With all the pieces sized, I started working on the joinery, starting with the dados for the brackets. The dados on the top and back boards, must line up with each other, so care was taken with layout for these. The dados are 3/8" wide, cut with a 3/8” straight bit on the router. To help line up and keep the dados straight, I used a shop made T-square jig. Using a couple sharp chisels, I square the ends of the dados. A 3/4” wide x 3/8” deep rabbet is made on the top piece to accept the back. This is done on the table saw with a dado stack, with an auxiliary fence. The brackets need a couple tongues that will fit into the dados. I did this on the router table with a 3/8" rabbeting bit. Please take care with these small pieces, and use a small parts jig on the router table, otherwise your fingers will get too close to the spinning bit. I trimmed the front of the tongues so that they would fit in their dados using the band saw, and a chisel to clean up the cuts. I then checked everything for fit, and made adjustments as needed.
Step #3: Decorative Elements
With the joinery completed, I then worked on the more decorative element of the brackets, again using small part jigs for safety. I made the brackets with a cover shape, but any shape could be used. I accomplished this by taping the two brackets together, and drew out the shape on one. I used the band saw to cut out the shape, leaving the line. I then cleaned up the shape with the oscillating spindle sander. After getting the shape looking good, I separated the pieces and rounded them over on the router table, again using a small parts jig. I decided to have some fun with the brackets, and instead of leaving two quarter round with a flat space, I used a rasp and sand paper to further shape the brackets so that the front profile had a more rounded and refined appearance.
I will apply the finish on the shelf this spring, where I will apply two coats of boiled linseed oil, and allow that to cure. For the top coat, I will apply 4 or 5 coats of shellac.
This shelf is very easy to build, even with a basic set of tools. I would encourage you to not only try building this shelf, but be creative with it to make it your own as well!