wall-hanging mail organizer--how to join?

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Forum topic by Millo posted 03-14-2011 02:23 AM 2427 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 3251 days

03-14-2011 02:23 AM

Dear all,

I am planning to make (at some point in time, be it now, in a month, or in 4-5 months) a wall-hanging mail organizer. It will have a back and two sides, with (possibly floating, secured in angled grooves on the inside faces of the organizer’s sides) slant tray-fronts. The sides will be walnut, and I got some scrap pieces of walnut plywood that might work for the back, or maybe I can make a solid walnut back (which I’d rather not do). My main two questions are regarding joining the back to sides and hanging/attaching it on/to the wall.

In my ignorance I wanted to ask you what would be the best way to join this back to the sides. I am considering these options:

-I thought biscuits would be too weak, since it’s not a box and there is no other board or frame holding the thing together)

-Long-grain to long-grain dovetails (solid-wood back option)... I just read a thread in which a few mentioned it wasn’t such a good idea.

-Rabbetting the solid-wood sides slightly (if the plywood is the one rabbetted then it would show on the side), gluing, and once glue is dry drilling holes for solid-wood dowels (the tray fronts are going to be made of maple).
Would you get a jig like this one for making these dowels?

-I have never made loose tenons but thought I’d pass since it would seem more difficult than the biscuit or dowel options, and because I will already have a bit of a hard time figuring out how to route the angled slots for the trays in a consistent way…

At first I thought of using a router table w/ a t-track and miter gauge but their miter gauges are all table-saw ones that go up to 60 degrees, and I don’t remember if they have a router table with t-track at the shop. I think I’l make a jig that will serve as a guide and and do it with a plunge router.

Regarding wall hanging: I wanted to have the back and sides flush on the back to maximize the usable depth of the sides, for which I already have selected among the scrap walnut I had, because of this I’m not sure a french cleat system would be attractive.

-making key holes on the sides (which I hope will be AT LEAST 3/4” thick).

-using eye hooks screwed on either the back or sides.

Excuse my ridiculous ignorance—any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

1 reply so far

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3044 days

#1 posted 03-16-2011 02:08 PM

For a simple mail organizer, I personally would use dowels. If drilled properly, glue the sides to the back. Cut a groove into the sides of the dowels you’re using to make sure you get plenty of glue in there and it should hold the weight of mail with no problem. I made some mail organizer that hung on the wall a few years ago. As far as I know the one’s I made are still being used today and they were just edge glued using Gorilla wood glue. If I knew then what I know now though, I would use dowels.
As far as hanging it on the wall, if I understand your question correctly, you want it hung flush with the wall. I would personally do this by using a scroll saw to cut a nice design towards the top of the back that has a hole no smaller than a half inch big right in the center near the top. This will look nice while giving you a way to hang it anywhere you want with a nail, hook, screw, or whatever.


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