Yes, more ideas

I'm still musing on how to build several things for the living room. I think I'm mostly settled on the end tables, but I've just drawn what must be at least the sixth permutation of a set of shelves for cookbooks. I guess that's what Sketchup is for, right? Drawing six times as many things as you'll actually build?
And this one has an extra added concern: stability and strength. Most of what I've built up to now has been 3/4" plywood boxes with face frames and backs. Those were all obviously several times stronger than they needed to be. But I saw something in a catalog that gave me an idea:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/12199404003/in/photostream/ (scroll left to see a front view and a side view)
The unit as drawn is 5' tall.
My original idea looked like the one on the left. But I worried that since it wasn't as overbuilt as my usual practice, it might not be stable enough. Each side is effectively a big open rectangle with only a 2.5" high slat to keep the shape from racking.
So I modified it, resulting in the drawing on the right. That adds another 1x3 in the middle, around all four sides.
I think the left-hand drawing looks more graceful, but will it hold up when full? I also haven't decided on how to attach the shelves (except the bottom one, of course). My first thought is some sort of supports in the corners. If I go with the left-hand design I figure to fasten the middle shelf to the side slats as well, to keep them straight and aligned.
Thoughts?
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Greg Guarino wrote:

Yes, 6 iterations is good. Be glad you didn't spend your time and materials on the first 5. By now, you figured out what you want.
Bill
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Bill wrote:

What is the point of being able to see through the sides and back? Maybe it depends on where you put them? If you put them against a wall, do you want to see the wall behind the books when you look into the cabinet? I think half of the point of a cabinet is to hide stuff--to abstract it away to reduce clutter. For instance I don't understand why people build TV stands with see-through panels on the sides. YMMV.
Bill
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On 1/28/2014 10:10 PM, Bill wrote:

Having see though cabinets, if done right, can help to lessen the effect the cabinet has on the room. For instance if you can see the wall behind the cabinet it might not make the room look quite as small if you were wanting storage in a relatively small room.
My wife and I have a relatively large kitchen/ kitchen table area/ hall. HUH? ;~) Basically you walk through this area after entering the house and passing the side office. All through out we have 11' tall ceilings. On the walk through/hall area I designed and built a relatively large wall cabinet, I call it the pantry. Its dimensions are 8' wide, 8' tall, and about 16" deep. Even on that 11' tall wall that is approximately 17' long I had concerns of this monster of dominating the area.
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On 1/28/2014 10:47 PM, Leon wrote:
Oops , hit send by accident.
Anyway we put most all of the food that normally goes into a pantry in to that unit. Typically one would want to hide can goods, chip bags, snacks, etc. I felt that solid doors would make the unit stand out so I added a little bit of distraction by using glass paneled doors on the top half. Yes you see all the pantry items but I used "flemish" glass so that the items in the cabinet mostly added color to the unit rather than offer a crystal clear view to the contents.
Basically a little bit of distraction from the piece of furniture can make it appear not so over bearing.
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Leon wrote:

I see your point. No one has come to me yet for home-decorating advise. I think I would be inclined to think about how I could make them ornate through the use of face-frames. I decided I'm not decorating with "mission-style" furniture, so that may have something to do with my preferences. I'm enthusiastic for Greg's project, no matter how he chooses to do it! The temperature is still 6-degrees here, so no one is building anything yet.

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On 1/28/2014 11:10 PM, Bill wrote:

I could possibly make a case for a more "airy" quality, or less "obtrusiveness" as Leon suggested. But it's more that I just like the "look". I might even make two units to flank a window, in which case some of the stuff inside would be decorative. The end table design that I (think I have) decided on would have some similar features.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/12033692776/in/set-72157639547178715
In addition, it presents a new challenge to my fledgling woodworking skills. I seem to have reasonably mastered making plywood boxes with face frames; this might expand my range a little bit.
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Greg Guarino wrote:

Don't you like "curves" even a little bit? ; )
Have fun! Bill

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On 1/29/2014 6:28 PM, Bill wrote:

Depends on context. :)
I have in fact designed a couple of things with curves:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/11835021595/in/set-72157639547178715/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/11647719115/in/set-72157639547178715/
... the kind of curves I figured I could actually make with my limited tool complement. Without a band saw, I figured to rough them out with a jigsaw and clean up the edge with a router and a template bit. But at this point those designs look like they will remain virtual.
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Greg Guarino wrote:

Lots of woodworkers are not artists. Maybe not even me, but there is a slight bit of evidence to the contrary and I enjoy striving. So please take my comments below in the friendly, open-minded sense that they are offered.

Above, I feel like "I'm being attacked". If the planes/shelves in middle were co-planar with the shelves on the sides the piece would have more harmony.

I like this one much better. But the front of the shelves Must, IMO, have the same curve as the top and the bottom. If the previous example had the same shape as this one, I would like it better.
Maybe you can "combine" these feature just to see what it looks like?
Cheers, Bill

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On 1/28/2014 10:47 PM, Bill wrote:

Oh, I wouldn't be so sure. I have many more ideas than I have time to build. I foresee several more changes at least, and I can't rule out wholesale redesign.
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On 1/29/2014 9:06 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Likewise ... often take the time to simply model those ideas up in SketchUp, and just save the file for whenever I do have the time, if ever.
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Either way, I wouldn't worry about racking assuming top/bottom/shelves are reasonably well attached. Standing up is another matter...pretty small footbrint for five feet of books.
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