Entry Shelf Complete

The entry shelf I started working on a few weeks ago has been complete and installed for some time.  I didn’t scribe it perfectly to the wall in a couple of places so I caulked and painted the edges yesterday.  Mistake.  It looked better without the caulk.  Because the paint sits at an angle on the caulk (not perfectly vertical like on the wall), it catches the light more and looks lighter.  It isn’t bad looking but it was better before.  Lesson learned.

I’m also a little sad that the wood lost its silvery white color, but I knew that it would.  It picked up the strong amber cast of the polyurethane I applied.  Not bad looking at all (actually a better compliment to the floor) and about as durable a finish as I can apply.  The finish also allowed some of the cool refractive properties of the wood to show through so it looks lighter or darker in different areas depending on your viewing angle.

The artwork is courtesy of two of my nieces.

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TotW: Entry Shelf

Welcome back true believers!  Thanks again for showing an interest in what I do.  I really appreciate it.

This week I jumped back into the tried and true area of furniture design.

When I tore out and redid my kitchen a few years ago, I built the cabinets out of this really beautiful wood I hadn’t heard of before called Pacific Coast White Birch.  Sure you’ve heard of birch but this stuff looks different.  It has a silvery color as opposed to the sort of bleached yellowish white of birch veneer plywood or poplar.  The grain pattern is more noticeable than regular birch but not overbearing like pine.  It is easy to work with, a little heavy and it smells great when you cut it.

Anyway, I had some left over from the kitchen project and had kept it stored flat and wrapped in a tarp during the intervening years.  I have tripped over this bundle of wood so many times it was a joy to think that I’d finally found a worthwhile use for it and I’d finally get that part of my shop floor back.

The first two days of the week were spent finalizing a design for a console table for our living room.  There was an initial design several months ago, but since then I’d come to realize that it could be better.  You were right Autumn.  It was just too beefy.

Paper Minis - Original on Left Revised on Right

With the design complete I went out in the shop to calculate exactly how much wood I had.  Ancient cat litter and dust went everywhere when I unwrapped the tarp.  To my dismay, most of what was wrapped up was plywood, drawer sides and base molding I’d made for the kitchen.  There were only two pieces of birch!

A quick stroll through our budget showed me that we simply don’t have the money to buy wood for projects right now so I had to come up with something else to make.  I decided on an entryway shelf with drawers and a TV room end table.  Both of these will show off the wood nicely and should be buildable from the stock I have left.  Since the shelf should be quicker and I’d already used up about half the week, I decided to do that one first.

I spent another half of a day trying to come up with a way to incorporate drawers into the shelf.  It would be great to have a place to dump keys, wallet, mail, etc right when you come in the house.  Our entryway is in proportion to our house, which is to say tiny.  This meant the shelf had to be minimal to maintain a nice proportion.  Every time I tried to integrate drawers of a useful size, the whole thing became too bulky.

Closest I Came to Success - Recessed Drawers Below Shelf

My favorite thing about the design is that the top of the shelf is made from a single 10” wide piece of wood.  I love the way it looks!

The construction is pretty straightforward.  The only time consuming part of the process was scribing the shelf to some fairly wavy walls.  Since it doesn’t have a backsplash like a countertop, it has to be a really tight fit to look good.

Sadly, when I test fit it for the first time, a corner caught on a bulge in the wall and chipped up the wood before I could react.  On another test fit, I dropped the shelf on its corner!  I was so angry that I had to set it down and walk away for a little while.  Now I’m waiting for the wood glue and putty to dry on the repairs and I should have pictures of the completed and installed product to show you all early next week.