The shelves are made of maple and have two different kinds of inlays. The first inlay is made of walnut and is a corner inlay itself. Figuring out a way to do an inlay on the corner of a post was a first for me, but nothing to write home about.
The second inlay is actually made from knitting yarn. It just so happens that many yarns fit perfectly inside the 1/8" saw kerf from a table saw blade. The yarn is easy to inlay, flexible around corners and curves, and is limitless in terms of color and texture options. This was something new that I wanted to try and share.
In short - yarn inlays in wood - it's the future!
Step 1: Materials
- 4" x 4" douglas fir wood post (from Home Depot)
- maple 3/4" wooded boards (from the local hardwood lumberyard)
- keyhole hangers
- drywall plugs
- strip of walnut
- pretty yarn
- wood glue
- white glue
- danish oil
This project uses standard woodworking tools along with a Kreg Pocket Hole Drill Guide.
Step 2: Create Faux Maple Post
Cut two lengths of maple the length of your 4 x 4 and miter the adjoining the edge.
Apply glue to the back of both of the boards and glue and clamp or brad nail them into position.
Cut two square caps that fit the top and bottom of the post, glue and clamp those in place as well.
I first glued one maple panel on, then the other as positioning two pieces of maple simultaneously seemed like a challenge.
The 4 x 4 needs only two of it's faces to be covered with maple, the other two sides are up against the wall.
Step 3: Build Sled
Cut a piece of scrap wood in half on the table saw with the blade set at 45 degrees. The scrap wood's length should be 4" longer then the corner post.
Head over to the chop saw and cut two triangular pieces of 2 x 4 (pictured above) with the saw set at 45 degrees as well.
Use a brad gun to assemble the sled as pictured above.
Step 4: Cut Groove for Inlay
Push the corner post and sled through the table saw cutting a 1/8" wide inlay grove that runs vertically along the entire post.
The depth of cut is not very important - I cut mine to 1/4" or so.
Note - I had to turn my table saw fence 90 degrees into it's "low" position so that it would clear the top of the sled which extends further to the side then the base of the sled does. If your table saw fence doesn't have a "low" setting, simply cut these protruding pieces off when designing your sled.
Step 5: Create Inlay and Glue
The height of the inlay does not matter as much as the width. Any excess material will get trimmed off in the following steps.
Take the inlay and lightly tap it into position and glue it into place.
Step 6: Plane and Trim
Send the post through the planer on one side, then rotate 90 degrees, and send it through some more to dimension the inlay.
I trimmed the inlay to length using a flush cut pull saw.
Step 7: Build Drill Guide
To construct the jig cut a piece of maple that's the same width as your post (this also the same as the depth of your shelf) and drill two holes into it that are the same diameter as your wooden pins. Drill these holes on the drill press to ensure that they are straight and perpendicular to the piece of wood.
Glue two pieces of scrap MDF onto the sides of this piece of maple that will hold it in place on the shelves and corner post.
Their size does not matter.
Mark the drill bit used to drill the holes for the wooden dowel pins with tape that correctly shows the depth to which it should be inserted into the jig so that you end up with holes that aren't too deep for the pins.
I didn't put my two holes exactly in the middle of my shelves in either their x, or y locations. So, I made sure to mark the front of my jig with an arrow so that I could align it to the shelves and post in the correct way making sure not to flip anything.
Step 8: Drill Holes for Dowel Pins
Test fit a few dowels to make sure everything lines up.
Step 9: Drill Pocket Holes
Drill one pocket hole in the end of each shelf, and another pocket hole facing towards the corner post that can be used to lock the dowel pin connection into place.
Step 10: Cut Inlay for Yarn
The width of the table saw blade perfectly fits most normal gauged types of yarn. I chose a varying colored green yarn that I thought matched the maple and walnut nicely.
It references that whole tree thing that this shelf has going on...
Step 11: Glue in Yarn
Step 12: Route Grove for Future Lighting
Grab a straight 1/2" or 3/4" router bit, set the router fence and remove the back corner of the post making several passes.
Step 13: Mount Hanging Hardware
Trace the keyhole hanger, load a forstner bit into the drill press, set the depth so you don't remove too much material and drill holes to remove the wood inside the pencil line.
I cleaned things up with a chisel and mounted the keyhole hanger.
Step 14: Sand
Step 15: Apply Finish
Step 16: Install - Corner Post
Step 17: Install - Shelf Dowel Pins
Be careful not to let the unsupported end of the shelf hang and put undue stress on the dowel pins. Getting someone to give you a hand in this install process helps a lot.
Step 18: Install - Level, Mark, and Drill Anchor Hole
Remove the shelf and drill a hole into the plaster wall to fit the plastic anchor.
I drilled the hole into the wall at a slight angle to simulate the angle of the pocket hole and screw that it will be soon be accepting.
Step 19: Install - Screw to Post and Wall
Take one Kreg screw and drive it through the pocket hole into the post. I chose to screw this connection together rather then use glue in case I ever want to move this thing to a different wall. Simply re-installing it requires this connection to be undone since the anchor for the shelf at the far end has to be put in with the shelf out of the way.
Take a second a second screw (I chose to use a non-self drilling screw here) and drive it into the anchor that's in the wall at the far end of the shelf.
Repeat this Install process for the remaining 4 shelves.
Put stuff on the shelves and you're done! Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think of the yarn inlay. It won't be the last you've heard of it from me.