The design that we chose mimicked a shelf that the student's grandfather has. My student wanted to reproduce this family treasure and give it as a gift to his own father. The shelf included two brackets, one board, and a railing (made from mahogany). My student sawed the parts with a copping saw and continued on to make the railings. It was the railings that provided us with a good opportunity to practice some woodcarving. We decided to carve a diamond-like decorative pattern on the railing. To do the chip carving a flat chisel and some files. Then he drilled holes in the underside of the railing and on the shelf. Following this he put some glue in the holes, inserted the tiny balusters and clamps the parts together.
This is an elegant project that made my student feel very accomplished.