This storage shelf is designed to be as versatile as
possible. In other words, it holds just about anything
that is likely to end up scattered all over the floor in
your child's room. Its tall spaces hold oversize
children's books, school notebooks, stacks of games or
stuffed animals. The smaller spaces are proportioned for
tapes, CDs, art supplies and the odds and ends that
inevitably clutter a child's room. It also functions as
a night stand because it falls at the right height for a
lamp, radio and alarm clock.
The construction of this piece employs the same
materials as the child's bed–birch plywood and solid
poplar. The assembly techniques rely on a combination of
plate joints, screws and finish nails to draw shelf
parts tightly together, so you won't need a bunch of
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high-resolution version of plans.
Making Case Parts
Use a circular saw and 40-tooth thin-kerf, crosscut
blade to cut the plywood case parts to size. When
plywood is cut, there is a tendency for the face veneer
to chip where the blade exits the cut. You can prevent
this chipping by using two techniques. First, clamp a
straight board across the panel stock to guide the saw.
Next, advance the saw slowly, and keep the saw base
tight to the guide strip (Photo 1).
straightedge across the workpiece and crosscut it with a
circular saw. Support the piece that will be cut
Set up the router with a straight bit and an
accessory edge guide. Adjust the router to cut the
rabbet at the back edge of the case sides. Test the
setup on a piece of scrap stock. Then clamp a case side
to the workbench and cut the (Photo 2). If you
use a router bit with a 1/2-in.-dia. shank, you can make
the cut in one pass. If you are using a bit with a
1/4-in.-dia. shank, you should take two passes to cut
straight bit in the router and the edge guide attachment
to cut a rabbet along the back edge of the side
Mark the locations of plate joint slots in the
cabinet sides, shelves and partitions. Note that the
middle shelf has staggered slots on the top and bottom
surfaces. It's important to stagger the slots to prevent
too much wood from being removed in one location.
3--Clamp a fence
across a case side, and use it to guide the plate joiner
when cutting the plate slots for the
Clamp a guide block to the case sides and shelves to
help locate the plate joiner when cutting the slots in
the center of a panel (Photo 3). When you cut the
slots in the sides for the case top and bottom, you can
use the fence on the plate joiner to register the cuts
case sides upright in a vise and cut the slots along
their upper edge using the plate joiner's fence for
Use the workbench top as the registration surface
when you cut the slots in the ends of the shelves and
partitions. Firmly hold both the plate joiner and the
workpiece to the benchtop when making the cut. Keep your
fingers well away from the cutting area to avoid
Countersink pilot holes through the top, bottom and
partitions are attached to the panel above with screws,
so there is no need to use glue with the joining
Begin the case assembly process by joining the case
top to the short partitions (Photo 5). Install
the joining plates in their slots and position the short
partitions over them. You do not need to use glue on
these plates because they merely locate the joint. Turn
the assembly over, and bore pilot holes in the
partitions (Photo 6). Then screw the partitions
to the top panel.
Spread glue in the joining plate slots for the joints
between the short partitions and the middle shelf. Place
the middle shelf over the short partitions, bore pilot
holes into the partition ends and fasten the shelf and
countersink pilot holes into the top of the short
partitions. Then drive screws to fasten the partitions
Next, install joining plates in the slots for the
joints between the bottom and the tall partitions.
Assemble the partitions and bottom, and fasten them with
screws. Spread glue in the slots and on the plates for
the joints between the tall partitions and the middle
shelf. Install the plates, clamp the assembly together
and drive 6d finish nails through the middle shelf into
the short partitions (Photo 7).
Spread glue in the slots and on the joining plates
for the joints between the middle shelf, top and bottom,
and the case sides. Assemble the parts, and drive 6d
finish nails to fasten the
nails at an angle through the tall partitions and the
middle shelf, and into the short
Rip and crosscut the edge strips for the top. Apply
glue to them, clamp them to the top, and nail the parts
Apply poplar facing to the front of the sides, top,
bottom, middle shelf and partitions. Start with the case
sides, then apply the facing to the horizontal parts and
finally to the partitions. Note that the strips overhang
the plywood panels by 1/16 in. on each edge except for
the case top, which has a 1/8-in. overhang.
Use a chisel to cut the notch at the top outside
corners of the facing strips (Photo 8).
8--Use a chisel
to cut a small clearance notch in the top corner of each
vertical facing strip. Cut in toward the
Place the top panel upside down on the work surface,
and invert the case assembly over it. Bore pilot holes,
and screw the top to the assembly. Complete the case by
nailing on the
9--Use a putty
knife to press drying filler into the nail holes.
Slightly mound the filler, and let it harden before
Rip and crosscut the pieces of poplar and plywood for
the toe kick assembly. Clamp the assembly together, and
join the parts with glue and 6d finish nails. Clamp the
toe kick assembly to the bottom. Then bore and
countersink pilot holes through the cleats into the
bottom. Screw the cleats to the bottom.
surfaces carefully using a random-orbit block sander.
This tool is small enough to fit into the
Set the heads of all finish nails below the surface.
Then fill the holes with a wood filler (Photo 9).
Mound the filler slightly over each hole since it
shrinks when it dries. Sand the cabinet, inside and out,
with 120-, 150- and 180-grit sandpaper (Photo
10). Remove all sanding dust before moving to the
next finer grit of sandpaper. Carefully ease all sharp
edges with a sanding block (Photo 11). Move the
sanding block perpendicular to the wood's edge to
achieve a crisp bevel. Remove all sanding dust by
vacuuming and using a tack cloth before applying the
11--Put a small,
crisp bevel on the facing and edge strips with a sanding
block that you move perpendicular to the strip's
Use a small-diameter, smooth-surface paintroller to
apply a coat of latex primer to all cabinet surfaces
(Photo 12). Note that the long-handled roller
used here has one end that is somewhat shaggy. This
allows you to apply paint right to the corner. When the
primer is dry, sand it lightly with 220-grit sandpaper.
Finish the project by applying two coats of latex
semigloss paint for an attractive finish.
small-diameter roller is used to apply the primer and
top coat. The square end of the roller allows it to
paint into corners.