it without it wobbling around.

3. How should I attach the shelves. Can I cut slots in the legs with the router and glue the shelves in (the way it is drawn) or is there a structural reason that I need to do real mortise and tenons (or some other method).

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

SketchUp file:

17 replies so far

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3040 days

#1 posted 02-26-2011 02:09 PM

SInce I’ve never actually built this, please keep in mind that my answers are nothing more than my opinion, but here goes.
1. That is a matter of opinion. I think 1×2 would be plenty enough if you use quality wood. However, I think the 2×2s would be better. I tend to overbuild things. I can’t see where there is going to be that much of a cost difference between the 1×2s and the 2×2s.
2. Once again, I tend to overbuild things. I think if the wood is attached together well, you wouldn’t necessarily need and apron, but I think an apron would make it a lot sturdier over time. Personally, I would spend the money and add a back and sides. You could use quarter inch plywood. There are many styles of plywood to choose from. I’m partial to luan. It. I just like the look of it. Attach it to the back and sides glue and any other fasteners you see fit. This would eliminate any kind of racking or twisting that may occur.
3. I think the notch idea would be fine. As long as the legs are sturdy,besides the glue, the slats running from front to back would help hold the cross braces into the legs. The way it is drawn out, from what I can see, unless the legs move or all the slats come loose, it would be impossible for the cross pieces to fall out.


View cutmantom's profile


407 posts in 3233 days

#2 posted 02-26-2011 02:48 PM

I would make the ends a complete assembly then stretchers between them, put the top on screwed from underneath, and drill shelf pin holes for the shelves so they can be adjustable, you can drill holes only where you want a shelf to be to avoid seeing a bunch of holes, then more could be drilled if you want to change the location of a shelf

View ChefHDAN's profile


1171 posts in 3047 days

#3 posted 02-26-2011 03:06 PM

I agree with the advice above, remember you’ll only get better with more projects so don’t be afraid to jump in, remeber what my wife still tells me to this day, “You’re the ONLY one that is going to notice that” We spot the mistakes but those are learning opportunites and the mile markers of experience.

Now… the most important piece of advice… DO NOT STORE WINE NEXT TO THE STOVE! Wine racks look nice but they belong in dark cool places, wine is a living thing and light and heat will turn any wine into garbage quickly. If your wine will move off of that rack in 30 days or so go ahead… but if you’re going to to have bottles there for 6 months or more, just keep dusting them and cleaning the kitchen grease off of them but don’t drink ‘em.. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.


-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3040 days

#4 posted 02-26-2011 03:09 PM

DId I read that someone has wine last around their house for more than six months?
How does that happen?
I didn’t know that was possible.


View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3266 days

#5 posted 02-26-2011 05:30 PM

I think that your design will want to “rack” pretty easily.

If I were designing this for a customer, I think that I would use plywood panels next to the stove and wall. The wall panel would be dadoed to accept the stove panel, and they would be glued and screwed together. This will give you a rock solid corner to work with. I would also use some reflective insulation on the wall panel to minimize heating when using the oven.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View chrisstef's profile


17759 posts in 3204 days

#6 posted 02-26-2011 05:48 PM

I agree with using 1/4” plywood panels for the back and sides. If it is pinched in there, between the stove and the wall, you could get away with 1×2 legs, it wouldnt have the opportunity to rack side to side. Same thing goes for the apron, if its pinched in between the stove and say the wall, i dont think it would be necessary. Remeber its just wood, changes can always be made along the way. Enjoy the creative process and remember, we’re a simple bunch …. we love pictures.

Oh and welcome to Lumberjocks, look forward to seeing your creations.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3196 days

#7 posted 02-26-2011 06:02 PM

You will want the rails to be wider. Tenons are better. As is, it will be too wobbly. Take a look at some Krenov style sawhorses to see a good example of this type of construction:

Note how wide the lower rail is. What you would really want to do for this type of construction would be similar but finer pieces.

Takes a little longer but not that much when you factor in having to make it again when it self destructs.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View ChefHDAN's profile


1171 posts in 3047 days

#8 posted 02-27-2011 03:55 PM

William, some does last a bit longer, you’d be suprised how the value of some wines can increase over time even quadrupling.. not that I’ve ever really resold any of my cellar, but WOW is it nice to have the really good stuff for years knowing you didn’t have to pay the ridiculous prices for retail inventory…I think there’s 100+ bottles in the cellar right now, but I just use the boxes…..maybe some racks are overdue!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3040 days

#9 posted 02-27-2011 06:13 PM

I’m sorry. I was making a poor attempt at a joke. The closest I usually came to wine (back when I drank) was tequila, and it never lasted very long.
Lucky for me, I quit drinking years ago.


View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3248 days

#10 posted 02-27-2011 09:22 PM

I am completely in-agreement with ChefDAN, please, do not store wine next to your stove! That is one of the worst places for it in the kitchen. A rack of this nature is fine, as long as it is not next to a heat source, or in direct sunlight. Please reconsider your location.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View RickJ's profile


7 posts in 2854 days

#11 posted 02-27-2011 09:41 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. This is really helpful. It is strangely comforting that everyone does not exactly agree. I am going to beef up the structure and maybe give up the wine rack element. I was a bit concerned about storing wine next to the stove but that didn’t quite seem like a woodworking question!

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3248 days

#12 posted 02-27-2011 09:48 PM

I work in the wine industry and hear horror stories all the time about improper wine storage. Don’t take it the wrong way, but the above rack idea, next to the stove, would be considered improper storage within the wine industry, as well as by serious wine drinkers and collectors. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $5-bottle, or a $500-bottle (it all spoils the same), I would suggest you find a different location to keep your wine.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3686 days

#13 posted 02-27-2011 10:39 PM


You could still use your basic design and use it as open shelves for books, fire helmets (inside joke), or other display items.

I just built a rolling cart/cabinet with a stainless steel top for a customer in San Antonio, to fill just such a space.

-- James

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3985 days

#14 posted 02-28-2011 04:18 AM

Just made a similar item for my MIL (table between stove and door).

To prevent racking, you need a couple cross braces on the end. Put one midway down the back side (against the wall) and two on the front. The top cross brace on the front can have cup hooks on it to hang pot holders. The next would be clean to hang a towel, etc.

Its next to the stove, so put a few ceramic tiles on top. That makes a trivet for setting hot pans on.

This is the one I did,:


As mine had stretchers around the top and a plywood shelf on the bottom to hold her trash can, I didn’t need as much “racking” prevention.

-- Go

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3356 days

#15 posted 02-28-2011 05:24 AM

Yep, this will definitely “rack” on you. I’d add thicker cross-members or, better yet, a face-frame type of element. Alternatively, you could use a thin backing board (at least partly) to give rigidity to the structure.

-- jay,

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