Swedish Wall Shelf

Swedish Wall Shelf

By Dave Munkittrick

Here’s a charming shelf that’s small enough to fit on any wall and can
be built in an afternoon. It makes a great gift and it’s easy to make a bunch all at
once. While the design is based on a 19th-century Swedish-American clock shelf,
its use today is limited only by your imagination. Kitchen spice shelf, photo display shelf, knickknack shelf—it’s great for just about anything, except maybe encyclopedias!

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Trace the outline of your template
onto the wood. Take advantage of grain
patterns around knots that follow the
shape of your piece.

Click on any image to view a larger version.


Cut out the pieces on the scroll saw. For
tight inside corners like this use what’s called a
“zero-radius” turn. Here’s how to do it: Cut all
the way into the corner, then rotate the
piece around the blade by letting
the teeth slowly nibble away
as you complete the turn. If
you’ve never done a zeroradius
turn before you can
always make relief cuts into
the corners to give your
blade more room.


Outline the shelf brackets onto the back of the wall panel. This will
show you exactly where to drill the pilot holes for the screws.


Drill and countersink pilot holes through the back panel and into
the shelf brackets. Use a second clamp to hold the assembly onto your
workbench. Use a square to help guide your drill and place the holes where
the brackets are widest.


Nail the top to the brackets with 3d finish nails.
Use a small hammer and tap (don’t drive) the nail
into the bracket. Use a nail set to countersink the
nail heads.


Clamp the valance onto the underside
of the top with spring clamps. Use a thin
bead of glue to minimize squeeze out. A
damp cloth can be used to wipe away any
excess glue before it sets.

This story previously appeared in American Woodworker February 2000, Issue #78.