Update on Sister Shelf to Beth's

Hello anxiety, old friend.

Kind of a rough Saturday, friends.  To try and not dwell on that, I'm going to write about the project I was working on before the insane noise complaint the other day.  The sister-shelf to Beth's that I just finished a little bit ago.

After building Beth's bookshelf, I had some wood from the slab top left over.  Realizing also that I was really quite pleased with how her shelf came out, I figured "well now I kinda want one."  I also don't currently own any shelving of any sort; just some stacked old farm crates and a table I made to substitute for a headboard.  

I wanted this new shelf to be similar (i.e. draw from the same inspiration/sources) but be quite distinct from what she has.  They should be a pair, but not the same.  I knew that I wanted the wood choices to be the same since the maple/pear combination worked so well, although I will confess that I did not seek out any natural birch to accidentally "substitute" in certain spots.  I also needed this to be a little less labor-intensive than Beth's.  Haha. It's tough to convey the number of hours that went into that shelf.  Finally, it would have to be smaller because I simply didn't have as much wood and also don't have really any space currently for something the size of what I built her. 

What I settled on was two shelves, with a cantilevered slab top supported by a big chunk of cherry I had left over from my (still ongoing) chair project.  It's a weird design.  Weird enough that I probably wouldn't build it for someone else, but when I'm playing around with my own money and supplies to build something for myself, I can afford, and WANT to take a few risks I may not otherwise explore. 

Angled sides on the through-mortises.

I kept the radiating lines in the joinery, but instead of wedges, I actually shaped the through-mortises differently.  I also DRASTICALLY cut down the number of through mortises.  The bottom shelf only has one on each side and the upper shelf has two on each side.  While the shape made things a little interesting to chop, it wasn't too terribly difficult, and kept the "spirit" of the joinery the same as Beth's.

Shaping the slab using a Lancelot angle-grinder attachment.

Layout on a slab with no straight edges gets somewhat complicated.

Did I mention layout gets complicated?

One more of layout.

The angled edges of the mortised prior to cutting.

The slab top is joined to the base using some big old mortise and tenon joints, much the same as Beth's and I've started placing the dovetail keys with the same combination of maple and koa however it was in this process that I had to stop doing woodworking in the apartment.  This is really the last major step prior to finishing everything and doing the final glue up of all the different pieces.  Finishing is no small task, but I think it's reasonably quiet relative to everything else and I could probably do it in the apartment without anyone getting upset.  It has been nice having the loft be pretty clean though.  *Sigh* I neeeeed a workshoooop.  Ughhh.

Anyways, this is where it currently stands:

So friggin' close! Construction-wise all that's left is to reshape the cherry support in the middle to be a little less blocky and then finish setting the dovetail keys.

After that it's finishing everything (sanding, then applying finish) and final assembly.  I'm really pleased with how weird it is and how it's coming out.   One day, hopefully soon, it'll be finished. 

Hope everyone is having a good Saturday!

<3,
John