As I am developing my hand tool skills, through Mr Seller’s expert guidance, I find that I am also developing my eye for the form of furniture and the structural constraints of certain design choices.
Having said that I’m still not that confident at adapting designs and deviating from the given instructions. If this hanging wall shelf was being adapted to have longer shelves, would the bottom shelf with its housing dado recesses sufficiently take the extra weight? The weight on the shelf would be acting in the weakest direction on the housing joint, effectively pulling the joint open. Whether the joint holds would depend solely on the glue.
Putting the housing dado recesses in the side panels (like the middle shelf) should improve the strength of the shelf but that would be a significant design change. Would using a dove-tailed housing dado in the original design sufficiently improve the mechanical strength of the joint?
Its quite fun getting to a level of understanding to think beyond the designs given. I suppose that’s the next step on the craftsman’s journey. But in the same way as we’re likely to make mistakes as we learn hand-tool techniques, we’re probably just a liable to make mistakes when adapting designs and projects!
I made a wider version but kept to the same design. I too was not certain about the load on the top housing dados so I came up with a version of the French cleat (see photos). Since the mounting cleat spans over two wall studs, it can be mounted anywhere on the wall as only two screws are needed and they can be offset to align with the studs. Worked a treat!