build a sunglass rack


The hall tree I built last year helps a great deal in managing our jackets, backpacks, shoes and hats. But, we still needed a place to set our sunglasses.

music: Enthusiast by Tours (CC-BY-3.0)

completed project

build article

Originally I was thinking about making this project out of walnut and cherry. But after a look through my scrap bin I found a piece of zebrawood that I thought would make for nice shelves. The back of the unit will still be walnut.

The zebrawood had its grain running in an arch across the board. I wanted the grain in each of the sunglass shelves to run straight across them. To accomplish this I made a template that was slightly bigger than the final shelves would need to be. Next, I lined that template up with the grain pattern I wanted and traced it out.

Then, I can cut out the pieces at the bandsaw

After the bandsaw and some work at the jointer to true up one face and side I then wanted to re-saw the thicker pieces into two pieces which would give me a total of 4 shelves. I started at the table saw putting a shallow kerf down the middle of each edge.

Having the kerf lets me easily guide the piece through the bandsaw, no fence required.

Before doing any more work on the shelves I want to complete the back spline that would hold the shelves. I planned mine down to a thickness of 5/8”.

Cut it to a final length of 12”

The shelves get held by dado’s cut at 3/8”. I chose this number because it was less than all of my shelves after re-sawing so I knew I could bring them down in thickness to fit. I made the layout of the dado’s symmetrical so that I only had to set the fence twice once for the top and bottom cut and once for the center cuts. The shelves ended up being 3-1/4” apart from each other.

With the dado’s cut I plane the shelf boards down to fit, checking them after each pass.

Each shelf gets cut to a final width of 3-1/4”

And cross cut to a final length of 6-1/4”

I wanted to knock the corners off of each shelf. To do this consistently I set my speed square along the fence of my crosscut sled, aligned the corner of one of the shelves with the sleds kerf and put a stop block behind the speed square to keep it from moving. This allowed me to cut off the exact same amount of all the corners.

The front and side edges of the shelves get a bevel at the router table. I also put a bevel along the edges of the back spline.

To make assembly easy I lined all the edges that might see glue squeeze out with blue tape. I cut a piece of 2x4 down to the exact offset I wanted on the side of the shelf from the back (1-5/8”). This allowed me to put glue in the dado, insert the shelf and with the unit on its side make sure the shelf was touching the workbench. I then inserted a couple of brad nails to hold the shelf while the glue dried.

The finish is my go to wiping varnish. (1/3 BLO, 1/3 Spar Varnish, 1/3 Mineral Spirits). One coat to dry overnight.

Then, several coats of spray on lacquer. Something I didn’t show in the video, I’ve found that after the lacquer setups up fully (6 or so hours) taking a piece of wet dry sandpaper (1000 grit) dipping it in water and just wiping the surface will get rid of all the dust nubs and overspray giving you a really smooth finish.

To hang, I use a standard picture frame hanger and a felt dot on each corner to protect the wall. A small picture nail in the wall is all that needed, there won’t be much weight here.