How to Build Desk Hutch Shelves

Assembling the Organizer Exploded View
Step 1

The four dadoes in the bottom of the top piece are 1/2 inch wide and 1/4 inch deep. Cut them with a dado set on the table saw or with a router guided by a router straightedge guide.

Step 2

Apply glue to the top edges of the sides. Place the top on the sides, and secure with 4d finishing nails. Do the same to attach the bottom to the sides. Use a framing square to make sure the box is square before the glue dries.

Step 3

Set a 3/8-inch piloted rabbeting bit in the router to cut 1/4 inch deep. Before rabbeting all four sides to receive the back, clamp a piece of 2x4 flush with the back to provide more support for the router base. Square the rabbet corners with a chisel.

Step 4

Put the long dividers side by side, with their ends flush. Use a framing square to lay out the position of the middle shelf (E). Flip the dividers over and lay out the positions of the side shelves (D). Then use the dividers to transfer the side shelf positions to the sidepieces (B).

Step 5

Apply glue on the ends of the long dividers, position them in the box flush with the front, and check for square before securing with 4d nails through the top and bottom. Glue and nail the short dividers into the dadoes, flush with the front.

Step 6

Use glue and 4d nails to attach one of the shelves (D) to the short dividers. Use a combination square to hold the dividers square to the shelf while you nail. Then nail through the sides and long dividers into the end of the shelf. Install the opposite shelf the same way.

Step 7

Glue and nail the middle shelf (E) in place between the long dividers. Then glue and nail the lower side shelves (D) between the sides and long dividers. The assembly template will make it easier to align the lower side shelves.

Step 8

Put the back in place with its good side temporarily facing out. Scribe the positions of the shelves and dividers on the inside. Remove the back and apply glue on the rabbets, shelves, and dividers. Place the back in position with the lines showing the shelf locations visible, and then secure it with 1-inch brads using the lines as a guide.

Assembly Template: A Spacer Speeds the Work

Because all the side shelves (D) are spaced 5 inches apart, you can assemble them more quickly and accurately by ripping a 9-inch-long piece of scrap to 5 inches wide. Put this assembly template against opposing walls, then put a shelf in place against the template.

Continued on page 4:  Adding the Trim


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