My lovely wife, a.k.a. the chief cook and bottle washer, has been “asking”* me to add an extra, and wider (for less-frequently used bigger things), shelf in the top of the pantry. Our pantry, in a SW corner of the kitchen with a door at 45°, has a 9′ ceiling, and there’s plenty of space above the existing top shelf. The current shelves, on the wider 48″ South and West walls of the pantry, are 3/4″ thick MDF about 11-1/4” deep supported by 1×2’s attached to the walls. It’s basically L-shaped, but two separate pieces with the shorter West wall pieces butted up against the longer South wall pieces. The South wall pieces are supported on three edges by the 1×2’s, but the West wall pieces have 1×2 support on just two edges, and not much support where they butt up against the South wall piece (they may be toenailed). I did not like the minimal support for this edge, and thought there must be something better.
I considered cutting a single L-shaped piece out of MDF, but wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of maneuvering it through the door and up around the other shelves. I also considered mending plates on the bottom where the shelves meet. Then I remembered seeing somewhere (magazine? web site?) a technique using a rabbet, or lip, on the short side of one shelf that would fit into a stopped rabbet in the top end of the long side of the other shelf, and that’s what I wound up doing. A few 1×2’s, some MDF, a bit of router and chisel work, a handful of drywall screws, a little paint, and my significant other is happy with her new pantry shelves.
The above picture is from my SketchUp drawing of the South shelf piece, showing the 1″×14″ stopped rabbet in its top where the 1″ lip of the West shelf fits.
Have any other Toolmongers used this technique? Does anyone recall where it was published? Am I alone here?
*In a remarkable coincidence, the last time she “asked” me, the word of the day on my desk calendar was “importune” (\ˌim-pər-‘tün\v: to urge or beg with troublesome persistence), and I could not resist — I know I’m going to pay for this — pointing it out.