Monday, January 18, 2016

Wood Shoe Rack

For my next project I'm going to build a simple wood shoe rack that my parents requested of me.  I offered to build a shoe dresser like the one I made about a year ago...


...but they didn't want something so elaborate.  You can see my shoe dresser build by clicking here.  They also needed something that would fit in a specific spot in their closet.  So I designed this in Google SketchUp, making it fairly simple.


This thing should be quick and easy to make.


With my simple plans complete I went out and bought the wood I needed.


4 of the boards I bought will be used for the shelves and need to be trimmed only 1.5 inches.  So I set a fence on my table saw for that much...


...and trimmed the 4 boards.


Next I measured the 2 boards left for the sides.


Then I cut those 2 boards on the table saw.


Next I sanded every board.


Sanding was necessary as the boards I bought were at the 'bottom of the barrel'.  They were all not the best, and some were even a little warped.


But those will straighten out in time once this thing is assembled.  To pretty up the edges of all the boards I ran them through my router table using 1/4" round-over bit.


This rounded the edges nicely.


Once that was done I marked the positioning of each shelf on the 2 side boards.


I also drew a rounded shape for the bottom feet.


I cut out the shape with my jigsaw, and repeated the process on the second side board.


Next I took a few minutes to add some adhesive to some sandpaper and wrap it around some dowels I had.


Using these sanding dowels helped smooth out the rounded cuts.


Next I brought the rounded areas back to the router table and rounded these edges as well.


With the sides done I began drilling pocket holes into the ends of the shelves.


Then I began screwing the shelves to the sides, making sure to align the boards with the marks I drew in earlier.


Once the shelves were in place on one side, I flipped it over and attached the other side.


Not too bad so far.


Next I glued, clamped and nailed (in that order) a sheet of 1/4" plywood to the back.  The nails were inserted on the backs of each of the 2 sides and the 4 shelves.


Once that was done I took a chamfering bit and trimmed the edges of the plywood to a nice 45 degree angle.


Then I sanded once more.


After sanding and a little clean up this simple shoe rack was looking good.


When I bought the lumber for this job I also picked up some 2x1 trim which I thought I'd might use to pretty up the edges or strengthen the edges of each shelf, but I like how it looks and this thing is strong.  So I'll keep this wood for another project.


With the plywood backer glued and nailed in place this thing is strong enough to support my weight (and I'm a heavy guy). 


Next step was to add some wood filler to the various spots that needed filling.


When the filler dried I sanded the rack once more with medium 120 grit sandpaper.


When I was filling, I added filler to some of the big holes and imperfections, but I left a lot of the smaller holes alone.  I love the rustic look and small holes and chips - in my opinion - make the piece look better and more original.


To add to the rustic, worn look I used a sharp chisel and scraped some lines here and there.  They may be hard to see in the picture below, but once stain is applied they will really show.


Then I sanded one last time then with fine 220 grit sandpaper...


...and then cleaned the whole thing and prepped for staining.


At the time I was making this shoe rack it was mid-December and a bit on the cool side (approx 55 degrees).  I could use normal stain no problem, but using polyurethane would have been a hassle. Polyurethane takes a long time to dry, especially in cool temperatures, so I opted to stain the shoe rack with some Minwax Poly Shades.  This stuff has both stain and polyurethane in one.


I used to use Poly Shades when I first began wood working, but for the last year and a half or so I have been using normal stain - which is much better to use.  I don't always have a lot of control when using Poly Shades with a brush (it leaves a lot of streaks and runs), so I decided to try using a staining sponge instead.


The sponge worked a lot better than a brush by far!


Very happy with the results, I let the shoe rack dry for several hours.


When fully dry I sanded the whole thing with grade 0000 steel wool to soften the surface and remove small bumps.


Then I gave the whole thing a cleaning.


Next I applied furniture wax to the whole thing and let it dry.


And I'm all done!


I brought it over to my parents house and set it up in their closet.  It fit perfectly inside and held all of their shoes perfectly.


I'm glad my parents really like it!


This was a fairly simple build, but that's okay.  Simple doesn't mean cheap in this case.  This shoe rack is strong and would definitely last longer than any $20 shoe rack that they might buy in a store.
Thanks for reading!

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