Introduction: Wine Glass Shaped Cork Shelf

About: Graphic artist, woodworker, and bass player

Start off by building forms which will be used to bend the 1/4" wood into the bell and stem sections:

Glue 4 pieces of 3/4" plywood together to make 3" wide forms, which will be wide enough to form wood that's 2.5" wide.

Once glued up, I cut the form's shapes on a band saw (note: when bent, the wood will spring back slightly so your form shapes should be "exaggerated" to account for any spring back).

You can see the exaggerated shape of the bell in the photo - the stem forms were set at a right angle with a rounded edge where the vertical part of the stems meet the "feet".

Attach your forms to a large piece of plywood. I used dowels to hold the lead edge of the steamed pieces into one end of the form so that I had two free hands to bend and clamp the wood around the form.


1/4" thick wood for bending (Oak bends the best)
3/4" plywood (to create the forms you will bend the shapes against)
finish nails
Wood stain (if desired)
Clear satin wood poly or lacquer
Sand Paper
Lots of Clamps
Steam Bending Box, safety gloves and water

Step 1: Set Up Your Steam Bending Box

To bend wood and make it stay in that shape you need to steam it. I built a steam bending box using a kit I bought from a popular online wood working retailer.

For this project, I found that the 1/4" oak I used needed to steam in the box for at least 20 minutes at full boil temp.

Place the strips you will bend in the box - they should be longer than you'll need - you can always trim them down later (as I did).

Make sure your wood is nice and straight grained - it will have a tendency to tear out and split around the bends if not (this can also occur if you don't steam the wood long enough).

Step 2: Steam Wrap and Clamp!

ALERT! Make sure you are wearing proper protective clothing and gloves when accessing wood from the steaming box - you will be severely burned if you don't!

You need to work fast with the wood once you take it out of the box - you can steam multiple pieces, but only take one piece out at a time.

Pull a piece out and immediately clamp it in multiple areas around the form. You will see in the pics that I drilled holes in the form for the clamps to fit into, and I used thin blocks against the wood so the clamps did not mar the wood.

Keep these pieces clamped for a few hours to make sure the wood stays in the intended shapes.

Step 3: Assemble the Pieces

This design includes 3 pieces - the bell, plus two pieces to make up the stem. I had to steam a few stem pieces to get two that had matching angles on the feet as they slope away from the vertical sections of the stems.

Carefully drill down into the stems from the bell, keeping a space between the pieces. Do not attached pieces yet.

Sand and stain or sand and seal as needed, using your favorite finishes. Doing this while unassembled allows you to get in between all areas.

Attach the pieces to each other with screws.

To hang on the wall, I drill angled holes in the back of the bell section at its widest point. I took two small #6 finish nails and snipped the heads off of them. I then inserted them into these holes, securing them with CA glue. When done, you should have two nails sticking out and pointing downward when viewed from the side.

Pushing downward as you place the shelf into the wall will keep the unit in place while you load it up with corks or other objects.


Shelving Contest

Participated in the
Shelving Contest