This Shoe Shelf was commissioned by the Hamilton Golf and Country Club to service their ladies locker room. The idea was to maximize shoe storage space without creating a basic, boring, ugly shelf.
In order to match the style of the golf club's interior design, I had to synthesize two elements: the first was the gothic/ tudor style of this classic building, and the second was the more contemporary interior millwork that was upgraded about 10 years ago. I tried to accomplish this by using simple lines engaging 'Shaker' style minimalism, while also using elements like the arched top to allude to gothic architecture.
Above you can see the planning and initial layout of the shelf. I presented the Golf Club committee with three gable designs, and eventually synthesized the three into one final shape.
The material was dictated by the interior as cherry, and I went with a 1.25" thickness so that the structure of the piece could be minimal, but still be able to hold up considerable weight.
The first step of the build was to make up the cherry panels, as well as layout the final gable design. once I was happy with the proportions and angles, I traced the design onto the cherry and cut it out on the bandsaw. I then used the template that I had made to router a clean edge on the cutout with a template cutting bit. This is the best way to make perfectly matching parts easily.
The next step was to layout the through mortises that will join the gables (legs) to the shelves. I went with a through/ wedged mortise and tenon joinery for two reasons. First, it is a classic joint that is appropriate in the surrounding environment. And second, it is a very robust mechanical joint that will stand the test of time and make sure that there are no construction issues with this shelf.
Once the gable legs were prepped with the mortises cut, I moved onto the shelves. At 70" long, and 1.25" think, they needed to be visually lightened. I used a bevel on the bottom to give the illusion that the shelf was much thinner then it actually was.
Once the shelves were build and beveled, I worked on the tenon joinery. Each tenon @ 1.25" square needed to be cut and prepped for two wedges.
Once all the joinery was finished I cut the last detail of the gables which was a single bevel running around the inside edges. If I had a 45 degrees chamfer bit I would have used it with my router, but since it was after hours, and I didn't have the bit I cut it by hand with my spoke shave. Another benefit to having hand tool skills!
With all the joinery and details cut, its on to sanding and glue up. I pretended all my parts because it would be very difficult after gluing up.
For the assembly there was not much glue used. A bit in the mortises and on the tenons, but mostly the wedges do the work. They are glued and hammer home to make a hard wearing joint!
Once the glue dries, I trim off the ends and you have a strong flush joint that shows off the joinery.
Finally I had this piece finished with lacquer because it was being used regularly and aggressively and I wanted something that would wear well.
And here is the final product with one of my Bonsai Trees for company!