Sunday, December 18, 2011


We still marvel that our house, here in snowy New Hampshire, does not have anything in the way of a mudroom. Granted that folks 100 years ago, when the house was built, didn't have as much outdoorsy gear as today - where did they put it all when they came in through the front door? We do have a small entryway at the front door, where we have placed a hooks, a shoe rack and, until recently, some plastic bins for hats and gloves. I say "until recently" because the bins ran into a rather destructive accident a few months back. With winter coming we realized that we would need some more substantial place for our warm things.

Some woodworking was in order! And it would need to be done quickly, for while I use the basement and garage for storing my tools, I actually do most of my woodworking out in the driveway. Operating a table saw in freezing temperatures is no fun time, and doing so with numb fingers is downright dangerous. It's also tough to do such work in the dark, and I'm at home for precious few daylit hours these days. Thankfully, we had a fairly mild November, and Hilary's weekend schedule permitted some extended work during the day. After the carpentry itself was finished, I was able to move the work down to the basement for applying finish in the warmth next to the furnace and during the very early or very late hours.

A couple of weeks later, here's what we've got:

It stands about five feet high, and squeezes between the front door and a door to the living room. Each of the ten cubbies is sized to accept a small fabric bin that can be gotten cheap from Target.

The construction is mostly 1/2" finish plywood. To strengthen the construction, there are abundant dado and rabbet joints. These were made largely with my router, and getting the cuts for the shelves to line up on the left, right, and center uprights was tricky. Because plywood endgrain looks terrible, I applied some stained maple trim in a tongue-and-groove construction.

The outside corners are chamfered to mitigate the inevitable running-child-bonks-head accidents.

The lowest bins are at a convenient height for B's things, so that she can get into the habit of putting away and retrieving herself. I am working on putting together a set of pegs to hang off the left side, so that B can hang up her coat herself. Unfortunately, while cutting an angled hole in a piece of scrap oak for a dowel, my 3/4" auger bit snapped! I'll get to that later, after the Christmas craziness has passed.

At least for the moment, we should be able to lighten the load on our overworked horse coat rack:

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