As I mentioned before, building two prototypes helped me work out the joinery details on this project.
I chose dovetails for the end support brackets. The rear bottom edge of the shelf rests on a 1″ x 4″ as detailed in End-bracket rail joinery detail above. To secure the rail, I used half lap joints into the backs of the end support brackets. My SB #71 router plane served well to flatten the bottom of each surface to a consistent depth.
I also cut a rabbet at the back of the interior brackets to fit on the support rail (see Center-bracket rail joinery detail above).
For the glass support slats, I merely screwed them to the top shelf using 1 ¼” #8 screws. I chose these after testing them on Prototype #2. Two screws, one at each end of the slat, held it firmly. By screwing them in from above, the hardware is out of view leaving nothing but wood for onlookers to marvel at.
The shelf rack
After edge-gluing the 8’ boards to make the rack shelf, I used my new (to me) SB #6 to flatten both sides.
Edge jointing the boards to get the butt-joint tight put the glued shelf a little out of square. In fact, there was a taper from one edge to the other that started 3/16″ too wide down to just right. To remove this much material quickly—and safely—I reached for my scrub plane.
Then I cut off two 1-foot long sections. Eventually, I would cut each of these 1’ sections along a diagonal from opposing edges to form four, triangular shelf support brackets.
But before I did this, I cut the dovetails to affix the shelf to the one-foot end brackets. It’s easier to cut dovetails working with a square than a triangle. Starting with the end brackets, I cut the tails, then scribed them onto the shelf ends to layout the pins.
Cutting the pins wasn’t so easy. The shelf was so long that I had to stand it on end and secure it on my front vice, and stand on a stool to make the cuts.
Then I finished removing the waste.
After I was satisfied with the fit of the dovetail joints, I made the diagonal cuts in each of the 1’ squares to get the four triangular shelf support brackets.
For the glass retention slats, I cut 1″ x 4″ to about 26 ½” lengths, which was long enough for two. The longer length was easier to work when rabbetting the slots that the glasses slide along. But before I could begin, I built a sticking board appliance to properly secure the boards for rabbetting.
I ended up rabbetting about 16 board feet on both edges, going 1 1/8″ wide by 3/8″ deep, with my Stanley #78.
You can read about that experience in my sticking board build post above. Let’s just say that it was the woodworking equivalent of “sweating to the oldies”.
First assembly glue up
After dry-fitting the pieces, it was time to glue up the end brackets to the shelf. The rear shelf support rail was next, being glued to its mating half-lap at each end.
The two center shelf support brackets came next. This included notching a rabbet to seat the bracket against the rear rail shelf support. Then I spaced the inner brackets according to my design and screwed them into place from the other side of the support rail and again at about the center from the top of the shelf. I took care to ensure the brackets were square to the shelf and to the support rail.
Then I drilled and countersunk pilot holes for the screws.
After the shelf, rear shelf-support rail and all four support brackets dried, I used a block plane to trim the dovetails flat. To secure the assembled rack, I hung it over my front vise at one end of my bench and over a dowel support at the other end.
Then I cut and sized the slats with the aid of a shooting board.
I made the edge half-slats by cutting a full slat right down the middle. And then added a bead detail to the inside edges of the half-slats that abut to the shelf support brackets.
While everything was accessible, I sanded and finished all the pieces before affixing the slats. And that is the subject of my next post.