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    Build a Small Shelf with Drawer: Part 3

    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    Now that all the case parts have been cut and fitted from part 2, it’s time to glue it all together and then start working on making and fitting the back slats. Before busting out the glue bottle and clamps, plane, sand, and smooth all the surfaces. Those jobs will be near impossible once the case is glued up. Also ease, or chamfer, the edges at this time.  

    And be sure to check back for Part 4. With the slats cut and fitted, you can build the drawer and then put on the finish. I’ll show you those processes next time.

    How to Make

    Not many clamps needed

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    For the glue up, you’ll need to apply pressure top to bottom along the dovetails, and you also need to clamp across the shelf.

    Resaw the back slats

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    First resaw the slats close to thickness, leaving them a bit fat for planing and smoothing.

    Flatten after each cut

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    After cutting the first slat, joint the face of the blank so you will always have a flat reference surface for planing.

    Thin material needs support while planing

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    The resawn slats will give you a good bookmatch.

    Rabbet one edge

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    Run the slats through the planer to clean up saw marks. This thin stock will need a backer underneath to prevent the planer blades from shredding it. This one is made out of 3/4 in. thick plywood. A stop super-glued to the end and double-faced tape help keep the workpiece in place. Take light passes.

    Cut them to fit

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    You need to allow solid wood slats to move, and shiplapping them is an ideal method. A shiplap is basically an overlapped rabbet joint. These rabbets are shallow, so I use a tablesaw to cut them. It takes two passes. Clean up the cuts with a shoulder plane or sandpaper.

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    After cutting the slats to length, trim them to width. You want the lap joint to be centered in the cabinet and to preserve the bookmatch, so cut carefully.