My first attempt at making a pot rack on the cnc wasn’t great. The seams didn’t line up, a rounded edge met a corner. It was a bit sloppy. So I wanted to redo it, but make it nicer. So I reworked the idea and settled on this idea:
A frame around the shelf would allow for things like lids to be placed on the rack without fear of them rolling off the sides or sliding off the front. But plywood is heavy, so I wanted to get rid of as much material as I could while still keeping the form nice.
Sketched up in Vectorworks:
Secret finger tenons ran up and down the sides and front panels, and a pocket for the shelf ran along all three pieces. Cutting it this way on the CNC meant I didn’t have to do any measuring. I just picked where I wanted the shelf and it would line up perfectly. I realized later that I wanted the shelf to be much lower, it’s really high where it is, but I didn’t realize that until I cut it and put it all together.
Time to cut. I used a 4′ x 3′ piece of ply.
First piece off the job. So far so good.
After everything was done cutting – the whole job took about an hour and a half – I had to do some hand work. The bottom of the long cut here would be visible, ever so slightly from the underside of the shelf, so i didn’t want to cut mouse ears for fear of revealing the obvious nature of a CNC job. So I cut it normally and decided to square if off with a chisel. Turns out chiseling plywood isn’t the easiest thing to do. Along with the fact that our chisels at ITP are incredibly dull, I wasn’t able to get a very clean corner. But it worked well enough.
Here you can see the sides dry fit with the front panel. The bottom corner is where I hand chiseled to ensure a good fit.
The joints were the tiniest bit snug, but after some chiseling and sanding, I managed to dry fit the whole thing together. It took a bit of work with a hammer, but it all eventually fit pretty well. The seams are not perfect, but they are hardly visible if you’re not looking carefully. I was okay with that. I was actually really happy with how well it all fit together, considering my earlier troubles getting things to fit well.
I glued it all up, and decided to stain it. After a lot of fine-grade sanding, I used a cherry stain and it really brought out some nice features of the plywood. I even like how it accentuates the ply along the edges. There were a few blotchy spots, which I’m guessing might have been spots of glue that I didn’t catch, but it’s not terrible.
Interestingly, the sides and the front panel took the stain slightly differently. Which was a bit strange. I made sure that the same side of the ply would be visible all the way around the piece, so that the color and grain had a better chance of matching, but for some reason the stain wasn’t quite the same. Perhaps I applied it too thick or thin on one side or the other. Not sure.
I plan to give it a coat of polyurethane as well to seal the whole thing up.