Possible new project.


Coyote Jim
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I am in the planning phase of a new project. I want to make a couple of floating night stands. I have been over thinking the design for a long long time.

I will loosely be designing mine around this:

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I have some major differences though. For starters I only want 2 shelves. I also want to have the larger shelf on the bottom and the smaller one on the top, it just seems so much more functional that way.  I am also on the fence about whether I should light it or not, would be cool but.....meh.

There will be two of these, one on either side of the bed.

I think I may be over designing it in my head though. So I drew what I was thinking.

IMG_20180821_191520.thumb.jpg.3cc341260879b7f1e5d501f4b91a3df3.jpg

This picture should be click-able to get a larger view of it.

I hope you can see what I am going for here in my horrible horrible drawing. Top left is the look I am going for. Believe it or not, my stunning drawing is not to scale. I am thinking the lower shelf will be around 18" wide and the overall height will be 18" - 20". Just below that is a strait on view. I'm not sure exactly on the size, my plan is to build a prototype out of foam board and see if I like it.

If I decide to light it I will create a dado on the interior of the vertical box vertically about 2 or 3 inches back so that I can slide a piece of white acrylic (we use it at work for signs, it's lights up really nice) and have the LED's be behind that. To support the shelves the plan is to make a couple of dados on the outside of the vertical box for the shelves to slide into, I did my best to draw that.

If I do not decide to light it I'm going to.....um......ask for advice on how best to attached the shelves to the vertical box.

The corners of the box I am debating over a lot also. They are far from load bearing so I don't need them to be super beefy but I want to do more than just miter them. Add decorative through dowels? Contrasting splines? Proud dovetails? Proud box joints? Thoughts?

Anyway, all I have is some lines on a paper and a picture in my head. I am very much a beginner so I would love some input on how you real woodworkers would build something like this. Also, feel free to show me any glaring design flaws.

Also, wood choice. I have SO much birch and access to more. I SHOULD use that up but I don't like the way birch looks natural and I don't like stains. Should I just go for birch because I have it? I also have a bit of white oak, I would need to buy more to have enough for this project but I absolutely love white oak and I can afford it.

As it is I think I could run with what I have rattling around in my head and it would be ok, but I want better than ok, so that is where I hope you guys can help.

 

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I usually prefer the night stands to have the surface just a bit taller than the mattress, but these look great. Your design looks and reads great so no problem there. I'd match the wood to the bed, and use contrasting splines, as the design is a bit too "modern" for proud joinery and the box would be holding most of the load in all directions. Miter key would work too.

I noticed there's no cutout in the original design, while in yours the shelves contact the box only on the outside, any particular reason for this? seems to me like the joinery should be the same, acrylic or not, but I like the lights. 

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34 minutes ago, kyokahn said:

I noticed there's no cutout in the original design, while in yours the shelves contact the box only on the outside, any particular reason for this? seems to me like the joinery should be the same, acrylic or not, but I like the lights. 

There is no GOOD reason for it other than I just did not draw it that way. If I use the acrylic then that "inner shelf" part will be much shallower than without but both would have it like you said.

Would I want to put a shallow dado on both the inside and outside of the vertical box for the shelves or just have the interior part of the shelf float?

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Fun project.  I think the original desing had the shelves going all the way throught he box for a reason - it adds strength. I would keep that part of the design.

Yu can do whatever youe nat with the corners of the box.  I like miters with the side - top - side from the same board so the grain follows up the side, across the top a nd down the other side.  Maybe a 3/4" thick edge on the front edges of the box out of a contrasting wood - glue it well as it will be taking load.

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I would consider using a pocket hole in the underside of the larger shelf back into the wall at a stud. Looks like your design has the shelf against the wall and the original has the shelves with a gap between them and the wall. A screw there should provide a significant amount of support and strengthen it up for that end cantilevered out. Could plug it underneath and few would ever see it. That would make how you do the main joint between the shelf and box much less sensitive.

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11 hours ago, Coyote Jim said:

Would I want to put a shallow dado on both the inside and outside of the vertical box for the shelves or just have the interior part of the shelf float?

I don't think it adds anything to go with a dado on both as long as it fits tight.

11 hours ago, Coyote Jim said:

If I use the acrylic then that "inner shelf" part will be much shallower than without but both would have it like you said.

Not much shallower if you use a white led strip behind thin acrylic :) 

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18 hours ago, Ronn W said:

Fun project.  I think the original desing had the shelves going all the way throught he box for a reason - it adds strength. I would keep that part of the design.

You're probably right. I think that is a better way to go. It's just not as sexy.

18 hours ago, AJ_Engineer said:

I would consider using a pocket hole in the underside of the larger shelf back into the wall at a stud.

That is also a good idea. I plan to screw it pretty heavily into the studs but if it needs a little more support on the wing then your idea would work perfectly. I would not have thought of that.

13 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Very interesting design. The central 'column' box could easily extend to a simple platform 'foot', if you prefer to avoid hanging them on the wall.

I like the thought of it on the wall. But if we ever rearrange the bedroom or move and they just won't work on the wall at the new location adding a foot is a great idea.

12 hours ago, wdwerker said:

You could also add a 3/4" board as a back. 

It definitely needs some kind of back to it. I'm thinking 2 or 3 cross pieces in the back with a "housing" cut into the back of the vertical to connect them. I have never done anything like that and it would give me an excuse to use my new router plane!

12 hours ago, K Cooper said:

I’ve had something similar on a spare bedroom/office wall for 15 years or so. Iit’s hard to tell from all of the stuff that’s accumulated 

That is pretty similar. I bet it looked really awesome when you first installed it without all that stuff on it. It still looks good with the stuff but the stuff hides a lot.

8 hours ago, kyokahn said:

Not much shallower if you use a white led strip behind thin acrylic :) 

I was envisioning having the acrylic closer to the front of the "box" but now that you mention it there is no good reason not to have it recessed close to the back. It would look much better too.

This is why I wanted to get the opinions of you good folks during the initial sketch part of the design. You all have already made it better.

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Grain direction is important on this project. With the grain running parallel to the wall it will create weak points around the box and that could cause failure. With the grain running perpendicular to the wall like the original pictures that is less likely to happen. Keep this in mind.

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43 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Grain direction is important on this project. With the grain running parallel to the wall it will create weak points around the box and that could cause failure. With the grain running perpendicular to the wall like the original pictures that is less likely to happen. Keep this in mind.

Are you talking about the grain direction of the column or the shelves or both?

On the column my plan was to have the grain run parallel with the wall (vertically). On the shelves I was thinking the grain should also run parallel to the wall (from left to right). That way the grain direction on both the column and the shelf will be the same and "should" expand and contract with the season together.

Does that sound right?

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20 minutes ago, Coyote Jim said:

On the column my plan was to have the grain run parallel with the wall (vertically). On the shelves I was thinking the grain should also run parallel to the wall (from left to right). That way the grain direction on both the column and the shelf will be the same and "should" expand and contract with the season together.

Does that sound right?

I agree and that is important for the shelves.

1 hour ago, Coyote Jim said:

This is why I wanted to get the opinions of you good folks during the initial sketch part of the design. You all have already made it better.

No shortage of opinons around here...:rolleyes:

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48 minutes ago, Coyote Jim said:

Are you talking about the grain direction of the column or the shelves or both?

On the column my plan was to have the grain run parallel with the wall (vertically). On the shelves I was thinking the grain should also run parallel to the wall (from left to right). That way the grain direction on both the column and the shelf will be the same and "should" expand and contract with the season together.

Does that sound right?

The shelves should be perpendicular to the walls. I don't know that the box matters as much but that depends on joinery.

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