Shelves in non-square alcove

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In my bathroom is a space about 12" deep and 11" wide that would be an ideal place for some shelves. Only problem making some is, the house is old and the walls on either side of this space are not quite parallel. They're about .5" further apart at the opening than at the back. Additionally, I'm not positive that either side meets the back at a right angle.
Does anyone have any suggestions for how I might make a template of such a difficult space in order to cut some shelves? Is there a tool I can use to measure the interior angles?
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On 21 Nov 2003, Pete from Boston spake unto rec.woodworking:

    How are the shelves going to be supported? If you make cleats of 3/4" stuff, and carefully mount them so they are level, then you can cut an undersized template which will rest on the cleats. A sheet of cardboard would do the trick.
    Tack the undersized cardboard to the cleats so it can't shift. If the walls are all kinds of uneven, you'll have to scribe to get a good fit. But if the walls are even, but out of square, use the short leg of a small square, or a block of scrap an inch wide and a couple of inches long, and go around the walls, butting your reference block to the wall and marking the inside edge on the cardboard.     It is then a simple matter to tack the cardboard to your shelf stock, and do the process in reverse, putting the block on your lines and marking the outside edge on your stock. Cut out carefully, and you should have a nice fit.
    
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Cut up some strips of thick cardboard about 1 to 1-1/2" wide and as long as each wall. Put two in-one on each wall, then tape or staple them together. Do the same for the other wall-adding that piece to the first. Then use that as your "pattern". Gets you started.
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you could triangulate using two corners (exterior or interior) as your measuing guide.
1. choose two corners (A and B) (leaving corners C and D) 2. Measure distance from A to B (AB) 3. Measure that distance on your template and mark the corners. 4. Measure AC and BC. 5. Draw an arch of radius AC with center A 6. Draw an arch of radius BC with center B 7. Mark the intersection of the two arcs as C. 8-10. repeat 5-7 only for AD, BD, and D
ummm... i think that's right... ;)
--
be safe.
flip
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
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Or you could spend 5.00 and get a bevel.
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Don't pay attention to that man behind the cur^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hin the Potts....
A bevel would never work....and it certainly wouldn't be much easier and faster....
You *must* triangulate and measure every little bit... ;)
--
be safe.
flip
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
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You don't need to acually "measure" the angles, just use a bevel gauge to duplicate them & lay out on the shelf stock. I like my old brass & rosewood-handled Stanley with the lever lock, but the cheap $6-8 Johnson with a wingnut that I keep in my carryall works just as well.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Pete from Boston) writes:

Use two square pieces of cardboard. They should be narrower than the width of the opening by a couple inches or so. Mark one 'left' and the other 'right. Place the left piece in the rear corner on the left side flush with the rear wall and use a pair of dividers or a compass to trace the left wall onto the cardboard. Do the same with the piece marked 'right'. place the two marked pieces on the shelf stock and ensure that the rear corners of the two pieces are the correct distance apart (i.e. the back wall length). Cut shelf stock along same lines traced by the dividers onto the cardboard.
scott
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Good Grief! Make a square box that slips in the hole and has some facing around the opening. Drill some holes for shelf pins, slip it in and enjoy! Wilson

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Pete from Boston wrote:

What a buncha maroons answered you on this one. "Carboard" krist, what a buncha dopes.
"Ticksticking" It's a technique that's been around for thousands of years. Look it up on the web.
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Randy Calhoun wrote:

Just help out anyone confused by the rather odd wording of the above posting (by Cal-Hoon): although obviously the poster is very knowledgeable. 'Ticksticking' as used in ship/boat repairs etc. What a smart idea! Maroons = Morons? Carboard = Cardboard? krist = Christ? (Capitalized; generally acknowledged as a leading, famous and/or historic religious figure.) buncha = bunch of? It's called "using a speller" (or 'Spellcheck'). Been around for quite a while; very useful for those of us whose spelling isn't quite up to a normal educational standard. You can look up "Spelling" on the web or in a dictionary! For clarity; either 'North American' or 'English' with subtle differences of spelling are both quite acceptable. Felicitously yours. Terry. :-)
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Randy Calhoun wrote:

I've never heard of the term "ticksticking". A "Google" search comes up with two hits, both for the same page. That page provides no information. Apparently "ticksticking" isn't all that common of a term.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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It's a useful (and very simple) technique for laying out material to fit into odd shapes, but I wouldn't use it to lay out an 11 x 11 shelf.
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Manny Davis wrote:

Is it the same as using a "story stick"?
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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No.
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Manny Davis wrote:

Excellent method for installing that bench seat top in a bay window, etc.
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Nova wrote:

Jack: I've seen it in a book circa. the 1970s, about boat building. It is a method to 'take off' i.e. transfer the curves of a boat hull onto a template or pattern that is then used to make items, such as bulkheads, cabinets etc. which are then fitted into the boat. Have the book but can't find item right now in which IIRC it is referred to a as a 'tick-board', presumably the same thing? Cheers.
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Terry wrote:

Thanks. I was able to find information searching for " +"tick board" +boat".
For a simple irregular shaped shelve it would seem to me that a taped together cardboard templet sure would be one heck of a lot easier with less chance for error.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Forget the patterns and bevel squares. It is much easier, cheaper and gives a neater and more proffessional result to just make a cabinet a bit smaller than the hole and just slide it in. You guys are turning a few shelves into a boatbuilding project.
Mike
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On 22-Nov-2003, jim snipped-for-privacy@mindless.com (Mike) wrote:

I've been holding off suggesting that the walls be fixed so that they're square. But that's the way I approach such a problem. I'd prefer a well made house than a patched up shelf.
Mike
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