1. Once again Paul shows craftsmanship, years of practice making it look effortless. Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler show similar skills, might be a British thing? Spot on Paul, great series.

  2. I really liked the pace of this project as I have been able to keep up by completing each section per the video. It is great training for all the joints, but it helps me to work patiently too.
    I see there is a back wood piece when the shelf is hung on the wall that is not on the project . How would be the best way to hang this on the wall? That would be my only question on this project. Everything else was very well done and clear like the other projects. Thanks.

      1. Thanks for the link James. I’ve used a French Cleat a couple of times for Barn Quilts. I love how Paul added the recess for the screws and will now be doing the same thing to hang my Hanging Wall Shelf.


        PS: The challenge is going to be to stay away from my table saw and do it all by hand. I even still have my dad’s hand drill (first cordless drill…… as Paul said)!

  3. Hi Paul and team,
    thanks for the great project, I am really keen on giving it a try.
    I have a question on the strength of the housing joints in the top and bottom boards. If I imagine this as a bookshelf or anything that is loaded considerably on the bottom shelf, the sides will want to slide out of the housing joints. Even more so, if the shelf is hung to the wall with a french cleat that is fixed to the top board then all the weight pulls the sides out of the housing joints in the top board.
    Would you only recommend this construction for “lightly” loaded shelfs (I think Paul mentions using it as a spice rack?), or does your experience show the joints in the top and bottom boards to be strong enough for larger loads such as books for example? What if the shelf was scaled up?
    Thanks for all your great content!

    1. There was a short discussion about this over on the “Hanging Wall Shelf” thread: https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/discussions/forums/project-series-discussions/hanging-wall-shelf/
      A sliding dovetail (like the Shaker Bench) could also be done for the top, which carries the load for the whole piece when hanging by a french cleat. In my case it’s fine as it is since it’ll be carrying a light load. I guess where we need to branch out as woodworkers is to figure out for ourselves how to best adapt these pieces for our intended usage. Along those lines I bought some nice cherry today to build the Shaker Bench and learn how to do sliding dovetails, so I’ll have that arrow in my quiver for when I need it.

  4. Some one take 4 pieces of scrap, cut some dados, hang it on the wall and start piling weight on it. I’m sure there’s a point where it will fail, obviously, but I bet it can hold more of a load then I’d guess

  5. Took a break from my workbench project today and cut and fitted the tenons for my top and bottom Cross Rails. I’ve machined dozens and dozens of tenons through the years. This was my first time cutting and fitting tenons by hand. Very enjoyable. I love my new Router Plane.


  6. Hello, I am 70 years old, and have been woodworking a little bit for many years. Like Paul, I have drafting training, and was a design draftsman for many years. I am fascinated by the precision to which Paul works, and his patient nature. My biggest challenge thus far is trying to transition from the fast paced “get the job done” culture of the working world, to Paul’s deliberate pace. I still find myself taking ill conceived shortcuts, which produce dissatisfying results in the end. Thank you all for your excellent videos.

  7. Dear Paul,

    After completing this project I learned many new skills and I thank you for this opportunity.

    At the final stage of the crafting, just before glueing, a couple of questions popped in my head and I am sure you have the right answers:

    The top piece and bottom piece are jointed with a housing dadoes. The glue joint, apparently, is not the strongest one in this case because, the side of the shelf are long grain glued to the end grain of the top/bottom pieced, the bottom end of the side pieces are end grain, glued to the long grain of the top/bottom pieces. Further, when you prepared the french cleat you glued it to the top, in a way so that the top piece of the wall shelf will bear all the weight of the shelf, risking failure of the glue joints/separation.

    That is the theory. But yet, after I glued everything together, after I tried to “sense” the glue joints of the top/bottom pieces I “felt” they were rock solidly glued to the sides and permanently jointed !!! Where am I failing with my thinking ?

    Is it possible that what holds the sides dadoed into the top/bottom is their expansion after applying the water based white glue therefore creating a sort of “interference” joint, rather than relying on the glue shear resistance strength alone?

    Using other words, what I am trying to ask is the following question: is it possible that in this case the dado housing behaves kind like a foxtail wedged mortise and tenon joint, because of the expansion of the sides (tenons) into the ends (mortise/dado housing), due to the water content of the glue ?

    I hope I was able to make myself clear enough, English is not my mother tongue.

    Congratulations for the great job, I am always amazed by the huge quantity of skills I am learning with your precious guidance, while at the same time enjoining myself really a lot.

    I will post the picture of the wall mounted shelf on the forum.

    Very warm regards,


    1. Hi Max,

      I passed your message onto Paul and he says:

      I realise what you’re saying that we’re basically relying on glue which does indeed expand the wood, and once expanded and glued, locks everything together. In theory, it is a weakness to just rely on glue, I agree. That said of all the hundreds of these I have made, I’ve never known the joint fail.

      Kind Regards,

    2. You are viewing the housing dado as a glue up of end grain ( of the perpendicular piece) to long grain ( at the bottom of dado). Maybe, if you viewed it as a glue up of long grain (sides of the perpendicular piece inserted into the dado) to long grain ( the walls of the dado) it makes more sense. Paul has introduced the housing dado as one of the three joinery methods which include dovetail and M&T. I assume that once the housing dado is in this category, it can’t be a glue up of end grain to long grain. Although it is not a very strong joint, in this piece, the two M&T cross rails will prevent racking so the unit as a whole will be strong. In other words, you will not be able to easily yank the perpendicular piece out as long as it stays perpendicular.

      I hope this helps. I’d like to know if I’m wrong. Thanks so much Paul and team.

      1. Housing dados do not have long grain touching long grain. Long grain from the side touches end grain from the shelf, and end grain from the side touches long grain from the shelf. The ones where the sides rest on the base aren’t able to support nearly as much weight as the shelves, but PVA glues are still strong enough on end-long grain gluing for most used these bottom pieces may get.

        1. Yes there is no long grain to long grain glue line. Thanks for clarifying. I meant to say it can be viewed in a similar manner since there are long glue lines quite unlike end grain butt jointed to a flat surface.

  8. Crikey, despite reviewing the video the night before I went and cut the the second tenon by measuring from the end of the rail instead of actually laying it down on the shelf to get the real measurement. Of course there is a large gap now I cut the tenon too long. Sigh!

    I glued it back together and will attempt to re-cut it tomorrow. Everything was going so smoothly too! 😹

  9. Hello Paul and team!
    Beautiful work. Still trying to perfect my rounding over with my No. 4 (I usually use my 45). Now that my shoulder has healed and I am back in the shop I will be doing some more work. I have been looking for a nice little shelf to make for my wife.


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