Welcome to Woodworking for Mere Mortals.

Free woodworking plans. Easy woodworking projects. Fun woodworking videos. Woodworking for Mere Mortals.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Contemporary book stand / storage unit

Knock-down knock-off

A lot of woodworkers scoff at the furniture sold at big box retailers such as Ikea. It's a snooty, elitist attitude. The knock-down furniture sold at these stores enables people who aren't wealthy to furnish their homes and apartments with some pretty stylish pieces. Contrary to what some woodworkers seem think, not every twenty-something can afford to hire a woodworker to design and build custom Greene and Greene furniture. Nor would they necessarily want to.

This week I am embracing much-maligned knock-down furniture and inviting it into the realm of woodworking. Our craft should be expanded and its barriers to entry reduced. This style of furniture is easy and fun to replicate and can be built with limited tools and space. Looking down our noses at the practicality of affordable, factory furniture does nothing to expand the dwindling numbers of woodworkers. I believe woodworking is for everyone.

Some woodworkers seem to define "real woodworking" by the cost of the materials used and the color of their tools. I built this storage rack using melamine for the shelves and painted store-bought dowels for the legs. If you would like to turn this into a "fine" woodworking project just use bubinga or cocobolo wood and boast about how much you paid per board-foot.

Building options


You can easily make this stand with a hand saw, jigsaw or a circular saw. Instead of making the holes for shelf pins, use some of those metal hose clamps. Slide them in place along the dowels wherever you want to position the shelves.

Plywood would be a great choice for the shelves. To make this even less expensive, you could experiment using free pallet wood. I'd love to see what you come up with!


*****



18 comments:

  1. Steve, do you need a special saw blade to cut melamine?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but I think a fine-tooth blade will probably cut better. If you get any chip-out, you can run some masking tape down your cut line before you cut.

      Delete
    2. 80 or 100 teeth carbide blade, slow feed and use a zero clearance plate, any regular blade that is labeled to cut aluminum Works fine , if you are cutting small quantities you can even use a 7 1/2 inch blade instead of a 10 or 12 inches in your table saw. Also wear a dust mask and be careful because if you do cut your material properly then you will have very sharp edges on the melamine.

      Delete
  2. Or you can cut the melamine with a utility knife before you use the table saw

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really nice mock-up of that logo. Bravo !

    ReplyDelete
  4. Or you could do a precut with the table saw blade just high enough to score the surface, then raise the blade and complete the cut.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Crap, I thought it was made from plastic when I saw the pic. Nice Job. Some people call those clamps pipe clamps, which is a little ambiguous, or worm gear clamps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strong language from a Baptist church :)

      Delete
  6. A nice project and I liked the blue and yellow logo thingy. One thing I was waiting for and missed (or maybe it wasn't mentioned) was trimming the edge banding after it's ironed on. There's a commercial tool for this but I always ended up cutting into the melamine. What I use now is the back edge of a knife, run along the corner, at a slight angle, to break the edge banding. It's reliable, fast and does a great job, followed by a little sanding of the edge of the edge banding to clean up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another technique I've seen is using a router to trim the edge.

      Delete
  7. I like how Steve made a shelving unit that he could pile expensive electronics onto, and specially built it such that his cat could knock it down.

    We need more furniture that's easily knocked down.

    It's especially important to have furniture that is easily knocked down when it's never going to be put into the smallest box possible for shipping.

    /sarcasm

    ReplyDelete
  8. This design is impossible to knockdown (in the sense of taking it apart) since the screws holding the legs to the top and bottom shelves are covered by the melamine edging. It's a "knockdown knockoff", not a true knockdown.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am happy to admit I get design ideas from Ikea. Stylistically, I prefer the clean look of Ikea over all the Greene and Greene inspired designs with with 123 ebony plugs and bat wings and cloud lifts and and 22" inch chrome rims and all kinds of other stuff that serves no real purpose.

    Less is always more.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Steve, I agree that snooty-ness over exotic wood and fancy joinery is a turn off and I therefore applaud your effort to present easily built designs for mere mortals. Frankly though, your design abilities and sense of proportion are rather more god-like than you let on. Anyone could hack out a few shapes and come up with a "sorta Jetson's-ish" clock for example. But it takes an understanding of proportion and color that most mortals lack to produce the one you designed, a Jetson's clock that looks like it was built for the set of the live action remake. (By the way, why isn't there a live action version of the Jetsons in production?)

    But here's what I really wonder: Do you really think the numbers of woodworkers are dwindling? Lately, I can't fling a brick without hitting someone who lists woodworking among their hobbies. Perhaps some measures, new tool and lumber sales for example, are indicating a downward trend, but I think many woodworkers, including new woodworkers are getting by with the tools they own and lumber they can salvage. My usual sources of pallet wood seem to be drying up and places that once offered a trove of used tools seem to be drying up too.

    I think in this economy, many people who would have bought display shelves, knick-knack cabinets or throne room reading material racks are instead, making them themselves and people like you and Matthias and Mark, deserve a large share of the credit. The rest of us are lucky that there are people with design sense, a high degree (however unpolished) of talent in front of the camera, and a better than average set of production skills who are willing to teach about woodworking on spec.

    Anyway I hoist a glass to you and your YouTube woodworking brethren, for even when you present a project I'd never build, you present skills and techniques I doubt I'd imagine otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if there are more woodworkers, but the trend toward reclaimed and salvage lumber is real and huge. It follows what is going on more broadly... farm to table restaurants, regional sustainable organic, reality TV (as fake as it is), Metallica putting out records that sound like they were recorded in a garage (even if it costs million$ to make). Gen X people in particular were advertised to their whole lives and have reacted by seaking out "real" instead of "fake." (I suppose live action Jetsons sorta fits that trend :).

      One more piece of evidence that "real" is cannabilizing "fake" within the woodworking community: my local hardwood dealer (not exactly a trend setting business) recently cleared out an entire aisle of exotics to make room for live edge slabs. The slabs were all regional species: Local Cherry, Ash, Kentucky Coffeenut, Black Locust. Again, not sure if woodworking is growing or not, but within the hobby people are shifting toward more "real" forms and shapes.

      Which does take us back to design. Fancy exotics and figured lumber in some ways can compensate for a lack of design sense. "i.e. Look over here! - Birdseye!" I posted a poll on woodtalkonline asking where people struggle most. Design, Joinery, Wood Selection, Finishing. Design and Finishing is where people said they need the most help. So while magazines like Fine Woodworking dedicated pages to complicated joinery, they might be missing the boat a bit. People want help understanding design (although their current special issue is about furniture design).

      Delete
  11. Steve,

    Just a thought, instead of worm gear clamps I think that simple O-rings would work fine. If necessary, you could use 2. They are cheap, come in all different sizes and would be virtually undetectable under the shelf.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I added more storage space to my house, but I just have too much stuff. I ended up renting some storage units in Edmonton ant it's worked out splendidly.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a very economical storage shelves to DIY at home. The materials necessary for this project also seem to be readily available at local hardware stores and do not cost that much. Thus, I think it is a very cost-effective and pretty much functional product that you can build at home for your needs.

    ReplyDelete