August 9, 2010

Adjustable Kitchen Shelf - Part One

I decided a while ago that my next woodworking project would be some sort of kitchen shelf or rack to hold spices and seasonings along with a few cook books. I don't want to build just any old spice rack so I've been searching around for inspiration or a unique design for awhile now. The last time I went to the library I picked up a book of storage projects and found a cool idea for a simple adjustable shelf that I think will work well in my kitchen. Below are the first few pages of that project that you can scroll through:

Since I was modifying the plans a bit to fit my application I modeled up the shelf in Sketchup to see how it looked and make sure everything fit.

Here is a close up showing how the adjustable shelves fit into the uprights.

Side Note: I mentioned in a previous post that I was having some issues with tear out from the planer and was hoping that a fresh set of knives would fix that. I bought a new set on the web from Global Tooling and set them up hoping my tear out issues would be solved. Nope. I'm not sure if it is just the wood, my planer, or if I am expecting too much but I still cannot plane a board with any significant change in grain direction without tear out.

I started this project by sorting through the red oak leftover from the coffee table and setting aside pieces for the uprights and various shelves. Since I was still having issues with tear out it took a lot longer than it should have to find clear pieces that would work for each component. I then planed the uprights down to 3/4" and cut them to size. I then took the blanks and nocked out the notches for the shelves with a 3/4" dado stack. I ran both sides through at the same time to ensure that the locations of the notches lined up perfectly.

Next I dropped down to a 5/16" dado stack and ran the groove in the backside of the uprights.

I then cut some stock for the splines to rough size and then planed it down to fit into the groove. When assembling the spline I inserted it halfway into the groove and then only applied glue to the back edge before press it in the rest of the way. This way I kept the front edges that show through the notches free from glue.

With the splines glued and in place I setup some scrap wood and clamps to hold everything in place until the glue dried.

While upright assemblies were drying I turned to the shelves. The Sketchup model shows 2 6" shelves on top and bottom and 2 4" shelves in the middle. In the model you can see that the 6" shelf is just a bit small for a large cookbook so I decided to make the top shelf a bit bigger. I also made one of the middle shelves a bit larger so they are all a different size. I planed the shelf stock down to just the right thickness to fit into the notches in the uprights. I then cut then to size and added a notch on either end to mate with the spline that sits in each notch. This is the feature that keeps the shelves from moving side to side when installed. Here are the shelves installed on the uprights.

After making sure that everything fit I sanded everything to 180 grit by hand and then applied two coats of "natural" stain which should match the new cabinets that will likely be installed when I redo the kitchen later this year.
Here is the shelf assembled after being stained.

This was a relatively short project that up to this point took a about 6 hours. I plan to finish it off with 5 or so coats of wipe on polyurethane which will take a week or so but compared to the coffee table this project is cruising :)

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