RunnerDuck Projects
Folding Shelf
This project appeared in our April 2, 2005 Newsletter.

Shelf Open   Shelf Closed

This months project was sent to us by Joe who has previously contributed to our newsletter with his Stool project. You may remember that nice little stool from our September 10th, 2004 newsletter. This project is a nifty folding shelf that looks nice and folds up to be stored.

Marilyn is really good at decorating the house for different occasions. She has lots of neat stuff that she puts out for Valentine's Day, Easter and other holidays. Sometimes it would be nice to have a shelf to put the extra stuff on and other times it would be nice to have the shelf out of the way. This project fits the ticket perfectly.

Here's a list of materials you'll need to buy.

1" X 12" X 36" Clear Pine or your choice of wood.
(4) 1" X 4" X 48"
11' of 3/8" Dowel
(9) 1" Brass Hinges Glue

Cut out the following pieces:
1" X 12" X 36"
Name Dimension
(3) Shelves 10 1/2" X 10 1/2"

1" X 4" X 48"  
Name Dimension
(3) Vertical 1 3/4" X 38"
(1) Vertical 3" X 38"
(1) Hinge Support 3/4" X 3/4" X 38"
(8) Cross Members 1 3/4" X 8 3/4"
(1) Hinge Support 3/4" X 38"
(3) Support Blocks 1" X 3/4" X 3/4"

3/8" Dowel  
Name Dimension
(4) Lower Dowels 11 1/2"
(4) Middle Dowels 11 3/4"
(4) Top Dowels 8"

Here's an exploded view of this project with the dimensions.

Exploded View

The cross members are attached to the vertical supports using mortise and tenon joinery. I got a new tenoning jig for Christmas and this will give me a chance to use it.

I got mine at Woodworkers Supply but other stores have them too.

Cut a tenon on each end of the cross members. I removed 1/4" of material from all four sides making it 1 1/4" X 1/4" X 3/4".

Cross Member Dimensions

Using a 3/8" Forstner Bit, drill two holes 3/8" deep on the top and bottom of four cross members and two holes on one side only of four cross members. Space them as shown above.

Cut the vertical pieces and cut the mortise for each of the tenons using the spacing shown below.

Cross Member Spacing

Notice that the left side of the shelf uses two pieces 1 3/4" wide and the right side of the shelf uses a 3" wide piece on the left side.

Cut the 3/8" dowels as shown in the cut list.

Assemble the two sides using glue and clamps.

Cut and glue the 3/4" X 3/4" X 38" piece onto the front edge of the 3" wide piece.

Cut and glue the support blocks to the left side of the left vertical piece flush with the bottom of the cross members and the inside edge of the vertical piece. You can see it in the picture below.

Middle Shelf

Cut a radius on the top of the two outside vertical pieces and smooth with a rasp and sandpaper.

Sand everything smooth in preparation for applying the finish.

Cut the (3) shelves 10 1/2" with a 10 1/2" radius as shown below. Smooth over the edges and sand the shelves smooth.

Shelf Dimensions

Join the vertical pieces my mounting three hinges evenly spaced. The best way to do this is to place the left side flat and the right side vertical. Butt the left side to the 3/4" X 3/4" hinge support and install the screws.

Mount the hinges for the shelves to the right side so that the bottom of the shelves are flush to the bottom of the cross members. Keep the shelves far enough forward so that they will clear the hinges when they are folded up.

Remove the hinges and apply your favorite finish. Reinstall all the hardware and you now have a beautiful folding shelf.

Here are some more detail pictures:

Half Open

Top Shelf

Again we really would like to thank Joe for providing such a nice project. If you have a project you'd like to share just let me know. I'll do all the work if you'll provide the pictures and dimensions. Send your projects to kennyb at

We hope you liked this project. If you build it and your friends ask where you got such a clever idea, please tell them that you got it at

Return to Projects


Our Newsletter
The AllAmerican RunnerDuck Review

Visit our Blog,, and sign up to receive notifications when it is updated. Our newsletter is a monthly blog with woodworking projects, crafts, recipes, and more.

When you get to our blog just enter your email address and click "Sign Me Up".

This is what it looks like: