Monday, February 18, 2008

Making a Pull-Out Shelf Tray

Classic Joinery Highlights this Modern Kitchen Aid

This Arts and Crafts Style kitchen I'm building has a lot of great design features. One small detail is in the interior of the door cabinets. Instead of having a shelf which you have to bend down and reach into to access the interior, this design acts like a drawer and pulls out as well as adding to the over-all appeal of the cabinets. I shaped the shelf fronts so you can easily grab hold eliminating the need for any kind of after market drawer pulls. The box is built in the traditional style using through dovetails on the front and rear. It's made out of solid Cherry and will be finished with a hand rubbed oil suitable for kitchen use. I go through the dovetailing process in an earlier blog, so once I have the basic box complete, I shape the front.

Cutting the Sweep

A gentle curve compliments the lines of the cabinets and I simply draw in the desired shape with a pencil. If you have a few of these to do, make a template off of this first one for continuity among the others. To simplify the cutting out process I take a Forster style drill bit and on my Drill press I drill out the two bottom corners of the sweep.Once the two corners are cut out I clamp the face in my shoulder vise and using my Tenon Saw I cut down the two outside angles. I follow with a Fret saw and cut across the bottom, carefully following the pencil line. I leave about 1/8" of material that will be removed later.


Now that the main area has been rough cut out, I bring things a little closer using a Spokeshave. I use Canadian made VERITAS Spokeshaves, the three models they manufacture are flat, round and concave; each being designed for smooth, effective, chatterfree shaping of panel edges, paddles, tool handles, and all freehand work. The flat and round bottom spokeshaves are the general workhorses in my workshop. These are the tools you will pick up for practically every kind of woodworking activity. The round shave has a 1-3/4" radius. After shaping the drawer front with the spokeshave I fine tune the inside curves with a cabinet scraper. These are great tools for a wood shop, simple yet effective for smoothing difficult grain patterns, rounding over sharp edges or any other shaping you may do.

Assemble and Finish

Once the front is shaped I assemble the Shelf Trays using the method I described in the Dovetailing a Drawer Blog. Once the boxes are glued up I install the 1/4" Cherry bottoms. These are strong trays designed for generations of use as well as adding a nice touch to this kitchen; when you open up the lower doors, instead of seeing a couple of crowded shelves, you're able to pull-out a custom build tray enabling full access to the bottom and back spaces within.

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