Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wood Wall Shelves #2

A couple of years ago I made these 2 very cool looking wall shelves for my mother.


My mother has received numerous compliments on these shelves.


You can see my original build for these shelves by clicking here. 
About 6 months after I made those shelves I made a storage cabinet for my mother that fit in a small hallway.


You can also see that build by clicking here.  In the image above she has a few paintings showing, but as the years have gone by I put up some simple small shelves.  On these shelves are her collection of various Lego builds she's made.


(Several years back my mother had a stroke, and playing with Legos helped her hand/eye coordination and the return of mobilization for her hands.  She's also become accustomed to receiving Lego's for Christmas, and just like a kid, she usually opens them up immediately and starts building.)


So I thought for this Christmas I'd build her a better looking shelving system that fits above the storage cabinet and also has the same curved look as the awesome shelves I built her a few years back.  Above is my simple plans I designed in SketchUp, using the original plans I made.  This shelf will have the same curved vertical supports, but will have 2 long shelves in the middle, and 2 smaller shelves on the outsides.


At the same time as I bought material to make a small stand for my Father, I bought material to make this as well.


I started by measuring and marking the boards...


...to cut at the miter saw.  These boards are too wide for my miter saw, so I used a stop block to cut a portion of the board, then flip it to cut the remainder.


These boards will make up the curved verticals.


I then drew a curve on one half of the board...


...and cut it out with the jigsaw.


Then I took the cut off piece and traced it on the other side...


...and cut that out too.  I then repeated the process for the other 3 boards.


Looking at the image above, you'd notice that the cuts are in no way even.  And you'd be right.  But it's all okay...


...because I'll be using my belt sander to even everything out.  I clamped the 4 boards evenly together and then clamped it onto one of my benches.


My poor hand held belt sander hasn't been used in such a long time.  But it's feeling happy today.


The belt sander makes quick work of evening out the boards and getting the shape I want.


Once done I took the 4 boards over to the router table...


...and rounded the edges on all sides except the back.  This is where I made a big mistake but didn't realize it yet.*


I then cut the boards for the long and short shelves and rounded the front edges.


After all this sanding and routing my garage was a saw dusty mess.  I stopped for a good while to clean.


Next I wanted to cut the vertical pieces to their correct sizes.


I tried doing this on the miter saw, but the wood is still too wide.  I can't just flip the board like last time since once side is curved.


So I cut all the pieces on my table saw, using my sled.


All the pieces were cut...


...and then dry fitted.


*This is when I discovered the big mistake I made.  For the vertical pieces I routed both sides when I was only supposed to route one side.  This means I'll have to sand down all the routed edges - but I'll do that after the verticals are assembled.


To assemble the verticals I first glued and nailed a short end piece onto the adjacent longer piece.


Then I used one of the short shelves as a spacer and added glue to the rest of the longer piece.


Then I attached the middle piece...


...and removed the shelf spacer.


Then I flipped it over, used the small shelf spacer again and added glue to the rest of the middle piece.


Then I attached the other longer piece on.


Then I flipped it once more, add the spacer again...


...and glued/nailed on the remaining short end piece.


Once again I have a mistake on my hands - the 2 ends do not line up.  It'll be something else I have to correct once the verticals are put together.


I assembled the second vertical piece like the first, making sure all the spaces for the shelves line up correctly.


I then clamped the pieces together to let the glue dry.


While clamped I drilled holes on the spaces...


...and drove some screws.


This will keep the 2 verticals together while I correct my mistakes.  Also, I'll be attaching the shelves with screws later, so the holes I drilled are okay.


The first correction I made was trimming both ends on the miter saw.


Then I clamped the verticals onto my clamping bench...


...and began correcting the mistake I made with the router.  I used my power hand planer to quickly remove material and switched to my buffer/sander to reshape and smooth the edges.


With the corrections made to both verticals, I removed the screws that held them together.


Now I could route the edges the way they were supposed to be.


Once both verticals were routed, I decided to give everything a dry-fit.


I was upset earlier with the mistakes I made, but seeing this together now has made me all happy again.


The only downside at the moment is that the longer shelves are now wider than the verticals.  I could trim a little bit off of each shelf on the table saw, but it honestly doesn't look too bad to me.  Plus, I want my mother to have plenty of room on each shelf for her Legos, so the shelves can protrude a little.


Next I cut some 1x2's to create the bottom supports for the long shelves...


...and the supports for the small shelves - which get a 45 degree miter cut.


In addition to supporting the shelves, the supports also anchor the whole unit to the wall.


With the supports all done, the next step was to sand all the pieces.


I started with 150 grit paper and finished with 220.  Then I cleaned everything up and prepared to assemble everything.  I added glue to spaces for the shelves in each vertical and then put the shelves in place.


I then added countersinks to the holes I drill earlier...


...so that all the screws would be below the surface of the wood.


Then I added the shelf supports, also using glue and screws.


Next I added the smaller shelves...


...followed by their supports.


And this new shelving unit is all together nicely!


Next I began added wood filler to fill in all the screw holes and imperfections.


To make it easier to sand, I moved the unit onto some saw horses.


The process of filling and sanding went on and on.


The difficult part were the corners where I applied filler.


In addition to my sanders and sandpaper, a damp rag works well in smoothing dried wood filler.


After a day of filling, drying, sanding, cleaning these shelves were ready for staining.


I used the same stain as I did for the original shelves - my favorite, Jacobean.


I applied it to the top and sides...


...and later applied it to the back.


A few areas - mainly the corners where the shelves meet the verticals - the wood filler did not stain well.


To darken these areas to match I used some flat black spray paint.


A few quick, fast sprays darkens the area without turning it black.


Then I let the stand dry fully overnight.  The next day I planned on adding the polyurethane, but I had one problem.  With the cooler weather here, polyurethane takes a lot longer to dry.  To make things dry faster I dilute my polyurethane with lacquer thinner.


The problem is that the lacquer thinner will wipe away the black spray paint.  So before adding my polyurethane, I used some glossy clear coat.  


This will better protect the areas with the spray paint.


Once the clear coat was dry I prepped for applying polyurethane.


As I applied the poly, I was happy to see that none of the black spray paint smeared off.


Then I let the first coat dry for about an hour and a half.


Once dry I used a fine sanding sponge to smooth the surface.


Then I cleaned the dust with a damp rag, let it dry and then applied a second coat of polyurethane.


I did this process several times until I had the finish I wanted.


For the smoothest final applications, I oriented the shelves vertical or horizontal to get all the surfaces.


I then let the whole thing dry and air out in my workshop for a few days.


The final result was a very awesome looking wall shelf.


Now that's left is to give it to my mother for Christmas and hang it in her house.


My mother loved the shelf and enjoyed placing some of here Lego builds on it.


Because of the very narrow location, it was hard getting a straight-on photo.


My mother will have to use a step stool to reach the upper shelf, but she was fine with that.  She loves her new shelf and that makes me happy.

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