Hanging Clock Shelf, early work

My current project is a small hanging shelf. If it turns out well it will be shipped to my Mother who will use it to display an antique clock that is 13” wide by 4” deep by 19” high.

I believe this is the first piece I’ve worked on that wasn’t based on a design I found online. I’d share a drawing, except other than some rough sketches on scratch paper I haven’t made one.

I’ve wanted to build something that required no glue, nails, or other fasteners.

This piece will be composed of:

1 24” long piece of walnut, 3” wide, that will get screwed to the wall.
2 24” high side rails in cherry, 4 ¾” deep at their deepest point, narrowed down to 2” at the top.
1 20” wide by 4 ⅞” deep walnut shelf

The shelf will attach to the cherry sides with tusk tenons, held in place with walnut pegs.
The cherry sides will attach to the piece of walnut that is fastened to the wall with a kind of french cleat. I’m making a dado in the walnut wall piece, with an angled hook behind the dado. The holes for the screws will be in this dado. The cherry rails will fit inside the dado, and with complimentary angled hooks slide over the walnut, hiding the screws attaching the piece to the wall.

Sorry if that doesn’t make much sense. I’ll post pictures as I get to these points.

Because the french cleat joint by itself isn’t secure enough for me to trust I won’t get blamed for the loss of my deceased grandmother’s clock, the bottom shelf will extend behind the cherry side pieces by ⅛”. This will make the angle between the shelf, the wall, and the top piece something just a bit more than 90 degrees, and will help keep the cherry rails firmly in the hooks up top.

When I’m ready to cut the mortise for the bottom shelf, I’ll measure what the angle actually is (roughly ⅛” over 20”), and transfer that angle to the mortise for the bottom shelf so it is level.

That’s the plan as of this afternoon, anyway.

So far I’ve cut the pieces out to rough size, and cleaned the walnut pieces up.

I chose to get the curves cut on the cherry rails before finishing work on the surfaces, as I decided I was more likely to chip out the wood doing these curves than I was working with the planes.

So not a lot to show just yet. That said, I don’t think this will take too much longer to do.

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10 Responses to Hanging Clock Shelf, early work

  1. Can’t visualize. Need a detailed 3D – Autocad – annotated rendition 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wesley Beal says:

      Angles (let alone curves) are beyond my rudimentary SketchUp skills. I’d like to have an “old-school” drafting table, with the paper and tools to do it right as I was taught in 7th grade shop class. It hasn’t been enough of a desire to actually follow through on as of yet.

      Though a small set-up: angled table/cabinet that sat on top of my bench, had place to store good paper, pencils, triangles, & etc…. That would be a nice project to do sometime soon.

      I think SketchUp is a really neat program, and I’m impressed by what people can do. However when I think of how to render something I want to build, I still think in terms of 2-d paper and pencil, Front, Side, and Top views.


  2. snwoodwork says:

    Putting those rasps to work; I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wesley Beal says:

      Those rasps are pure joy. OK, actually I’ll modify that just a bit: the Smooth cut and the File cut make so much possible that wasn’t otherwise.

      The Bastard cut and the 2nd cut attempt to take off SO MUCH material; I haven’t got the hang of using them yet. Using them feels a bit like sliding the blade on your Jack plane out a full 1/8″ and trying push it down a board. I haven’t tried them out on Pine or Poplar yet. Cherry and Maple: Feels like I’m trying to cut dove tails with a chain saw.


      • snwoodwork says:

        With all the reading I’ve done about rasps, I think these tools are what I’m looking forward to the most in purchasing. I have a big farrier’s rasp I’ve used for shaping guitar necks but it has to be similar to your bastard file. Looking at it without gloves on will just about cut you. The finer files seem to be able to really change what kind of work can be accomplished. Until I buy some I’ll watch you and others and soak up all I can.


  3. Good luck! It’s very rewarding designing your own pieces. It’s something that isn’t talked about enough. I plan to do a series soon regarding furniture design.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have fun with those rasps and Furniture designs – I have so much fun when a clients says “let me see what you can do…” pretty much all you need to do is use the Golden Ratio phi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wesley Beal says:

      Too late to worry about any ratio’s, golden or otherwise. That is unless my brain was hard-wired to it to begin with. Another possibility is that the size of the clock, which more or less determines the measurements of my design, followed the ratio’s when it was built.


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