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For my latest project building some pine cabinets for a customer of mine, he has requested that the upper cabinet has a sawtooth shelf support system. He loves the old timey look it offers, and I like it too. Sawtooth Shelf supports come in various sizes, various angles are used for aesthetics, and you are not even regulated to sawtooth configurations, you can angle the notches at virtually any angle you like. It appears the builder of the supports in this image to the left angled their notches at around 15 degrees. We angled ours at 45 degrees. So yesterday I took to laying out and cutting the sawtooth adjustable shelve supports. I did not use any specific dimensions for the layout as you'll see, I just went with what I thought would work, and offer enough strength for the heaviest of loads in my customers cabinet. In our case the upper cabinet is 41" tall with an inside height of 35 inches. So I ripped down 4 pieces of pine at 2" in width and I cross cut them on my miter saw at 36 inches in length just to allow for some custom fitting after they are made. It is very important to make sure that the entire operation is done while the 4 support blanks are grouped as one, this way you are ensured that when the supports are installed, the notches will be directly across from each other and you will not have wobbly shelves due to mis-aligned sawtooth notches. So to keep my orientation good, I bundled them together and secured them with blue tape, I then trimmed them together so we have a reference point that agrees with all the blanks. Next I laid out the notches with a simple marking square, I did not even bother with measuring as the eye will never be able to tell if one notch is a 1/6" different from the next, and since they are all ganged up together, the notches will be directly across from each other once installed in the cabinet, so they will all be off a tad equally. For this one I laid them out using the default 45 degrees available on this square, and I drew the line to what I felt was a comfortable distance about 1 1/2" long at 45 degrees. The numbers on the rule mean absolutely nothing so don't get hung up on the numbers. Flip the square for the 90 degree lines and intersect them. Continue this layout procedure all the way down the board. By the way, I marked lines across the board at 6" from the top, and 6" from the bottom, since it is highly unlikely a shelf would be placed that close to the top or bottom of the cabinet. So I started my layout at 6" from the top, and worked my way down to the bottom to the 6" mark. It only took a few minutes to get my layout lines down and ready for the table saw. I did my 45 degree cuts first, I don't know why, it just moved me to do them first for some reason. You must take care not to let the kerf of the blade float into the other layout line, or you'll have some very ugly notches. Then I set the blade at 90 degrees and commenced to cutting those lines, again, just because you have lines that are (insert dimension here) long, it does not mean you can set your blade at that height, you need to stay away from the layout line at the intersections or the points, or you'll have a very messed up looking point, we are going to clean that area up next to form a nice point. By the way I am using my factory provided table saw miter with a backer board for the above operation. A close up of the finished table saw operation will show you why I stated to stay away from the tip of the notches! If you cut to the tip, you will intersect the blade kerfs and it will cause some irreversible damage to your nice notches. Next I took the gang of 4 to the bandsaw and finished up the notches to intersect the tips of the notches nicely. I happened to have my 3/4" resaw blade on the BS so I just left it on there, and it worked out great. You'll notice the small problem I ran into, I could only finish the notches near the ends of the boards as the other end of the bundle would hit the yolk on the BS. So I could not get to the middle of the shelf supports to clean them up by the bandsaw. So to finish the cut on the notches near the center of the bundle, I took to a gents saw and a chisel and finished them up that way. I clamped the boards down to the bench for two reasons, first to secure them obviously, second, I wanted them all to be flush so when we finish up the notches by hand, they will be cut the exact same depth. Pare down to the intersecting lines after you have cut them with the saw. To finish them up and make my sawtooths look nice and clean, I ripped a 45 into a strip of pine and wrapped sand paper around it and used it like a sanding file of sorts to get right down in there and make them look nice and crisp. The last step I took is to cut the tips of the teeth off. I feel that if we did not do this, they would just get knocked off during normal use anyway (and, that is just the way they are supposed to look judging by other cabinets I researched.) Notice the grain direction in relation to the tips in the photo above, that is just asking for trouble for those points to be knocked off during use. I took the ganged up boards, back over to the table saw and I ripped a 1/4" off the teeth, leaving a net width of 1 3/4" from when we started at 2" at the beginning of our shelf support project. I only cut two boards deep at a time, since I have a 12" blade on my TS I could have done the entire stack in one pass, but I know that most woodworkers run a 10" blade on their TS and I was not sure if a 10" blade could cut 3" stack of boards in one pass so for the sake of our readers, I did it in two passes. Cut one side and flip it over, and cut the other. And now we have some nice looking sawtooth shelf supports!!! The only thing we need to do is cut 4 sticks of pine 45'd at both ends since I have two shelfs going in to the cabinet, we need two supports for each shelf. I will cut those sticks once the vertical supports are in place in the cabinet. Total time for these shelf supports were 1 hour. And we have some very strong, nice looking supports that will add an awe factor to any case project you may have.
Last week we wrapped up our pine cabinets and the final coat of pain on them, and final rub down of the interior shellac finish. That weekend I was able to get the cabinets installed with the butcher block counter tops over the lower base and over the washer and dryer. Here a couple links of the cabinet build from an earlier time. Pine Cabinets Shaker Style Part 1 Pine Cabinets Shaker Style Part 2 How to Make an Adjustable Sawtooth Shelf System Photo below is the upper cabinet, doors yet to be installed. I like to back my cabinets, most folks do not. They'll leave the backs off leaving the wall behind exposed. I don't like seeing walls, I like seeing something really nice behind the dishes and glassware, in this case it is being used for storage in a wash room, but I'll still pay the same attention to detail, Photo below, I just set one of the doors in place so we could see what is going in. I cut the doors the exact same dimensions as the openings, then I planed each one down to fit exactly in its assigned opening. The doors are inset flush so the reveal (gap) around the door had to be perfect, if not it stands out like a sore thumb. There are advantages and disadvantages to the inset door, as mentioned, the reveal has to be perfect, but the advantage is easy hinge application, in this case I used colonial style butterfly hinges surface mount. Photo below, the two main cabinets installed, the lower and upper along with the butcher block counter top. These are shown with out any trim-out to hide the unsightly gaps at the ceilings and walls, where the drywall is undulating. I trimmed it out with 1/4" by 3/4" strips of wood. Very simple, no crown, the entire home is Early American, the customer is an antique collector and loves simplicity. Photo below, butcher block counter over the appliances. I routed in some 3/4" dadoes at the bottom ends of the counter tops and secured cleats to the side walls, the counter tops are sitting on those cleats, I was able to get the counter top virtually on top of the washer and dryer by routing in those dadoes and resting the top on the cleats in that manner, also since the top is only resting on the cleats, it can be removed for appliance service if need be. Since these photos were taken, I have installed all the trim, back-splash's at the sink cabinet and the appliance counter top, the doors are installed, and it looks very nice. I also built onsite the upper cabinet over the appliances above the window two weeks ago, and I'll need to go back and install the door for that cabinet, at that time I'll get some finish shots, it looks awesome right now. Thanks for hanging in there!