Greene & Greene Pantry Shelf

Cloudlifts and ebony accents add spice to utilitarian storage.

by Norman Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher
pages 38-42

This project began, as many do, with a need. Norm’s overflowing pantry shelves needed relief. So we set out to build a shelf that could hang on his kitchen wall to store cans and boxes for ready access. While we might have built a plain case with shelves, where’s the fun in that? We decided to make a Greene & Greene-inspired shelf – not only to dress up Norm’s kitchen, but for the design and construction challenges it posed.

Charles and Henry Greene are well-known for their Asian-influenced Arts & Crafts designs. Both the homes and the furniture they designed for them incorporate a wide variety of details. Among the better-known and most frequently imitated are cloudlifts, pillowed finger joints, reveals and the use of ebony for decorative accents. So here we’ve incorporated all of these.

Design Brief
The needs and available space dictated five shelves of varying heights to accommodate different-sized cans and boxes. For simplicity and harmony, we chose to use whole numbers and simple ratios for the shelf’s design. Thus, the major mass of the case is 24″ x 36″, a 2:3 ratio. The shelves themselves have varying depths, narrowing gradually as they progress from 534” at the bottom to 414” at the top, and are attached with tapered sliding dovetail joints.

The cloudlifts on the sides of the case mirror the narrowing shelf widths, and the shelves are each inset from the front to create 14” reveals.

In front of each shelf is a retaining rod to prevent the goods from falling onto the floor. Each retaining rod incorporates a cloudlift, as well as an ebony inlay. The top and bottom rails, each 3″ in height as a proportional punctuation to the overall case dimensions, also employ cloudlifts and ebony accents and cap a shiplapped back.

Website: See more from the authors at shenandoahtoolworks.com.
Hardware: Hangman “Professional French Cleat Hanger.”
Blogs: Read more about tapered sliding dovetails and Norm Reid’s design approach.
In Our Store:Working Wood 3,” by Simon James.

From the August 2017 issue, #233