Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sawtooth Shelf Supports

I've been hired by my friend Reid and his wife to make and install built-in bookcases in the alcoves created by the dormer windows in their house.  Reid isn't just any client--he's one of the most talented cabinetmakers I know.  He and I worked together in Harrison Higgins' shop in the 90's, and Reid's still there.  He can produce a truly fine set of chairs with his eyes closed, and as you know, quality chairs are the mark of a craftsman's skill. 

Because these cases are for Reid, I thought I'd make sawtooth shelf supports for them. These supports were a common method of providing shelf adjustability in the days before shelf pins and standards.  A strip with bird's mouth cutouts is attached to each inside corner of the case.  Cleats are made to fit the span between the cutouts, as you see in the photo below.

Once the cleats are in the desired position along the height of the case, shelves (which are notched to fit around the support stripts), lay directly on the cleats.

Making sawtooth shelf supports takes a lot more time than using pins or standards, but they add a nice handmade touch, I think.  


rookster said...

I love the look of sawtooth shelf supports, and the mechanical "wow" factor makes me like them even more. Thanks for the posts on these bookshelves.

Does working for a superlative cabinet maker make you more nervous, or less?

actiontoo said...

I am building some built-in bookcases and I would like to use sawtooth shelf supports. Do you have any more information on how you constructed them

g said...

We have this style of support for the shelves in our dining room cabinets. Our house was built in 1941.