Hanging Wall Shelf

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This is my first piece of what I guess would be described as “fine woodworking”. It is the project I am most proud of to date, partly for the range of new techniques I learned, but also because I consider it truly beautiful.

“Hanging wall shelf” designed by Paul Sellers

This follows the “Hanging wall shelf” project by Paul Sellers. It held a lot of firsts for me, namely:

  • Stopped housing dado
  • Stopped stepped housing dado
  • Through Mortise and tenon
  • Stub mortise and tenon

The material was sourced from the last of the floor boards we had left from building our house. It is Tasmanian Oak, and it was wild. Lots of knots, spalting, interlocked grain and areas of fiddleback. There was a reason this piece was never used on the house, and has thus far been neglected when selecting timber from the rack for projects. None the less, it was what I had on hand, and with some time, and a hand plain tuned for wild grain I think it produced a beautiful result with plenty of interest.

Paul has a comprehensive system that he uses for layout, and following his process proved a great boon. I guess there could be plenty of debate as to the pros and cons of different approaches, but as someone fairly new to the game, learning a single process without ambiguity is greatly appreciated. There will be plenty of opportunity down the track to refine or consider other aspects to my workflow.

Considering how all of the joints were new to me, and I’m still becoming familiar with hand tools I quite surprised myself at the final quality. Whilst I know where there are a couple of looser fitting joints, by and large they are crisp and tight. Yay for me. This is no doubt a consequence of patience and attention to detail.

I finished it with my new favourite process. Shellac applied with a pad, and finished with 0000 steel wool and wax. I know it’s ornamental, however the surface feels so good that I can’t stop touching it. And the wax smells nice too.


May 2019

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