Shoe Rack

This was a project designed from scratch to work around several issues, done in August 2003. The only available location was in the back porch area. There was no room in which to do a horizontal rack, as the door consumes most of the space. So the rack was designed to mount vertically on the wall - leaving enough room for the door to open, and to be narrow enough that it didn’t get in the way as you use the stairs. It also had to be easily removable - to allow the moving of furniture, boxes, and other items.

The design includes a fairly subtle curve on the back, with a spine that helps to reinforce the shelves. Shelves and spine have a matching half thickness notch to help reinforce them for the weight. It is mounted on 2 dowels that are embedded on a wood block screwed to the wall. An equivalent block is attached to the bottom of the rack to keep it spaced from the wall. This allows you to see the wall behind, and helps keep it from being too heavy (sort of the effect of legs raising furniture off the floor).

Done in knotty pine (laminated craft boards from the Borg - because they were around and this was supposed to be a prototype, and I didn’t want to use them for anything really good). Stained with a Colonial Maple gel stain, with a satin polyurethane (Varathane brand) for waterproofing.

I will admit, These panels were crap - thickness was not consistent on all of the strips, and I found it hard to work with because it was extremely soft and had some awful grain reversal around the knots.

The plans aren’t much, and they’re pretty rough, but they’re available on the Plans page.

Edit: I would consider moving the dowels from the top of the hanger to the bottom. Currently it causes quite a bit of flex between the wall due to the weight being concentrated on the mounting screws located at the bottom. This is also due to it being anchored to strictly drywall, as there was no stud in the wall in the only area it fit. Alternatively, placing the mounting screws in the top above the dowels would likely alleviate the issue as well. Either change would allow the bottom of the mounting plate to provide more support with less flex or movement.

Top Section of Shoe Rack Bottom Section of Shoe Rack

I learned a couple of things along the way - such as:
  • Don’t shake your finish to mix - it introduces air bubbles that do not work themselves out before the finish dries.
  • Don’t spot sand when you’re staining. An example of this is here below - it drastically changed the absorption of the gel stain I was using.
  • Gel stain allows you to use a dry brush technique - you can build up the amount of colour to make it match where you did screw up (example also below).
  • Sanding edge grain 2 grits higher than the rest helps even out absorption so it is the same tone/colour.
Shelf - Stain Problem
Shelf - Stain Problem Shelf - Stain Fixed

On the left are the same 2 shelves as above. I managed to blend the blotches out applying thin layers of gel stain very lightly and letting it dry until it built up the colour to match.

Shoe Rack Hanging & In Use

Additional notes:

  • The spacing of the shelves was determined off of measurements of the shoes that were going on it. There were 2 shelves that were going to be spaced farther apart for my much larger shoes at the bottom (for visual weighting) - this was reversed and placed at the top in the end as I am taller, and it made it easier for everyone else to reach their shoes from the porch.
  • The shelves were attached with screws - one on each side of the spine through the back board. Thankfully, I hadn’t drilled the pilot holes before I realized I had to reverse the direction of the spine. (Actually, I was interrupted during glue-up, and didn't realize the spine was upside down until the glue had set. It wound up being fortuitous, but would have been less so if I had drilled the holes first.)
  • I drilled the holes from the front, and then countersunk for the screws on the back.

It’s seen almost a year of use now, and suffered minimal damage. While it’s no Chippendale cabinet - it's a nicer piece than I've found in any store, and it fits the bill perfectly.

All Materials not credited to other authors is (c)2003 - 2008 Paul R. Morin.